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April full day

PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 7:55 pm
by tomyboy73
First we did this

then we drove up the road and did this

It was just on the thursday night my wife asked "You not going out walking this weekend ?" That was all it took. The seed was planted. I hadn`t even considered it as I read, enviously, of many walkhighlanders heading out to Kintail for the weekend, I thought, why not ? The Tarmachan ridge had been on my mind for some time and I decided now was the time. I`ve never walked in this area before but a weekend to Killin with the Mrs last year wetted my appetite for the ridge as it rose behind our hotel. So after having a word with Jim/Jogilv16 about it we were ready to go 7am sunday morning. In my excitement I also mentioned to Jim that we could take the short drive up the road and take in another two Munros, me and my big mouth !
On the road up we passed by Loch Lubnaig, which was absolutely stunning, with rows of photographers lined along it`s south shores with their tripods and wide angles capturing, no doubt, some wonderful pictures of the low lying mist and the mirror like reflections on the surface of the still water. We had to pull over and take some pics ourselves.
Loch Lubnaig 1
Loch Lubnaig 2

As much as it was beautiful, it was also bloody freezin, and we quickly bolted back into the car and turned the heating on full whack and went wheel spinning out of the car park so that we wouldn`t get stuck behind a big truck that was hairing towards us.We then drove by the wonderful Glen Ogle viaduct, another stop for a photo opportunity.
Railway bridge

Unfortunately this allowed the lorry to get in front of us :lol:
Anyway, into Killin, and guess what , another stop for more photies. We got our first view of the ridge from here which was practically cloud free, in contrast to Ben Lawers which was covered in white fluffy candyfloss. Things were lookin good.
Tarmachan ridge

We drove through the village and towards Loch Tay and up and around the windy Ben Lawers road to the second car park on the left. We opened the doors, the wind blew them shut. We looked at each other and laughed out loud. I`d been playing around with the new style Met Office website, which is brilliant by the way, you can actually select weather for individual mountains now, not just half of Scotland at one time, as it was before, and it never mentioned anything about strong winds ! (or I never noticed). Before I left the house I decided to leave my jacket and just brought a cagoul to compliment the rest of my layers if it rained. I also left my wooly hat and snood in the house, thinking I wouldn`t need them, idiot. I was also wearing shorts and I quickly rummaged through my pack and dug out my long leg attachments and found that I did pack my new balaclava, thank f@*# for that. We made our way along the path, through the gate and found the small cairn marking the path up towards Meall nan Tarmachan. The sun was beaming but the wind was cold and relentless as we trudged our way up the well maintained path. We took a mini breather on the first bump of 923 metres and looked back over Loch Tay which looked great with a strange snake like cloud above it.
Loch Tay

I had by now taken layers off and added them back on again as I fought a battle of getting my operating temperature just right and headed down into the dip and back up onto the steps which take you up the narrow gully towards the summit. We were about halfway up when we heard what we thought was a rush of water coming down towards us only to see small tufts of grass spinning around in thin air above us and the they kept swirling down towards us and we could see that it was a mini twister as it`s tail burned along the side of the hill in front of us. It was gone as quick as it came and we both stood open mouthed, wondering what had just happened :shock:
We came out of here onto a flat section and were surrounded by clag and we made our way up the final curved section the the 1044m Munro summit. It was a quick bag but we had much more to go.
Meall nan Tarmachan summit pose

We stepped down a bit from the summit and sheltered from the wind to have something to eat and we did feel a bit disappointed that our ridge walk was going to be covered in cloud. We made our way south along the path with only glimpses of views through the clag towards Meall Garbh. Even in this weather the path is very easy to follow and we could make out the next peak just ahead of us. We climbed up this one more kinda bent over to prevent the wind blowing us away and then back down onto the narrowest part of the ridge. It was a bit scary with the strong wind and the path seemed to disappear into nothingness, it was magic :lol:
me on ridge

Jim on ridge

We were looking forward to the scramble down from here and it didn`t disappoint as we tentatively made our way down, slightly sheltered from the wind. Every hill should have at least one good scramble on it.
Climbing down

Jim on descent of Meall Garbh

Once you come down from here it`s back up again onto Beinn nan Eachan. The wind was getting really strong again and i crawled up onto a small hillock before the summit and tried standing up against the wind when i felt my cap being blown off my head and i could only watch as it flew off into the grassy terain below me. It had to be camo didn`t it, why didn`t I just go for the bright orange one ? :lol: It may only have been a £4 matalan special, but that cap has been my lucky mascot since I bought it to walk the WHW and it has accompanied me on all but one of my 31 Munros.
Trying to fall against the wind, minus my cap !

On our way down we decided that with almost total low grey cloud cover to the north that we would abandon plans to do the other two munros and headed for shelter from the wind before we made our way up onto Craig na Caillich. We sat on the dry grass behind some rocks for about twenty minutes whilst we got the kettle on and had a munch. We were without the wind for so long it was a surprise to us when we got back up onto the path to find ourselves nearly blown off our feet, it`s amazing what a bit of respite from the elements does to makes you forget. We continued up onto the 916m peak before making our way along to the very end of the ridge which includes walking along a narrow ledge with a huge drop to the side, and quite suddenly the wind seemed to have dropped, the clouds had cleared and it was looking like a great day again.
End of the ridge

