The TROMIEndous start to 2020!
by BlackPanther » Wed Jan 22, 2020 7:09 pm
Route description: Meallach Mhor and Croidh-la, Glen Tromie
Corbetts included on this walk: Meallach Mhor
Date walked: 19/01/2020
Time taken: 7.5 hours
Distance: 24 km
Ascent: 674m4 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).
The original plan was to revisit some of the Drummochter Pass Munros, but because Kevin was still caughing a bit and I wasn't sure whether I should push him too far, I suggested an easier walk to a little known Corbett Meallach Mhor. It's been 7 years since we walked the Glen Tromie approach via Croidh-la. It's a long-ish route (24km according to our GPS) but the walk-in is on a good tarmac road, quick going plus Glen Tromie offers lovely views even from low levels. The final climb itself is less than 400m on relatively easy terrain. From the summit there are extensive views to the Cairngorms, Glen Feshie hills and especially to the Gaick Pass. The easiest option is to retrace your steps, but much more scenic version returns over the northern ridge of the Corbett, over Clach-mheall and Criodh-la. I always had the easy escape in mind just in case Kevin was still too weak to hop over high heather for longer distances, but I needn't have worried. He complained a bit about sore throat and rubbing boots, but in the end he kept his pace better than me
Parking at the entrance to Glen Tromie is not permitted, but there is ample space in the nearby forest (on the minor road going to Drumguish):
Past the village of Drumguish, we quickly joined the tarmac road into the glen and enjoyed a couple of hours of easy walking. The morning was cold and the high cloud made the landscape look a bit dark and depressing, but we felt miles away from depression, quite the opposite. We were buzzing inside, so excited to start the new season!
For most of the walk-in, the dominating feature on the horizon was Meall Chuaich, seen here wearing white:
It is usually climbed from the other side, from A9, but as we had already done that route twice (once in full winter conditions), we suddenly started to discuss an option to climb Meall Chuaich from Glen Tromie, via the ATV track up Cairn Thomais. It would be a long day plus the crossing of River Tromie could be a problem (there are a couple of footbridges marked on the 1-25k map but I'm not sure they exist any more), but we like challenges and with so few new Munros left to do, we are happy to look for new routes to revisit the ones we already know well
Meall Chuaich and the track in upper Glen Tromie:
But that's something for the future. At the moment, we were more interested in our current target, Meallach Mhor:
Not much snow on the summit, but we hoped for some snow-covered views from higher up. Kevin said he needed a break to adjust his boots, I just lurked around
We walked as far as the bridge over River Tromie. Just before reaching the house by the bridge, we spotted a faint ATV track heading up Meallach Mhor. It doesn't go very high up but it's a good start to the climbing:
Very quickly, fantastic views to the Gaick Pass opened up, and we could,'t resist stopping every 10 minutes to take photos, despite the high cloud turning the views into "fake sunset mode":
The first glance towards Monadhliath plateau:
Zoom to the Gaick Pass:
Panther with TROMIEndous views behind
About 100m below the summit, we entered the snow zone - only a thin layer of the white stuff but at least it felt a bit like winter!
One more glance to the Gaick pass form near the summit of Meallach Mhor:
I was surprised to discover the summit cairn had been demolished There used to be a substantial pile of stones here (see my old report), Now the rock is scattered around in a large, flat circle. It didn't matter to Lucy, who was happy to pose even on a flat stony area, as long as it was a new Corbett for her (109th to be precise):
Views, just as we expected, were great and even the "fake sunset" light didn't take anything away from the beauty of the snow-capped mountains. The Cairngorms revealed themselves to the NW of the summit:
Looking north to the tops of the Monadhliath:
We descended a bit from the summit to find a sheltered spot and have a hot cuppa. Here, we took the final decision, whether to continue along the ridge (and keep the views for longer) or return to the track. Kevin said he felt OK and a bit of chesty cough wouldn't stop him, so we decided to stay on the higher route, which is much more scenic:
We descended easily to the first col. I was tempted to add Meallach Beag, but didn't even mention it to Kevin - that would be pushing it to far!
