Lindsay Boyd's Trip Reports


Section 2 - River Tay to Rannoch Moor

Bridge of Orchy
Bridge of Orchy
Beinn Dorain
Beinn Dorain
Meall nan Tarmachan
Meall nan Tarmachan

This section refers to the hills and mountains from the River Tay north to Rannoch Moor and includes the Bridge of Orchy Hills, the Ben Lawers Group and those around Glen Lyon and Glen Lochay. They cover the Corbetts, Grahams and Munros that I have climbed in this area since 2003. TheSub 2000 Marilyns climbed in this section can be viewed here.

Section 2 - Index

Corbetts Grahams Munros
Beinn a'Chaisteil Meall a'Mhuic An Stuc
Beinn Chaorach Stob na Cruaiche Beinn Achaladair
Beinn Dearg  Beinn a'Chreachain
Beinn nam Fuaran   Beinn an Dothaidh
Beinn nan Imirean   Beinn Dorain
Beinn nan Oighreag   Beinn Ghlas
Beinn Odhar   Beinn Heasgarnich
Cam Chreag - Glen Lyon   Beinn Mhanach
Cam-chreag - Auch   Ben Challum
Farragon Hill   Ben Lawers
Meall Buidhe   Carn Gorm
Meall nam Maigheach   Carn Mairg
Meall nan Subh   Creag Mhor
Meal Tairneachan   Meall a'Choire Leith
Sron a'Choire Chnapanich   Meall Buidhe
    Meall Corranaich
    Meall Garbh - Glen Lyon
    Meall Garbh - Lawers
    Meall Ghaordaidh
    Meall Glas
    Meall Greigh
    Meall na Aighean
    Meall nan Tarmachan
    Sgiath Chuil
    Stuchd an Lochain

Section 2 - Trip Reports

Meall nan Tarmachan

1 August 2015

slide show

Map - OS Landranger 51. Time taken - 3.75 hours. Distance - 7 kilometres. Ascent - 660 metres.

On this ascent of the Munro, Meall nan Tarmachan, I planned to climb it from the north starting at the Lairig an Lochain on the road between Loch Tay and Glen Lyon rather the usual approach a few miles to the south.

There were already two cars in the small parking area at the high point on this single track road which is capable of taking four to five vehicles. I left my vehicle here before heading south-west across some rather wet and marshy ground where the route was marked by a few old fence posts. Once over this area the underfoot conditions improved as I gained a bit of height before coming to a double electric fence which appeared fairly new. Fortunately there was a stile so once across it I remained on the east side of the fence as I ascended Creag an Lochain. It was a steady climb with traces of a path and despite the showers and some cloud floating around I did get some views. There were another couple of stiles on this ascent route if the first one was missed.

A stone marked the summit of this Corbett Top and from here I descended south along the edge of the fence and realised that it probably wasn’t live as work hadn’t been completed on replacing the old electric fence. I reached Lochan an Tairbh-uisge then ascended Meall nan Tarmachan’s North-East Top visiting a few knolls as I couldn’t tell which was the highest. I then headed out to the rather rocky East Top where I took a break.

During this time the cloud lifted off Meall nan Tarmachan and I was able to work out a route through the crags and onto its north-east ridge. This meant a short descent to the foot of the east face then working my way up through mainly grassy vegetation and towards the north-east ridge as the cloud engulfed the hill. On gaining this ridge I located a path and followed it to the cairn marking the summit of Meall nan Tarmachan.

Visibility was now poor so I decided not to hang around hoping the cloud would clear instead I descended the north-east ridge where the path later disappeared for a while although I located it again as it bypassed the summit of Creag an Lochain. I then returned to the start this time keeping to the west side of the electric fences.

previous ascent

Meall nan Tarmachan Munro sixth ascent 1043 metres

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Meall Corranaich, Meal a'Choire Leith and Meall nam Maigheach

8 September 2014

slide show

Map - OS Landranger 51. Time taken - 5.75 hours. Distance - 14.25 kilometres. Ascent - 1055 metres.

I parked in the disused quarry beside the Lairig an Lochain road, which runs between Loch Tay and Glen Lyon, where there was space for several cars. Prior to setting off another car arrived and the driver was preparing for the hills but I never saw him again.

A short walk south along the road to just beyond the track that led below Meall nan Eun I came to a narrow flattened area of grassy vegetation and followed this walker’s path which led to some old metal fence posts. Here I left the path and made a short diversion to Meall Corranaich’s 669 metres top. Thereafter rejoined the path, which was now more obvious except where it crossed sections of bog and the odd peat hag.

The path continued to run close to the old fence posts then east towards the Munro, Meall Corranaich. Again I left the path and gained the south-west ridge where I made the easy approach to Sron dha Murchdi, a deleted Munro Top. I was surprised it ever had this classification as it was only a pimple on the ridge. I then climbed more steeply rejoining the path, where some drainage work had been carried out, and onto Meall Corranaich’s summit cairn.

Despite the sun there was a cool breeze so I descended the north then north-east ridge before finding some shelter to take in the views across the glen to Ben Lawers and its neighbouring Munros.On continuing my descent I spotted a herd of deer resting in Coire Liath but they were quick to spot me and were soon on the move.

On reaching the col I utilised the path to reach the summit of the second Munro of the day, Meall a’Choire Leith. At the cairn I spoke to a couple from Leicester before we parted company and I descended west over pathless vegetation to Gleann Da-Eig where I crossed a vehicle track and the Allt Gleann Da-Eig. Beyond there was some boggy ground before I continued west and climbed round the north side of Meall nam Maigheach to the summit of Meall Luaidhe.

Here I stopped for lunch with views of the hills around Glen Lyon, then made the short walk to the summit of the Corbett, Meall nam Maigheach. From here I descended its south-east ridge where lower down the walking was rather awkward due to the tussocky nature of the vegetation and later some peat hags. The rough underfoot conditions continued as I ascended Meall nan Eun although I couldn’t tell where its summit lay. I descended to the track on its south side then made the short walk back to my car.

previous ascent of Meall Corranaich and Meall a'Choire Leith

previous ascent of Meall nam Maigheach

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Meall Ghaordaidh and Meall nan Subh

9 August 2014

slide show

Map - OS Landranger 51. Time taken - 8.25 hours. Distance - 21.75 hours. Ascent - 1520 metres.

The start for the ascent of the Munro, Meall Ghaordaidh, was immediately west of the bridge over the Allt Dhuin Croisg in Glen Lochay, accessed from the village of Killin. Parking on this single track road was more restrictive since my last visit as the roadside trees had matured reducing the width of the verge. Rather than park on a wider section of the carriageway I managed to get my car off the road and onto the grass on its south side.

I walked a few metres east, went through a gate and onto a vehicle track which crossed the field. At its other end the gate was open but beyond there was a herd of cows with calves, some on the track. With a deer fence to the east I made a detour west wading through long wet vegetation and surface water later to discover more cattle over the brow of a small knoll. Here they were spread out so I was able to walk between them to re-join the track. Not the best of starts.

A stone dyke and locked gate marked the northern end of this second field but a wooden stile afforded access to the vehicle track beyond which was then followed to a small cairn, the start of the walker’s path to Meall Ghaordaidh. The initial few metres were wet and muddy but this was soon replaced by grass as I climbed through areas of bracken. With no breeze it was warm work and the midges were out and about. It was remarkably quiet just some noise from running water and the bleating sheep or lamb.

Higher up the gradient eased. It was here I came to the wet and peaty section of the path that I recalled from previous visits although it wasn’t as bad as I remembered. Once over this section the ground steepened and the path wound its way through rocks and boulders to the summit cairn and trig point. It was rather windy and cooler here, a welcome change, but areas of low cloud meant only limited views.

After a short break at the summit I descended west, initially across stony ground then it was an easy walk on grass to reach the col with Meall na Cnap-laraich before climbing this Corbett Top. I visited a couple of points but thought the rock to the north was highest.

The next hill was the Corbett Top, Meall Taurnie but I thought it would be easier to go out to Sron Eanchainne first. I initially descended south-west before working my way round the east and south sides of Meall Taurnie to reach the col with Sron Eanchainne then made the easy ascent to the summit of this Graham Top. I was undecided on its highest point, a choice between two boulders.

En-route between Meall Ghaordaidh and Sron Eanchainne I was aware of the closeness of the Corbett, Meall nan Subh and the fact that the road linking Glen Lochay and Glen Lyon was closed off, at least from the south. This got me thinking that it would be best included on this outing so on reaching Sron Eanchainne I made up my mind to go for it. A direct approach meant too much loss of height so I returned to the col with Meall Taurnie then descended gradually to the north end of Lairig Liaran. From there I worked my way below Sgiath Bhuidhe and climbed to the summit of Meall nan Subh, marked by a cairn on top of some rocks. Here I found some shelter from the wind for lunch with views east down Glen Lyon.

Afterwards I headed south across several knolls including Meall nan Subh’s South Top, a sub Corbett Top, before descending to the Lairig Liaran. Once over some boggy ground I commenced the ascent of Meall Taurnie. It was a fairly steady climb at times following an old fence before leaving this line and heading over to its summit, which was marked by a few stones on top of a rocky outcrop.

I then initially headed east crossing a stream and fence before descending south-east over some rough terrain. Lower down there were lots of bracken but I managed to avoid the majority of it and reached the public road in Glen Lochay just west of the house at Dalgirdy. From there I walked east along the road to the start. The occupants of a car that passed were the only folks I saw all day on this walk.

previous ascent Meall Ghaordaidh

previous ascent Meall nan Subh

Meall Ghaordaidh Munro sixth ascent 1039 metres
Meall nan Subh Corbett third ascent 806 metres

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Sgiath Chuil

5 July 2014

slide show

Map - OS Landranger 51. Time taken - 7.75 hours Distance - 21.25 kilometres. Ascent - 1225 metres.

On this visit to the Munro, Sgiath Chuil, I wanted to climb it from Glen Lochay and take in the four Corbett Tops on its East Ridge. Parking was very limited near my starting point, the bridge over the River Lochay which gave access to the new mansion at Innischoarach. However I managed to get my car onto the grass without blocking the passing place just to the west of the property at Low Botaurnie. Several of the passing places nearer Killin were completely blocked by ‘car campers’ which I didn’t think would be permitted on this single track road.

While getting booted up the female occupier of Low Botaurnie approached to enquire where I was headed as she was concerned about the building materials near her property which was under renovation. Satisfied that I wasn’t going to nick her stuff she happily returned home and I set off along the road to the gated bridge. Once through the pedestrian gate I crossed the bridge and noted that the young Highland cattle that were gathered there earlier had moved down the riverbank.

The vehicle track split, one headed for Innischoarach while I followed the other track south as it wound its way up the hillside. At a dam and water intake the track turned and headed west and here I left it and followed animal trails along the west side of the Allt Dubhchlair. Later I crossed this stream and followed a tributary onto the north-east ridge of Beinn Bhreac. A few knolls were then traversed before I reached the summit of this Corbett Top although I couldn’t decide on its highest point.

I descended to the south side of Lochan Coire Dhubhchlair then climbed onto the south ridge of Meall na Samhna before ascending this Corbett Top, the highest point possibly being a lone rock. From there I continued west along this contorted and undulating ridge, ascending two smaller hills before reaching Sgiath Chuill’s East Top, a Corbett Top and Hump. Its summit was marked by a small cairn.

