The Tarmachan Ridge - Winter Walking

Munros: Meall nan Tarmachan

Date walked: 28/12/2014

Time taken: 5 hours

Clear skies, not too low a temperature and a gentle breeze. What does this mean? Good walking conditions in my book that is what it means!

I had yet to go do Tarmachan Ridge, having been up Ben Lawers numerous times and looked across i have always wanted to do it so today was the day!
A little snowy underfoot but there was no need for crampons or ice axes so we packed the bag and set off towards the Lawers Range.

Parked in the very busy car park and started our day from there. Heading up towards the south east top first before on to the actual summit of Meall Nan Tarmachan we passed a group of poeple who were out training with ice axes. To me it looked like a perfect piste to take a board down! How i would have loved that! (it is a thought for another day though). We passed a few people who decided to miss the SE top and by passed westwards to the summit but the views across to Lawers from the lower top were pretty impressive so it was worth it. :)

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Blue Skies above the Ridge

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There was a slight descent then a steep ascent to cairn of Tarmachan. Here we did pass a group on crampons who were using ice axes to get up but in my opinion they weren't needed, perhaps they were out training or trying out new equipment they got for Christmas. Again it was a great slope for a spot of sledging and boarding!

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At this point we met a gentleman out solo walking, who we would throughout the day play spot the walker as he although taking the same route as us, seemed to manage it in record time! Took some summit photos and awed at the view. I was particularly happy that we chose the ridge to do today and not up Lawers again, i was tempted as Ben Lawers has a special place in my heart but as we looked across we spotted the clouds heading that way! We made a wise choice!

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We then headed up to the small summit of Meall Garbh; Looking on to the route ahead the ridge was impressive in the snow, having looked at reports on here in both summer and winter conditions, the pictures just do not show the real beauty that is up here. I could spend all day in the Lawers range and never get bored of it! There were small patches of ice on the path here and there but it was very manageable. Ill admit i did 'hit the deck' a good one before the small summit but it was a comical fall and much amusement had by my hill walking companion! The descent down from Meall Garbh however took a little longer than expected! It involves a bit of scrambling, and with it being slightly icy we took it carefully. There were good hand holds and foot holds so it is a safe scramble.

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Next summit stop was up to Beinn nan Eachan; a straight forward ascent to the top and a rather enjoyable walk; the views back to what you have just climbed are awesome and right across the northern glens, like i said previous - pictures just do not do it justice! (annoyingly at this point in the day my phone began to play up with the cold temperature and i had not brought up my SLR camera so photos from this point were not plentiful!) At this point we had caught up with a group of 6 people out walking who were discussing whether or not to continue on to Creag na Caillich or walk out here. There is the option to walk out and join a track by the Quarry which you pass a bothy on so can get some shelter and quick pit stop if needed. We continued on towards Creag na Caillich.

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The summits of Creag na Caillich do seem far away when you start the approach but the route underfoot is an easy walk and you reach them before you know it! We headed around to the left of the summit to get a view of the crags as a potential for rock climbing on a future day - it is not an advisable route to descend from and recommend you be very careful if you are going to have a look! It is a steep drop and in icy/snowy conditions it makes it worse, that and there is not actual path suitable unless you are a mountain goat or a sheep. Best descent is up over the top and it rejoining a track on the other side.

The views across to Killin and beyond are pretty impressive from this summit, the sun was starting to drop and made the walk even more impressive. As i hope you can see from the photo below!

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Sun down

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From here it is an easy walk out, you cross a couple of small rivers before re joining a track that will lead you back to the Lawers car park.

I very much enjoyed walking the Tarmachan Ridge, it is a relatively easy route and i shall re do the route in summer time to get the views without the snow as it does look very different! I may also return very soon with my snowboard and have a hike and board day playing about on some of the steeper sections whilst the snow is here!
To sum up; Great day on the hills. Bring on my next adventure!

Hope you enjoyed the report/snaps & thanks for taking time to read it

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Activity: Scrambler
Mountain: Ben Lawers
Place: Loch Tay

Munros: 33
Corbetts: 3
Sub 2000: 1

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Trips: 6
Distance: 24 km
Ascent: 2345m
Munros: 6

Joined: Mar 04, 2014
Last visited: Apr 24, 2016
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