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Meall nan Tarmachan Ridge Walk - wow, what a first!

Meall nan Tarmachan Ridge Walk - wow, what a first!


Postby Chris Mac » Tue Aug 30, 2016 3:56 pm

Route description: The Tarmachan Ridge

Munros included on this walk: Meall nan Tarmachan

Date walked: 27/08/2016

Time taken: 5.43 hours

Distance: 12.94 km

Ascent: 772m

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With a feindish plan to traverse Tarmachan ridge on Saturday with Gregor, even after attending a gig the night before, I felt it was time to get the newlyweds, my Bro Stu and wife Laura, to join us on this most excellent hill walk to take in their first Munro and 3 Munro tops on Meall Nan Tarmachan.

Gregor had done the walk about 7 or so times before and jumped at the chance to return with a good day forecast and to also impart his hillwalking knowledge and spend time with Stu and Laura for the first time since their wedding on Arran last month. A few months before that I had dragged Stef and Stuart on a walk from Lamlash to Brodick via Dun Fionn and Clauchland Hills. The newlyweds had climbed Goatfell before and had expressed an interest in returning to the hills to escape the matrix and return to nature.

For me it was another hill to explore and enjoy and it looked like a cracker, no wonder Gregor had done it so many times before. Meall nan Tarmachan South Top first followed by Meall nan Tarmachan, the pointy Meall Garbh and Beinn nan Eachan with the possibility of adding on Corbett top Creag na Caillich if we had time.

Reading up on some of the excellent walk reports and choosing the route was done during the week and with the newlyweds confirming attendance on Friday and the gig going down a storm we set off on saturday morning up the M80 and M9 to Callander where we stopped to get supplies. From there we drove north, with Ben Ledi and the other Strathyre hills towering above and Gregor was loving me driving him to a walk for the first time as he soaked in the scenery with the youngsters in the back seat doing the same. This is going to be a grand day out!

We reached Ben Lawers car park and set off up the hill following the clear path:
Image20160827_131858 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Beinn Ghlas & Beinn Corranaich of the Lawers group on the right on the way up:
Image20160827_132416 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Image20160827_132615 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

The path continues twisting up the hill but even before we reach the fence Stu has to have several breaks in his attempts to break through the wall of the initial hour of pain...
Image20160827_133900 DSCF7364 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Lochan na Lairige Dam:
Image20160827_134100 DSCF7365 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Image20160827_134101 DSCF7366 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Nice views to the right and to the south the view opens up to show Ben Vorlich and Stuc a'Chroin looking grand:
Image20160827_134301 DSCF7369 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Inbetween Beinn Corranaich & Beinn Ghlas, An Stuc makes an appearance along with a few people on the summit:
Image20160827_135300 DSCF7378 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Image20160827_135302 DSCF7380 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

As we reach the shoulder to start climbing up towards the South East Top the view over Loch Tay and Killn to the South is stunning...
Image20160827_140721 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

...while Ben More, Stob Binnein and part of the ridge on Meall Garbh also come into view:
Image20160827_140724 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Image20160827_142008 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Image20160827_142011 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Image20160827_142027 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Image20160827_142300 DSCF7412 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Meall Garbh summit, looks cosy!
Image20160827_142301 DSCF7413 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

One of Stu's many early breaks, don't worry he would break through the wall eventually... and at least with the scenery this good I don't mind stopping for pics:
Image20160827_142500 DSCF7418 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Killin down below:
Image20160827_143200 DSCF7428 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Pressing on we head towards the SE top, with Meall nan Tarmachan summit on the left:
Image20160827_143717 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

On the right Ben Lawers pops it's summit into view at last with the "Dam built by Dwarves" one of many Lord of the Rings references Stu and Laura would make, hinting that they were quite enjoying the scenery already:
Image20160827_143741 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Image20160827_144101 DSCF7431 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Another breather on the way just before the SE top summit, we tried our best to make this walk appear difficult but it was very straightforward with a perfect blend of gradient and twisty paths with varying views for the whole walk, ideal and definitely a great choice of first Munro for our two novices to start on:
Image20160827_144200 DSCF7432 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

And again... :roll: :lol:
Image20160827_144500 DSCF7435 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

You can doo eet...
Image20160827_144659 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Success, Munro top #1 bagged!
Image20160827_144731 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Meall Garbh summit again:
Image20160827_144801 DSCF7445 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

We still have a Munro to ascend as Gregor looks ahead to the next phase...
Image20160827_144804 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

I thought at this point that Stu may give up at the sight of the path to the summit of Meall nan Tarmachan:
Image20160827_145747 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

As often happens, a path/hill viewed from a distance can look intimidatingly steep but on closer inspection it's usually always much easier than it initially appeared:
Image20160827_150339 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Looking back on Meall nan Tarmachan South top:
Image20160827_150348 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

We passed the girl from Crieff who had parked next to us and started a little after but overtook us during one of Stu's many early breaks, followed by a family coming down the path who excitedly told us how much fun the ridge was, don't worry, already on our agenda!

