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The Lyon King

The Lyon King

Postby BlackPanther » Thu May 04, 2017 11:25 am

Corbetts included on this walk: Beinn Dearg (Glen Lyon), Cam Chreag (Glen Lyon)

Grahams included on this walk: Meall a'Mhuic

Date walked: 18/04/2017

Time taken: 8.5 hours

Distance: 23 km

Ascent: 1390m

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The most popular circular route in Glen Lyon covers 4 Munros. Out of curiosity, I checked the number of reports posted on WH on this walk... 88! But very few people realize that just a few kilometers up the glen there is another good circuit, the one I called "The Innerwick round". Similar distance and ascent to the Munro walk, this one links two Corbetts and a Graham.
Most folks bag the two Corbetts as short, separate trips, as they are easy hills for winter conditions (tracks a long way up) but for us Glen Lyon is a 2.5hrs each way drive, so we always planned this as a three-in-one. I must say, this round is, in my opinion, far more demanding than the Munros. The ground between the hills is wet, bumpy, overgrown with heather and quite steep in places. Not to mention the lack of paths. Still, a very satisfactory outing for lesser hills baggers, with good views and almost guaranteed solitude - next to no one goes for this round!
Funny that out of all sources, only one guide book mentions combining Cam Chreag with Meall a'Mhuic, but even that one says, connection with Beinn Dearg is not so good. All right, it's overgrown, it's pathless and lots of re-ascent between the hills, but I think if we did it with big smiles on our faces, any hill bagger can! The only problem would be stalking in September/October, this area should be avoided in autumn.
We went up clockwise, to Cam Chreag first, then over an intermediate top to Meall a'Mhuic, leaving Beinn Dearg as the final mountain.

Track_GLEN LYON 18-04-17.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

It was Tuesday morning and when we arrived in Innerwick, the car park was deserted. It's a very nice place though, even has toilets!
Black Arrow alone in the car park:
2017-04-18 glen lyon c2 g1 002.JPG

Out of the car park through a metal gate, we marched up an estate track along the edge of the forest:
2017-04-18 glen lyon c2 g1 006.JPG

Going up Cam Chreag first allowed us to use this track to its very end at over 600m:
2017-04-18 glen lyon c2 g1 013.JPG

As we gained height, we could see the whole length of the ridge of our target Corbett, looked interesting already!
2017-04-18 glen lyon c2 g1 024.JPG

View to the south opened up, as well, the Lawers group dominated the horizon:
2017-04-18 glen lyon c2 g1 026.JPG

We followed the track to its end on the col between Cam Chreag and the lower top, Meall nam Maigheach. The final 200m up to the summit looked steep but grassy:
2017-04-18 glen lyon c2 g1 030.JPG

At 547487 a small cairn marks the start of a path through the heather. This path climbs straight up the slopes to the summit ridge and from near the top, views become really good.
What still awaited us - Meall a'Mhuic and Beinn Dearg, with Carn Gorm behind:
2017-04-18 glen lyon c2 g1 038.JPG

A short break to adjust gear... Summit was visible just 500m along the ridge:
2017-04-18 glen lyon c2 g1 046.JPG

The day was a bit grey, lots of high cloud made photos look dull, but this hill is I think the best viewpoint of the whole trio, well worth taking a longer break here. I was ready to lurk about, as always...
2017-04-18 glen lyon c2 g1 055.JPG

Loch an Daimh and the Glen Orchy Munros behind:
2017-04-18 glen lyon c2 g1 052.JPG

Due to the high cloud, the sky had a pinkish tint to it, making interesting conditions for taking photos. The Lawers group looked spectacular...
2017-04-18 glen lyon c2 g1 058.JPG

...and so did the Tarmachan ridge!
2017-04-18 glen lyon c2 g1 062.JPG

A wider panorama, with Lyon Munros (left) Ben Lawers group (middle) and Meall nan Tarmachan (right):
2017-04-18 glen lyon c2 g1 064.JPG

Two steep peaks on the southern horizon, must be Ben More and Stob Binnein?
2017-04-18 glen lyon c2 g1 075.JPG

View north over Rannoch Mor:
2017-04-18 glen lyon c2 g1 082.JPG

Ben Nevis (zoomed):
2017-04-18 glen lyon c2 g1 084.JPG

On the summit of Cam Chreag with wee Lucy: Corbett no. 117 (39 for Lucy):
2017-04-18 glen lyon c2 g1 107.JPG

Meal Ghaordaidh to the south-west:
2017-04-18 glen lyon c2 g1 111.JPG

Western panorama:
2017-04-18 glen lyon c2 g1 115.JPG

Loch Rannoch Shiechallion and the distant Cairngorms:
2017-04-18 glen lyon c2 g1 134.JPG

It was windy by the cairn, so we found a large rock and hid behind it, it was time to refuel, warm up with tea, before embarking onto the pathless part of the trip, the traverse to Meall a'Mhuic (and Beinn Dearg eventually).
We retraced our steps to the track on the col. The path leading to Meall nam Maigheach, marked on 1-25k map, does not exist. Instead, for over 1 km we plodded through countless water canals, small peat hags and muddy puddles. The ground became drier near the top of Meall nam Maigheach. This subsidiary top can be omitted by contouring around to the 621m col, but we found the higher ground much easier to walk :D
On the intermediate top, Meall nam Maigheach:
2017-04-18 glen lyon c2 g1 137.JPG

