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A Lightning Escape from Meall an t-Seallaidh

A Lightning Escape from Meall an t-Seallaidh


Postby Chris Mac » Thu Jun 28, 2018 2:06 pm

Route description: Creag Mac Ranaich and Meall an t-Seallaidh

Corbetts included on this walk: Meall an t-Seallaidh

Date walked: 09/06/2018

Time taken: 4.49 hours

Distance: 18.1 km

Ascent: 968m

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Meall-an-t-Seallaidh.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

Having thoroughly enjoyed an Ochils warm-up the evening before, it was soon onto the main event for the weekend, a double-Corbett climb at Lochearnhead as Iain and I would be heading for Meall an t-Seallaidh and Creag Mac Ranaich since around Callander looked to have the best forecast.

We drove up in no time from Glasgow, parked at the main car park in Lochearnhead, then set off along the road. I had initially planned for us to do a full ridge walk around Glen Kendrum but it would depend on how easy it was to get up to CMR from the old railway track, turns out there are a lot more trees around it's base now so we settled on an easy climb up the Glen Kendrum track:
ImageDSC_9089 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

As we went over the bridge across the railway track to start the ascent, Meall an t-Seallaidh came into view:
ImageDSC_9099 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

We were also tempted to reverse the planned route and go up Meall an t-Seallaidh via Auchtubhmore Hill but again decided against it today as it looked like a thankless trudge up a grassy hillside.

On the way along the track we passed a fair few local sheep and kept heading up towards Creag Mac Ranaich which would be in front of us for most of the ascent, looking steep and craggy:
ImageDSC_9115 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

It was warm and dry with a cool breeze, perfect for walking and we made fast progress uphill:
ImageDSC_9130 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Both hills showing off their ridges:
ImageDSC_9135 20180609_114910 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Nearing the top of Glen Kendrum the track veers left to follow the Allt Creag Mac Ranaich, with the Corbett's crags looming ever closer and looking tough to find a route up:
ImageDSC_9140 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Behind us, after initially being teased by the view of Ben Vorlich and Stuc a' Chroin, we're now treated to a great view of the full ridge all the way along to Beinn Each:
ImageDSC_9144 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Approaching the bealach between the two Corbett summits:
ImageDSC_9150 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Still to decide which one to climb first:
ImageDSC_9151 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

CMR looks a bit tougher...
ImageDSC_9196 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Mat-S looks more straightforward, plus we should get a better view of CMR from there in order to plot the best route up since the old fence on OS maps is now just a line of rusty fence poles or ground holes...
ImageDSC_9197 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

We settle on Meall an t-Seallaidh first, it would turn out to be a very wise decision later on!!

A very faint path follows the old fence line and we get to enjoy our first peek north towards the Glen Dochart and Glen Lochay hills:
ImageDSC_9199 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Just a short steep grassy ascent to deal with:
ImageDSC_9200 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

We head up then turn left and start ascending Cam Chreag, taking time to check out Creag Mac Ranaich to see the best way up:
ImageDSC_9201 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Most people seem to follow the line of the shadow here as it looks like the easiest way up:
ImageDSC_9202 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Having been trapped in Glen Kendrum's bowl for a while we now enjoy our first view west up Balquhidder towards Stob a' Choin:
ImageDSC_9206 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Slightly north from there is Stob Binnein and Ben More with the other Corbett top of Mat-S, Meall an Fhiodhain next to the wee lochan:
ImageDSC_9210 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

ImageDSC_9212 by djchrismac, on Flickr

Our enjoyment of the view was broken by a distant rumble... hmm there may be thunder in the air!

Apparently, according to the forecast... any thunderstorms would develop west then move east, par for the course, it looked fine and clear that way. To the north east however it was a different story...
ImageDSC_9217 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

We continued up Cam Chreag, keeping an eye on the weird clouds developing behind CMR...
ImageDSC_9223 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Mini lochan next to Cam Chreag summit, Stuc a' Chroin and Beinn Each behind:
ImageDSC_9224 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

ImageDSC_9229 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Cam Chreag summit, Meall an t-Seallaidh summit behind it:
ImageDSC_9239 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Iain with Loch Earn behind him:
ImageDSC_9242 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Another rumble... "did you hear that?"... "aye!"... :shock:
ImageDSC_9248 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

We don't hang around and head for the Corbett summit:
ImageDSC_9250 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Passing the mother of all bogs, luckily dried out, I wouldn't like to encounter this during wet conditions!
ImageDSC_9256 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

It's an easy ascent to the top and the views all around us are already amazing:
ImageDSC_9257 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Although we heard the occasional rumble there were no flashes and the clouds appeared to be concentrated around Loch Tay still...
ImageDSC_9261 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

