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Panther revisits Lyon for two more Mealls
by BlackPanther » Thu Jun 04, 2015 10:44 am
Munros included on this walk: Meall Garbh (Ben Lawers), Meall Greigh
Date walked: 20/05/2015
Time taken: 8 hours
Distance: 18.8 km
Ascent: 1242m1 person thinks this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
I scrolled through WH reports and found this one: The South Glen Lyon Horseshoe by Basscadet - thanks a lot for the idea! Our plan was then hatched: start from Invervary (free car park! Ha!), use the old stalker's path and the N shoulder to climb Meall Greigh first, then traverse to Garbh. Because we didn't have to include An Stuc, we decided to drop down from Meall Garbh using its northern ridge. Simples
The day was sunny but a bit gusty and some cloud was forecast to arrive later that day, so we packed in warm tops, hats and gloves - crampons were left in the car and just as well, we didn't encounter much snow on the ridge we walked, though Lawers was still quite white
From Invervar car park, we took the road to Dericambus, crossed the bridge...
...and headed towards the farm. Having heard stories about some unfriendly locals in this area, I was a bit reluctant to enter anybody's private ground, but it turned up I needn't have worried. Just as we passed by the house in Dericambus, we met the farmer himself - a very nice chap, no problem whatsoever. "Where are you heading?" He asked. I wasn't sure how to pronounce "Meall Greigh" so I just said "Up there!" and pointed at the steep slope in front of us.
The zig-zags of the old stalker's path can actually be seen very well from below. We began to climb on wet-ish ground, which soon became drier and the grassy path was easy to walk on. Views opened up quickly, too:
We passed through a gate in the fence and continued up on the path, it was getting a bit overgrown by heather now. It looked like we were going to have a nice day nevertheless:
We lost the path at some point and continued climbing along Dericambus Burn. The vegetation was now dense, but we managed to find a good line of ascent. Best to cross the burn as soon as possible and stay on the right hand side - more grass, less heather.
The upper reaches of the little "ravine" where the stream flows are annoyingly wet, but no serious challenge for a pair of motivated walkers
The angle eased off at about 500m and soon we spotted a line of fence posts which would help us with navigation higher up - we aimed for them.
Out of the woods and looking down into the ascent gully:
From this moment on, it was supposed to be easy going. Well, the fence was a great guide but the "easy ground" was a bit wet sometimes and required tuft-hopping talent
View north down the ridge we were now climbing, with Carn Gorm in the background:
The cloud was beginning to gather in the western sky and we had to wrap up in windproofs to stay warm (I think it was a steady 20-25mph with even stronger gusts). Still, we were confident we could easily bag the two M's today. Meall Garbh was now visible slightly to the right, with Ben Lawers just peeking out from behind it:
As we kept going, we crossed three or four little lumps. The northern shoulder of Greigh may look like a straightforward climb on the map, but in closer experience, it consist of many small tops, each one just a bit higher than the previous one. Kevin pointed out, that we probably ascended an additional hundred metres or so, just by going over all these lumps.
Meall Greigh now close:
Zoomed top of Ben Lawers, still very snowy:
We kept trudging along the rusty posts and somehow, I felt like on the road to Oz How did it go...
"Follow the rusty old fence,
Follow the rusty old fence,
Follow, follow, follow, follow,
Follow the rusty old fence!"
At least views were more than making up for the fence-trudging:
About 100m below the summit, we came across another fence, this one parallel to the slope. The old gate was falling apart and looked wobbly, so we just stepped over the fence itself (it's not very high), to tackle the final push to the summit. We encountered some melting snow here, but nothing dangerous When we emerged on the ridge, Kevin had a glimpse at his watch and announced, it was only a quarter past twelve. Not a bad timing at all.
We located the main path in next to no time. Weather was quickly changing and the blue sky was no more, sadly
Meall Garbh from the ridge:
Ben Lawers and Lochan nan Cat. Ohhh, I like the name of this body of water!
Some sunshine and blue sky still over Loch Tay:
Ten minutes later we were standing by the summit cairn. A quick photo session to document my Munro no. 169 ...
...and we descended a few metres to find a sheltered spot for a well deserved rest. Tea always tastes better with mountain views around!
"The Farragon Ridge" (Corbetts Farragon Hill and Meall Tairneachan) in the middle of this photo, a pair we are saving for winter conditions.