The ridge changed direction again as I descended south-west before making an easy ascent of the final Corbett Top of the day, Meall Eoghainn, which was unmarked as far as I can recall. A slight loss of height took me below Sgiath Chuil followed by a steady climb to a large rock with a cairn on top marking the summit of this Munro. I arrived there just prior to a chap ascending from the north, the only walker I saw all day.

After lunch at the summit I headed north and climbed the Munro Top, Meall a’Churain before making the long descent towards Glen Lochay taking in Creag an t-Searraich en route. From here I headed north-east across some rough vegetation, avoiding the Allt Innisdaimh gully, to reach the woods south of Kenknock where a vehicle track took me back to the road in Glen Lochay. It was then a road walk of around two and half kilometres back to my car.

Since my last visit to the upper reaches of Glen Lochay parking west of Kenknock had been stopped with a parking area some distance to the east. There was also a double set of gates which were unlocked possibly because my map showed that the public road ended just west of Kenknock.

previous ascent

Sgiath Chuil Munro sixth ascent 921 metres

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Meall Glas and Beinn nan Imirean

12 January 2014

slide show

Map - OS Landranger 51. Time taken - 6.25 hours. Distance - 14.25 kilometres. Ascent - 1060 metres.

I’ve climbed the Corbett, Beinn nan Imirean, on a couple of occasions but just on its own so on this visit I was interested in including the Munro, Meall Glas. I parked in Glen Dochart on the north verge of the A85 just east of the access road to Auchessan then set off down this road following the sign posted route for walkers.

Beyond the Old Schoolhouse I walked along the vehicle track on the east side of the Allt Easan then one of its tributaries and here I spoke briefly to a female feeding her sheep. The path ran between the tributary and a forestry plantation and on approaching a stile over a fence a chap who was on the other side of the water passed me.

Once over the fence I crossed the burn and followed a wet quad bike trail north until I rejoined the stream higher up. I left this trail and walked along a snow covered path which had obviously been created by walkers heading for Beinn nan Imirean. This sometimes wet and muddy path kept to the north side of a winding stream until the burn eventually disappeared. I continued onto the south-east ridge of the Corbett where there were lots of deer.The gradient increased and the snow was deeper and only some of it held by weight. Beinn nan Imirean’s windy summit was reached, marked by a few stones on a rock, and here there were good views of Ben More and the Crianlarich Hills. Some low cloud was floating around the hills to the north.

I initially retraced by steps before descending north-east. The snow here was similar to what I encountered on the ascent but on losing height the gradient steepened with some small rocky outcrops. It was time to get the crampons out of the sack. Thereafter there was a bit of meandering trying to select the easiest route to the Lairig Riairean. On looking back to the south-east ridge I saw a large group of walkers headed for the Corbett.

From the Lairig Riairean I commenced the ascent of Meall Glas. It was a steady climb to the north of Meall Glas Bheag, avoiding a few rocks, and from there I continued north-east away from the crags. I then made for Meall Glas’s summit cairn, the latter stretch consisting mainly of ice.

It was also windy here so after taking a few photos and spotting a couple of walkers heading for the Munro Top, Beinn Cheathaich, I descended east to the col below the 908 knoll. Here I continued my descent but this time in a southerly direction with more rocks to deviate for. Lower down the snow was softer and I was able to remove my crampons before crossing some rough ground to reach the path I used on the ascent of Beinn nan Imirean. I then returned to the A85 by the outward route.

previous ascent Meall Glas

previous ascent Beinn nan Imirean

Meall Glas Munro sixth ascent 959 metres
Beinn nan Imirean Corbett third ascent 849 metres

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Meall a'Mhuic

7 October 2012

slide show

Map - OS Landranger 51. Time taken - 6 hours. Distance - 13.25 kilometres. Ascent - 860 metres.

With a fine day forecasted it was decided that we should visit Glen Lyon and climb the Graham, Meall a’Mhuic, and with a few Graham Tops to its west the walk could be extended.

It was a frosty morning when we drove into the picnic area at Innerwick where there was ample parking. The sun was out and the rut was in full swing with the stags roaring. We crossed the road bridge over the Allt Ghallabhaich and walked up the Right of Way to Loch Rannoch, known as the ‘Kirk Road’, as it was used by folks from Loch Rannoch going to church in Glen Lyon.

The track rose steadily up the side of the stream and just beyond the north edge of the forest a small dam had recently been constructed. Access to the dam was from a new track which started further north. It was at this junction we left the track and descended over some long heather to the Allt Ghallabhaich, which was easily crossed despite the possibility of ice. It was then a fairly steep climb of Meall a’Mhuic’s east face, although higher up the gradient eased before the summit cairn was reached. The highest point was apparently three metres to the south-west which was probably true.

There was a cool breeze here so after taking several photographs we descended north-west to the col with the Graham Top, Meall nan Sac. The roaring of the stags had been quite constant since we arrived on Meall a’Mhuic and a large herd of deer were on the move across the north shoulder of the Graham Top. The ground on the east side of this hill was wet and boggy in places and was obvious an area favoured by the deer.

On reaching the rocky summit of Meall nan Sac I couldn’t decide where the highest point was although there was a cairn to its west but it appeared to be slightly lower. Here we stopped for lunch listening to the stags roaring across the glen on the eastern slopes of Cam Chreag. After lunch we descended south to another col and were then confronted by some bog and peat hags with a bit of meandering to locate the easiest route through this maze. It was a bit tiring and slowed us down. A lone hind and its youngster appeared from one of these hags and ran off.

Underfoot conditions improved as we ascended the Graham Top, Meall nan Maigheach, where a cairn marked the high point. While taking photographs a single ptarmigan was spotted waddling away so I managed to take a couple of photographs. From this point we observed that the south-east ridge was a mass of peat hags so on the descent we decided to keep slightly to the south. Here another herd of deer ran off. We stayed on the hillside for as long as possible but eventually descended to the vehicle track which returned us to the picnic area.

Meall a'Mhuic Graham second ascent 745 metres

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8 September 2012

slide show from photographs taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 52. Time taken - 6 hours. Distance - 14 kilometres. Ascent - 985 metres.

I decided to climb the Sub 2000 Marilyn, Dun Coillich, but was looking for a longer day than just an up and down from Glengoulandie on the B846 Tummel Bridge to Aberfeldy Road. The only suitable hill I could combine it with was the Munro, Schiehallion, which I needed to climb for a sixth time.

I parked in the car park at the Braes of Foss where there is a charge of £2, although I think this is a voluntary contribution. The path at the start of the walk was different from the last time I was here. It first headed south on the west side of a stream before crossing a little used vehicle track near old sheep pens.

At these old ruins I left the Schiehallion Path and followed the vehicle track south until it began to swing round into Gleann Mor. Here I descended slightly to a deer fence which I climbed over although after reaching the other side I noted a gate further south. The ground was initially boggy but dried out as I gained a bit of height. However the walking wasn’t easy. The heather and grasses were long and wet from overnight rain with the main problem being old holes dug for tree planting as they were concealed by the long vegetation. A few small trees were surviving but the planting didn’t appear to me to be much of a success.

Higher up the walking was slightly easier with less holes and the summit cairn was reached with views of Loch Tummel, the Farragon Hills and the Glen Lyon Munros. One downside was the mess the glen below was in due to the construction of large pylons for the Beauly to Denny power line.

I returned to the gate in the deer fence to discover that it was covered in wire and was more awkward to cross than the fence had been. Once on the other side and back at the track I made a direct ascent of Schielhallion crossing a mixture of terrain and vegetation, including rocks and long heather. However the climb was easier than my earlier ascent as there were a few grassy rakes to use. Higher up I reached the path where there were lots of folks including family groups enjoying the sunny weather. I’m not used to crowds as on the ‘lower’ hills, I very seldom meet anyone.

The man made path came to an end at a cairn and I didn’t remember how rocky the top section of this mountain was. The pace was now slower as I worked my way through the boulders as low cloud engulfed the hill. On reaching the summit cairn I sought some shelter from a cool breeze, as others had done, for lunch. During this break the cloud gradually lifted I had views of Loch Rannoch, Dunalastair Water and into Gleann Mor.

Once I had taken a few photographs I returned to the car park by the Schielhallion Path. There were still folks ascending the hill even when I was lower down.

previous ascent

Schiehallion Munro sixth ascent 1083 metres

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Meall Greigh, Meall Garbh and An Stuc

29 August 2010

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 51. Time taken - 6 hours. Distance - 19 kilometres. Ascent - 1500 metres.

It was a sunny but windy day when I made use of the parking facilities at the Lawers Hotel on the north shore of Loch Tay. There was a £5 parking charge unless you spent some money in the hotel on your return. I reasonable deal as there was no parking at the side of the A827 in the vicinity of Lawers village.

I set off along the A827 knowing that due to the strong wind and a forecast of gusts up to sixty miles an hour there was a possibility that I may not succeed in my plan to take in the three easterly Lawers Munros. Just beyond the bridge over the Lawers Burn I followed the sign for Machuim Farm and the marked route round this property to the hill path, which in places was overgrown with bracken, and led over two stiles to the open hillside and the Ben Lawers National Nature Reserve.

The tops of the hills were shrouded in cloud as I followed the path up the east side of the Lawers Burn. At a bridge, the path crossed to the west side, but I remained on the east bank and commenced the ascent of Meall Greigh using any dips and knolls to get some shelter. Higher up I ascended the gully to the west of Sron Mhor where I was less exposed to the wind until I reached the south ridge of Meall Greigh.

Ahead of me a couple were following the path and approaching the summit but I opted for an ascent from the east where it was relatively calm. I later spotted the couple descending, apparently without getting to the top. In the wind the final few metres were a struggle but once I reached the summit cairn I headed off down the north-west then west ridge of Meall Greigh. It was still windy but the path ran behind a couple of knolls which gave me some respite.

Just beyond the col with Meall Garbh I found a bit of shelter to take on some food before following the fence line up its east ridge. Near the summit I was caught in a gust of wind which was a bit unsettling due to the close proximity of a steep drop. A small sheltered gully led to the summit cairn where I managed to take a couple of photographs.

The descent was by the south-west ridge on a worn path with some rock to clamber over. This took me to the col with An Stuc and the foot of the route to this Munro, which was quite steep with some scrambling involved. It was here that I thought the wind might prevent me from reaching the top but I was fortunate as I was now on the lee side of the hill. All I needed to do was concentrate on the loose soil and stones as well as my hand and feet placements.

The summit of An Stuc was reached and here it was less windy than on other sections of the walk. I descended towards Ben Lawers and at the Bealach Dubh dropped steeply to Lochan nan Cat, initially on a path but it soon disappeared. It was here I passed a couple of chaps whom I had been following for a while. Sheep trails led round the south side of this lochan and the adjoining Lochan nan Uan before I crossed it’s outflow and followed a peaty path to a dam. I re-crossed the stream, walked along a vehicle track for a short distance, then down the path on the west side of the Lawers Burn. This took me to the bridge and the route I had used earlier that day.