The path does have a tiny steep section but it's very straightforward:
Image20160827_150812 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

It quickly levels off as Gregor and I pop up next to the summit and are rewarded with the view opening out to the north with many many jagged peaks now in view, from the Crianlarich hills to Ben Cruachan and Mull, Glen Coe, Ben Nevis, the Mamores....
Image20160827_151005 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

...wow!
Image20160827_151652 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Apart from the perma-white sky the visibility and view is excellent:
Image20160827_151721 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Looking back on Ben Lawers and co:
Image20160827_151749 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Meall nan Tarmachan summit with Ben Vorlich behind to the south:
Image20160827_151753 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

The unmistakable bulk of Ben Nevis to the north west:
Image20160827_152100 DSCF7450 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Meall Garbh with Ben More and Stob Binnein behind:
Image20160827_152200 DSCF7452 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Beinn nan Eachan with Ben Challum to the right (climbed last year for charity) and Ben Lui behind it, next months planned charity walk:
Image20160827_152201 DSCF7453 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Summit cairn and Munro number 7 for me with the view south behind:
Image20160827_152400 DSCF7460 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Gregor on the summit for roughly the 8th time, looking smug at doing his favourite walk yet again: :D
Image20160827_152600 DSCF7463 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

At last the rookies join us and at last Stu seems to have broken through the wall, a smile appearing on his face: :)
Image20160827_152901 DSCF7467 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Congrats! A first Munro for Stuart and Laura and possibly the first of many... :clap:
Image20160827_153000 DSCF7468 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

After a brief break to soak in the view and take photos we head off along the ridge towards Meall Garbh:
Image20160827_153400 DSCF7480 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

What a shapely summit and background:
Image20160827_153600 DSCF7481 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Not wanting to stop at the Munro summit for lunch we decide to head down to one of the wee lochans on route to top #2:
Image20160827_153625 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

This is going to be fun!
Image20160827_153700 DSCF7485 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Image20160827_154100 DSCF7488 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

At this point we realised just how quiet and still it was, perfect conditions for walking, warm but with a tiny cool breeze. The silence was brilliant, broken only by the occasional roar of a Bumblebee as it flew past or the local Raven shrieking hello! We settle down for lunch and enjoy a well earned break and Stu tells us how much better he feels now he a) has working lungs again and b) is up on the ridge with very little ascent left!

We enjoy the surroundings of our lochan lunch spot while refueling:
Image20160827_154200 DSCF7491 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Image20160827_154300 DSCF7492 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Image20160827_154301 DSCF7493 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Image20160827_160100 DSCF7495 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Onward we go towards Munro top number 2 for the day, Meall Garbh it's another easy stroll along the path:
Image20160827_160301 DSCF7499 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Looking back at Meall nan Tarmachan summit and the local Raven swoops down to greet the rookies:
Image20160827_160502 DSCF7503 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Image20160827_160503 DSCF7504 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Final ascent:
Image20160827_160724 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Meall nan Tarmachan behind us:
Image20160827_160801 DSCF7509 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Cracking wee summit, Meall Garbh:
Image20160827_161100 DSCF7512 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

The four of us relax at summit number 3 for the day, soaking in the amazing surroundings:
Image20160827_161401 DSCF7520 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Having lots of fun, no more moany face from Stu... :wink:
Image20160827_161402 DSCF7522 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Clan Donald summit shot:
Image20160827_161500 DSCF7523 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

The view back toward Meall nan Tarmachan with Ben Lawers towering above in the background:
Image20160827_161704 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Happy with another Munro top in the bag I take more photos while the gang head off the summit towards Beinn nan Eachan. This pic sums up this walk quite nicely:
Image20160827_161928 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Despite planning on taking more, I only remember to do this summit video from Meall Garbh.

As I catch up the others are at the top of the down-scramble path but aren't keen on it...
Image20160827_162206 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

...so I suggest taking the bypass on the right which we do and I think that it's probably the best choice in order to remove any remote possibility of having to explain to my mother and new mother in law how I got Stuart and Laura killed on their first Munro... :shock:
Image20160827_162812 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

We follow the path and I take a slight detour to bag Beinn nan Eachan's east top then look back at Meall Garbh summit and the wee scramble which, as always, looks much worse from a different angle:
Image20160827_163226 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Image20160827_163231 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Image20160827_163356 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Beinn nan Eachan summit up ahead:
Image20160827_163617 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

We follow the twisty path over more mounds and past some boggy ground...
Image20160827_163624 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

...looking back at the east top and Meall Garbh:
Image20160827_164003 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

The professional for our route claws his way up the final ascent:
Image20160827_164142 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Not long to go, come on you two...
Image20160827_164150 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Image20160827_164736 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Success! Laura adds to the cairn and we stop atop Beinn nan Eachan summit to bask in the glory of our walk and 360 degree vista:
Image20160827_165500 DSCF7535 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

I can't recommend the view from here enough...
Image20160827_170000 DSCF7539 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Image20160827_170001 DSCF7540 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Glen Lochay looks brilliant with it's crown of peaks all around including some hills i've previously climbed and others on the list, such as Ben Challum and Ben Lui:
Image20160827_170101 DSCF7542 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Distant Ben Cruachan summits look particulary enticing:
Image20160827_170103 DSCF7546 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Ben More and Stob Binnein with Creag na Caillich in front of us:
Image20160827_170215 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

As it was getting on a bit and the legs of the rookies were a little weary we decide that "if in doubt, dingy the Corbett top" to quote Stuart (he seems to be getting into this) and decide to head down from the bealach towards the quarry track and back to the car.

