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Meall Greigh to Beinn Ghlas - Lawers Ridge

Meall Greigh to Beinn Ghlas - Lawers Ridge


Postby Stretch » Sun Aug 23, 2009 2:24 pm

Route description: Meall Greigh, Meall Garbh and An Stuc

Munros included on this walk: An Stuc, Beinn Ghlas, Ben Lawers, Meall Garbh (Ben Lawers), Meall Greigh

Date walked: 22/08/2009

Time taken: 8 hours

Distance: 15 km

Ascent: 1400m

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After three weeks of planning and forecast stalking the weather gods decided Scotland needed a break from the rain (at least for one day) and I set off to walk the five munros of the Lawers Ridge between Meall Greigh and Beinn Ghlas on a partly cloudy day with a fair bit of breeze across the summits. A friend of mine from St. Andrews was kind enough to drive us up to Loch Tay and I was dropped off at the start of the walk for Meall Greigh at the Lawers Hotel while she went back to the Visitor's Center to climb Beinn Ghlas and Ben Lawers. We planned on meeting on Lawers but as luck would have it there were some hold-ups on my end.

The walk starts just behind the antler carving shop on the left side of the A827 a short distance from the Lawers Hotel and passes a farm as the path winds through a very wet and muddy forest track. The soggy start was a sign of things to come. When you exit the forest path you get your first good look at Meall Greigh and continue on the path, following the Lawers Burn.

Exiting forest path.jpg


Following Lawers Burn.jpg


Here is where I lost some time on the walk, as there is no path up the slope of Meall Greigh and the water in the burn was full from the past week's rain. I continued on the path to a wooden bridge that crosses the burn - to the opposite side of Meall Greigh - and tried to locate the 'minor side stream' noted in the walk details on this site. I spotted what looked like this stream and then had to figure out how to get back across as the water was pretty high. Instead of going back to the wooden bridge I used my long legs to jump across a few rocks. Finally I started up the nasty hillside to Meall Greigh. This was a slog and a half, and made a boring munro that much worse. In retrospect I could have done two things here - return to the wooden bridge and climb up near Sron Mhor or keep walking along the Lawers Burn to find a better place to cross and ascend the munro. Slowly but surely I made it to the summit in 2 hours. I had also made the mistake of forgetting my rain coat and when I reached the summit the clouds were low and it looked like I might have to pay for my mistake. Luckily the cloud moved on and the rest of the day the weather was superb.

Is this the minor stream up.jpg


Crossing Lawers Burn.jpg


The slow slog up Meall Greigh begins.jpg


Oh no I might get soaked.jpg


Summit of Meall Greigh.jpg


From Meall Greigh I wasted no time getting over to Meall Garbh as I knew I was running behind on time. The clearest views of the day were from Meall Greigh and Meall Garbh as the clouds had yet to blanket the sky. The path up to the second munro did have some boggy bits along the way but for the most part this is a straightforward walk.

What lies ahead from Meall Greigh.jpg


Meall Garbh.jpg


At the summit of Meall Garbh the views were extensive, but An Stuc was looming and my nerves rattled a bit.

Cairn Mairg group from Meall Garbh.jpg


Meall Greigh from Meall Garbh.jpg


Summit of Meall Garbh.jpg


An Stuc, Ben Lawers, and Beinn Ghlas from Meall Garbh.jpg


Down to the bealach between Meall Garbh and An Stuc I went. At the bottom of An Stuc I could see several walkers debating their next moves from about half way up the steep incline. Had there not been other walkers present on this hill I might have turned around, still not sure about my scrambling abilities. But I gave it a go, and then another hold up came. About 7 walkers were descending An Stuc and I was forced to wait for about 30 minutes until they cleared a tricky bit 3/4 of the way up. After watching this episode I concluded that going up was much better than going down this steep bit. Once they were clear, myself and three other walkers attacked the one 'squeaky bum' section of the hill. To be honest, I actually enjoyed this bit the most out of the whole day. My height helped me grasp the foot and hand holds with no probs. The ascent up An Stuc, despite the minor scramble, was the easiest and shortest hill of the day. Once at the top I enjoyed a bit of the scenery and rested my legs for a bit before heading off to Ben Lawers. I was now very late for my Lawers rendevouz.

