walkhighlands

Meall Ghaordaidh - a beautiful winter walk

Route: Meall Ghaordaidh from Glen Lochay

Munros: Meall Ghaordaidh

Date walked: 18/01/2019

Dawn light on the Tarmachan Ridge, seen from our guest house in Killin.

ImageIMG_0950 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

It was a short drive to the parking spot in Glen Lochay. Apart from the massive pipeline coming down the hill at one point, this quiet glen seems like an idyllic spot that I'd like to explore more sometime.

This bracket fungus was right next to the parked car.

ImageIMG_0951 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Early morning skies above the glen.

ImageIMG_0956 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Setting off into the first field. This is just beyond the "Access to Meall Ghaordie 1040m" sign featured in several of the Walkhighlands TRs for this hill.

ImageIMG_0958 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

The view westwards from the lower field, with the start of some early morning light on the slopes.

ImageIMG_0960 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Looking back down the first field.

ImageIMG_0961 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

A wider view westwards, towards the head of Glen Lochay.

ImageIMG_0967 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Above us, the light began to pick out the shapes and contours of the slopes of Meall Dhùin Croisg, an outlier of the Tarmachans. The foreground trees mark the edge of a wooded ravine that was still in deep shadow.

ImageIMG_0972 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

But the sun was rising higher.

ImageIMG_0974 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

It cast a beautiful golden light on the slopes of Meall Ghaordaidh, and the snowy summit came into view.

ImageIMG_0975 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

The view back down into Glen Lochay from the upper field.

ImageIMG_0976 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

There was also an atmospheric backlit view of the lower slopes of Meall Dhùin Croisg.

ImageIMG_0986 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Soon afterwards we spotted the iron post and then the little cairn, and set off up the hillside. This sad, abandoned shieling came into sight, with one of the Tarmachan summits (Beinn nan Eachan?) also popping into the view.

ImageIMG_0988 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

A close up of the shieling.

ImageIMG_0992 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

I was amazed how quickly we began to get wider views. This is looking south-east towards the hills around Loch Earn and Loch Lubnaig.

ImageIMG_0993 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Beinn nan Oighreag from the path.

ImageIMG_0995 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

The path made steady progress up the hillside, and soon the first of the two steeper rises in the ridge came into sight.

ImageIMG_1016 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Part way up this rise, we came across an awkward step coated with ice, and we decided it was crampon time. As we stopped to put them on an excited dog raced past us - his owners told us it was the first time he'd seen snow!

ImageIMG_1017 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

The top of the first rise gave a much wider view of the Ben Lawers range.

ImageIMG_1018 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

We began to notice a contrasting weather pattern. To the north and east (and directly above us) it was sunny with blue skies. To the south and west, the sky had a brooding, steely look, although with flashes of sunshine through the clouds.

ImageIMG_1025 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Two giants appeared silently on the horizon.

ImageIMG_1030 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

We quickly came to the second rise.

ImageIMG_1036 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Ben Lawers and the Tarmachan ridge from the second rise.

ImageIMG_1040 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

The wider view south-west, taken from the same spot. The farawy sunlit hill on the extreme right might be Ben Lui.

ImageIMG_1039 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Looking back from the top of the second rise. The easiest way up was a grassy ramp which emerged just left of the large boulders on the left. We could see the fields in Glen Lochay nestled like a little green jewel amid the surrounding hill slopes. The patch of low cloud looked like it was mist hovering over Loch Tay.

ImageIMG_1041 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

From there, we saw the summit cairn not far ahead of us. We took the last few steps towards the summit. In the distance are Ben Vorlich and Stuc a'Chroin.

ImageIMG_1057 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

There was a vast panorama from the top, enhanced by the slopes falling away from all sides of the broad summit cone, and the comparative isolation of this hill from its neighbours - it's clear why the Ordnance Survey chose it as a survey point. This is looking north from the trig towards distant snowy hills, presumably parts of the southern Cairngorms.

ImageIMG_1045 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

The view north-west towards Loch Lyon and the hills around the head of Glen Lyon.

ImageIMG_1048 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

And this is south and west - the river Lochay at the head of the glen can just be seen as a tiny silver snake.

ImageIMG_1056 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Heading back down towards some rather nice beer at the Courie Inn in Killin.

ImageIMG_1059 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

The following day dawned under a thick blanket of low cloud. We did a walk on the hills above Auchlyne, using the track which I guess was built to service the various small dams and waterworks scattered across the hillside. We set out with Sgiath Chuil as a possible target, but the thick mist made it seem pointless wandering up a trackless slope, so we contented ourselves with getting to around 600-odd metres. The weather was so dark and murky that I took hardly any photos and assumed they were not worth posting.

However, on a second look, the brooding atmosphere of that day comes across quite nicely in them, so here they are. Auchlyne is an attractive hamlet, and this track is well worth trying, for a short walk, and would probably have excellent views in nice weather.

ImageIMG_1086 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

ImageIMG_1088 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

ImageIMG_1093 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

ImageIMG_1100 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

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Comments: 2



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HalfManHalfTitanium


User avatar
Activity: Mountain Walker
Pub: Goose & Cuckoo
Mountain: Cnicht
Place: Allof it except Ardrossan
Gear: Paramo jacket
Ideal day out: A autumn or spring walk starting in woodland, going into the hills to find unexpected places, hidden corries and lochans, maybe a spot of scrambling, a sighting of some wildlife, some snow on the tops and a view over the Hebrides, and finishing with pint or more...
Ambition: I've done it!

Munros: 82
Corbetts: 9
Grahams: 2
Donalds: 1
Wainwrights: 103
Hewitts: 146



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2019

Trips: 2
Munros: 2

2018

Trips: 14
Munros: 14
Hewitts: 1

2017

Trips: 12
Munros: 5
Hewitts: 8
Wainwrights 10

2016

Trips: 11
Munros: 8
Corbetts: 1
Hewitts: 3
Wainwrights 3

2015

Trips: 4
Distance: 14 km
Ascent: 916m
Munros: 5
Hewitts: 2

2014

Trips: 2
Distance: 30 km
Ascent: 2300m
Munros: 2
Corbetts: 1
Grahams: 1

2013

Trips: 4
Distance: 12 km
Ascent: 2000m
Munros: 1
Corbetts: 1
Grahams: 1
Hewitts: 3

2012

Trips: 1
Distance: 30 km
Ascent: 3000m
Munros: 2

2011

Trips: 1
Munros: 4

2009

Trips: 4
Hewitts: 6
Wainwrights 6

2008

Trips: 4
Distance: 18 km
Ascent: 1800m
Munros: 4
Hewitts: 8
Wainwrights 9

2007

Trips: 2

2003

Trips: 1

1993

Trips: 1
Munros: 5


Joined: Mar 11, 2015
Last visited: Mar 24, 2019
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