We walked back a bit and made our way down and across to the quarry to find the road back to the car park, I would imagine this would be quite boggy if we hadn`t just had a week of glorious sunshine.
On the way back Jim suggested that we should go for the other two Munros seeing how the weather had turned for the better and we decided to make a decision on it once we drove up by the reservoir to check out the cloud cover. I have to admit I was a bit tired and had got myself into a frame of mind that I was done for the day and I`d ate most of my food my knee was a bit sore and.....excuses, excuses, shut up and man up Tommy :lol: Get it done ! "Come on, you`ll be fine when you get up there" Jim, tried to motivate me best he could. It had taken us 5 hours to do the ridge and I had planned a similar time to do these two, but it only took us 3.5. We headed off in the direction of Meall Corranaich first as this looked the less steep of the two and thankfully it hadn`t been raining all week as it was already quite boggy. We reached the fenceposts and headed up, Jim staying a good distance in front to avoid hearing my whines :lol: Less steep ? Yeah very good , my calves were killing me and the wind had picked up again and at times it didn`t know if it was pushing me up the hill or back down again.
Meall Corranaich.jpg
meall corranaich

But I carried on and eventually caught up with Jim at the cairn at the top of the path, I thought that was the summit until the cloud lifted and we could see that there was more to go. Not much though, and we got to the cairn on the small plateau marking the 1069m top. We could see clearly over to Meall nan Tarmachan and to our next Munro but Bens Ghlas and Lawers were covered in cloud.
Meall Corranaich summit lokkin along ridge.jpg
Munro no2

Despite my aches I did feel much better now as you do when you know the hard bit`s out the way and we walked along to the other cairns along the top and down the ridge towards Meall a`Choire Leith. Looking back up to where we came actually looks like a great wee ridge walk.
looking back up

As we descended down, the wind again battering us, we larked around in the big snow fields like a couple of weans, sliding and rolling about in the white stuff. Our third Munro was not far now and I wondered what all my moaning was about :roll:
Meall a choire leith

The path between the two is well defined and we followed it up easily to the summit, with one of the smallest cairns i`ve seen on a Munro.
meall `choire leith summit

Quick pics trying to balance the cameras against the wind and we headed straight down the steep, dry grassy slope towards the car park.The final stage back from the bottom of the hill seemed to go on and on through boggy marshes and one small river crossing, but all in all we were glad to see the car and I have to thank Jim for dragging me up the 2nd Munro as I`d be kicking myself if I`d wimped out of it.
leaving meall a`choire leith behind.jpg
nearly done

Re: April full day

PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2012 11:59 am
by tomyboy73

Re: April full day

PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2012 12:15 pm
by Ranger
I did that rocky step from Meall Garbh on a spring day when it was all iced up - one of the most terrifying moments I've had on the hills!

Someones mentioned before that there are less steep slopes either side of it of the actual path, which heads straight for the steepest bit!

Re: April full day

PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2012 12:17 pm
by tomyboy73
Ranger wrote:I did that rocky step from Meall Garbh on a spring day when it was all iced up - one of the most terrifying moments I've had on the hills!

Someones mentioned before that there are less steep slopes either side of it of the actual path, which heads straight for the steepest bit!

Where would the fun in that be ? :lol:

Re: April full day

PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2012 2:24 pm
by rocket-ron
Tommy that Rocky bit I slid down it by accident few weeks ago . It was covered in ice at the time knew what I was doing was dangerous. But before i knew it lost my footing and slid down it. Ended up black and blue down one side with grazing. Just managed to stop my self before i slid any more. To make matters worse had to climb back up the icy rock to lift dog down

Re: April full day

PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2012 2:28 pm
by Alan S
Well done tomyboy,I always regret not doing the full tarmachan ridge, Hopefully I will get back one day :D

Re: April full day

PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2012 3:08 pm
by jogilv16
tommy great report of our day.put together superbly well.i knew you would thank me later for dragging you back up the other two munros,even though at the time i could feel as though you could have went for the car after the tarmachan ridge.
well done....but as you said glad you did carry on...turned out a great day even though a weee bit breezy

Re: April full day

PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2012 3:31 pm
by gammy leg walker
Nice one again Tommy,always like reading your reports,this one did not disapoint mate.

Re: April full day

PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2012 8:11 pm
by yokehead
A great read, I really enjoyed this and your enthusiasm shines through! :D As I just said on another post, Tarmachan was my 1st Munro. Travelling to Killin, we stopped in Glen Ogle opposite the old viaduct, in a gale with it lashing down - hugely dramatic. Following this was 6 days of snowy mountains for our first visit to Scotland. And the Tarmachan ridge above Killin looks marvellous.
tomyboy73 wrote:Every hill should have at least one good scramble on it

Agreed! 8) Also add snow! 8)

Re: April full day

PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2012 12:40 am
by pollyh33
Oh Tommy confession time.....when I first read which hills you and Jim had done and then looked at your time taken, I thought you really were playing an April Fool!!! An old woman like me managed these in 6.5 hours and then I switched my brain on and saw that you guys took in the big scary ridge as well :shock: :shock: :shock:

Fantastic report TB. Its bubbles along very nicely and is filled with cracking photos :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup:

One downer though, nae shorts :( :( :(

Re: April full day

PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2012 6:39 pm
by tomyboy73
thanks for the great comments folks,

@ Ron, I`m glad it wasn`t icy :lol:
@ Jim, U da man !
@ Gammy, thanks again, Sir William the Centurian
@ Yokehead , thank you for the great comments
@ Alan, can`t believed you miss that scramble, were you in a hurry to get home ? :lol:
@ Polly, my inspiration for this walk came from your walk report, but being younger i thought i`d add the ridge in as well :wink:

Re: April full day

PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2012 8:25 pm
by Del246
Nice report and pice. Really liked your scramble pic !!! Well done