The Slightly Daunting An Stuc.jpg


North face of An Stuc.jpg


Meall Garbh and Meall Greigh from An Stuc.jpg


Ben Lawers, Beinn Ghlas, and Meall Corranaich.jpg


Now down the south face of An Stuc and on to Ben Lawers. I was pretty worn out near the slopes of Lawers and this section proved to be rather time consuming. However, the views continued to impress, especially of Lochan nan Cat below An Stuc. I reached the summit of Ben Lawers and was relieved to see the easy ascent to Beinn Ghlas as I was wrecked. No sign of my friend however, and I expected she had abandoned the hill long before I reached it. Suddenly the phone range and she informed me she was heading back around Beinn Ghlas and said to get a move on because the weather was making a turn for the worse. Already excited about the fact that I could see the last munro I practically ran down Ben Lawers and up Beinn Ghlas. The weather was holding steady at this point, just lost a bit of visibility off to the south, but I was certain I could remain dry until I reached the car park at the visitor's center below.

South face of An Stuc.jpg


Lochan nan Cat below An Stuc.jpg


Path up to Ben Lawers.jpg


Four down and one to go.jpg


An Stuc to Meall Greigh from Ben Lawers.jpg


Loch Tay from Ben Lawers.jpg


Beinn Ghlas to Tarmachan from Ben Lawers.jpg


I reached the car park after close to 8.5 hours, about 30-40 minutes off my target time. The walk off Beinn Ghlas was wet as the stone steps were covered in running water for much of the way. Despite this, the walk is quite enjoyable once the Burn of Edramucky is reached. Since I was running behind and failed to show up on Lawers at the time I expected, my friend had climbed the neighboring Meall Corranaich before returning to the car. We stopped at the Falls of Dochart Restaurant on the way out of Killin and I highly recommend the lamb and rosemary stew as it was glorious after the long walk.

Overall I really had a fabulous day out on the ridge, especially the ascent up An Stuc. Doing all five munros is a bit of work though. However, one gains a real sense of achievement after descending Beinn Ghlas that I won't forget for some time. If it's possible to add another route to the Loch Tay section of the site I think it would be worth it to add one for all 5 of these munros for anyone wanting to do them all at once.
Attachments
Lawers ridge from Beinn Ghlas.jpg
Last edited by Stretch on Mon Apr 12, 2010 7:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Meall Greigh to Beinn Ghlas - Lawers Ridge

Postby mountain coward » Sun Aug 23, 2009 3:59 pm

Great detailed report and photos - thanks for that as I still have it to do. I was originally going to go the opposite way round but decided some time back that I needed to go up the bad side of An Stuc. It's always better going up steep and difficult than down it!
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Re: Meall Greigh to Beinn Ghlas - Lawers Ridge

Postby Alan S » Sun Aug 23, 2009 4:58 pm

good report and pics stretch 8)

im not sure where is the best place to start meall greigh,i cut off from the path a lot further back just before the path slowly descends down beside the burn.
its not the best part of the walk this bit it feels like you are never going to get there.
agree with the squeaky bum on an stuc it certainly gets the old heart going but not as bad as it looks.
i would think this is the best way to do the 5 as its better climbing the steep part of an stuc rather than descending it as mountain coward said.

one of my favourite areas this and if i was going to return i would do it this way

cheers alan
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Re: Meall Greigh to Beinn Ghlas - Lawers Ridge

Postby ianaird » Sun Aug 23, 2009 6:52 pm

Nice report stretch

Myself and my brother and our old boy walked exactly the same route as yourself yesterday, crossing the burn at the same point, well at least i did, my brother and paw carried on abit and ended up going up the steepest part of the hill.
We realised we had come up to far but battered on anyway.

A really good day on the hill never the less, we managed it in 6 1/2 hours but did push it as the forecast had reported rain coming in later on in the day, we left lawers hotel around 930am.

