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Meall nan Tarmachan Ridge Walk - wow, what a first!
by Chris Mac » Tue Aug 30, 2016 3:56 pm
Route description: The Tarmachan Ridge
Munros included on this walk: Meall nan Tarmachan
Date walked: 27/08/2016
Time taken: 5.43 hours
Distance: 12.94 km
Ascent: 772m3 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
Gregor had done the walk about 7 or so times before and jumped at the chance to return with a good day forecast and to also impart his hillwalking knowledge and spend time with Stu and Laura for the first time since their wedding on Arran last month. A few months before that I had dragged Stef and Stuart on a walk from Lamlash to Brodick via Dun Fionn and Clauchland Hills. The newlyweds had climbed Goatfell before and had expressed an interest in returning to the hills to escape the matrix and return to nature.
For me it was another hill to explore and enjoy and it looked like a cracker, no wonder Gregor had done it so many times before. Meall nan Tarmachan South Top first followed by Meall nan Tarmachan, the pointy Meall Garbh and Beinn nan Eachan with the possibility of adding on Corbett top Creag na Caillich if we had time.
Reading up on some of the excellent walk reports and choosing the route was done during the week and with the newlyweds confirming attendance on Friday and the gig going down a storm we set off on saturday morning up the M80 and M9 to Callander where we stopped to get supplies. From there we drove north, with Ben Ledi and the other Strathyre hills towering above and Gregor was loving me driving him to a walk for the first time as he soaked in the scenery with the youngsters in the back seat doing the same. This is going to be a grand day out!
We reached Ben Lawers car park and set off up the hill following the clear path:
20160827_131858 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Beinn Ghlas & Beinn Corranaich of the Lawers group on the right on the way up:
20160827_132416 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
20160827_132615 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
The path continues twisting up the hill but even before we reach the fence Stu has to have several breaks in his attempts to break through the wall of the initial hour of pain...
20160827_133900 DSCF7364 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Lochan na Lairige Dam:
20160827_134100 DSCF7365 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
20160827_134101 DSCF7366 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Nice views to the right and to the south the view opens up to show Ben Vorlich and Stuc a'Chroin looking grand:
20160827_134301 DSCF7369 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Inbetween Beinn Corranaich & Beinn Ghlas, An Stuc makes an appearance along with a few people on the summit:
20160827_135300 DSCF7378 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
20160827_135302 DSCF7380 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
As we reach the shoulder to start climbing up towards the South East Top the view over Loch Tay and Killn to the South is stunning...
20160827_140721 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
...while Ben More, Stob Binnein and part of the ridge on Meall Garbh also come into view:
20160827_140724 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
20160827_142008 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
20160827_142011 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
20160827_142027 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
20160827_142300 DSCF7412 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Meall Garbh summit, looks cosy!
20160827_142301 DSCF7413 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
One of Stu's many early breaks, don't worry he would break through the wall eventually... and at least with the scenery this good I don't mind stopping for pics:
20160827_142500 DSCF7418 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Killin down below:
20160827_143200 DSCF7428 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Pressing on we head towards the SE top, with Meall nan Tarmachan summit on the left:
20160827_143717 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
On the right Ben Lawers pops it's summit into view at last with the "Dam built by Dwarves" one of many Lord of the Rings references Stu and Laura would make, hinting that they were quite enjoying the scenery already:
20160827_143741 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
20160827_144101 DSCF7431 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Another breather on the way just before the SE top summit, we tried our best to make this walk appear difficult but it was very straightforward with a perfect blend of gradient and twisty paths with varying views for the whole walk, ideal and definitely a great choice of first Munro for our two novices to start on:
20160827_144200 DSCF7432 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
20160827_144500 DSCF7435 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
You can doo eet...
20160827_144659 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Success, Munro top #1 bagged!
20160827_144731 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Meall Garbh summit again:
20160827_144801 DSCF7445 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
We still have a Munro to ascend as Gregor looks ahead to the next phase...
20160827_144804 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
I thought at this point that Stu may give up at the sight of the path to the summit of Meall nan Tarmachan:
20160827_145747 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
As often happens, a path/hill viewed from a distance can look intimidatingly steep but on closer inspection it's usually always much easier than it initially appeared:
20160827_150339 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Looking back on Meall nan Tarmachan South top:
20160827_150348 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
We passed the girl from Crieff who had parked next to us and started a little after but overtook us during one of Stu's many early breaks, followed by a family coming down the path who excitedly told us how much fun the ridge was, don't worry, already on our agenda!
