Meall Dubh

Meall Dubh from Glen Moriston

Bike and hike up Meall Dubh from Glen Moriston

From Glen Moriston and Glen Loyne, excellent estate tracks put in place for the construction of windfarms enable a bike to be used to cycle up the hillsides of Meall Dubh, leaving a mere 1km of hiking to reach its summit.

Route outline


Meall Dubh

Walk ascent 150m (490ft)
         distance 3km (2m)
         time 1:00hr
Bike ascent 700m (2290ft)
         distance 22km (14m)
         time 1:30hr
Start/finish Glen Moriston
Grid Ref : NH254116
easy hard
easy hard
easy hard
ok fab

Meall Dubh is a rugged wee Corbett hill sitting alone above the moorlands west of the Great Glen. Excellent estate tracks have been put in place for windfarms that now surround Meall Dubh on its south and eastern faces. These tracks encourage the use of a bike to get close to Meall Dubh's summit, leaving a mere 1km of hiking to reach its large cairn.

Approaches on estate tracks can be made Glen Moriston and Glen Loyne. The approach from Glen Moriston reaches a height of 700m and gets to within 1km of the summit, the approach from Glen Loyne is not as long, though doesn't get quite as high. If hiking and prepared to walk on pathless ground, routes are more direct and therefore distances are considerably shorter.

Route map

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Route description

1. Getting to Glen Moriston

Millenium Windfarm entrance in Glen Moriston

Millenium Windfarm entrance in Glen Moriston

The A87 travels from the A82 at Invergarry in the Great Glen towards Kintail and eventually on to the Isle of Skye.

As the road climbs westwards from Invergarry then drops northwards through Glen Loyne down to Glen Moriston, it meets with the A887 approaching from Invermoriston on Loch Ness.

Around 4km east of this junction is the entrance to the Beinneun Windfarm and on the opposite side of the road off-road parking is available in a long tarmac'd lay-by.

This is all assuming you are intending to cycle up the track for the windfarm. If you'd prefer to hike up Meall Dubh, have a look at the final section on this page which briefly outlines a direct route in from Glen Loyne.

2. Bike up windfarm track

Standing stone above the substation

Standing stone above the substation

On the south side of the A88, cross through the large gate in the deer-fence and begin to cycle uphill on the estate the track heading southwards. The ascending gradient is fairly gentle to begin with as the track turns west then south (ignore track off left) and heads into a forest plantation.

In the forest, a junction is met, keep left as indicated by a sign pointing the windfarm's direction.

Out of forest, keep on the main track heading eastwards on more level ground and another junction is met - this time keep right (left takes down to substation). Just beyond the junction, an interesting standing stone rests by a patch of trees, with eratic boulder sitting on top (wonder if the windfarm constructors were having a bit of laugh ?).

The track continues eastwards, begins to climb again and after around 2km meets yet another junction . Keeping right, the track veers southwards.

Having climbed around 100m from the previous junction, the windfarm's first turbine is met. From this point onwards, all junctions that are met have signposts indicating the direction to the numbered turbines - keep following the signs for number 1 !

The first of the wind turbines

The first of the wind turbines

Having turned west by the first turbine met, in around 2km you'll meet Lochan a' Mhaim , beyond which track turns south and drops around 50m to come to one last junction - keep west (right) and finally you'll come to turbine 1 . Leave bikes here.

The first of the wind turbines

The first of the wind turbines

3. Meall Dubh

Nearing the summit of Meall Dubh

Nearing the summit of Meall Dubh

Having left your bike by turbine 1, head up the hillside directly above, aiming initially south-west over heathery ground.

A line of old iron fence posts is met and followed up the ridge line ahead, Druim nan Eun. Out of the undergrowth, the remains of an old wall occasionally emerges and a faint path to follow appears from time to time.

As the ridge begins to drop , leave it and turn north-west, away from the old fence line, following a faint path through heather. Heather gives way to grass with Meall Dubh's summit less than 500m away.

Meall Dubh's summit, looking east

Meall Dubh's summit, looking east

Just north of Meall Dubh's highest point sits a large cairn, an astounding viewpoint from where, due to Meall Dubh's isolated position, 360⁰ far distant views can be savoured on clear days.

Meall Dubh's summit, looking east

Meall Dubh's summit, looking east

4. Return

Returning down the track

Returning down the track

An about-turn and retrace of the route up returns to Glen Moriston.

I did contemplate a traverse over Meall Dubh, attempting a cycle or push of my bike to the top wind turbine on the south-west of the summit followed by a cycle down the track through the windfarm west of Meall Dubh. Rather glad I didn't, as terrain on Meall Dubh's crest was just a bit rough for my liking !

5. Alternative from Glen Loyne

Meall Dubh from the Glen Loyne approach

Meall Dubh from the Glen Loyne approach

Way back in the day, my first adventure on Meall Dubh was in full winter conditions in early February, so there no point in attempting to cycle up tracks! In addition the windfarm was in the late stages of construction and access wasn't permitted from Glen Moriston.

Looking for an alternative, I parked just north-east of Loch Loyne Dam and began hiking from the track which starts in forestry (now felled) from a point marked 'Garbh Dhoire' on OS maps.

Through the forest and leaving the estate track behind, I made a direct line following the course of the Allt Bealach Odhair uphill.

Checking out maps and such, I had followed a route close to all-terrain vehicle tracks, but with deep snow on my visit, these were not visible to me and instead I was bounding my way through thigh-deep powder. The tracks lead much of the way towards Meall Dubh, leaving only a short distance on pathless terrain to the summit.

Route profile »

Maps and GPX downloads »

Recommended map :

OS Landranger 34,
Fort Augustus
Other maps :
Explorer 415
GPX file(s) :
Download GPX
of route
Always carry a decent compass.

Information on maps and GPX files is on this page.

Weather forecasts »

Alternative and nearby routes »

Ceannacroc Circuit

East of Loch Cluanie, a track heads from the old Ceannacroc Bridge into the wilds, from where some Munros, a couple of Corbetts and a few Munro Tops can be linked in a remarkable high-level hike.

Peaks : 1 Munro and 2 Corbetts

Ascent : 1480m (4860ft)
Distance : 34km (21m)
Time : 8:10hr

Beinn Loinne from Cluanie

The old road from Kyle of Lochalsh climbs from Cluanie Inn to a height of over 400m, from where a soggy hike over a lochan-pitted moorland reaches the trig point on Druim nan Cnamh, the highest point on Beinn Loinne.

Peaks : 1 Corbett

Ascent : 620m (2030ft)
Distance : 17km (11m)
Time : 5:15hr

Cluanie Munros

Above the northern shores of Loch Cluanie, hiking along the connecting ridges of A' Chralaig, Mullach Fraoch-choire and Sgurr nan Conbhairean gives superb views over the Five Sisters and Affric to Skye, Torridon and beyond.

Peaks : 5 Munros

Ascent : 1850m (6070ft)
Distance : 23km (14m)
Time : 8:50hr


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