My brother got the short straw and had to cycle back to the hotel from the centre with the bike we had planted in the morning.

We met a couple at the bottom of an stuc who said they had found a pair of sunglasses and would hand them in to the Lawers hotel i think, so anyone missing a pair will find them there.

Nice to get 5 under the belt anyway :thumbup: :thumbup:

Looking forward to next weekend the dreaded Aonach Eagach ridge :shock: (weather permitting)
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Re: Meall Greigh to Beinn Ghlas - Lawers Ridge

Postby Stretch » Sun Aug 23, 2009 8:23 pm

6 1/2 hours is really moving Ianaird. I expected to do it somewhere between 7-8 as I'm not the most polished hillwalker as yet. Watching that group descend An Stuc certainly convinced me that up was the way to go. But there was an equal number of folks going down it as there was going up. The rain in the forecast must have come much later, I was still eating my tasty lamb stew in Killin around 7:30 and it was cloudy but dry.

Hopefully someone finds an easier way to ascend Meall Greigh in the future :lol:
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Re: Meall Greigh to Beinn Ghlas - Lawers Ridge

Postby MacCookie » Mon Aug 24, 2009 11:48 am

Stretch wrote:Down to the bealach between Meall Garbh and An Stuc I went. At the bottom of An Stuc I could see several walkers debating their next moves from about half way up the steep incline. Had there not been other walkers present on this hill I might have turned around, still not sure about my scrambling abilities. But I gave it a go, and then another hold up came. About 7 walkers were descending An Stuc and I was forced to wait for about 30 minutes until they cleared a tricky bit 3/4 of the way up. After watching this episode I concluded that going up was much better than going down this steep bit. Once they were clear, myself and three other walkers attacked the one 'squeaky bum' section of the hill. To be honest, I actually enjoyed this bit the most out of the whole day. My height helped me grasp the foot and hand holds with no probs. The ascent up An Stuc, despite the minor scramble, was the easiest and shortest hill of the day. Once at the top I enjoyed a bit of the scenery and rested my legs for a bit before heading off to Ben Lawers. I was now very late for my Lawers rendevouz.


Were you the guy that got held up about half way up An Stuc? I was the second last person in the group of eight that you saw coming down (bright blue jacket and red rucksac!) - I had to help one of our members as he's a bit unsure on his feat otherwise I would have been a bit quicker in the descent. Personally I found the down scramble fine - compared to scrambling on Skye in the rain and hail, it was a breeze!

By the way, there is apparently a route to avoid the scramble. If going anti-clockwise, traverse from the bealach below An Stuc to the north ridge of An Stuc and ascend from there. There looked like a feint path when viewed from Meall Garbh, but I've never tried that route before.

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Re: Meall Greigh to Beinn Ghlas - Lawers Ridge

Postby Stretch » Mon Aug 24, 2009 12:44 pm

Hi Ewan, that was me. I actually found it quite useful to watch you guys (and girls) descend An Stuc. I think it also gave me more perspective about why hillwalking alone may not always be the best plan, at least when some scrambling is required. I wouldn't have wanted to go around the hill though, so I'm glad there were others going up and down it. It was quite a stretch for the last guy down in your group and im sure he was glad to have someone with experience guiding him down.

By the way, I believe one of the girls with you mentioned something to me about http://www.meetup.com
Seems like a pretty good way to find other hillwalkers outside of this site and others like it.

Andy
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Re: Meall Greigh to Beinn Ghlas - Lawers Ridge

Postby MacCookie » Mon Aug 24, 2009 1:19 pm

Stretch wrote:By the way, I believe one of the girls with you mentioned something to me about http://www.meetup.com


The Scottish Hillwalkers and Activites Group.

Stretch wrote:Seems like a pretty good way to find other hillwalkers outside of this site and others like it.


Good points and bad points, just like everything else in life!

On one hand, if you're a new member, do you know if the organiser can get you off the hill when the weather turns crap (of course, as an organiser, do you really want the responsibility of having a dozen folk expecting you to be able to do so!)? Personally, I'm ok with the responsibility as an organiser (I'm working towards my ML just now) and as a member, I could get myself off the hill quite happily if an organiser couldn't.

