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Gaining skills on the Tarmachan Hills

Gaining skills on the Tarmachan Hills

Postby weaselmaster » Sun May 12, 2013 8:36 pm

Munros included on this walk: Meall nan Tarmachan

Date walked: 12/05/2013

Time taken: 4.15 hours

Distance: 13.8 km

Ascent: 918m

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Work commitments hampered plans for this weekend significantly. It seemed so odd to be sitting round on a Saturday rather than being outside that I was tense as a coiled spring by the time my on-call period ended at 9am this morning. :roll: Up until recently I had to be on call every 6th weekend, now it's only one day every 2 months, but it still irritates when your time is not your own. Must get out to the Hills - not enough time to get away very far, but just enough time to manage the Tarmachan Ridge, a solitary red balloon in my central highlands map. I had been put off this ridge earlier in the year because of the *scrambly bit* :shock: but as the weeks have progressed and I've got a few more hills under the belt and experience in the legs, it felt that the time was right to see what it was going to be like. Forecast was for winds to rise very strongly in the afternoon, so I wanted to make as good time as the later than usual start allowed for.

The drive up to Lawers was smooth enough - odd to be travelling up Lochlomondside when so many other people are awake! Dead deer on the road at the turn off to Lawers itself was a bit grisly. Arrived at the car park about 9.40 and set off along the marked track. Up ahead were the intrepid duo of Daveandson with Marley the dog - nice to meet people you "know" from here. I pressed on ahead up to the 923 top in fast time, enjoying the burn after all the lack of exercise yesterday; Allison took the more gentle pace option. Clag was down, and views were not going to be happening today. :(

view over to the ridge by 23weasels, on Flickr

923m top by 23weasels, on Flickr

heading up to cam chreag by 23weasels, on Flickr

final slope to cairn of MnT by 23weasels, on Flickr

As we walked over the stile and up to the slopes towards the top of Meall nan Tarmachan it got considerably colder, with a little snow in the rain. We headed through soft sugary snow on a couple of the slopes before getting to the summit cairn. 99 blue balloons - woohoo! :D . This had taken us 1hr 20mins and we hoped the fun was about to begin.

cairn MnT by 23weasels, on Flickr

There was a strange pool edging the snow which appeared to have 1 or 2 feet of snow showing under the water - looked decidedly odd.

Underwater snow by 23weasels, on Flickr

Normally on a walk, if there's a challenging bit coming up I am filled with a varying degree of apprehension about it, but today, maybe for the first time in my short walking experience, I was looking forward to it. We headed along to Meall Garbh, up another couple of snow covered slopes and the narrow peak came into view. Looked fine. We were passed by another walker who was basically running along, and could see 4 other guys a little ahead of us on the narrow stretch of ridge.

towards top Meall Garbh by 23weasels, on Flickr

Top MG by 23weasels, on Flickr

The wind was moderate and causing no problems. Going over the pointy rocky top left a wee bit of exposure, but nothing either of us found challenging. After another couple of hundred metres we came to the scramble down the steepish rocks to the bealach with Beinn nan Eachan. We had to wait for the guys ahead of us to go down first, then headed down - rocks were wet and a bit slippy, but didn't pose any particular difficulty and other than being careful of where I was putting my feet, folding my poles away and using my hands a couple of times was a straightforward descent. I did suggest we went up and tried it again, but this wasn't in Allison's plans for some reason - :roll: though she, like myself, had enjoyed the experience.

Wee scrambly bit by 23weasels, on Flickr

And again by 23weasels, on Flickr

The ground got a bit boggy after this, wind picked up and we decided to stop for an early lunch just after the path in the bealach splits, behind a large rock for shelter.
Rabbit eared rocks by 23weasels, on Flickr

After eating we headed up the final top of the day to Beinn nan Eachan. Had thought about going on to Creag na Callich but the lack of visibility rendered that less relevant, and we tracked down to coire fionn lairige still in the mist.

towards Beinn nan eachan by 23weasels, on Flickr

The path was speculative - sometimes appearing where it was meant to be then disappearing into the boggy grass, meaning that frequent glances at the GPS were required to keep vaguely on track. Eventually we saw the track appear and set off at a fine trot back to the car.

view towards killin by 23weasels, on Flickr

track back to start by 23weasels, on Flickr

Did seem a very quick day today compared with our usual outings, but none the less enjoyable for its small size and left us both with a sense of having cut another tooth in the development of our basic hillwalking skills. Celebrated with a beer at Bridge of Lochay hotel- who had unfortunately run out of draught ales :o Good to get out again after 24 hours of enforced weekend staying at home :clap:
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Re: Gaining skills on the Tarmachan Hills

Postby davedanson28 » Mon May 13, 2013 12:22 pm

Glad you made the ridge, we bailed after the Munro summit (the blue pin was achieved) and retreated back down the ascent route! Kyle aka "Wee Guy" was very impressed he had met somebody from the WH forum. :lol: Good to meet you guys and hopefully bump into you again! :D
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Re: Gaining skills on the Tarmachan Hills

Postby simon-b » Mon May 13, 2013 10:58 pm

It's a great ridge, WM. Your photos make it look atmospheric in the mist, compensating for the lack of distant views. I think the ridge and the scramble perhaps look a bit scarier in your pictures than they actually are. I've never known the Old Coach House, a bit further along the road, to run out of draught ale.
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Re: Gaining skills on the Tarmachan Hills

Postby PeteR » Wed May 15, 2013 9:36 pm

One of my early Munros, so always good to see a report on it :D I may have to return some time soon perhaps :wink:

Shame about the weather you had though. But still, oit's always good to be out in my book
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Re: Gaining skills on the Tarmachan Hills

Postby Fife Flyer » Thu May 16, 2013 7:37 pm

Shame about the weather :(

Been up there a few times, forgot my boots (the one & only time), but managed it in trainers, daresay it is a tad damp under foot at the moment.
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Re: Gaining skills on the Tarmachan Hills

Postby nbrannigan » Thu May 16, 2013 9:34 pm

I have been up there loads of time one of my favourite munro's one of my first too :)
Great report shame about the weather...typical aye :lol:
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Re: Gaining skills on the Tarmachan Hills

Postby tullius0618 » Wed May 22, 2013 8:37 am

Love your photos, very atmospheric, and a good idea of what I'm to expect when I climb this later in the week!
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