I returned by the outward route and on my arrival back at the Lawers Hotel I purchased a soft drink and a pot of tea. The cup was like a bowl and the pot of tea was enough for four so well worth the money and the free parking.

previous ascent An Stuc

Meall Greigh Munro fifth ascent 1001 metres
Meall Garbh Munro fifth ascent 1118 metres
An Stuc Munro fifth ascent 1118 metres

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Beinn nan Oighreag

18 August 2010

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 51. Time taken - 5.25 hours. Distance - 11.5 kilometres. Ascent - 780 metres.

I joined a couple of friends to climb the Corbett, Beinn nan Oighreag, from Glen Lochay, which was accessed from the village of Killin. I had persuaded them that the easiest approach was the same starting point as that for the nearby Munro, Meall Ghaordaidh. We therefore parked off road, just west of the bridge over the Allt Dhuin Croisg, where there were limited parking facilities.

The signposted route for Meall Ghaordaidh passed through a couple of fields, one containing cows and their calves but they gave us little attention. After the third gate we were onto the open hillside where walking was easy along a vehicle track. At a split in the track we kept to the lower route as it followed the line of the Allt Dhuin Croisg, slightly to its west. After a while the track disappeared and we were left to our own devices although the terrain wasn’t difficult and occasionally there were some animal paths to follow.

There were lots of deer in the corrie to our left but I had already checked and stalking wasn’t due to commence on this estate for another couple of days. Once higher up on the south ridge of Beinn nan Oighreag dozens of stags crossed the ridge from east to west and this continued for several minutes. It would be difficult to estimate their numbers but no doubt they will be reduced in the next few weeks when the stalking commences.

Not long after this we heard some shouting and later realised why the stags were on the move. Sheep and their lambs were being cleared from the hill, probably for the stalking but also it would be weaning time for the lambs. We saw at least two chaps and their dogs but heard a third on Meall Ghaordaidh’s East Ridge.

A couple of false tops were reached before the summit, which was marked by a large rock with a couple of stones on top. There were views of Meall nan Tarmachan and Stuchd Lochain as well as Loch Lyon and Lochan Daimh.

We had lunch here and thereafter returned by the upward route.

previous ascent

Beinn nan Oighreag Corbett third ascent 909 metres

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Beinn an Dothaidh and Beinn Dorain

9 May 2010

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 50. Time taken - 6.5 hours. Distance - 12.5 kilometres. Ascent - 1215 metres.

We parked beside the Bridge of Orchy Railway Station and walked through the underpass and gate to the east side of the railway line and that was us onto the open hillside with Beinn an Dothaidh and Beinn Dorain in front of us. A path then headed up the south side of the Allt Coire an Dothaidh, which we followed, as did a few other walkers that morning.

It was initially quite chilly when we left the car but we soon warmed up and had to remove our extra layer. The cloud base was fairly high at this time and rather than continue up into Coire an Dothaidh, which I have done several times, we decided to head over to and climb the north ridge of Beinn an Dothaidh.

On heading for this north ridge it started to rain, the cloud base lowered and covered some of the nearby tops, including Beinn Dorain. It was a steady but not difficult ascent and at some rocks, just before the gradient eased, it started to snow although the shower was short lived. Despite the snow the rocks were a good vantage point for looking down to Bridge of Orchy and north towards Rannoch Moor.

The going was relatively easy now with grassy slopes and a few rocks. A mountain hare, still with its winter coat, ran uphill in front of us. We crossed the walker’s path leading to Beinn an Dothaidh West Top, which we by-passed and made our way directly to the summit of Beinn an Dothaidh. The low cloud had cleared by this time so we had good views of the nearby Munros and of Ben Nevis, which was also clear of cloud.

After a coffee break we descended directly towards the col with Beinn Dorain crossing a couple of snowfields en-route. On approaching the col we started to come across other walkers as we hadn’t met anyone since leaving the usual approach route. From the col we commenced the ascent of Beinn Dorain and basically followed the walker’s path to the large cairn. This was not the summit as it is further south accessed along a narrowing ridge.

Once we reached the summit cairn we had views of the Cruchan and Lui Munros and the nearby Tyndrum Corbetts. We found some shelter from the cool breeze for lunch before returning to the bealach and descending into Coire an Dothaidh and the path back to Bridge of Orchy Railway Station.

previous ascent Beinn an Dothaidh

previous ascent Beinn Dorain

Beinn an Dothaidh Munro fifth ascent 1004 metres
Beinn Dorain Munro fifth ascent 1076 metres

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Beinn Heasgarnich and Creag Mhor

24 April 2010

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 50 and 51. Time taken - 8.25 hours. Distance - 20.5 kilometres. Ascent - 1460 metres.

On this ascent I was looking for a bit of variation rather than just climbing these two Munros so on checking some of my lists I discovered that Creag nam Bodach, a Corbett Top, could be included without adding too much height and distance.

The start was near Kenknock, Glen Lochay, reached from the village of Killin. Here there is a choice, park near the farm or further up the Hydro Board road, that runs over to the hamlet of Pubil, in Glen Lyon, which at the time of this visit was full of large potholes. I decided on the ‘high road’, as I call it, as it saves on 120 metres of climbing. Parking is within the bellmouth of the ‘high road’.

The forecast was for fine, if not windy weather, so I was a bit surprised to see cloud still shrouding the mountains. I set off along the ‘high road’ but soon left it and commenced the ascent of Creag nam Bodach. It was a steady climb and higher up I entered the cloud base. Several knolls were crossed before the final climb to the summit where I found three cairns. I visited them all but thought the central cairn was the highest point.

I took a bearing to the north of the group of lochans, which included Lochan Achlarich, and on my descent came out of the cloud with views towards Beinn Heasgarnich, which was briefly clear of cloud. The route took me over some wet and boggy ground, which was to be expected after the winter snows. I then climbed up the side of the Allt Tarsuinn Waterfall and followed this stream towards Coire Ban Mor. The cloud had by this time lowered and I appeared to be in a winter wonderland with lots of lying snow, especially in the gullies. Streams were difficult to cross with the likelihood of the snow collapsing.

From Coire Ban Mor I made my way onto the south ridge of Beinn Heasgarnich, trying to avoid the gullies where possible. On approaching this ridge, through the cloud, I saw a figure ascending the hill and later his or her bootprints in the snow. Here the cloud suddenly broke and for a few minutes I saw Ceag Mhor and Beinn Mhanach. It was an easy angled ascent to Beinn Heasgarnich’s summit cairn where there was no sign of the chap, however bootprints headed east over the cornice.

I descended the south ridge where I met a couple of chaps on their ascent, who were also doing the round anti-clockwise. The cloud was now lifting off the hills as I climbed the outliers, Stob an Fhir-Bhogha and Sron Tairbh. Here I found some shelter from a brisk breeze for lunch while looking towards the Bridge of Orchy Munros. It was at this point that I decided to add the Corbett Top, Meall Tionail, which is located to the north of Creag Mhor, to my round although it was a bit off the planned route.

After lunch it was a steep descent from Sron Tairbh, on a path to the col with Creag Mhor, where I spotted a walker going in the opposite direction. From the col I made a gradual ascent onto the south ridge of Meall Tionail and then an easy climb to its summit where there was no cairn although there were a few boulders. I now had better views of Beinn Dorain, Beinn an Dothaidh and Beinn a’Chreachain.

From this Corbett Top I descended its south ridge and commenced the ascent of Creag Mhor. Higher up I avoided most of the snowfields before reaching the summit cairn with some good views of my route from Beinn Heasgarnich and also out to the Munro Top, Stob nan Clach, which I have already climbed. The descent was by Creag Mhor’s south-east ridge where I met a couple on their ascent. They had started late so were just doing the horseshoe, which included the Munro Top, Stob nan Clach.

On my descent I crossed Sron nan Eun with views of Ben Challum and Meall Glas before dropping more steeply towards Glen Lochay. Lower down I encountered a large area of crags but managed to find a steep gorge to continue the descent. Thereafter the going was easier as I mad my way to the ‘high road’ which I followed back to my car.

previous ascent

Beinn Heasgarnich Munro fifth ascent 1078 metres
Creag Mhor Munro fifth ascent 1047 metres

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Meall na Aighean, Carn Mairg, Meall Garbh and Carn Gorm

12 December 2009

photos taken on walk

Map OS Landranger 51. Time taken - 8.5 hours. Distance - 19.5 kilometres. Ascent - 1490 metres.

The Carn Mairg Group consists of the four Munros listed above and the Munro Tops, Meall Liath, Meall a'Bharr and An Sgorr. I read that in 2010 some works will be taking place in the area and as the estate appear to be anti-walkers I wanted to get these hills climbed before access is made even more difficult.

It was a cold and frosty morning as we headed east along the single track road in Glen Lyon to the hamlet of Invervar. On the south side of the road there was a parking area for around six vehicles and it was already filled with three cars. Once geared up we crossed the road to the metal gate where a notice indicated that stalking was in progress. Knowing the history of this Estate and the fact that the sign looked permanent I ignored it and followed the vehicle track through the forest encountering another couple of metal gates.

At the top end of the forest there was an All Terrain Vehicle parked but it was all frosted over and looked as if it hadn't been used for a few days. At this point we left the vehicle track and followed a good stalker’s path that headed east before zig zagging north-east to the craggy area, Roinn na Creige. The weather was fantastic, cold and frosty in the glen but with the mountain tops in the sun so it looked like an ideal day for hill walking. However things changed pretty quickly as cloud suddenly rolled in and covered Meall na Aighean and then the other Munros we planned to climb.

We left the stalker’s path and followed a walker’s path onto the east ridge of Meall na Aighean and into the cloud. There were some patches of snow but at this stage most of them could be avoided. I heard a ptarmigan but couldn’t see it but higher up one flew off. As height was gained there was more snow and then a change of direction was required to reach the South-West Top over some hard packed snow. From this Top we headed across to the summit of Meall na Aighean where we took a short coffee break sheltering behind rocks.

Once refreshed we returned to the South-West Top and followed a bearing towards the col with Carn Mairg. With limited visibility and not knowing what the snow conditions below were like we fitted crampons which made life easier. At the col we heard the crunching of the snow and a short time later a male figure appeared out of the cloud. We spoke to the chap who was doing the circuit in the opposite direction and had already climbed three of the four Munros, so he was making good progress.

We climbed towards the col to the east of Carn Mairg before heading out towards the Munro Top, Meall Liath. On the ascent we appeared to be rising above the cloud and had brief views of Schiehallion but the clearance didn’t last. Once at Meall Liath’s summit cairn we returned to the col with Carn Mairg and climbed this Munro but visibility was now quite poor. From Carn Mairg we walked to to its 1001 Top and onto the second Munro Top of the day, Meall a’Bharr, meeting a chap going in the opposite direction.

Navigation was aided by old metal fence posts as we continued on this circuit but doubting whether there was enough daylight hours to reach our fourth Munro. From Meall a’Bharr we followed the fence posts, initially north-west then west towards Meall Garbh. Here we met a couple who were about to set up camp for the night. We climbed the snowy South-East Top of Meall Garbh before heading to the true summit, marked by lots of old fence posts.

There was no time to hang around on this Munro and in any case there were no views, so we descended west then south to climb the final Munro Top of the day, An Sgorr. From here we walked west again before ascending the snow covered north-east ridge of Carn Gorm. It was quite a steady climb and the snow was firm in places so we were glad we hadn’t removed our crampons although there had been sections where they weren't required. As height was gained the cloud started to break up and we could see a red sky to the west. It made the effort of continuing to this final Munro worth while.

