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The Tarmachan Ridge

The Tarmachan Ridge


Postby ScottishLeaf » Mon Jun 11, 2012 12:34 am

Route description: The Tarmachan Ridge

Munros included on this walk: Meall nan Tarmachan

Date walked: 09/06/2012

Time taken: 5 hours

Distance: 12 km

Ascent: 770m

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With my brother still away on holiday, I packed up and decided to head back to Tayside after an enjoyable Jubilee Day spent on Meall Corranaich and Meall a'Choire Leith. This time Meall nan Tarmachan and it's ridge were the objective.

When I arrived at the Lawers car park a nice lady was sitting in a car wrapped in a big banner, raising money for the Help For Heros charity. Two chaps, climbed the 10 highest mountains in Scotland in only 7 days! Ben Lawers being the final installment. After a quick chat and a donation, it was time to set off for the hill at just after 11am.

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On a good path and with the sun trying to break through the clouds, all too soon I was up at the first minor summit at 923m. The cloud base was high, so clear views could be had in all directions. Ben More, Stob Binnein, Stuc A'Chroin, Ben Vorlich and of course the other Western Lawers hills could all be seen from the minor top, or on the way up to it.



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At this point a brief shower of rain passed over forcing me to put on my top layer waterproof coat. Which was annoying because it was still a mild day and I was over-heating as I descended to the little bealach between the minor top and the steeper, upper slopes of Meall nan Tarmachan. There is a little boggy spot here, but there are stepping stones that lead through it after a style going over a NNR fence.

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The steeper slopes don't last too long though and they emerge onto a small plateau just below the summit, on top of the cliffs above. Here I found evidence that someone, clearly got lost on their way to the seaside!

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At this point you have to actually walk past the summit, down below it, then as the path climbs up the last little section, it doubles back to arrive at the fairly large cairn.

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So in about 1hr 45 mins the munro was bagged at fairly leisurely pace.
I had the summit to myself for a good 15 minutes or so and took the opportunity to enjoy a spot of lunch, before heading along to the next top, Meall Garbh. At 1026m, this peak is certainly high enough, but can someone explain why it doesn't count as a munro in it's own right?

The path down from MnT, passes two tiny lochans, seperated by only a narrow spit of land, which were doing their best impersonation of a mirror, reflecting the sky. On the way down to the lochans, I realised I was no longer alone, indeed a whole posse of people past me, heading up to MnT.

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I quickly covered the ground over a hummock and on to the rather airy and small summit of Meall Garbh.

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After Meall Garbh, the ridge narrows right down and actually feels like a ridge here, being only a few metres wide and another walker, was coming in the opposite direction, so I took the opportunity to drink in the views as the sun managed to break through the cloud. Lochan Breaclaich was shining brightly higher above the southern bank of Loch Tay. When the sun shone on the water, you could just make out the duller shape of the dam that impounds the lochan. Also noted a path that leads south down a ridge from just east of Meall Garbh.

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Soon after the narrow section, the ridge heads steeply down hill and scrambly section, which wasn't too difficult in the dry conditions. The picture below shows Meall Garbh's pimple of a summit on the left and the scramble section on the descent to the right.

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Here I caught up with another small group, who were unsure as to where to leave the ridge to head back towards the car park. After agreeing we still had a hummock and Beinn an Eachan still to do, we carried on. Very soon, the top of the hummock was reached and the view back the way I had walked was fantastic.

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Then not long after the top of Beinn an Eachan was reached. This couldn't be more different from Meall Garbh as it's broad a grassy with a small cairn, which one of the group members were kind enough to take my picture at.... inbetween them enjoying a spot of yoga! :D :lol:

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With the sun still holding the rain and cloud at bay, the rest of the ridge looked magnificent off to the east, what a fine walk it was too. In the opposite direction, I felt like I could see right down the entire length of Glen Lochay.

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To the north east Meall a'Choire Leith looked like the other Lawers mountain's wee grassy, rounded cousin. The reverse view from that which I had on Jubilee Tuesday.