Tarmachan Ridge from Meall nam Maigheach:
2017-04-18 glen lyon c2 g1 139.JPG

From the subsidiary top, we dropped to the aforementioned col and then descended at an angle into the dip of Lairig a'Mhuic. This was the least pleasant part of the traverse, overgrown with heather and quite mushy underfoot. An option would be to aim for the shielings at the bottom of the glen, but this would involve more descent/reascent.
Trudging through the deep heather, our second target hill looming above:
2017-04-18 glen lyon c2 g1 147.JPG

The bottom of the dip was protected from the wind so we stopped here for 5 minutes, then carried on up the steep slopes of Meall a'Mhuic. I let Kevin take the lead and after initial clambering over scratchy heather, he found an animal path winding its way through the vegetation. We pushed on, glancing at the western sky behind us, where we spotted the first signs of wet front coming. Higher up, the angle eased of and we marched past two lochans straight to the top of the Graham.
Kevin on the summit of Meall a'Mhuic:
2017-04-18 glen lyon c2 g1 159.JPG

The NW panorama, showers developing over Glen Coe to the left:
2017-04-18 glen lyon c2 g1 167.JPG

Zoomed bad front :shock:
2017-04-18 glen lyon c2 g1 169.JPG

Lucy (G 35) and me (G 69) on the summit, Ben Lawers and friends behind:
2017-04-18 glen lyon c2 g1 172.JPG

From the summit of Meall a'Mhuic, one can descend straight to Innerwick by picking an estate track on the southern slopes of the hill. We kept that as an option in case weather broke, but as we stood on the top of the Graham, apart from very distant showers over Glen Coe area, conditions looked good if a bit windy. We had more than enough daylight left to include Beinn Dearg and enough energy left in our legs to climb another 400m :?
We descended easy, grassy slopes to the glen between the two hills. We spied a wet ATV track ascending the western side of the Corbett - this would be out route up.
On the col:
2017-04-18 glen lyon c2 g1 180.JPG

The ATV track soon shrunk to a path but it was possible to follow almost to the lower top, Meal Glass, where it vanished in the thick heather.
Meall a'Mhuic from somewhere up Beinn Dearg:
2017-04-18 glen lyon c2 g1 183.JPG

View north to Loch Rannoch and hills beyond:
2017-04-18 glen lyon c2 g1 166.JPG

After more plodding through scratchy vegetation, we hauled ourselves up to the last summit of the day. Beinn Dearg, my 118th Corbett:
2017-04-18 glen lyon c2 g1 196.JPG

I was surprised how close we were to Carn Gorm, the westernmost Munro of Glen Lyon circuit:
2017-04-18 glen lyon c2 g1 190.JPG

The best views from this hill are to the south, to the hills across Glen Lyon, including Tarmachan Ridge:
2017-04-18 glen lyon c2 g1 198.JPG

Looking SW to the upper end of the glen and surrounding mountains:
2017-04-18 glen lyon c2 g1 199.JPG

Kevin (C 119) and Lucy (C 40) on the summit of Beinn Dearg. Now, who's the Lyon King???
2017-04-18 glen lyon c2 g1 203.JPG

Lucy and Lawers Ridge:
2017-04-18 glen lyon c2 g1 204.JPG

We had plenty of time left before dark, so we stayed on this top a bit longer, taking advantage of good conditions - weather held, what a surprise!
A few zooms to more distant hills:
2017-04-18 glen lyon c2 g1 207.JPG

2017-04-18 glen lyon c2 g1 209.JPG

For the descent to Innerwick, it's possible to drop steeply straight to the track in Lairgh Ghallabhaich over Meall Glass, but we opted for what seemed more gentle option, aiming for the 703m col and the descending to the edge of the forest, where we could pick a forestry track.
On the way down:
2017-04-18 glen lyon c2 g1 213.JPG

Once on the track in the woods, the rest of descent was a formality. We marched back to the car park, happy and not even too tired. It was a very successful day of Graham/Corbett bagging, with good views around and in total solitude - for the whole day, we didn't spot a soul! Indeed, the only living creatures we noticed were deer, sheep and countless pheasants :lol:
Only when we got home, we discovered that we ascended close to 1400m :shock: It sounds shocking, but I guess it's the nature of Corbetts and Grahams (the 500ft drop!). So the Innerwick circuit is about 5km longer and involves about 100m more ascent that the neighbouring 4 Munros. It's also tougher going on boggy, pathless ground, but in the end, it's a very satisfying day out. For those living further away from Glen Lyon, a great way to cover 3 peaks in one day!
My next TR will be for Corbett connoisseurs, and will involve one hill with restricted access and Panther's instruction how to avoid the restrictions :wink:
Last edited by BlackPanther on Wed Oct 16, 2019 5:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Lyon King

Postby inca » Thu May 04, 2017 3:13 pm

An opportune report for me BP. Was along the road from here yesterday picking off the 3 Corbetts at the west end of Glen Lyon. Had a great day and got me thinking about a route that would take in these 3. Thanks for posting.
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Re: The Lyon King

Postby Gordie12 » Thu May 04, 2017 6:39 pm

Did these 3 just over a year ago and your report brought back good memories.

Your heading further south - it'll be the Borders before you know it..........................
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Re: The Lyon King

Postby Mal Grey » Thu May 04, 2017 7:53 pm

Interesting, as always. More hills I've never really noticed before...
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