We took a few photos from the summit cairn before heading to another cairn then down the south-east ridge. The cloud continued to lift and we could see the mountains we had climbed earlier. Lower down the crampons were removed and the head torches utilised as we continued to the edge of the forest, most of the time following a path. On reaching the forest we followed its edge before descending to the bridge over the Invervar Burn and the icy track back to where we had left it that morning. The All Terrain Vehicle was still there covered in frost so the stalking in progress sign, as I thought, was permanent and a means for the Estate to keep a few of us off their hills. I did hear some shooting earlier in the day but it was down in the forests where there were probably shooting pheasants. A short stroll through the forest returned us to the car park.

previous ascent

Meall na Aighean Munro fifth ascent 981 metres
Carn Mairg Munro fifth ascent 1042 metres
Meall Garbh Munro fifth ascent 968 metres
Carn Gorm Munro fifth ascent 1029 metres

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11 December 2009

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 42, 51 & 52. Time taken - 4.5 hours. Distance - 9.5 kilometres. Ascent - 880 metres.

I have climbed this Munro using both the old eroded path and its new expensive replacement starting from the Braes of Foss car park. On this occasion I wanted to approach it from a different direction so on studying the map noticed there was a vehicle track to the west of Schiehallion so I set my sights on a westerly approach. I drove from my home in Aberdeen to Kinloch Rannoch, a drive of around 3 hours, and then back eastwards along the south side of Dunalastair Water. This road also leads to the Braes of Foss car park. Parking wasn’t possible at the entrance to East Tempar Farm but a few metres further east I was able to leave my car on the grass between the road and the Tempar Burn.

It was a cold and frosty morning as I set off back along the road to East Tempar Farm then through a gate and up the vehicle track that followed the east side of the Tempar Burn. However the track soon left the burnside and headed uphill through fields of sheep. At one point I heard some geese and noticed they were feeding on the grass between the sheep but the geese took flight on my approach. A low bright sun appeared above the bealach making it difficult to see anything in the distance although on looking back I could see part of Loch Rannoch, its holiday complex and the Corbett, Beinn a’Chuallaich, which I last climbed on 1 January 2006. I didn’t follow the track all the way to the bealach but instead headed off east. It was a bit milder here as I was now out of the cold and frosty glen so it was warm work walking through the long heather watched by some deer.

As height was gained I came across some rocky sections. The stones had a covering of verglas so a bit of care was needed as I tried to avoid anything slippery. There were now patches of snow especially towards the north side of the mountain. It was chilly again with a cool breeze as I made the final approach to the summit of Schiehallion watched from above by a fellow walker. The going was now quite awkward as the snow underfoot collapsed and revealed some large gaps between the boulders so it took a wee bit of effort to reach the summit and the final few metres along the rather icy ridge before making it to the summit cairn. I had a panoramic view including the Ben Lawers Range, the Glen Lyon mountains, the Bridge of Orchy Hills, The White Corries, Ben Nevis, Mamores, Grey Corries, Ben Alder, Drumochter Hills, and across to the Cairngorms. Loch Tummel and the Tay Valley were engulfed in cloud but Loch Rannoch was clear.

I took a few photos and spoke with the chap who had been watching me. He had travelled that morning from Aboyne in Aberdeenshire and had climbed the mountain from Braes of Foss. The descent was by the upward route where I met a man from Edinburgh heading for the top. The geese were back feeding amongst the sheep so on this occasion I managed to get a couple of photographs. The mid section of the descent was again mild but it was cool back down in the glen as I headed for my car.

previous ascent

Schiehallion Munro fifth ascent 1083 metres

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Beinn Mhanach

31 October 2009

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 50. Time taken - 6.75 hours. Distance - 22 kilometres. Ascent- 870 metres.

I have climbed this Munro on several occasions always starting from Achallader Farm so on this occasion I decided to climb it from Auch Gleann. We parked at the side of the A82 Tyndrum to Bridge of Orchy Road beside the private road leading to Auch Farm. Parking is quite limited here and care is required as it can be a busy road with fast moving traffic.

We set off along the private road to Auch Farm with new fencing on either side which had been electrified. Beyond the farm and houses we crossed the West Highland Way, entered Auch Gleann, and had our first water hazard, the Allt Coralan. The level of the burns was fairly high due to recent rain, however we managed to cross relatively dry and continued up the glen and under the railway viaduct. The vehicle track crossed the Allt Kinglass on at least six occasions so it wasn’t possible to keep our feet dry for much longer as any stepping stones were under water which was well over the tops of our boots on most of the crossings. At the animal shed Ais-an t-Sidhean we had a heard of cattle and their calves to pass but fortunately they were relatively docile.

At a junction of paths we followed the one that headed east to the bealach at Srath Tarabhan where the track descended to Loch Lyon. We left the track at the bealach and walked up the west side of the stream that flowed down from the col between Beinn Mhanach and Beinn a’Chuirn. Initially there was a rough track but it soon disappeared as we made our way over grassy vegetation on what was a fairly steady gradient. Another couple, who had cycled in were also taking the same route.

Higher up we cut across towards Beinn Mhanach but the cloud lowered and engulfed the mountain. During the walk in we had encountered a few showers but they had been relatively short lived. The summit cairn was reached and we had a brief view of Loch Lyon but that was it, so we headed down Beinn Mhanach's west ridge to the col with Beinn a’Chuirn. As we commenced the ascent of this Munro Top, the cloud lifted but at the same time we were blasted by a heavy shower with the rain bouncing off our waterproofs. By the time we were approaching the summit of Beinn a'Chuirn the rain had ceased but it was now very windy as we struggled into a headwind to reach the top.

We descended north-west from the summit of Beinn a’Chuirn over some steep and rocky ground which was a bit slippery. The buffeting wind also had an unstabilising effect on our descent so we had to ensure suitable boot placement. This part of the descent took a while and lower down the vegetation was wet and slippery as we headed for the top of a vehicle track, on the west side of the Allt Kinglass, which has been extended beyond that shown on the map.

The descent of this track also involved some river crossings but lower down at a small dam the water disappeared as it was piped away. This track later joined the one we had used earlier in the day north-east of Ais-an t-Sidhean. We then followed the vehicle track back down Auch Gleann with the half dozen river crossings although we thought the river level was down slightly. However my boots and socks were rather wet when I returned to my car.

previous ascent

Beinn Mhanach Munro fifth ascent 953 metres

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Meall Glas and Sgiath Chuil

28 June 2009

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 51. Time taken - 6.25 hours. Distance - 17 kilometres. Ascent - 1270 metres.

The cloud was well down on the mountain tops when I parked my car at the side of the A85 Crianlarich to Lochearnhead Road at Auchessan in Glen Dochart. Various signage restricted parking on the approach road to Auchessan, which is a working farm. Prior to the bridge over the River Dochart there was a welcome sign with some requests.

At the Old Farmhouse a sign indicated the route round the property to a vehicle track up the east side of the Allt Essan. At the bridge over this stream I continued along an animal and walker’s path that headed uphill between a deer fence and a small unnamed burn. Higher up a stile was crossed and I continued to follow the burn before leaving it and walking over a mixture of heather and rough vegetation. I entered the low cloud before crossing the Allt Glas and disturbing a couple of hinds. One had a fawn running beside it, the other was giving me some attention so obviously its youngster was hidden nearby.

I climbed the south-east ridge of Meall Glas, in conditions that could only be classed as a 'peasouper', round some rocky outcrops and on towards the summit eventually reaching the cairn. It was rather damp and windy which was a change from the more humid conditions lower down. However I managed to get some shelter for a cup of coffee.

Once my coffee break was over I headed east then north-east, later following a walker’s path which by-passed the 908 knoll to the north, before climbing to the summit trig point of the Munro Top, Beinn Cheathaich. From here I walked north for around a couple of hundred metres before descending to the east, sometimes through some rough ground and just before reaching the col I emerged from the cloud. However this was short lived as not long after I started the climb onto the north ridge of Sgiath Chuil I was back into the cloud. It was just a steady plod to get onto this ridge, from where it was an easy ascent to the summit cairn of Sgiath Chuil.

I didn’t linger here and continued south and heard a couple of golden plovers but didn’t see them for the cloud. Later I changed direction to aim for the Allt Riobain as I encountered a rain shower, which was only slightly wetter than the moisture that had been blowing around in the low cloud. I soon came out of the cloud and stopped for lunch. Thereafter I continued to the Allt Riobain and followed it to near the deer fence which I followed to the stile used on the upward route. I then returned to the start by the ascent route.

Meall Glas Munro fifth ascent 959 metres
Sgiath Chuil Munro fifth ascent 921 metres

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Meall Buidhe and Stuchd an Lochain

27 June 2009

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 51. Time taken - 5.5 hours. Distance - 17.5 kilometres. Ascent - 1325 metres.

The Munros, Meall Buidhe and Stuchd an Lochain, are located on either side of Lochan Daimh. The access road to the lochan can be found just west of Gallin House in Glen Lyon. Parking was previously permitted below the Giorra Dam but this is now discouraged by a pile of rubble. However there is adequate parking nearby.

The cloud was low down on the mountains and it appeared to me that Meall Buidhe's cloud base was higher so I decided to climb it as my plan was only to climb one of these Munros. I walked round below the dam, through a small gap in a fence and across a vehicle track. A couple of deer could be seen feeding up on my left and that was the end of the views as the cloud base lowered and I now couldn’t even see the lochan.

A worn walker’s path, eroded and boggy in places, was followed on a relatively easy ascent. As height was gained there was some drizzle and wind to contend with which become worse as I reached the ridge above Glas Choire. Here there were several unnecessary cairns, probably 4 or 5, before I reached the summit of Meall Buidhe. I was able to shelter behind the cairn for a coffee.

The descent was by the upward route and I met a couple of other walkers who were about half an hour above the dam. They thought the conditions had deteriorated since they had set out but just after leaving them the cloud started to lift and I had views to Lochan Damh.

On returning to the dam I decided, as the weather was improving, to climb Stuchd an Lochain. I walked along the road to the south-east corner of the dam and to a small cairn which indicated the start of the rough walker’s path up through Coire Ban. I followed this path which took me onto the east ridge of the Corbett Top, Creag an Fheadain, where there were a line of old metal fence posts. I had been in and out of the cloud several times and met a couple of chaps on their descent who had been in the cloud for several hours.

From Creag an Fheadain I descended its south ridge, still following the fence pots, before climbing the Munro Top, Sron Chona Choirein and then rejoining the path and fence posts leading to Stuchd an Lochain. A short steeper climb took me to the summit cairn where I had lunch.

The cloud had been trying to clear and occasionally I saw down to Pubil and Loch Lyon and out west to the Corbett Top, Meall an Odhar.

I returned to the dam by the route of ascent. On the re-ascent of Creag an Fheadain I came across a ptarmigan which had been searching the soil for food. It waddled off possibly to distract me from its young or eggs.

On returning to the dam most of the mountain tops were clear of cloud.

Meall Buidhe Munro fifth ascent 932 metres
Stuchd an Lochain Munro fifth ascent 960 metres

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Meall nan Tarmachan

16 November 2008

photos taken on walk

Map- OS Landranger 51. Time taken – 5.5 hours. Distance - 13.3 kilometres. Ascent - 908 metres.

