Yellow Rounded Hill

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At the end of Glen Lyon there’s a mountain called Meall Buidhe (phonetically pronounced ‘Myeal Booya’), which in Gaelic means yellow rounded hill. Gaelic placeneames are really descriptive and help to give an insight into the character of the landscape. When I climbed it on Tuesday I was struck by just how yellow the hill was!

Meall Buidhe is one of the easiest 3000 foot mountains (or munros) in Scotland. It only takes about 3 hours to walk up it and return from the Goirra Dam. On my drive to the dam I was lucky to see a golden eagle being chased and harrassed by a hooded crow, a not uncommon but pretty special sight in Scotland.

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Before walking up Meall Buidhe I went up a neighbouring mountain called Stuchd an Lochain (meaning peak of the little lochan).  A thin veil of cloud masked the sun through much of the day producing a beautiful soft light and making the sun appear like a huge hazy globe. Later it the day it also produced the conditions for a broken spectre, a halo-like ring of coloured light cast onto the the surface of the clouds opposite the sun.

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After climbing Stuchd and Lochain I started up Meall Buidhe. With only two or three hours of daylight left the sun was low in the sky and casting a soft yellow light. The walk up was easy and after an hour or so I was on the summit ridge. Walking along this broad flat summit ridge I was struck by the colouor: yellow. The grass was blonde and tiny crystals in the rock reflected the yellow evening light.

Mountaineering in Scotland in winter is always challenging and always rewarding. The evening light in particular, casting long shadows on snow drifts and lighting up the landscape with yellows and pinks makes all the effort in battling the wind and cold worthwhile.

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