Looking back to Meallach Mhor (middle) and Beag (right) from the first col:
The "fake sunset" effect was increasing in the afternoon light , we managed to catch some interesting snaps of orange sky over Meall Chuaich and the Monadhliath:
We walked over the middle top, Clach Mheall, where Kevin took another panoramic photo of Meallach Mhor and the surrounding tops:
At some point we picked a reasonable path through the heather - it's worth sticking to it, it will take you all the way back to the track in Glen Tromie! This route must be more popular than I thought.
The summit ridge of Croidh-la has several small cairns:
...and a trig point, too!
The Cairngorms from Croidh-la:
One last glance at the ridge we just walked:
I think the sun is setting for real now... The Gaick Pass and Meall Chuaich:
More sunset mode:
A new access track is currently being constructed up Croidh-la from Gleann Chomchraig, but we resisted the temptation and stayed on the narrow path through the heather:
This path descends through the heather and eventually we returned to the tarmac, about 2km from the starting point. The final walk to the car was then formality. It took us much longer than anticipated to complete the circuit, but we are both still a bit weak from the dreadful flu we had. I was actually surprised we managed to walk 24km and didn't feel too tired. A few blisters on our feet were the only wounds we sustained in the Battle of Tromie but overall, the day was Tromie-ndous and we can't wait for the next opportunity to visit the hills!
by Chris Mac » Thu Jan 23, 2020 12:00 am
by gaffr » Thu Jan 23, 2020 11:41 am
The bridge below Bhran Cottage....looks like a recently resurrected one brought to the Tromie..ideal for reaching Cuaich
by dogplodder » Thu Jan 23, 2020 12:40 pm
by BlackPanther » Fri Jan 24, 2020 6:58 pm
Chris Mac wrote:Nice report and pics, that looks like a much more scenic area than Beinn Dearg, Carn a' Chlamain and the other Atholl hills further south. The first half of your report reminds me a lot of the walk to Sail Chalmadale on Arran, the Sub2000 Marilyn inbetween the Corbetts and Beinn Bharrain. The landscape as you walk along with the Iorsa Water on your right is similar to the River Tromie. Lots of off-path rambling on that walk too but not quite as long a walk as your one!
I haven't been to Arran yet, it's on to-do list at some point in the future, especially the Corbetts!
I don't know why but I always had a week spot for Glen Tilt and all hills climbed from this glen. My favourite is Beinn Mheadhonach, a shy Corbett hidden behind Carn a' Chlamain.
gaffr wrote:The bridge below Bhran Cottage....looks like a recently resurrected one brought to the Tromie..ideal for reaching Cuaich
Wow, that's good news, thank you No need to carry flipflops then! Must be well hidden in the trees, since we didn't spot it!
dogplodder wrote:Wonder who knocked the cairn down? Just checked my photos and there was definitely one in 2017 - but it wouldn't have taken too much effort to demolish it.
I think Sherlock Holmes would be useful here! I don't see any reason why dismantle the cairn? The area around the summit is flat and stony anyway and the cairn didn't obstruct the views. Whoever did it, must have been a mountain vandal!
I found a picture of the cairn from our previous visit in 2013:
by malky_c » Fri Jan 24, 2020 7:50 pm
As for the cairn, is it a co-incidence that this hill is practically in the back garden of that famed cairn-kicker Cameron McNeish? Just saying... . I’ve been up more than one hill in the last couple of years where sometimes quite substantial cairns have been torn down.
by Sgurr » Fri Jan 24, 2020 7:58 pm
I can see a case for marker cairns where inexperienced walkers might fall over a cliff as on Ben Nevis, but apart from that, even viewpoint cairns seem a bit superfluous.
Nice report, if a bit on the gloomy side, but who wants wall to wall sun every day.
by Mountainlove » Sat Jan 25, 2020 9:05 am
by Sgurr » Sun Jan 26, 2020 7:14 pm
Maybe a purist for summits pulled it down.
But then they have a photo of the cairn as "Hill summit" The last person to log it as bagged was "bolton" in September 2019
PS The cairn appears in the weaselmaster WR of August 26th
by BlackPanther » Wed Jan 29, 2020 3:37 pm
I wondered about Mr McNeish, too, but as far as I understand, he knocks down cairns along paths, up wide slopes etc. because he thinks people should be able to navigate without them. Summit cairns shouldn't fall in this category?