The path does have a tiny steep section but it's very straightforward:
20160827_150812 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
It quickly levels off as Gregor and I pop up next to the summit and are rewarded with the view opening out to the north with many many jagged peaks now in view, from the Crianlarich hills to Ben Cruachan and Mull, Glen Coe, Ben Nevis, the Mamores....
20160827_151005 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
20160827_151652 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Apart from the perma-white sky the visibility and view is excellent:
20160827_151721 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Looking back on Ben Lawers and co:
20160827_151749 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Meall nan Tarmachan summit with Ben Vorlich behind to the south:
20160827_151753 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
The unmistakable bulk of Ben Nevis to the north west:
20160827_152100 DSCF7450 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Meall Garbh with Ben More and Stob Binnein behind:
20160827_152200 DSCF7452 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Beinn nan Eachan with Ben Challum to the right (climbed last year for charity) and Ben Lui behind it, next months planned charity walk:
20160827_152201 DSCF7453 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Summit cairn and Munro number 7 for me with the view south behind:
20160827_152400 DSCF7460 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Gregor on the summit for roughly the 8th time, looking smug at doing his favourite walk yet again:
20160827_152600 DSCF7463 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
At last the rookies join us and at last Stu seems to have broken through the wall, a smile appearing on his face:
20160827_152901 DSCF7467 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Congrats! A first Munro for Stuart and Laura and possibly the first of many...
20160827_153000 DSCF7468 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
After a brief break to soak in the view and take photos we head off along the ridge towards Meall Garbh:
20160827_153400 DSCF7480 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
What a shapely summit and background:
20160827_153600 DSCF7481 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Not wanting to stop at the Munro summit for lunch we decide to head down to one of the wee lochans on route to top #2:
20160827_153625 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
This is going to be fun!
20160827_153700 DSCF7485 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
20160827_154100 DSCF7488 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
At this point we realised just how quiet and still it was, perfect conditions for walking, warm but with a tiny cool breeze. The silence was brilliant, broken only by the occasional roar of a Bumblebee as it flew past or the local Raven shrieking hello! We settle down for lunch and enjoy a well earned break and Stu tells us how much better he feels now he a) has working lungs again and b) is up on the ridge with very little ascent left!
We enjoy the surroundings of our lochan lunch spot while refueling:
20160827_154200 DSCF7491 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
20160827_154300 DSCF7492 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
20160827_154301 DSCF7493 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
20160827_160100 DSCF7495 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Onward we go towards Munro top number 2 for the day, Meall Garbh it's another easy stroll along the path:
20160827_160301 DSCF7499 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Looking back at Meall nan Tarmachan summit and the local Raven swoops down to greet the rookies:
20160827_160502 DSCF7503 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
20160827_160503 DSCF7504 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
20160827_160724 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Meall nan Tarmachan behind us:
20160827_160801 DSCF7509 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Cracking wee summit, Meall Garbh:
20160827_161100 DSCF7512 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
The four of us relax at summit number 3 for the day, soaking in the amazing surroundings:
20160827_161401 DSCF7520 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Having lots of fun, no more moany face from Stu...
20160827_161402 DSCF7522 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Clan Donald summit shot:
20160827_161500 DSCF7523 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
The view back toward Meall nan Tarmachan with Ben Lawers towering above in the background:
20160827_161704 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Happy with another Munro top in the bag I take more photos while the gang head off the summit towards Beinn nan Eachan. This pic sums up this walk quite nicely:
20160827_161928 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Despite planning on taking more, I only remember to do this summit video from Meall Garbh.
As I catch up the others are at the top of the down-scramble path but aren't keen on it...
20160827_162206 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
...so I suggest taking the bypass on the right which we do and I think that it's probably the best choice in order to remove any remote possibility of having to explain to my mother and new mother in law how I got Stuart and Laura killed on their first Munro...
20160827_162812 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
We follow the path and I take a slight detour to bag Beinn nan Eachan's east top then look back at Meall Garbh summit and the wee scramble which, as always, looks much worse from a different angle:
20160827_163226 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
20160827_163231 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
20160827_163356 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Beinn nan Eachan summit up ahead:
20160827_163617 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
We follow the twisty path over more mounds and past some boggy ground...
20160827_163624 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
...looking back at the east top and Meall Garbh:
20160827_164003 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
The professional for our route claws his way up the final ascent:
20160827_164142 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Not long to go, come on you two...
20160827_164150 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
20160827_164736 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Success! Laura adds to the cairn and we stop atop Beinn nan Eachan summit to bask in the glory of our walk and 360 degree vista:
20160827_165500 DSCF7535 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
I can't recommend the view from here enough...
