Share your personal walking route experiences in Scotland, and comment on other peoples' reports.
Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.

The south-east campaign: Meall Ghaordaidh and sidekick

The south-east campaign: Meall Ghaordaidh and sidekick

Postby BlackPanther » Mon Aug 29, 2016 6:38 pm

Route description: Meall Ghaordaidh from Glen Lochay

Munros included on this walk: Meall Ghaordaidh

Corbetts included on this walk: Beinn nan Oighreag

Date walked: 13/08/2016

Time taken: 7 hours

Distance: 16.5 km

Ascent: 1181m

Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).

Still trying to clear up the backlog of reports from last few weeks...

This one will be about a Munro considered boring, the ascent described a long, wet slog up a featureless slope. Hopefully, I'm going to prove that there are no boring routes up Scottish hills :D
It was a windy Saturday, another day with 50-60mph gusts and climbing anything rocky was out of question. I was in a foul mood after retracing from Foinaven a few days before. The only way to make me feel better was a successful ascent of another hill, preferably something steep and exhausting :lol: Meall Ghaordaidh was one of the options. Kevin has done it before in winter conditions, but he didn't mind returning to the area. He suggested I had a look at maps and check if Meall Ghaordaidh could be combined with another peak, possibly? I did my search and bingo! I found Beinn nan Oighreag!
At 909m, this is almost a Munro, well, one of the highest Corbetts. WH has separate routes for both hills but we found reports combining the Munro and the Corbett. We decided to do a circular:

Track_MEALL GHAORDAIDH 13-08-16.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

BTW, many thanks to Rockhopper for posting his recorded GPS route from this walk - helped us navigate :D
So now, to the story...
WH description says:
"There is space for about four cars a short distance past the bridge over Allt Dhuin Croisg..."
I'd actually argue about the capacity of this small off-road parking :lol: :lol: :lol:
2016-08-13 meall ghaodaidh 001.JPG

The climb up the Munro was up the usual route, a bit of a slog indeed, especially that the day was far from great, low cloud and showers, plus strong winds:
2016-08-13 meall ghaodaidh 008.JPG

I was desperate to prove that the Foinaven retreat was a single incident, today not even a hurricane could stop me from reaching the summit!
2016-08-13 meall ghaodaidh 011.JPG

Not much to say about the initial climb. Across a pasture full of sheep first, then up a track, eventually a well-worn path. Some boggy stages, a few peat hags, it might be more entertaining in winter, I suppose.
Closer to the summit, the ground becomes more rocky, and steeper:
2016-08-13 meall ghaodaidh 026.JPG

The cloud was hanging low, just below the highest summits, so we didn't hope for any views from the very summit, but surprisingly, as we gained height, the clag thinned just enough to give us a chance for a few snaps...
Tarmachan ridge:
2016-08-13 meall ghaodaidh 027.JPG

Lower Glen Lochay from above:
2016-08-13 meall ghaodaidh 031.JPG

Upper Glen Lochay and a shower coming right towards us:
2016-08-13 meall ghaodaidh 034.JPG

The cloud lifted even more when we reached the summit of Meall Ghaordaidh, thankfully the large stone shelter gave us some protection from the gusts.
Windblown Panther:
2016-08-13 meall ghaodaidh 054.JPG

We sat down to have a snack, rest and decide what to do next. Despite high winds, it wasn't too cold and weather was slowly improving, so we didn't see a reason why we shouldn't traverse to the Corbett. But first, was the art of taking photos :lol: I said "art" because I can't think about any other word to describe the weird maneuvers Kevin had to undertake to stay upright and still for long enough to get a picture! despite his efforts, half of our photos that day came blurred from camera shakes, but I managed to find a few decent ones.
Loch an Daimh and the dam:
2016-08-13 meall ghaodaidh 039.JPG

Our next target:
2016-08-13 meall ghaodaidh 058.JPG

Tarmachan Ridge again:
2016-08-13 meall ghaodaidh 056.JPG

To traverse to Beinn nan Oighreag, we descended east towards Cam-Chreag, a lower top, but stayed on the side slope just below the ridge line, to be off the wind. There is a vague path to follow:
2016-08-13 meall ghaodaidh 077.JPG

Further east, the shoulder turns abruptly left, leading to Creag an Tulabhain. The descent straight to the watershed (638m) looked very steep and slippery from above, so we traversed a bit to the north and found an easier line of descent on grassy slopes. The bealach was boggy, but soon we crossed it and began the steep, relentless climb up the opposite slope...
Windblown again, the glen between the two hills acted like a wind tunnel, it was blowy everywhere!
2016-08-13 meall ghaodaidh 086.JPG

Looking back to the slope we descended, our route to the right hand side, avoiding the crags:
2016-08-13 meall ghaodaidh 081.JPG

It's over 200m of very steep slope, but once on the ridge, it SHOULD be a pleasant stroll. Nothing pleasant for us, as we were pushed from pillar to post (almost literally!). I struggled to keep my camera steady!
2016-08-13 meall ghaodaidh 097.JPG

This snap, a bit blurred like most of our photos, shows me trying to keep my balance with my camera in my hand:
2016-08-13 meall ghaodaidh 100.JPG

Beinn nan Oighreag has two cairns on the flat summit area. We visited both (to be sure we reached the true top), but only took pictures by the southern one, which is perched on a top of a large rock. Here, we found some shelter from the crazy winds.
Lucy's 26th Corbett - sorry for another blurred photo...
2016-08-13 meall ghaodaidh 102.JPG

Kevin's photo taking pose :lol: :lol: :lol:

View back to the Munro:
2016-08-13 meall ghaodaidh 103.JPG

North-West to Loch an Daimh:
2016-08-13 meall ghaodaidh 104.JPG

2016-08-13 meall ghaodaidh 105.JPG

Hidden behind the rock, with Tarmachan Ridge behind me:
2016-08-13 meall ghaodaidh 109.JPG

View south, this is our descent route:
2016-08-13 meall ghaodaidh 115.JPG

After some more dancing with the wind, we began our slow descent back to Glen Lochay. Only after we left the summit I remembered, that it was actually Kevin's half way point on Corbetts! His no. 111! I stopped to congratulate him, but it was too windy for any celebrations :lol: :lol:
The descent was easy, higher up the slopes are grassy and we followed a path. The path disappeared lower down, but after a short boggy section we came across the upper end of the very same track we used on the ascent, so we simply walked down it back to Duncroisk. Lower down the gusts were not so severe and we even had some sunshine and warmth. I was surprised later on, when I found out, we climbed almost 1200m. it didn't feel like that much at all!
Hadn't it been for the wind, I'd say we had as good a day as this summer has to offer. Strange that very few walkers combine these two hills, I'd say it's a great combo and views on a good day are superb, especially to upper Glen Lyon.
On the following day we visited the Mamores - TR to follow soon.
Last edited by BlackPanther on Wed Dec 11, 2019 6:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Mountain Walker
Posts: 3806
Munros:260   Corbetts:174
Sub 2000:67   
Joined: Nov 2, 2010
Location: Beauly, Inverness-shire

Re: The south-east campaign: Meall Ghaordaidh and sidekick

Postby Gordie12 » Mon Aug 29, 2016 9:00 pm

I think that's called character building BP :lol: :lol: :lol:

This is the second recent report reminding me I failed to do the nearby Corbett when climbing Meall Ghaordaidh :( :( :(
User avatar
Posts: 2047
Munros:114   Corbetts:64
Grahams:27   Donalds:38
Sub 2000:35   Hewitts:30
Joined: Sep 6, 2012
Location: Nr Forfar

Re: The south-east campaign: Meall Ghaordaidh and sidekick

Postby Huff_n_Puff » Mon Aug 29, 2016 9:08 pm

This intrigued me as I didn't recognise the name and had me delving into the old photos file to find a hill called Meall Ghaordie, same hill it transpires. You chose a much more intersting route than we did, but on a lovely autumn day it is a bonny hill :D (You can always go back :lol: :lol: )
User avatar
Posts: 1073
Munros:274   Corbetts:20
Grahams:9   Donalds:1
Sub 2000:19   Hewitts:5
Wainwrights:1   Islands:19
Joined: Apr 13, 2012

Re: The south-east campaign: Meall Ghaordaidh and sidekick

Postby teaandpies » Mon Aug 29, 2016 11:30 pm

I had a pretty decent day on these hill earlier in the year :thumbup:
Mountain Walker
Posts: 959
Munros:108   Corbetts:22
Grahams:9   Donalds:2
Sub 2000:7   Hewitts:6
Joined: Mar 19, 2014
Location: Glasgow

Re: The south-east campaign: Meall Ghaordaidh and sidekick

Postby SecretSquirrel » Tue Aug 30, 2016 9:24 am

Congrats to Kevin on the Corbett halfway mark :clap: . Well worth braving the wind to tag on the extra hill.

I did the traditional winter route of straight up and down Meall Ghaordaidh, but your circular route over the 2 hills looks much more interesting.
User avatar
Mountain Walker
Posts: 420
Munros:124   Corbetts:26
Grahams:24   Donalds:76
Sub 2000:10   Hewitts:1
Joined: Jul 2, 2012
Location: Hamilton

Re: The south-east campaign: Meall Ghaordaidh and sidekick

Postby Dave Hewitt » Tue Aug 30, 2016 10:37 am

A good longer version of this is to take in the Tarmachans as well. Start by going up the hydro track a little west of where the two Glen Lochay roads meet. Cross the 750m western top of the Tarmachans - a nice bit of country with good grassy/craggy ground - and go right along the ridge to the main summit. Backtrack to Beinn nan Eachan and go down its N ridge, from where you drop W to the pass below the E flank of the Corbett, still at 550m so not too much height lost.

Then over Beinn nan Oighreag and on to Meall Ghaordaidh and back down the standard route, from where it's only a mile along the road to the start-point. Good day out and not too long despite taking in three fairly separate hills. Probably best done anticlockwise as described, as the steeper slopes are then tackled in ascent.
Dave Hewitt
Posts: 500
Joined: Apr 29, 2010

Re: The south-east campaign: Meall Ghaordaidh and sidekick

Postby BlackPanther » Wed Aug 31, 2016 4:43 pm

Many thanks for all comments :D

Gordie, I'm sorry for upsetting you... You can always go back and do it all again, maybe even in the combination with Tarmachan Ridge :lol:
The longer version with TR included seems a bit too much for me, not sure my knees would be happy. They hurt like hell after Cairn Toul/Devil's Point traverse last Saturday... Now I'm trying to recover for my 200th Munro, hopefully this weekend, hopefully Beinn Sgulaird.
User avatar
Mountain Walker
Posts: 3806
Munros:260   Corbetts:174
Sub 2000:67   
Joined: Nov 2, 2010
Location: Beauly, Inverness-shire

Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).

Walkhighlands community forum is advert free

Your generosity keeps this site running.
Can you help support Walkhighlands and the online community by donating by direct debit?

Return to Walk reports - Scotland

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: alwaysbog, FreyatheRetriever, Rapanner1875, Sheeploss, summerhill, woodycreek and 114 guests