But first, some more of that view:
Image20160827_170231 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

And a a few panorama's (many more photos are on Flickr for those that want the full walk experience)....

South:
Image20160827_170245 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

West:
Image20160827_170304 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

North west:
Image20160827_170317 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

North east:
Image20160827_170322 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

East:
Image20160827_170342 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Satisfied with our day of adventuring on the hills, we decide to call it a day and head off, Stu and Laura positively beaming due to their enjoyment of the day and new found freedom on the hills, all thoughts of the initial pain at the start of the walk now a distant memory.... for some! :wink: :lol:
Image20160827_171100 DSCF7565 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

I demand one more photo with Glen Lochay in the background before we begin the descent...
Image20160827_171518 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Image20160827_171831 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Two happy hillwalkers:
Image20160827_171834 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Ever get that feeling... like we're being watched... :lol:
Image20160827_172054 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Image20160827_172125 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Gregor meanwhile looks like he has been shepherding on these hills for his whole life... a Collie helps though! :lol: Crag of the Witch ahead:
Image20160827_172510 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

We descend from the bealach, now for some "off piste" walking over grassy hillocks and boggy peat hags, now this will be the TRUE test of character for the rookies!
Image20160827_172719 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

The "path" through the bog...
Image20160827_173349 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Laura didn't enjoy this part...
Image20160827_173515 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Using my viewranger app and OS map we make out a fairly straight path towards our objective, the track at the quarry:
Image20160827_173537 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Stu posing for a Simba monent: :D
Image20160827_173600 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Creag na Caillich behind us as we head down:
Image20160827_174500 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

After some minor bog hopping we quickly find the track and I come close to sitting on a big frog that luckily I saw at the last second giving it time to jump down behind a rock!
Image20160827_174844 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Image20160827_175137 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

We make our way along and enjoy a good blether about how much fun we've just had while discussing plans for dinner...
Image20160827_180212 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Quarry and summits behind us:
Image20160827_180230 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

A distant Ben More and Stob Binnein as we hurdle the last stile...
Image20160827_181656 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

...passing a nice gorge on the way:
Image20160827_181804 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Soon be at the car... cue Stuart and classic "are we there yet" quotes:
Image20160827_182145 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

In no time at all the track takes us round the hillside and the Lawers hills come into view again:
Image20160827_182916 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

It was roughly 45 minutes from the start of the track to the car park so a rapid walk out compared to 3 hours in Blair Atholl recently! :lol:

Not the best track but still a lot better than any off piste bog walking:
Image20160827_183452 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

The track comes around to meet the first path we walked up:
Image20160827_184834 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

With the car in sight, this will no doubt be the part of the walk where we doubled our average walking speed!
Image20160827_185744 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

On returning to a now almost empty car park, the Midges that have been hiding this entire time decide to come out and attack us with ravenous vengeance and swarm around as we attempt to peel off boots and socks while zipping on trouser legs and swearing a lot.... yes I forgot to pack my Avon for this trip, dammit!! :crazy: :crazy: :crazy: :(

One very quick sorting out later and we're soon driving downhill to stop off at the Old Smiddy for dinner having seen the fish n chips there vouched for on another walk report. The grub hit the spot for us all and we then set off back home to Glasgow which would only take an hour and a half.

Stuart and Laura thoroughly enjoyed their first Munro experience and like Gregor I think we all fell in love with Tarmachan Ridge on this day, it would be hard not too! The now non-rookies are already wanting to return to the hills with me so we should be able to get out for another excursion in a couple of weeks and i'm already thinking that a trip to Arrochar could be on the agenda for this one, watch this space...
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Chris Mac
 
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Re: Meall nan Tarmachan Ridge Walk - wow, what a first!

Postby Sunset tripper » Wed Aug 31, 2016 5:19 am

Great pictures and a great hill worth several visits. :D
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Sunset tripper
 
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Re: Meall nan Tarmachan Ridge Walk - wow, what a first!

Postby simon-b » Wed Aug 31, 2016 8:29 pm

A classic ridge with excellent views. Well done to the two Munro debutantes.
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simon-b
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Re: Meall nan Tarmachan Ridge Walk - wow, what a first!

Postby Chris Mac » Fri Sep 02, 2016 8:35 am

Sunset tripper wrote:Great pictures and a great hill worth several visits. :D

Thanks, yeah I think some return visits will definitely be on the agenda in future.

simon-b wrote:A classic ridge with excellent views. Well done to the two Munro debutantes.

The view was superb, helped to have great visibility and I could even make out a few peaks on Mull to the west!

Cheers, they enjoyed it so much they are already asking about joining me on another walk next weekend... :)
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Chris Mac
 
Posts: 821
Munros:40   Corbetts:22
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Sub 2000:50   Hewitts:3
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Joined: Sep 11, 2014

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