Across Loch Tay, many interesting hills to climb! Ben Chonzie, the solitary Munro, no less than 3 Corbetts and a Graham, too! Since I had a good look at this group, I couldn't get them out of my mind. Didn't realize that two weeks later... I would be scampering over Creagan na Beinne
The northern panorama: North Lyon Horseshoe and Schiehallion just visible behind them:
After tea and snack we returned to the summit for a few more snaps. We spotted two walkers heading towards the summit from Loch Tay side, but they were still about 200m below us. When we looked towards Meall Garbh, we noticed two tiny figures on the snow patch near the summit of this one - and that was all human encounters we had that day. Well, it was Tuesday and not exactly in the middle of holiday season, but I still expected the Lawers ridge to be more crowded...
Good vantage point:
The traverse to Meall Garbh took some time, but only because we fooled about a bit, stopped to take photos and climb over rocky boulders
The col between the two Munros is relatively wet, but an obvious path makes for easy navigation:
Aaaah, here we are, back to "Follow the rusty old fence" routine! The climb to Meall Garbh is a bit slippery on soaked ground...
The path along the fence was more a small burn with water dripping down the slope... It was easier to climb the vegetation to the left:
Higher up, the ground became more rocky and drier, thank heavens, still the rusty old fence showed us the way:
The final metres on slushy snow, but no crampons needed:
My 170th Munro! I have now climbed 60% of M's. It took some time but was worth it and with some luck in a few years I may get to the magic 100%...
Kevin was a little disappointed not to improve his stats (the Mealls were repeats for him) but he enjoyed the outing, the views and a different take on this popular ridge!
Shame about the grey cloud that was now overcast, but at least it was high above the summits, so we could admire the best part of this ridge - from Ben Lawers to An Stuc:
I was relieved we didn't need to traverse to An Stuc, this slope looks very...hmm... unfriendly, let's say. Steep, rocky and quite a bit of snow holding on:
The northern ridge of Meall Garbh, our descent route:
Some more summit views:
There are two variations for descent, either stick to the N ridge all the way, follow another line of fenceposts all the way down past Coire Mhaidhein and along the edge of the forest to the track about 1km east of Roromore farm. This is the shorter option. The longer one would be descending west from the N ridge into the glen of Allt a'Chobhair, where a path can be followed down to Roromore - that's the longer version, but seems to be less steep. We decided to go for the shorter, steeper version and in the end, we might have saved some distance, but didn't save any time
Following the N ridge was easy, more "follow the rusty old fence" routine. At least there was good stuff around to admire. I found the N ridge of An Stuc quite intriguing:
The two other Mealls (Corranaich and Choire Leith) across the glen. At least now I could see how this ridge looks like! Didn't see a thing when we climbed it in whiteout, earlier this year...
One more glimpse at the notorious An Stuc:
We kept following the fence into Coire Mhaidhein, the ground steepened significantly towards the end. At some point, we had to abandon the fence as it was far too steep to stay next to it. Luckily, we spotted a small burn (it is marked on 1-25k map) and managed to descend along the edge of it, still steep but manageable, although my knees started to complain at this moment...
We met another fence, this one on top of a drystone dyke. We followed it to the edge of the forest (visible behind me in the photo below). Lovely views down to Glen Lyon, but the ground was very steep and slippery
The final 100m of descent along the edge of the forest showed no improvement, steep and full of sheep poo. Half way down we had to climb over a newly built fence, over 2 metres high. No stile, no gate anywhere in sight
Eventually, we reached the Roromore track... Back on flat ground at last!
Weather improved again, the wind dropped and sun came out to brighten the afternoon
We strolled back to the car, sore knees but happy to have tried this alternative route on part of Lawers Ridge. Kevin took some time to photograph young lambs bouncing about I was glad I managed to collect two more meows and visit the beautiful Glen Lyon one more time.
If you don't fancy climbing over high fences and tiptoeing over very steep meadows, it can be avoided by descending west towards Allt a'Chobhair rather than aiming due north. Apart from that, it's a good way to go up these Munros and avoid the crowds from Loch Tay side.
My next TR will be a different story - rather than aiming up, we concentrated on looking down And there was plenty to see, including gannets.
by Gordie12 » Fri Jun 05, 2015 3:52 pm
by Huff_n_Puff » Sat Jun 06, 2015 10:18 pm
by ChrisW » Mon Jun 08, 2015 6:42 am
by dogplodder » Mon Jun 08, 2015 11:44 am
by BlackPanther » Mon Jun 08, 2015 5:57 pm
It wasn't really about the fiver... The northern side of the two Mealls always looked more interesting to me. I'm glad we did something different rather than trudging up well worn paths in a long cue of walkers... Recently, we have been using obvious routes for most hills, so this was a nice change, to go off beaten tracks and paths, clamber over fences and drown in bog
170 may look like a big number but considering I took 7 years to get here, I'm slow like a snail. Still have some big, scary ones to tick off