On the other hand, it's great to get out with other people. It's a great bunch in our group, always a good laugh and plenty of support if you're struggling a bit (such as on Saturday when I helped Brian down An Stuc or when we took a bunch of folk up Curved Ridge, armed with ropes and harnesses just in case - all thankfully unneeded!).

Either way, it's free to join up and see what's what. Come along on a walk or two and see if you enjoy it!

Ewan
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Re: Meall Greigh to Beinn Ghlas - Lawers Ridge

Postby MacCookie » Mon Aug 24, 2009 1:37 pm

MacCookie wrote:On one hand, if you're a new member, do you know if the organiser can get you off the hill when the weather turns crap ..?


Not that I'm suggesting anyone that I know couldn't do that, but it's a serious question that anyone going out with someone should ask, especially if they're doing a walk that they wouldn't choose to do by themselves. Obviously once you've walked with someone a few times, then you'll know them a bit better and have a basis upon which to trust them. (Or perhaps I'm a bit paranoid?!)

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Re: Meall Greigh to Beinn Ghlas - Lawers Ridge

Postby munrowalker » Mon Aug 24, 2009 7:31 pm

MacCookie wrote:
Stretch wrote:By the way, I believe one of the girls with you mentioned something to me about http://www.meetup.com


The Scottish Hillwalkers and Activites Group.

I do love this forum, there's always something new I find out about hillwalking and ways of going about hillwalking, each and every day I'm on the forum.

Nice link, might join that myself always looking for more ways of getting into the hills.
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Re: Meall Greigh to Beinn Ghlas - Lawers Ridge

Postby MacCookie » Mon Aug 24, 2009 8:42 pm

munrowalker wrote:I do love this forum, there's always something new I find out about hillwalking and ways of going about hillwalking, each and every day I'm on the forum.

Nice link, might join that myself always looking for more ways of getting into the hills.


Well, it's free to join and come on the walks, so what have you got to lose? ;)

Ewan

PS - of course, I am an organiser so I would say that ;)
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Re: Meall Greigh to Beinn Ghlas - Lawers Ridge

Postby Stretch » Mon Aug 24, 2009 8:50 pm

I'll probably give it a go as I'd like to do a winter walk with experienced people at some point this season. My only problem would be my pace. I'm from Florida, so I'm used to walking below sea-level :lol: I've been doing as many hills as I can this summer and am starting to get used to the altitudes, but I still need breathers from time to time on the steep stuff. My times have still been fairly consistant to what the walk details suggest on here though. But going alone means I don't slow anyone down. My love of photography slows me down a bit as well, my travels are being documented for a lot of people back home so it's important I get pics wherever I go. Aside from that, I think the idea of the meet up site is a good one and I'll be looking more in to it.
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Re: Meall Greigh to Beinn Ghlas - Lawers Ridge

Postby mountain coward » Mon Aug 24, 2009 10:19 pm

Actually, I forgot to mention but I thought your time was pretty quick and I'm no slouch.

On the subject of leading a walk, I personally wouldn't lead a walk I wasn't happy to do on my own. But there's a huge difference between going with a small group of like-minded people with the same aim and no particular leader, and a led group!
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Re: Meall Greigh to Beinn Ghlas - Lawers Ridge

Postby Mrs T » Sat Aug 29, 2009 11:07 am

nice to see what the views would have been like! When we did this, the forecast for nice and dry day turned out to be way off. Got gail force gusty winds (I literally crawled to the top of the first one), sleet, hail and mist. From Ben Lawers I went on while the other half turned back to get the car from the hotel car park. To crown the day, the visitor centre was closed by the time I got there, and it was raining again. Fortunately had some hot drink with a drop of whisky left and didn't have to wait for too long.

And it wasn't all bad, while on top of Ben Lawers, it was almost clear for a while...

P.S. hope the pics show ok, first time I attach any
Attachments
IMG_0074.JPG
Ben Lawers
IMG_0065.JPG
After a hail shower
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