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With a family commitment later on in the day, time was now beginning to press, so I had to leave out Creag na Caillich. However, it was here that I realised the small group's problem. From the Beinn an Eachan side of the bealach between it and Creag an Caillich, there is no obvious path down off the ridge, despite this being described on WH as the exit location!
I did find the beginnings of a small grassy path, but this petered out very quickly. Pulling out my map I could see that a point marked 816m was a small hummock, so I made for it; crossing some grassy and mildly boggy ground in the process.

At the top of the hummock, I could see a line of a fence, that was beyond some really boggy looking ground, so describing an arc to avoid the boggy stuff, I reached the fence posts and followed them downhill. To my delight, I was soon looking into the disused quarry. The fence must be a protective barrier at the top of the quarry's cliff face and I had been able to see it from Beinn an Eachan, though the quarry itself wasn't visible. The old quarry office is still standing as well, some sheep were using it as a place for a nice snooze as I walked past. I nearly bricked it when one of them suddenly raised it's wooly face to what had been a window! The conversations went something like this "BAAAAAAAA!".... "F%@*! Sake!!!" :lol:

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From here it's a relatively quick walk down a stoney road back to the Lawers car park. The road gives decent views to the south and up to your left the steep slopes, angle back up to the ridge, behind you Creag na Caillich looks impressive too.

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When a small dam and intake is seen on a fairly large burn over to your right, you are nearly back to the car park and once again Beinn Ghlas, Meall Corranaich and Ben Lawers dominate the views.

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But there are decent views back up the Meall nan Tarmachan and the ascent route can be traced up the hill.

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Almost exactly 5 hours after I left, I was back at my Astra and preparing to leave, reflecting on two thoroughly enjoyable walks in the same week in the area.... even the rain mostly stayed away long enough to let me finish the walk! Five minutes after I pulled out the car park it came clattering on!
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ScottishLeaf
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Posts: 355
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Re: The Tarmachan Ridge

Postby mrssanta » Mon Jun 11, 2012 8:33 pm

nice one, that's a lovely circuit
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mrssanta
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Re: The Tarmachan Ridge

Postby Mountainlove » Mon Jun 11, 2012 9:12 pm

I enjoyed reading it and seing the photos :-) Its one I have to do soon as well.
Why the other one is not a Munro...it has something to do with the distance and drop between 2 hills....rather unfair in some cases!!
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Mountainlove
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Re: The Tarmachan Ridge

Postby jimandandrea » Mon Jun 11, 2012 10:09 pm

Thanks for that. We did it in a white out 2 winters ago- nice to see what it looked like!
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jimandandrea
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Re: The Tarmachan Ridge

Postby ScottishLeaf » Mon Jun 11, 2012 11:16 pm

Thanks for replies :)

I had a grand day out up there, very enjoyable. That wee summit of Meall Garbh deserves promotion me thinks. The campaign starts here!!! lol
Don't think I would fancy that narrow bit and the scramble in white out! Scary thought!
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ScottishLeaf
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Re: The Tarmachan Ridge

Postby alfie » Sun Jun 24, 2012 2:31 pm

brilliant!well written report pal with loads of good information and great pics!!so much so i decided to do ridge today and although views werent great i had the best walk ive ever had!thanks scottishleaf! :clap:
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Re: The Tarmachan Ridge

Postby colgregg » Sun Jun 24, 2012 10:17 pm

alfie wrote:brilliant!well written report pal with loads of good information and great pics!!so much so i decided to do ridge today and although views werent great i had the best walk ive ever had!thanks scottishleaf! :clap:

Lucky you! I did it yesterday and the weather was horrendous
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Re: The Tarmachan Ridge

Postby ScottishLeaf » Sat Jun 30, 2012 6:59 pm

alfie wrote:brilliant!well written report pal with loads of good information and great pics!!so much so i decided to do ridge today and although views werent great i had the best walk ive ever had!thanks scottishleaf! :clap:


Not been on the site for a wee while, just saw your comment Alfie. All embarassed now! :oops:
Glad to help though :D
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ScottishLeaf
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Re: The Tarmachan Ridge

Postby Fudgie » Sat Jun 30, 2012 9:29 pm

I was very close to doing it after coming off Meall Corranaich and it's pal today but I decided to wait until a clear day for the full ridge. Thats my excuse and I'm sticking to it :lol:
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