The forecast was for a fine day so I decided to walk the Tarmachan Ridge above the village of Killin. The easiest starting point is the road that runs over the hill from Loch Tay in the south to Glen Lyon in the north. Just beyond the Lawers Visitor Centre there is an access track on the opposite side of the road which can accommodate several cars. This starting point also has the advantage of commencing the walk from a height of 460 metres. There were already a number of cars parked here when I arrived.

I set off along the track to the west but soon left it and followed a path which had been upgraded in places. It was surprisingly cold and windy, not as forecast but at least the sun was out. Height was quickly gained and it wasn’t long before I was ascending the first Munro Top of the day, Meall nan Tarmachan South-East Top, with views of Meall Corranaich, which I had climbed again recently, Beinn Ghlas and Ben Lawers, all to the east and my next couple of mountains on this circuit, Meall nan Tarmachan itself and Meall Garbh.

A short descent took me to a stile crossing and then a steep ascent on an awkward but well constructed path to just below a section of snow. However the path meandered below the snow patch before reaching Meall nan Tarmachan’s north ridge. It was then only a few minutes walk to the summit cairn.

Here I was rather exposed to the biting cold wind so I headed down Meall nan Tarmachan’s south-west ridge which was icy in patches, before climbing to the more impressive summit of Meall Garbh, another Munro Top. The wind had dropped a bit so I took a break here before walking along its rather narrow west ridge and descending to a col. This section, involved some scrambling which was made rather tricky by sections of ice.

Once at the col it was a relatively straight forward ascent to the third Munro Top of the day, Beinn nan Eachan with views across to the Munro, Meall Ghaordaidh and the Corbett, Beinn nan Oighreag. Thereafter a further descent to another col before the climb to the final Munro Top of the day, Creag na Caillich. Instead of returning to the col I continued south still on a walker’s path, which traversed round the rocks at the foot of Creag na Caillich's south ridge. The path eventually joined the track beside the stream flowing out of Coire Fionn Lairige. This track was followed back to the start.

previous ascent

Meall nan Tarmachan Munro fifth ascent 1044 metres

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Meall a’Choire Leith and Meall Corranach

18 October 2008

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 51. Time taken - 3.75 hours. Distance - 9.5 kilometres. Ascent - 760 metres.

The start was the unclassified road that runs between the A827 Killin to Aberfeldy Road and Glen Lyon in the north. This road, which isn’t kept open during the winter snows, passes the Ben Lawers Visitor Centre and along the east side of the dammed Lochan na Lairige. Just beyond the north end of this Lochan was a parking area capable of taking four to five vehicles. There was already one vehicle parked there on our arrival and another arrived just as we were setting out.

We initially walked back along the road for a few metres before following a path north-eastwards. This path, which was wet and boggy on my previous visits, had been upgraded and made for easy walking. However this improvement didn't last as we soon came to the peat bog. It was at this point we left the path and headed across rough ground which was very wet and boggy, towards the Allt Gleann Da-Eig with the roar of the stags to our left. This was the penultimate day for stag stalking as there is no stalking on a Sunday and the season ended on the 20 October (Monday).

On reaching the Allt Gleann Da-Eig it was a bit high due to the recent rain, so we headed downstream to a dam to discover that there was only a trickle of water on the other side. Obviously the water is pumped to one of the nearby lochs. From the Allt Gleann Da-Eig, we crossed the lower slopes of Coire Gorm and commenced the ascent of Meall a’Choire Leith where there was a walker’s path higher up. As height was gained we became more exposed to the wind and encountered one of the frequent rain showers. The gradient eased as we approached the small summit cairn where there were lots of snow buntings.

The views of the surrounding mountains were poor due to cloud and as it was too windy to hang around so we headed down the south ridge until we found some shelter for a coffee break. Several walkers passed at this point as we watched the deer activity in the glen below us. There appeared to be several herds of hinds with lots of stags running back and forth. Beyond them An Stuc and Meall Garbh were now clear.

The deer slowly moved out of sight and we continued on the descent to the bealach before commencing the climb of Meall Corranaich. We were still on a path and exposed to the wind before gaining some shelter as we followed a small stream. Once out of this gully we were again exposed to the wind as the ridge narrowed and we approached the summit of Meall Corranaich. At the summit cairn the cloud cleared sufficiently for us to see several walkers ascending Beinn Ghlas. Through the cloud Loch Tay was shimmering in the sun and Meall nan Tarmachan was clear and looked impressive.

We descended steeply down the west ridge following old metal fence posts and a path which later swung to the north. Lower down the path appeared to disappear in the wet and boggy ground as we searched for the driest route, joining the road just beside the path we used on the upward route.

previous ascent

Meall a'Choire Leith Munro fifth ascent 926 metres
Meall Corranaich Munro fifth ascent 1069 metres

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Stob na Cruaiche

2 August 2008

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 41 & 42. Time taken - 4.75 hours. Distance - 15 kilometres. Ascent - 630 metres.

The start of this walk was Rannoch Station at the end of the public road that runs from Killiecrankie a few miles north of Pitlochry. Some sections of this road are narrow and twisting and it takes some time to reach the road end where there is plenty of parking. An alternative, especially for those coming from the north or west, is to use the Glasgow to Fort William train, but check the times first as they are very infrequent.

I set off from the car park, crossed the railway line and headed west along a vehicle track, which is a Right of Way to Glencoe. However on reaching the forest I left this Right of Way, climbed over a locked gate, and followed a vehicle track through the forest. Once above the forest the cloud base lowered and I encountered some heavy rain. The track continued up the open hillside and at a junction I took the left fork but had to leave the track as it became less obvious and started to descend. The going became rather wet and boggy after some recent heavy rain. As I gained height the rain became more showery and on reaching the summit of Meall Liath na Doire the cloud started to lift. There were numerous small cairns around this hill and it wasn't obvious where the highest point was. As the cloud broke I had a view of the Blackwater Reservoir and the Mamores.

The next section of my route involved a descent of around 60 metres before a climb to the 638 knoll. The going was rather awkward over wet and boggy ground interspersed with peat hags. A hind and her calf ran off towards the Black Corries. On reaching the 638 point there were a couple of memorial plaques to a John and Rosabel Pearson. The cloud had lifted clear of Stob na Cruaiche but there was still more bog and peat hags to contend with before the final climb to the summit trig point. Here I had views to the west of the Glen Coe mountains and a lorry heading south on the distant A82. To the east was Loch Rannoch and Schiehallion.

After lunch I descended Sob na Cruaiche's south-east ridge by an All Terrain Vehicle track. Lower down the track appeared to be heading for the top side of the forest which wasn't on my plan so I eventually headed south towards Loch Laidon to the west edge of the forest. However on approaching the forest I realised that it had been extended with new trees planted to the west. I didn't have many options so I climbed over the deer fence and descended the edge of the old forest, which was very awkward to start with, to the Right of Way on the north side of Loch Laidon. Here I stopped to remove my waterproofs but didn't stop for long as the midges soon found me.

The return, in the afternoon sun, was along the forest track to Rannoch Station. the vehicle track had obviously been extended for the new forest, as the map showed part of the route through the forest as a path.

Stob na Cruaiche Graham first ascent 739 metres

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Beinn Achaladair and Beinn a’Chreachain

3 September 2007

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 7.25 hours. Distance - 20 kilometres. Ascent - 1480 metres.

We met in the car park on the south side of the Bridge of Orchy Hotel and drove the few miles north on the A82 to Achallader Farm. The farmer permits parking beside the farm buildings thus avoiding about a mile of walking from the main road.

The route through the farm was signposted and led to the railway line which we crossed by means of a footbridge. Beyond the bridge the ground was rather wet and boggy as we walked up into Coire Achaladair and then Coire Daingean before reaching the bealach between Beinn an Dothaidh and Beinn Achaladair. Although the sun appeared now and again there was a cold north wind so it was fairly chilly for early September.

We climbed Beinn Achaladair’s south ridge, over the South Top and onto the summit cairn of Beinn Achaladair where we had good views out over Loch Tulla. The descent was down the north-east ridge which in places followed the edge of the north face and at times was fairly steep on an eroded path.

The bealach was subsequently reached and we joined the route I had taken a month earlier when I climbed Beinn Mhanach with Beinn a’Chreachain. This was up the south-west ridge, over the Munro Top Meall Buidhe and onto the summit of Beinn a’Chreachain. Here we stopped for lunch although it was a bit chilly sitting there due to the cool breeze. I had been advised by the estate owner that they would be shooting on the north side of Beinn a’Chreachain and that access to the hills we had climbed wasn’t a problem. He also told me that the shooting party would be fairly obvious to me.

There was no sign of the shooting party as suggested so we descended Beinn a’Chreachain’s north-west ridge where we spotted a herd of deer which ran off. They appeared to be hinds and as it was the stag stalking season I wasn’t too worried about this. From the 961 Point we descended to the Allt Coire an Lochain and followed the path beside this stream to the railway where we used a small underpass to reach the other side. Beyond that the ground was very wet and boggy and in places pathless but we headed for the bridge over the River Tulla which isn’t shown on the map but from my previous outing I knew it existed.

Once we crossed the river we followed the track, in a fine sunny afternoon, back to Achallader Farm.

previous ascent of Beinn a'Chreachain

Beinn Achaladair Munro fifth ascent 1038 metres
Beinn a'Chreachain Munro fifth ascent 1081 metres

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Beinn Mhanach and Beinn a'Chreachain

28 July 2007

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 7.5 hours. Distance - 23 kilometres. Ascent - 1300 metres.

The start of this walk was Achallader Farm on the east side of the A82 north of Bridge of Orchy opposite Loch Tulla. The farm owner kindly permits free parking within the farm yard a saving of around 3 kilometres if walking to and from the A82. However they do have a container where you can contribute towards the Oban Mountain Rescue Team, a worthwhile cause on its own, but even more so to keep the parking area available to walkers.

I left my car, walked through the farm, and along a vehicle track to a railway bridge. This bridge, which was for walkers only, had obviously been repaired recently and once across it I followed a path up the west side of the Allt Coire Achaladair. The path, which was wet and boggy in places, led to a double corrie, firstly Coire Achaladair and then Coire Daingean.

At the bealach above Coire Daingean I traversed below Beinn Achaladair before descending to the bealach above Gleann Cailliche from where I climbed over the east shoulder of Beinn a'Chuirn to another bealach this time between Beinn a'Chuirn and Beinn Mhanach. From here it was an easy walk to the summit cairn of Beinn Mhanach where a cold wind was blowing.

I didn't remain long at this summit due to the wind and descended to the head of Gleann Cailliche below the bealach I had used earlier. I then climbed grassy slopes to my fourth bealach of the day situated east of Beinn Achaladair from where I ascended the Munro Top Meall Buidhe. Unfortunately I was now in the cloud with more wind and some rain. I walked along a fairly level ridge followed by a slight descent to a col and finally the ascent of Beinn a'Chreachain.

There were no views from this summit so I headed down the north-west ridge above Coire an Lochain but as I did so the cloud began to lift from the Coire revealing the north side of the ridge. I did not travel as far as the 961 point where there was a path but descended into the corrie where I joined the path at the side of the Allt Coire an Lochain.

There were several areas closed off on this descent with deer fences. Although there were stiles the marked route appeared to continue down the burn side to the railway line where there was a low underpass. Once on the north side of the railway line I lost any path, if it existed, as I crossed some very wet vegetation where I disturbed a lone stag.