ImageDSC_9262 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

ImageDSC_9265 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Looking back at Crea Mac Ranaich we discussed our options and decided it may be better to summit then head down as it didn't look too promising in the direction of our second Corbett target for the day...
ImageDSC_9266 20180609_131110 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Ben More was now starting to hide in the clouds to the west:
ImageDSC_9270 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Back at Loch Tay the Tarmachan Ridge and Lawers group did their best impression of Mordor, going into silhouette mode and grumbling occasionally:
ImageDSC_9272 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Mordor:
ImageDSC_9278 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Meall an t-Seallaidh summit with cairn and trig point:
ImageDSC_9279 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

We were immediately blown away by the view from the top, it was outstanding, with lots of the main southern Munros all very close by, three lochs in view and a feast for the eyes wherever we looked...
ImageDSC_9284 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

South to Ben Ledi, Loch Lubnaig and Benvane:
ImageDSC_9291 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

West to Stob a' Choin, Balquhidder, Stob Binnein and Ben More:
ImageDSC_9293 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

North to Creag Mac Ranaich, Loch Tay and the slowly developing thunderstorm that seemed to be brewing away in the one spot:
ImageDSC_9294 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

We gorged ourselves on the view taking loads of photos but mindful of the occasional rumble north of us where Meall nan Tarmachan ridge looked very atmospheric:
ImageDSC_9303 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Time for lunch on the large summit stone:
ImageDSC_9312 20180609_132156 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

We sat and chatted, loving the large summit area that had a second summit and cairn just next to it:
ImageDSC_9315 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

I decided to pop over for an improved view south west:
ImageDSC_9316 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

It didn't disappoint:
ImageDSC_9317 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Back at the actual summit, it looked ominous behind Iain...
ImageDSC_9318 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

ImageDSC_9322 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

The view from the secondary summit was equally superb, south to Strathyre:
ImageDSC_9326 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Loch Voil with Ben Venue and Ben Lomond in the background:
ImageDSC_9330 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Stob a' Choin, the Braes of Balquhidder and distant Arrochar Alps:
ImageDSC_9335 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

We decide to switch places:
ImageDSC_9360 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

ImageDSC_9371 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

ImageDSC_9375 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

I change lens to fit in even more from the hill of the view, NOW the name makes sense! :clap: :lol:
ImageDSC_9386 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

ImageDSC_9389 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

ImageDSC_9392 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Not as many rumbles to the north now...
ImageDSC_9396 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

East and slightly south:
ImageDSC_9403 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

We were sitting discussing a summit camp being perfectly suited for up here when a change in conditions prompted us to take stock, Loch Tay was growling again and Tarmachan ridge was fast disappearing...
ImageDSC_9408 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

This might be our cue to leave...
ImageDSC_9409 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Clouds darkening to the north west now:
ImageDSC_9412 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Loch Earn:
ImageDSC_9415 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Was that a flash? We decide to head down by continuing along the ridge then dropping down into Glen Kendrum, heading down the way we contemplated ascending, after one last visit to the secondary summit cairn:
ImageDSC_9428 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

We praise our earlier decision making as we head off from the summit:
ImageDSC_9430 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Looking back at the summit... sky darkening:
ImageDSC_9433 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

We no longer felt welcome on the hills...
ImageDSC_9435 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

....... :shock: .....
ImageDSC_9436 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

We both saw separate flashes, forked lightning now, we hasten our pace...
ImageDSC_9439 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Kepping a close eye on conditions which had deteriorated rapidly:
ImageDSC_9442 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

We can take a hint, we're outta here...!
ImageDSC_9444 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

It looked like CMR was about to be hit...
ImageDSC_9451 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Time for one last view up Balquhidder as we race along the grassy ridge:
ImageDSC_9462 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Yet again we praise our previous decision making and instincts as we would have been up there now if we had chosen CMR first... :shock:
ImageDSC_9466 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Continuing along at a much faster pace now we took a walking pole each to aid a speedy descent, picked the route of least steepness on the map and headed in that direction...
ImageDSC_9471 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Thunder, lightning and rain were now blasting the area to the north of us:
ImageDSC_9476 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

It wasn't any better to the east...
ImageDSC_9483 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

We were sort of speed-jogging descending down the hillside when at roughly this point...
ImageDSC_9487 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

I saw a large forked lightning flash and swear it was right in front of Creag Mac Ranaich!!!

