Cioch Mhor today, a 482m hill below Ben Wyvis. Starting from Tulloch Castle in Dingwall, we followed a track west, then up a dead-straight road to Drynie. Soon we were on Tulloch Hill, climbing steeply along farm tracks. Eventually the gradient eased, with the path snaking to the trig pillar atop 339m Cnoc a’ Bhreacaich.
From the summit, we followed the route of the annual Cioch Mhor race to the appropriately named Bog a’ Bhreacaich, a maze of grass tussocks and sopping ground. Once across the the thigh-deep Abhainn Sgitheach, Cioch Mhor loomed ahead, steep-sided and heather-clad.
The path climbs steadily to a col on the north-east slope of Cioch Mhor, with the final ascent to the summit a calf-burning grind through heather. Ben Wyvis reared up to the north-west, its snowy top smothered in mist, while a bright spring sun glinted off the Cromarty Firth.
Down we plunged through heather and this time finding a better line across the river, before retracing our steps over Cnoc a’ Bhreacaich. All in all, a successful 11 miles of running with 750m of ascent.