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Meall nan Tarmachan: the real deal.

Meall nan Tarmachan: the real deal.


Postby andreww18 » Mon Nov 13, 2017 11:57 pm

Munros included on this walk: Meall nan Tarmachan

Date walked: 13/11/2017

Time taken: 5 hours

Distance: 17 km

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Meall nan Tarmachan was picked as my potential first solo munro but a last minute shout meant it was a friend Steve and his spaniel Finn who joined me on this climb.
The route is accurately described on the WH site; out of the Ben Lawers car park via the vehicle barrier at the bottom corner, onto a path and then immediate turn right up the track that leads to the summit eventually. A couple of steep hummocks, a couple of flatter stretches in between, a bit of a drop before a steep, rocky climb up to the summit, emerging slightly north before following the path left up to the cairn.
Not ordinarily demanding, but really wintry conditions meant we were in snow from about 20 mins out of the car park; the turn towards Killin from Glen Ogle brought about a deep gulp seeing the conditions on the mountains.
As we'd discover soon enough the steep rocky section before the summit was really challenging because of ice and snow coupled with some howling winds from the north. The wind really kicked in on top of the last hummock before the summit climb it literally knocking the breath from us.
On the ascent, the views over to Beinn Ghlas and Ben Lawers, with Meall Corranaich guarding them, kept our attentions. Ben More and Stob Binnein above Crianlarich; Ben Vorlich and Stuc a Chroin south of Loch Tay. Beautiful vistas.
Emerging onto the summit on a day when the initial cloud / mist had lifted gradually meant the view north was absolutely jaw-dropping. Mountains as far as the eye could see, covered in November snows. On the summit, views in all directions left us speechless. One of the most amazing things i've seen yet.
A 10 min stop on the summit due to the windchill (estimated to be around minus 15) meant we were quickly onto the path towards Meall Garbh and it's pointy peak. The wind was blasting from the north and cutting right through us, so the occasional stop behind a sheltered outcrop was welcome. Once we made the summit we assessed the Tarmachan Ridge proper, deciding to tackle it.
An initial scramble down leads to the short ridge; a pass does bypass the initial scramble however, which was how my pal and his dog made it down. The ridge has one slightly tricky step down, with a steep drop off to the right.
Then the fun begins. You can see the path leading to the next top way below. And i mean way below. You come to a sudden stop at the end of the ridge with the pass steeply descending, almost vertical in places. The path disappears and you pick your way through the rocks finding the best route. Exhilitaring in the wind with the added factor being the ice (and huge icicles); the dog however found it not to its liking and he had to be coaxed down. Eventually we all made it down to where the path proper picks up again.
We opted at this point to forego the final two tops and head straight down from the pass picking a line following a burn which you pick up; we then headed straight south towards an old quarry from where we picked up the decent track back to the start and the Ben Lawers reserve car park.
A really stunning day in the mountains, which will be hard to beat. The two climbers we met just before walking out described it best: today is "the real deal" summing up perfectly the challenge presented by the mountains in winter.
Attachments
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The view from the car park at 8.30am; the cloud soon lifted.
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Beinn Ghlas leading to Ben Lawers
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Looking west
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Looking towards Ben More and Stob Binnein
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Steve and Finn
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Ascening Meall nan Tarmachan and taking in the views east
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Looking east to Lawers, Ghlas and Corranaich
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Frozen summit of Meall nan Tarmachan
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Views of Meall Garbh from Meall nan Tarmachan.
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Looking south to Loch Tay from between Tarmachan and Garbh
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Meall nan Tarmachan seem from Meall Garbh
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Descending Meall Garbh
andreww18
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Re: Meall nan Tarmachan: the real deal.

Postby katyhills » Thu Nov 16, 2017 6:51 pm

Lovely set of photos. The winter conditions change everything, don't they?
Glad you had a good time and probably made the right decision to come down. It's a great walk, and straightforward enough in benign conditions, so hopefully you can return and do the full circuit :)
Hard to explain to non walkers how those views make you feel, isn't it. They're breathtaking - even without windchill :wink:
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Re: Meall nan Tarmachan: the real deal.

Postby andreww18 » Thu Nov 16, 2017 11:19 pm

katyhills wrote:Lovely set of photos. The winter conditions change everything, don't they?
Glad you had a good time and probably made the right decision to come down. It's a great walk, and straightforward enough in benign conditions, so hopefully you can return and do the full circuit :)
Hard to explain to non walkers how those views make you feel, isn't it. They're breathtaking - even without windchill :wink:


Already planning a return with a friend who's not done it; i'm still a bit lost for words at the view from the top and as we walked off the summit towards Meall Garbh. I was just making appreciative whooping noises mostly as we hit the north-facing track end. And the photos seldom (ever) do the view justice. Thanks for your comment.
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Re: Meall nan Tarmachan: the real deal.