At this point was probably when we maxed out in kmph running down the hillside towards Loch Earn:
ImageDSC_9489 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

The sky, thunder and lightning conditions was very much giving us the fear now as we raced off Meall an t-Seallaidh:
ImageDSC_9490 20180609_142138 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

You can see why... :crazy:
ImageDSC_9490 20180609_142139 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

ImageDSC_9490 20180609_142140 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

We were not the only ones racing for cover...
ImageDSC_9492 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

We descended faster than we ever had before:
ImageDSC_9493 20180609_142616 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

This was a first for us both to be up the hills during thunder and lightning, we hoped it wouldn't be our last...
ImageDSC_9493 20180609_142618 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Loch Earn now under attack:
ImageDSC_9493 20180609_142622 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Almost there, we descended about 600m in less than half an hour...!
ImageDSC_9509 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

We were very glad to reach the Kendrum Burn but knew we were still not safe:
ImageDSC_9515 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

We were relieved to be much lower down and enjoyed a quick break at the burn having not expected to be chased off the hills today!
ImageDSC_9520 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Nothing for it now but to enjoy the view to the Ben Vorlich and Stuc a' Chroin as we head back to the start:
ImageDSC_9533 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

ImageDSC_9505 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

ImageDSC_9506 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

The weather was still lovely directly south at Strathyre:
ImageDSC_9540 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Not so much at Loch Earn...
ImageDSC_9542 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

It started drizzling now but we didn't care, we were quite exhilarated at still being alive!! :crazy: :D
ImageDSC_9544 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

No more thunder or lightning now, thankfully!
ImageDSC_9550 20180609_150040 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

One last look at Loch Earn before we head down the railway track and path back to the road and van:
ImageDSC_9553 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

While on the way home we discussed how much we enjoyed the walk, well except from the rapid escape to save our lives... in fact we felt quite cheated! We had only just discovered one of our favourite hill viewpoints and only got to enjoy half an hour at the summit before being chased down... leaving us with Creag Mac Ranaich still to climb but today wasn't about numbers, it was about hiking, viewpoints, exploring, planning, decision making and action and for that we had everything in abundance during the walk!!

I wouldn't recommend heading up the hills when thunder and lightning is forecast, unless it is at the other side of the country. Although Strathyre enjoyed a lovely day it couldn't have been more different around Loch Tay, we were somewhere inbetween and thankfully escaped the worst of it.

We'll never forget this walk, if only we could have captured some of the roars of thunder or flashes of forked lightning to show what we experienced in more detail but understandably we didn't fancy hanging around for long to take the perfect photo, the main thing is we lived to tell the tale!

In summary Meall an t-Seallaidh is already one of our favourite hill viewpoints and we plan on a summit camp there at some point. It's not the most highly rated hill but is still a very enjoyable walk and worth the effort for the vista, we're looking forward to spending more time there since our visit was cut short this time, we'll be back....! :wink:
Last edited by Chris Mac on Fri Jun 29, 2018 10:06 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Chris Mac
 
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Re: A Lightning Escape from Meall an t-Seallaidh

Postby iainR » Thu Jun 28, 2018 3:00 pm

Great report Chris with some cracking photos of those ominous skies, i'm sure you'll remember i was on Beinn Each that day instead of Meall Ghaordaidh just to escape the threat of electricity !
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iainR
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Re: A Lightning Escape from Meall an t-Seallaidh

Postby iainwatson » Thu Jun 28, 2018 11:00 pm

Another great report! :clap:

Shame we didnt get to bag them both but with the viewpoint as good as it was it wont be a hardship to return,especially for a summit camp.

Now on to our next walk............. :shock:
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iainwatson
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Re: A Lightning Escape from Meall an t-Seallaidh

Postby kevsbald » Fri Jun 29, 2018 9:33 pm

Great report. It's. Fabulous summit.
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Re: A Lightning Escape from Meall an t-Seallaidh

Postby Chris Mac » Fri Jun 29, 2018 10:26 pm

iainR wrote:Great report Chris with some cracking photos of those ominous skies, i'm sure you'll remember i was on Beinn Each that day instead of Meall Ghaordaidh just to escape the threat of electricity !

Thanks Iain, yeah we should maybe have gone south a bit more just to be safe, Strathyre right next door stayed nice all day! I checked my zoomed summit shot of Beinn Each but couldn't find a silhouette of you so must have missed you... :lol:

Beinn Each's a great walk and I'll do either it or Ben Vorlich again when it comes to doing Stuc a' Chroin although i'm tempted with doing all three now...

iainwatson wrote:Another great report! :clap:

Shame we didnt get to bag them both but with the viewpoint as good as it was it wont be a hardship to return,especially for a summit camp.

Now on to our next walk............. :shock:

Cheers, I know but a perfect excuse to head back there to explore and enjoy both for longer, I still want to do the full ridge along both...

All set for tomorrow, let's go...to Glen Coe! :D

kevsbald wrote:Great report. It's. Fabulous summit.

Cheers Kev, aye it certainly is, a favourite already!
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