I eventually found the path again which led to a footbridge, not shown on my map, but it allowed me to cross the Water of Tulla and walk west on the vehicle track on the north side of the river. At the ruin at Barravourich another bridge, wide enough for vehicles but a bit rotten, allowed me to re-cross the river and head back to Achallader Farm arriving there just before another shower of rain.

Beinn Mhanach Munro fourth ascent 953 metres
Beinn a'Chreachain Munro fourth ascent 1081 metres

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Meall Ghaordaidh

23 April 2007

Time taken - 4.25 hours. Distance - 8.5 kilometres. Ascent - 900 metres.

This walk was booked by Shona, one of my regular walkers, who had invited two of her friends, Barbara and Sue. Both were fairly new to climbing Munros, unfortunately the weather wasn’t kind to them.

Drizzly rain welcomed us at the start of the walk in Glen Lochay, just west of the bridge over the Allt Dhuin Croisg. On leaving the public road we crossed a couple of fields as we headed up the west side of the Allt Dhuin Croisg as far as the Shielings. From there we followed a bearing up the south-east ridge of Meall Ghaordaidh and into the cloud. Higher up it was windy and I tried to stay on the lee side of the hill as we approached the summit trig point.

On the summit it was wet, windy with limited visibility so after a short break within the circular cairn that surrounds the trig point we headed downhill and followed the walker’s path which was mainly wet and boggy.

Lower down, once out of the cloud, we stopped for a bite to eat before continuing to our cars in Glen Lochay.

previous ascent

Meall Ghaordaidh Munro fifth ascent 1039 metres.

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Beinn an Dothaidh

1 March 2007

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 5.5 hours. Distance - 9 kilometres. Ascent - 860 metres.

The starting point for this walk was the Railway Station at Bridge of Orchy, located on the east side of the A82 Glasgow to Fort William road. Walkers are encouraged to park their vehicles on the opposite side of the road beside the Bridge of Orchy Hotel.

We crossed the railway line using the underpass, went through a gate and were immediately on the open hillside. It was windy, as per the forecast, with some cloud on the higher summits. An eroded path was followed up the south side of the Allt Coire an Dothaidh. We encountered a snow shower as the path became very boggy. Once beyond the bog the path was steeper as we entered Coire and Dothaidh and reached the snow line.

From here the path was stony with a covering of snow and some icy patches and this led to the bealach between Beinn an Dothaidh and Beinn Dorain. It was still very windy but the earlier cloud was clearing and the snow covered Glen Etive Munros were at their best in the sunlight.

The next section of this walk involved a climb to the bealach between the 1000 metre west summit of Beinn an Dothaidh and its highest point.Here there was more lying snow and at times spin drift swirling around in the wind which wasn’t as strong as earlier. However a lot of the lying snow surrounding the summit had been blown away in the earlier strong wind leaving a slightly icy crust.

On reaching the summit of Beinn an Dothaidh we had some fantastic views of the surrounding mountains including the Cruchan Group, the earlier mentioned Glen Etive hills, Beinn Achaladair and its neighbours and Ben More and Stob Binnein. We spent some time there taking in all these views and identifying the different summits before heading over to the south summit where we had some alternative views.

From the south summit we descended towards our upward route and returned to the bealach. We then followed the ascent route path back to the Railway Station at Bridge of Orchy. By this time the wind had dropped considerably and it was a lot milder.

Beinn an Dothaidh Munro fourth ascent 1004 metres

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Beinn Ghlas and Ben Lawers

10 October 2006

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 4.5 hours Distance - 9.5 kilometres. Ascent - 900 metres.

This was the second day guiding for Ashwood Apartments, Callander and the plan was to climb the Munros, Beinn Ghlas and Ben Lawers. However, only Steve was available for the walk as his partner had sustained a knee injury in a slip on Ben Ledi the previous day.

The weather forecast was for a fine day so we were looking forward to some good views from these mountains despite the mist as we approached the starting point, which was the National Trust Car Park on the link road between Loch Tay and Glen Lyon.

We set off from the car park and followed the path up the north-west ridge of Beinn Ghlas. The wind got stronger as we gained height and the cloud was blowing around obliterating any views. The summit of Beinn Ghlas was reached which was followed by a short descent and the climb to the summit of Ben Lawers, which was Steve’s fourth, 4,000 foot Munro.

The cloud was still covering the mountain so we returned to the bealach and took the path leading to the Beinn Ghlas/Meall Corranaich bealach before returning to the National Trust Car Park.

The forecast had been rather inaccurate as a few fellow walkers mentioned when we spoke to them.

previous ascent

Beinn Ghlas Munro sixth ascent 1103 metres
Ben Lawers Munro sixth ascent 1214 metres

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Meall nan Tarmachan

7 August 2006

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 2.25hours. Distance - 6.5 kilometres Ascent - 670 metres

I had the morning to spare en-route home from Glen Coe so I decided to utilise it to climb Meall nan Tarmachan, it being a relatively easy hill to ascend within a couple of hours.

It was sunny with a cold wind when I set off from the parking area north of the Lawers Visitor Centre on the road that links Loch Tay to Glen Lyon. I walked along a vehicle track for a short distance and thereafter followed the path that led to the summit of Meall nan Tarmachan over its South East Top.

It was fairly cold and windy on the summit so I only remained there for a few minutes before heading back down the path to the car park. During the descent I saw collie dogs and their owners at work clearing sheep and lambs from the south slopes of Meall Corranaich.

Meall nan Tarmachan Munro fourth ascent 1044 metres

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Beinn Ghlas and Ben Lawers

15 May 2006

Time taken - 5.75 hours. Distance - 10 kilometres. Ascent - 900 metres.

This walk involved American clients who have been coming to Scotland for their annual vacation for the last five years. During their holiday in Scotland they spend one day climbing a Munro. On the previous four occasions the weather in the mountains has been typically Scottish with wind, rain and poor visibility. This year they were hoping their luck would change and at least they would get some good views from the summits.

It was raining when I met my clients in Crianlarich and drove them to the National Trust for Scotland's Visitor Centre. The clouds were at least rolling around the hills and not at a set height so there was a chance that we may at least have some views.

We set off from the Visitor Centre and took the marked trail to Ben Lawers. The rain had relented and it was now just a light drizzle as we walked across the wooden walkway over the bog. The rain eventually ceased but the rest of the day there were some light showers.

Once out of the conservation area we headed up the eroded path towards Beinn Ghlas. Sections of the path had been repaired so walking was relatively easy. The summit of Beinn Ghlas was eventually reached where it was windy with no views so we descended to the bealach with Ben Lawers where there were still some patches of snow at the edges of the ridge.

The ascent of Ben Lawers was slightly steeper and again the path had been repaired in places. As we climbed towards the summit there were a few breaks in the clouds and we had short glimpses of the north ridge of Meall Corranaich. We met a couple, whom we had seen earlier, returning from the summit and they said they had no views. However on our arrival at the summit a few minutes later we had several short breaks in the cloud to at least allow my clients an idea what the surrounding mountains looked like.

The ground under the trig point on Ben Lawers is very eroded with the wooden supports showing so unless some attention is given to the base of the trig point it will eventually collapse.

We returned to the bealach and took the path round the west side of Beinn Ghlas before re-joining the path used on the upward route and returned to the car park as the rain started again and on this occasion it was heavier than what we had experienced on the hill.

Unfortunately that is now five years, and six Munros and my American clients haven't had a decent weather day Munro bagging.

previous ascent

Beinn Ghlas Munro fifth ascent 1103 metres
Ben Lawers Munro fifth ascent 1214 metres

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Creag Mhor and Beinn Heasgarnich

8 May 2006

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 6.5 hours. Distance - 17.5 kilometres. Ascent - 1440 metres.

It was a bright but windy morning when I set off west along the 'high road' in Glen Lochay to climb the Munros Creag Mhor and Beinn Heasgarnich. I had planned an early start to enable me to finish mid afternoon so there was no one else about, other than an empty car, when I started.

I walked the five kilometres along the vehicle track to the bridge over the Allt Batavaim and climbed up Sron nan Eun. There were a lot of rocky outcrops lower down, very few of them indicated on the map. On Sron nan Eun there was a path and it was very windy in places so at times it was a bit of a battle to reach the summit cairn of Creag Mhor.

It was too windy to stop at the summit so I descended towards the bealach with Meall Tionail before heading down to the bealach between Creag Mhor and Beinn Heasgarnich avoiding several snow fields. Here I spotted a fellow walker going in the opposite direction also trying to avoid the snowfields.

On reaching this bealach it was a steady climb up onto the west ridge of Stob an Fhir-Bhogha where again it was very windy. From this summit to the top of Beinn Heasgarnich it was tough going in the wind but I eventually reached the summit cairn where a couple were trying to take shelter. They had come up from the high point on the road linking Glens Lochay and Lyon.

I descended into Coire Ban More avoiding the snow filled burns as a lot of the snow was ready to collapse into the water. I took a direct route over the north-east ridge of Stob an Fhir-Hogha, which involved a steep and in places rocky descent to the wet and boggy ground to the south of Lochan Achlarich. Finally I climbed the south ridge of Creag nam Bodach and descended directly back to my car arriving there mid-afternoon as planned.

Creag Mhor Munro fourth ascent 1047 metres
Beinn Heasgarnich Munro fourth ascent 1078 metres

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Beinn nan Imirean

7 May 2006

Time taken - 3.25 hours. Distance - 11 kilometres. Ascent - 680 metres.

It was a wet morning when I set off from the A85 in Glen Dochart and headed towards Auchessan Farm. A sign at the road end welcomed hill walkers with a few requests including if you are caught short cover it with a stone as our dogs love to roll in it. I am aware of the procedures but it is the first time I have seen this on a notice board.

The route goes round the back of the Old Farmhouse and followed a vehicle track then a path up the side of an un-named stream. The rain was a bit lighter now and for the rest of the walk was intermittent.

The stream was followed until it entered the low cloud and I therefore had to navigate to the summit of Beinn nan Imirean. All I saw was a hare and a couple of grouse that I disturbed.

There was no point in remaining at the summit as the cloud was unlikely to lift so I returned by the ascent route to the stream and thereafter the start.

Beinn nan Imirean Corbett second ascent 849 metres.

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Beinn Dearg

26 February 2006

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 3.25 hours. Distance - 9.5 kilometres. Ascent - 620 metres.

This was the final Corbett I needed to re-ascend in Glen Lyon so I set off again from Innerwick and followed the track on the east side of the Allt Ghallabhaich through the forest. Once beyond the forest I followed the bank of a stream to a bealach where a couple in front obviously decided that they had had enough and headed back downhill.

From the bealach it was a relatively easy climb through some snow, bog and heather to reach the summit cairn with its views of Carn Gorm and the Ben Lawers range.

It was cold and windy on the summit so once I took the necessary photographs I descended by my ascent route to the start.

For those climbing this hill in poor weather there is an old fence which follows the west ridge of Beinn Dearg for the final 130 metres. In fact it rises up out of the Lairig Ghallabhaich and could be used if heading across to the Graham Meall a'Mhuic.

Beinn Dearg Corbett second ascent 830 metres

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Meall nan Subh

19 February 2006

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 1.5 hours. Distance - 3 kilometres. Ascent - 320 metres.