Postby Graeme D » Fri Nov 17, 2017 12:03 am

So that's what it looks like up there huh???!!!! :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: Meall nan Tarmachan: the real deal.

Postby andreww18 » Wed Nov 22, 2017 9:50 pm

Graeme D wrote:So that's what it looks like up there huh???!!!! :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:


Lucky with the weather i guess, the clouds and mist lifted as we got to the final climb up to summit. Amazing place.
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Re: Meall nan Tarmachan: the real deal.

Postby Cairngorm creeper » Wed Nov 22, 2017 11:09 pm

It sounds like you had an amazing day, the snow makes everywhere look so special and I love your photos. I hope we have snowy winter and you get some more good winter walks in.
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Re: Meall nan Tarmachan: the real deal.

Postby EmmaKTunskeen » Wed Nov 22, 2017 11:22 pm

Beautiful photos and description - I could feel your exhilaration!

The ridge has one slightly tricky step down, with a steep drop off to the right.

We did it in no snow the other week and it was better to do that tricky step to the left (carefully) and then you're on a much easier path away from the steep drop to the right. No idea how that would go in snow and ice.

Then the fun begins. You can see the path leading to the next top way below. And i mean way below. You come to a sudden stop at the end of the ridge with the pass steeply descending, almost vertical in places. The path disappears and you pick your way through the rocks finding the best route. Exhilarating in the wind with the added factor being the ice (and huge icicles); the dog however found it not to its liking and he had to be coaxed down. Eventually we all made it down to where the path proper picks up again.


At that junction, there is an alternative path to the right (might not have been visible) which is narrow and still steep but is an option rather than the vertical scramble down route. Not as exciting as yours, but the dog might have been happier. I know other dogs have gone down the alternative route even if their two-legged companions have gone for the exhilarating descent, and then met them at the "path proper".
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Re: Meall nan Tarmachan: the real deal.

Postby andreww18 » Thu Nov 23, 2017 11:41 am

Cairngorm creeper wrote:It sounds like you had an amazing day, the snow makes everywhere look so special and I love your photos. I hope we have snowy winter and you get some more good winter walks in.


Thank you. I can't wait to get back up. Of the 18 i've now done since March it's right up there as the best day yet.
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Re: Meall nan Tarmachan: the real deal.

Postby andreww18 » Thu Nov 23, 2017 11:43 am

EmmaKTunskeen wrote:Beautiful photos and description - I could feel your exhilaration!

The ridge has one slightly tricky step down, with a steep drop off to the right.

We did it in no snow the other week and it was better to do that tricky step to the left (carefully) and then you're on a much easier path away from the steep drop to the right. No idea how that would go in snow and ice.

Then the fun begins. You can see the path leading to the next top way below. And i mean way below. You come to a sudden stop at the end of the ridge with the pass steeply descending, almost vertical in places. The path disappears and you pick your way through the rocks finding the best route. Exhilarating in the wind with the added factor being the ice (and huge icicles); the dog however found it not to its liking and he had to be coaxed down. Eventually we all made it down to where the path proper picks up again.


At that junction, there is an alternative path to the right (might not have been visible) which is narrow and still steep but is an option rather than the vertical scramble down route. Not as exciting as yours, but the dog might have been happier. I know other dogs have gone down the alternative route even if their two-legged companions have gone for the exhilarating descent, and then met them at the "path proper".


I'll absolutely bear that in mind for the next time - i'd love to go back up there again and a friend I sometimes go with hasn't done it so i'll the the knowledgeable guide that day thanks to your info. I definitely think the snow covered the apparent bypass path. Was quite taken aback at how sheer the drop was.
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Re: Meall nan Tarmachan: the real deal.

Postby EmmaKTunskeen » Thu Nov 23, 2017 12:52 pm

I'll absolutely bear that in mind for the next time - i'd love to go back up there again and a friend I sometimes go with hasn't done it so i'll be the knowledgeable guide that day thanks to your info. I definitely think the snow covered the apparent bypass path. Was quite taken aback at how sheer the drop was.


It is sheer. We'll swap! Next time I'm there, I fancy doing it (on a still summer's day, mind!).

For that bypass path, if you're looking down into the drop, then kind of in line with your right shoulder, or slightly behind, you'll find the pass. From memory, it looks as though it goes ever so slightly up, but you'll see it basically curves a sweep round and meets your main path at the bottom.

Hats off to you for negotiating the scarier route though. :D We can do amazing things when we don't know there's an alternative!! :lol:
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