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Tarmachan Ridge in the Clag

Tarmachan Ridge in the Clag


Postby dav2930 » Thu Feb 23, 2017 4:51 pm

Route description: The Tarmachan Ridge

Munros included on this walk: Meall nan Tarmachan

Date walked: 19/02/2017

Time taken: 5.75 hours

Distance: 13 km

Ascent: 783m

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A long-awaited trip to Highlands, based at Kinlochleven, hoping for some decent winter conditions (i.e. plenty of snow and ice). No such luck. :( Mild temperatures with extensive rain forecast for west coast on the Sunday, but looking better further south and inland, so we (Karl & me) decided to head for Killin for the Tarmachan Ridge (Meall nan Tarmachan being a Munro I hadn't done).

Weather looked quite promising when we arrived at Killin - the ridge was partially cloud-free - but this wasn't to last. Drove up Lawers road to car park and as we got booted and suited a friendly woman from the car next to us asked if we thought she should take ice axe and crampons for Meall Corranaich. What little snow was visible was restricted to streaks and patches and it wasn't freezing, so we though it unlikely that ice axe and crampons would be needed. But we said we'd be taking them anyway for the Tarmachan ridge just in case! The golden rule being that it's better to have them and not need them than to need them and not have them.


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A wooden sign post points the way, so off we went along the well constructed path heading for Meall nan Tarmachan.

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Path from car park heading for Meall nan Tarmachan


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Ridge becomes better defined towards south-east top.


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Head of Loch Tay


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Beinn Ghlas and Loch Tay


P1020306.JPG
Meall nan Tarmachan from SE top


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Looking back to SE top


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Looking across to Meall Corranaich


The south-east top of Meall nan Tarmachan was still below the clag when we reached it, so that was nice. But then it didn't look like we'd be getting any views from the Munro itself. It's a steep pull up from the col to a rising traverse along a rake which leads around to the right. The path hits the north ridge just below the summit.

P1020309.JPG
Summit of Meall nan Tarmachan


The Tarmachan Ridge continues south then south-west. From a summit in poor visibility it's all too easy to head off in the wrong direction, so we took a compass bearing just to make sure. Good job we did as it pointed us in the opposite direction from the way we thought we would be heading! :shock: Yes, always trust the compass (except in the Cuillin!).

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Heading out along the ridge


The path was clear to follow and no further compass readings were needed.

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Frozen lochan


It wasn't long before Meall Garbh loomed impressively and unmistakably out of the mist. We were glad we hadn't gone straight back down from the Munro. :)

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Meall Garbh


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Summit of Meall Garbh


The crest of Meall Garbh is delightfully narrow and airy.

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Continuing along the crest of Meall Garbh


Descending from the end of the ridge the ground drops steeply to the narrow col between Meall Garbh and Beinn nan Eachan. There's an awkward, rocky step to negotiate which isn't too clever in the wet, as all the ledges slope outwards over a drop you wouldn't want to slip down. It was all rather muddy and slippery, so we took the easier by-pass path which goes off to the right (facing down-slope) and re-joins the main path just below the step. It seemed a bit of a cop-out, but at least we continued on our way unscathed! :wink:

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Looking down to the col below Meall Garbh from just above the rocky step.


At the col we found a sheltered spot and sat down for a half-hour lunch break. Not much in the way of views but atmospheric surroundings.

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Summit of Beinn nan Eachan


At the col on the far side of Beinn nan Eachan a cairn marks the start of the descent into Coire Fionn Lairige. The path is distinct at first but soon disappears among the bogs, reappearing only vaguely and intermittently. We ended up ignoring any signs of paths and just headed straight for the top of the miner's track.

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Waterfall and snow patch in Coire Fionn Lairige


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Creag na Caillich


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Killin and head of Loch Tay


The miner's track eventually joins a lower track leading back to the car park.

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On the miner's track


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Meall Corranaich and Beinn Ghlas


This had been a really enjoyable walk despite the clag. Not exactly winter conditions but at least we'd had a good day out on the hills. And as we drove back over Rannoch Moor we were back into the drifting bands of rain that had drenched the west coast mountains. So the drive inland had been worth it! :)
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dav2930
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Re: Tarmachan Ridge in the Clag

Postby rockhopper » Thu Feb 23, 2017 11:33 pm

Pity about the weather but a good day out nonetheless. Something I've yet to do is the ridge having also been on the summit in clag via some other hills - think I'd need to hold off for a good weather day - cheers :)
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Re: Tarmachan Ridge in the Clag

Postby dav2930 » Sat Feb 25, 2017 12:27 am

rockhopper wrote:Pity about the weather but a good day out nonetheless. Something I've yet to do is the ridge having also been on the summit in clag via some other hills - think I'd need to hold off for a good weather day - cheers :)

Thanks RH :D The ridge is certainly worth doing and I'm sure we missed half the joy of it by missing the views. Finding your way along it in mist is actually quite easy thanks to the clear path (provided it's not buried in fresh snow of course!).
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dav2930
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Re: Tarmachan Ridge in the Clag

Postby mamoset » Sat Feb 25, 2017 8:27 am

Good effort dav, shame about the clag :(
mamoset
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Re: Tarmachan Ridge in the Clag

Postby dav2930 » Sat Feb 25, 2017 11:40 pm

mamoset wrote:Good effort dav, shame about the clag :(

Thanks mamoset :D
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dav2930
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Posts: 1421
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Location: Cumbria

Re: Tarmachan Ridge in the Clag

Postby Alteknacker » Sun Feb 26, 2017 12:14 am

As Mamoset says, pity about the clag. I've only viewed this from afar, and it seemed like a very characterful ridge.

I smiled ruefully reading that you did the sensible thing and checked your compass before heading off from the summit: it's horribly embarrassing to be reminded of the number of times I haven't done this, with wholly predictable results (on one occasion on a hill I've been up 30+ times :-( ).

I had this on the itinerary for a round last year, but it got a bit late, and anyway it seemed like it would be disrespectful to the character of the hill just to do the summit.

Hopefully a round encompassing this and Meall Ghaordaidh will be part of my first foray North of the border this year (mad weather permitting).
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Alteknacker
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Re: Tarmachan Ridge in the Clag

Postby dav2930 » Sun Feb 26, 2017 7:01 pm

Alteknacker wrote:As Mamoset says, pity about the clag. I've only viewed this from afar, and it seemed like a very characterful ridge.

I smiled ruefully reading that you did the sensible thing and checked your compass before heading off from the summit: it's horribly embarrassing to be reminded of the number of times I haven't done this, with wholly predictable results (on one occasion on a hill I've been up 30+ times :-( ).

I had this on the itinerary for a round last year, but it got a bit late, and anyway it seemed like it would be disrespectful to the character of the hill just to do the summit.

Hopefully a round encompassing this and Meall Ghaordaidh will be part of my first foray North of the border this year (mad weather permitting).

Thanks AK :D Yes it's certainly a characterful ridge and it would be a shame to miss it. As for checking the compass on misty summits, it's something I force myself to do these days because, as you say, the results of doing otherwise are all too predictable! :lol:

Your idea of combining Tarmachan Ridge with Meall Ghaordaidh sounds great - would make a really interesting and substantial day by the look of it. :thumbup:
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dav2930
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Location: Cumbria

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