This Corbett only takes around an hour to climb so it is a suitable hill to add to a morning walk, like Cam Chreag (see below).

The starting point is the gate at the highest point on the single track road leading from Pubil, in Glen Lyon, across to Kenknock , in Glen Lochay. The gate may be locked as apparently the road belongs to the Hydro Board.

Initially the walk involved a fairly steep climb where I disturbed a hare and some deer. Once beyond some rocks the gradient eased and I reached the snow level. Here it started to lightly snow for a while and I was engulfed in cloud with some poor visibility as I headed onto the south ridge of Meall nan Subh. From here I navigated to the summit, where there are four different knolls, the north-east one being the highest.

As I approached the south-west knoll the cloud broke to give me some views and this happened several times as I made my way over the south-west top before heading for the summit. From the summit I went to the north-west knoll to take some photos of the sun as it tried to break through the cloud above the summit of Beinn Heasgarnich.

I left the this knoll and descended back to the start disturbing more deer, or possibly the same deer again. Despite the snow and poor weather conditions it was an ideal short walk to finish of the weekend and of course to bag another Corbett.

The time taken to climb this hill doesn't really justify a day's outing so it should be tagged onto something else in the area. There are of course plenty to choose from.

Meall nan Subh Corbett second ascent 804 metres

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Cam Chreag

19 February 2006

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 4 hours. Distance - 12 kilometres. Ascent - 650 metres.

The starting point of this walk was Innerwick in Glen Lyon and from here I followed the track up the west side of the Allt Ghallabhaich and onto the track up the side of the Allt a'Choire Uidhre to a corrugated hut just below the highest point in the glen. It was a cold and cloudy morning with the cloud below the summits.

From just before this hut I climbed up through some soft snow, into the cloud and onto the wind swept fairly level ridge and headed for the summit cairn. I waited at the cairn for a few minutes as it appeared that the cloud was going to break up but to no avail.

I descended by the south-east ridge, spotting a ptarmigan en-route, to Coire Odhar before joining the upward route and the walk back along the track to the start.

Cam Chreag Corbett second ascent 862 metres

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17 February 2006

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 3.75 hours. Distance - 10 kilometres. Ascent - 755 metres.

The forecast was for a fine winter's day so I decided to extend my weekend hill walking and head for Schiehallion. It was fine and sunny when I arrived at the car park at Braes of Foss and Schiehallion had a good covering of snow.

The car park was already more than half full of parked cars as I set off along a new path, well new to me as I hadn't been here since its creation. The path ran southwards near to a stream before it headed up the east ridge of Schiehallion. The path was a vast improvement on the eroded one that previously headed directly onto the east ridge. It also gave better views.

As I climbed up the east ridge I passed family groups who were out for the day as well as walkers heading back down the mountain. From around 650 metres there was lying snow and the path subsequently disappeared underneath it so I am not sure how far up the mountainside the path actually goes.

There was no difficulty with finding a route as several walkers had been there before me and I soon reached the summit with some cloud swirling about. I spotted a group of about seven walkers descending a gully towards Carn Dearg and I later saw them heading towards Gleann Mor. There was a cold wind blowing but I found a sheltered spot and sat in the sun eating my lunch with a snowy Carn Mairg Group in front of me. I had the summit to myself until I was joined by a chap I spoke to at the start. He had been concerned about the snow conditions as he didn't have an axe or crampons.

I returned to the car park by my ascent route but despite it being mid afternoon there were still people heading for the summit as well as a few strollers.

Schiehallion Munro fourth ascent 1083 metres

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Tyndrum Corbetts

26 December 2005

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 10 hours. Distance - 20 kilometres. Ascent - 2070 metres.

It was very cold and frosty in the Glen as I set off from the car park on the A82 Tyndrum to Bridge of Orchy Road, just north of the council boundary. Firstly I had to walk a short distance north to the railway underpass which is part of the West Highland Way route.

I followed the West Highland Way south for a couple of hundred metres before steadily climbing the steep sided Beinn Odhar, stopping occasionally to take in the views of the surrounding mountains. Near the summit I saw a ptarmigan which stood out in its white winter plumage, especially with the lack of any snow in the area to camouflage it.

I eventually reached the summit cairn but there was a cold breeze blowing so I set off south-east down the long ridge to the watershed for the Allts Cumhang and a'Chaol Ghlinne. From here it was another long slog to the summit trig point of Beinn Chaoraich.

The next Corbett wasn't so exhausting as the bealach was at 640 metres and there were old electric fence posts to follow, although that wasn't necessary as visibility was still good despite it having clouded over a bit. I eventually reached the summit of Cam-chreag which is surrounded by crags.

On a previous occasion, in poor weather, this was the turning point in my day's outing but this time, with a few hours of daylight left, I decided to set off for my fourth Corbett, Beinn nan Fuaran. It was a long gradual descent to 350 metres before crossing the Allt a'Mhaim. This was followed by some frozen boggy ground and a steady climb to the summit cairn where it was trying to snow. However out west the sun's reflection was orange on the distant hills and on the thin cloud in the glens.

I then had a steep descent to the frozen peat hags which marked the bealach between Beinn nan Fuaran and my final and fifth Corbett of the day, Beinn a'Chaisteil. It was a steady climb to the summit of this final Corbett and it was almost dark when I reached the summit cairn.

I didn't linger here as I wanted to get some of the descent completed before it became totally dark and I would have to rely on my head torch. I descended by the south-east ridge and just beyond the Creagan Liatha crags I changed direction and headed steeply downhill towards Glen Coralan. By this time the torch was required to enable me to pick my way down between some small crags and to avoid the gullies.

Eventually I reached the vehicle track in Glen Coralan, just where it started, and here walking became a lot easier and faster. I followed this track to the Auch Glen beside the railway viaduct. The walk down the Auch Glen involved a river crossing at a ford but the main problem was avoiding the ice as the river wasn't that deep and I crossed dry shod. After this I picked up the West Highland Way path and followed it uphill to the car park and the end of a longish day in the hills.

previous ascent of Beinn Odhar, Beinn a'Chaorach and Cam-chreag

previous ascent of Beinn nam Fuaran and Beinn a'Chaisteil

Beinn Odhar Corbett second ascent 901 metres
Beinn Chaorach Corbett second ascent 818 metres
Cam-chreag Corbett second ascent 884 metres
Beinn nam Fuaran Corbett second ascent 806 metres
Beinn a'Chaisteil Corbett second ascent 886 metres

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Glen Lochay Munro & Corbett

3 December 2005

photos taken on walk

On my last visit to the Corbett Beinn nan Oighreag I thought that combining it with the Munro, Meall Ghaordaidh, would make an interesting day out so this was today's plan.

I set off from just west of Duncroisk in Glen Lochay and followed muddy vehicle tracks through a couple of fields on the north side of the Glen. It was cloudy with spots of rain at this time. Higher up, near some shielings I followed a boggy path up the south-east ridge of Meall Ghaordaidh and as I gained height the wind became a bit stronger and it was cooler. There was some snow patches but these I could avoid.

I reached a more level section of the ridge, which I recalled was a quite boggy, but on this occasion the ground was still a bit frozen so the traverse of this area was a bit easier.

I was now into the cloud base as I headed up steeper and rockier sections of this mountain and again I was able to avoid the snow patches, before reaching the summit trig point, where it was trying to snow. A couple of walkers, whom I had seen earlier were leaving the summit, while another three, who had just arrived, were trying to get into their bivy shelter. Another four walkers, whom I had come across on the hill earlier arrived, well three of them did, as I never saw the slowest member of their group, once we were in the cloud. You can see that the summit was a bit crowded for a poor winter's day.

I took a bearing and paced my way off the first section of Meall Ghaordaidh as I wanted to walk along its north-east ridge. This involved taking in Cam Chreag and Point 815 where I located some old fence posts. From this point I descended steeply, beside some rocky outcrops and fence posts to the watershed between the Allt na h-lolaire, which flowed south towards Glen Lochay and the Allt Lairig Luaidhe, which flowed north into Glen Lyon. As I descended I came out of the cloud and I must have disturbed a large herd of hinds as they were headed up my next hill.

From the watershed a climbed up onto the south ridge of Beinn nan Oighreag which had large patches of snow, some of which couldn't be avoided and back into the cloud, which was more patchy here.

I followed the ridge to a cairn that I presumed was the summit. The map showed a large area all above 900 metres so I checked my GPS to confirm that this cairn was the summit. However the GPS indicated that the summit was slightly further south at a large rock so I visited it as well but there was no cairn. I later checked three books and they all gave different grid references for the summit, so those visiting this hill be aware. In the mist it was very difficult to say what was the highest point but I think that may be the case in a clear day as well.

I then retreated down the south ridge of Beinn nan Oighreag and reached the stream crossings as it was getting dark. The last section of the walk, which later joined the morning's route, was done with the aid of a head torch.

Combining these two hills is an ideal way of bagging a Munro and Corbett in one outing instead of making two separate trips.

Meall Ghaordaidh Munro fourth ascent 1039 metres
Beinn nan Oighreag Corbett second ascent 909 metres

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Tummel Corbetts

20 November 2005

photos taken on walk

These two Corbetts are located north of Aberfeldy in Perthshire. We had two cars so these hills were suitable for a linear walk thus avoiding retracing our steps.

I left my car at Edradynate on the north side of the River Tay with permission from the Keeper there. My client then drove us to the B846 Coshieville to Tummel Bridge Road to a point north of the Schiehallion road. From here we walked along the vehicle track, which is fairly steep, through the forest. Once out onto the open hillside the gradient eased and we followed the track to just below the summit of Meall Tairneachan.

We left the road and followed traces of a path to the summit trig point. The strength of the wind increased and bands of low cloud were blown through obstructing our views from the summit.

There was little likelihood of an immediate improvement in the weather so we descended to the track and headed to the Baryte Mines. I was told on a previous visit to these hills that this is one of only a few areas in the United Kingdom where this mineral, which is used in drilling mud for the North Sea, is mined. The area is a massive tip of old and defunct vehicles and rusting scrap along with the present equipment.

Once beyond the mine we continued on the vehicle track to where it ended on the north side of Creag an Loch. From here we walked through some long heather and round some bogs until we were just below Farragon Hill. We ascended this hill from the south side as it was more sheltered and it was warmer here as we had a brief sunny period.

It was cold on the summit so we descended east and sought some shelter while we ate lunch. The cloud had descended by the time we were finished and we continued down the ridge to reach the track that went from Edradynate to Loch Tummel. This track was followed back to Edradynate and the end of the walk.

Meall Tairneachan Corbett second ascent 787 metres
Farragon Hill Corbett second ascent 783 metres

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Glen Lyon Backpack

2 - 3 July 2005

photos taken on walk

The request from my client was a backpacking trip taking in two Corbetts, commencing from Pubil in Glen Lyon. This was the first time I had climbed these hills from the south. On a previous visit, in 2001, I did a complete traverse of Loch an Daimh taking in the Corbetts and Munros.

It was late evening when we set off from the Loch Lyon dam and by this time the sky had clouded over and it was windy. The start of the walk involved a short steep climb to the track that runs along the north side of Loch Lyon. We followed this track for about a kilometre to a point where a fence and the remains of an old dyke headed off uphill. We did likewise keeping to the west side of the fence.

