This isolated Munro may be a bit of a dull rounded hump, but its stand-alone position in the central highlands makes it quite the viewpoint, with long-range angles on Ben Alder, Creag Meagaidh, the Monadhliath and Strathspey. The easy approach on an estate track would be much quicker by bike.
metres / Distance
NN6547186693 From the layby on the southbound side of the A9 nearest the track entrance follow the verge to the gated track (where you'll find a visitor's interpretation board). The track heads south-southeast away from the road, soon joining a wider track alongside a concrete aqueduct. Follow the aqueduct, (which feeds Loch Ericht), heading upstream for about 2km before crossing a bridge to reach a small power station.
NN6740586714 From here keep following the track up-glen, roughly east, staying left at a junction by a water pipeline. Cross a bridge over the Allt a' Choire Chaim, ignore a right-hand turnoff, and you'll soon reach a wide junction near the southwest end of Loch Cuaich. Bear right here, to pass a (locked) private bothy.
NN6923186846 Having crossed a little bridge, look out on the left for a walker's path which leaves the vehicle track and heads straight up the heathery lower slopes of Meall Chuaich. It's boggy at first, and then quite steep and eroded. The trail climbs steadily towards the minor summit of Stac Meall Chuaich, but just before the top skirts rightwards across the hillside before making a long steady plod up the stonier upper slopes to reach the massive cairn crowning the broad summit of Meall Chuaich.
NN7164987828 Unless you're aiming to visit the fairly distant Munro of Carn na Caim (perhaps worth considering if you're ski touring?) then the logical thing is just to retrace your steps back to the A9.
Start/Finish: Layby on the A9 just southwest of the farm at Cuaich, NN654867
Nearest town: Newtonmore
Terrain: A vehicle track (very rideable on a mountain bike) gives easy access to the base of Meall Chuaich. After this it's a rough hill path, quite steep and eroded in places and elsewhere boggy. The broad upper slopes need a bit of navigational attention if it's cloudy.
Seasonal variations: A good hill for a short winter day since much of the distance is on a low level track that's straightforward in the dark.