20160827_170000 DSCF7539 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
20160827_170001 DSCF7540 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Glen Lochay looks brilliant with it's crown of peaks all around including some hills i've previously climbed and others on the list, such as Ben Challum and Ben Lui:
20160827_170101 DSCF7542 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Distant Ben Cruachan summits look particulary enticing:
20160827_170103 DSCF7546 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Ben More and Stob Binnein with Creag na Caillich in front of us:
20160827_170215 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
As it was getting on a bit and the legs of the rookies were a little weary we decide that "if in doubt, dingy the Corbett top" to quote Stuart (he seems to be getting into this) and decide to head down from the bealach towards the quarry track and back to the car.
But first, some more of that view:
20160827_170231 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
And a a few panorama's (many more photos are on Flickr for those that want the full walk experience)....
20160827_170245 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
20160827_170304 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
20160827_170317 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
20160827_170322 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
20160827_170342 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Satisfied with our day of adventuring on the hills, we decide to call it a day and head off, Stu and Laura positively beaming due to their enjoyment of the day and new found freedom on the hills, all thoughts of the initial pain at the start of the walk now a distant memory.... for some!
20160827_171100 DSCF7565 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
I demand one more photo with Glen Lochay in the background before we begin the descent...
20160827_171518 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
20160827_171831 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Two happy hillwalkers:
20160827_171834 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Ever get that feeling... like we're being watched...
20160827_172054 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
20160827_172125 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Gregor meanwhile looks like he has been shepherding on these hills for his whole life... a Collie helps though! Crag of the Witch ahead:
20160827_172510 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
We descend from the bealach, now for some "off piste" walking over grassy hillocks and boggy peat hags, now this will be the TRUE test of character for the rookies!
20160827_172719 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
The "path" through the bog...
20160827_173349 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Laura didn't enjoy this part...
20160827_173515 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Using my viewranger app and OS map we make out a fairly straight path towards our objective, the track at the quarry:
20160827_173537 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Stu posing for a Simba monent:
20160827_173600 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Creag na Caillich behind us as we head down:
20160827_174500 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
After some minor bog hopping we quickly find the track and I come close to sitting on a big frog that luckily I saw at the last second giving it time to jump down behind a rock!
20160827_174844 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
20160827_175137 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
We make our way along and enjoy a good blether about how much fun we've just had while discussing plans for dinner...
20160827_180212 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Quarry and summits behind us:
20160827_180230 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
A distant Ben More and Stob Binnein as we hurdle the last stile...
20160827_181656 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
...passing a nice gorge on the way:
20160827_181804 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Soon be at the car... cue Stuart and classic "are we there yet" quotes:
20160827_182145 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
In no time at all the track takes us round the hillside and the Lawers hills come into view again:
20160827_182916 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
It was roughly 45 minutes from the start of the track to the car park so a rapid walk out compared to 3 hours in Blair Atholl recently!
Not the best track but still a lot better than any off piste bog walking:
20160827_183452 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
The track comes around to meet the first path we walked up:
20160827_184834 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
With the car in sight, this will no doubt be the part of the walk where we doubled our average walking speed!
20160827_185744 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
On returning to a now almost empty car park, the Midges that have been hiding this entire time decide to come out and attack us with ravenous vengeance and swarm around as we attempt to peel off boots and socks while zipping on trouser legs and swearing a lot.... yes I forgot to pack my Avon for this trip, dammit!!
One very quick sorting out later and we're soon driving downhill to stop off at the Old Smiddy for dinner having seen the fish n chips there vouched for on another walk report. The grub hit the spot for us all and we then set off back home to Glasgow which would only take an hour and a half.
Stuart and Laura thoroughly enjoyed their first Munro experience and like Gregor I think we all fell in love with Tarmachan Ridge on this day, it would be hard not too! The now non-rookies are already wanting to return to the hills with me so we should be able to get out for another excursion in a couple of weeks and i'm already thinking that a trip to Arrochar could be on the agenda for this one, watch this space...
by Sunset tripper » Wed Aug 31, 2016 5:19 am
- Posts: 2262
- Joined: Nov 3, 2013
- Location: Inverness
by simon-b » Wed Aug 31, 2016 8:29 pm
by Chris Mac » Fri Sep 02, 2016 8:35 am
Sunset tripper wrote:Great pictures and a great hill worth several visits.
Thanks, yeah I think some return visits will definitely be on the agenda in future.
simon-b wrote:A classic ridge with excellent views. Well done to the two Munro debutantes.
The view was superb, helped to have great visibility and I could even make out a few peaks on Mull to the west!
Cheers, they enjoyed it so much they are already asking about joining me on another walk next weekend...
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