The climb, as expected, was fairly steep in places but relatively easy underfoot. The Ordnance Survey map for the area shows several broken contours which map readers will be aware indicates steep ground. However the main problem was the wind which was now stronger.

We reached the top of Meall Phubuill and headed out towards Point 796, traversing round its north-east side to avoid the wind. From here we tried to keep to the lee side of the ridge as we headed to the bealach between the two streams Eas nan Aighean that flowed into Loch Lyon to the south and Fieth Thalain that flowed in the opposite direction into Loch an Daimh.

It was now getting dark so we dropped down from the bealach where we set up camp and as we did so the rain commenced. It was a rushed job so that our equipment and ourselves could stay reasonably dry.

During the night the wind became stronger with frequent heavy showers. My tent took a fair battering and I remained awake most of the night concerned that it was likely to take off. I went outside on a couple of occasions to tighten guy ropes and ensure the tent was still pegged down. One of the poles kept bending and I thought it was going to snap but thankfully it stood up to the wind.

In the morning it was still very windy and it would probably have been impossible to walk along the ridge to Meall Buidhe. I was also concerned about leaving my tent in the wind in case it blew away.

We were grounded for most of the morning but later the wind appeared to drop slightly and we headed off to the summit of Meall Buidhe mainly following a line of fence posts. It was windy with frequent rain showers but at least we weren't carrying packs so the climb to the summit wasn't too much of a problem.

The descent back to the camp site was in rain and a hail shower. On our return we found our gear still there and we had lunch. During lunch there were frequent rain showers and together with the strong wind this prevented us from dismantling the camp site until the afternoon.

Once we had packed up we headed off down the side of the Feith Thalain before traversing to the bealach, which was ridden by peat hags, south-west of Sron a'Choire Chnapanich. Progress was slow trying to find the best route through these peat hags but we eventually reached the other side and commenced the final climb to the summit of Sron a'Choire Chnapanich. At least the frequent rain showers were easing now as was the wind.

From the summit we headed off down the south ridge to the Allt Phubuill where we picked up a track which we followed to Pubil. The final stage was a short walk along the tarred road to the dam where we had started the previous day.

This was the end of what was planned to be a short backpacking trip but in reality turned out to be very eventful. One consolation was there were absolutely no sign of any midges.

Meall Buidhe Corbett second ascent 907 metres
Sron a'Choire Chnapanich Corbett second ascent 837 metres

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Beinn Dorain

29 June 2005

This booking was made last year by David Heinaman of Pennsylvania, USA. His wife, brother and himself had walked with me last summer, albeit in poor conditions, and he had planned a return visit to Scotland and wanted to climb another Munro. On this occasion his daughter and son in law, were also coming across the Pond for their first visit to Scotland.

It was a sunny but windy morning when I met my clients at their accommodation in Crianlarich before driving the few miles north to Bridge of Orchy Railway Station. This was the starting point for the walk I had planned this year and I wanted it to be slightly different from the wet and boggy approach to Ben Challum, which was the Munro we climbed last year.

The start of the walk entailed crossing the railway line by an underpass which also gives access to the station. This short section is also part of the West Highland Way as it crosses from the east side of the railway over the main A82 Glasgow to Fort William road and heads for Victoria Bridge at the west end of Loch Tulla.

Once beyond the railway the path passed a radio mast and headed towards the Allt Coire an Dothaidh. We followed this path on the east side of the stream as it climbed up towards Coire an Dothaidh. The path was a bit eroded in places and higher up it was a bit boggy, but not as bad as it could have been if it hadn't been fairly dry recently.

Unfortunately the sun soon disappeared and it started to cloud over, which was the forecast. I was hoping that the rain was going to be later in arriving than predicted.

Once into Coire an Dothaidh we managed to find some shelter from the wind to have a break before a slightly steeper climb up a loose boulder path to the bealach at 744 metres. It was cold and windy here with spots of rain in the wind so we donned waterproofs before climbing up the north ridge. From the ridge we had good views to the north, including Ben Nevis. Some of these peaks were still in the sun as they stood out from the now duller southern peaks.

The path attempts to keep to the highest point on the ridge as it twists its way beyond a small lochan to the large summit cairn. A short descent followed and the ridge narrowed as we climbed to the true summit of Beinn Dorain.

Unfortunately the cloud base lowered and it commenced to rain so we sought shelter for lunch. During lunch the cloud engulfed us for short spells and was then blown clear giving some atmospheric character during our break.

The return to Bridge of Orchy was by the ascent route and as we approached the bealach we cleared the cloud and were able to see our route of descent. Once onto the path at the side of the Allt Coire an Dothaidh the wind had dropped and by the time we arrived back at the Station Car Park it was damp and calm, great midge weather, and they didn't disappoint us as they were out looking for blood.

My clients sensibly jumped into their vehicle to protect themselves from these annoying pests before we departed company for another year.

Beinn Dorain Munro fourth ascent 1076 metres

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The Northern Ben Lawers Range

7 March 2005

Today I was booked by Shona to climb the Munros Meall Corranaich and Meall a'Choire Leith.

The starting point was the road leading across to Glen Lyon from Loch Tay. This single track road is not kept open during the winter months but fortunately most of the snow and ice had melted and there were only a few sections of the road affected by patches of drifting snow.

We parked at the cairn north of Lochan na Lairige and headed over wet snow covered bog towards the ridge west of the Allt Gleann Da-Eig. Unfortunately in one of these boggy sections my leg disappeared down a hole and into the bog. There was evidence that others had done the likewise over the preceding weekend.

There are some old fence posts running along this ridge almost to the summit which assisted with navigation. Some icy patches required to be avoided but it wasn't necessary to use our crampons.

The cloud base was down below the summits so there was no view as we approached Meall Corranaich where we encountered a light snow shower. It was a bit colder here in the wind.

From the summit of Meall Corranaich we descended the north ridge which later splits in two. The cloud was starting to clear and we were able to see some of the cornices that had formed on the east side of the ridge. As we reached the bealach we had views back towards Meall Corranaich and across to Beinn Ghlas, Ben Lawers, An Stuc and Meall Garbh.

Meall a'Choire Leith was relatively easy to climb and on reaching the summit cairn we had some good views of the snow clad mountains. We then descended through the snow towards the Allt Gleann Da Eig, spotting lots of deer feeding on the bare parts of the hillside.

At this stream we had some lunch before we climbed to the summit of the Corbett Meall nam Maigheach. There are two cairns here about 500 metres apart and we visited both. However we believe the northerly one to be around a metre higher if the altimeter can be believed.

We left the summit of Meall nam Maigheach and headed to a stone dyke which we followed for a while before crossing the hillside to the start of the day's walk.

Meall Corranaich Munro fourth ascent 1069 metres
Meall a'Choire Leith Munro fourth ascent 926 metres
Meall nam Maigheach Corbett second ascent 779 metres

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Ben Challum

01 July 2004

Some months ago David Heinaman from Pennsylvania contacted me. He and his wife were making a return visit to Scotland and wanted to climb another Munro, having climbed Ben Lomond, on their previous visit.

The choice of Munro was left to me and as they were staying at Crianlarich and the weather forecast wasn't promising I settled for Ben Challum, Calum's peak.

David, and his wife Joyce, were joined by David's brother Bob a resident of London and Keswick who had travelled north to climb his first Munro, although he walks regularly south of the border.

We set off from Strath Fillan, past Kirkton Farm, the remains of St Fillan's Priory and a couple of small graveyards. Although they are very old there appeared to be a couple of new headstones in one.

We crossed the railway line at the level crossing and headed up the grassy and wet hillside. Despite the surrounding mountains being shrouded in cloud and the underfoot conditions my clients appeared to be enjoying Scotland.

We reached the summit of the South Top in very windy conditions and both gentlemen were snapping away with their digital cameras as we were about to be engulfed in low cloud.

The climb to the actual summit of Ben Challum entailed a slight descent from the South Top and a walk along a narrowing ridge before the final summit climb. There were no views from the windblown summit so we went down the north ridge for a few metres to get out of the wind and to partake of lunch. While eating our lunch the cloud cleared and we had good views down Glen Lochay and of the surrounding mountains. This allowed my clients to get some additional photographs.

Thereafter we returned by our ascent route but shortly after leaving the summit the cloud came down again and it rained heavily for about twenty minutes before allowing us to return to our cars in drier conditions.

This was David and Joyce's second Munro and Bob's first. I think they want to come back for more so the changeable weather didn't put them off Scotland too much.

Ben Challum Munro fifth ascent 1025 metres

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Auch Hills

13 September 2003

In July I climbed two of the Auch Hills so I was back to complete the other three Corbetts. According to Corbett books it is possible to do all five in one outing but I was quite happy to do only three as it involves a fair bit of climbing.

A friend and I started off from the A82 north of Tyndrum, crossed the West Highland Way and climbed steeply up onto the summit of Beinn Odhar. Unfortunately the cloud base was around 500 metres so once higher up there was nothing to see. A steep descent took us out of the cloud for a short time before another steep pull up into the cloud and to the summit of Beinn Chaorach. A more gradual descent took us to a bealach where an old wind powered generator appeared out of the mist. This generator was used to feed power to the now defunct electric fences that cover these ridges. A final climb up to the summit of Cam-chreag was the third and final Corbett for the day.

The return took us down into Auch Glen and a walk back along the West Highland Way to the start of the day’s outing.

Beinn Odhar Corbett first ascent 901 metres
Beinn Chaorach Corbett first ascent 818 metres
Cam-chreag Corbett first ascent 885 metres

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Lawers Range

23 June 2003

Collected two ladies, Laila and Shona, and headed for the Lawers group of hills.

From the Visitor Centre a path leads easily up onto Beinn Ghlas. Although good views were had the wind was very strong and care was required. After a coffee break on the lee side of the summit we headed for Ben Lawers and then onto An Stac. The wind was still very strong and the cloud base had lowered so views were now restricted. A return towards Ben Lawers and a traverse round its north ridge took us to the bealach and a path back to the car.

Beinn Ghlas Munro fourth ascent 1103 metres
Ben Lawers Munro fourth ascent 1214 metres
An Stuc Munro fourth ascent 1118 metres

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Auch Hills

21 June 2003

Weather forecast was poor for the following weekend so a short trip onto two of the Auch Corbetts was all that I did as I had an outing to the Lawers Range planned for the next day.

Beinn a'Chaisteil Corbett first ascent 886 metres
Beinn nam Fuaran Corbett first ascent 806 metres

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Glen Lyon Munros

7 June 2003

I joined a group for a walk round the four Munros in Glen Lyon. Starting from Invervar in Glen Lyon we strolled up the path at the side of the Invervar Burn and once beyond the forest crossed the stream and headed over open hillside towards Carn Gorm. Frances and Helen were forcing the pace as they blethered away ignoring the others’ demands for a coffee break. At last they heard the shouted abuse and we all enjoyed a short break for a cuppa and to take in the views. Shortly after this the rain started and we summitted Carn Gorm, some of us a bit wet.

The next target was the Munro Meall Garbh without taking in the Munro Top An Sgorr, as the leader seemed to want to avoid the short climb to its summit. After Meall Garbh the rain stopped and we found a sheltered location for lunch prior to the ascent of the Munro Top Meall a’Bharr and the Munro Carn Mairg.

Allison, Frances and I went out to the Munro Top Meall Liath before catching up on the others who had cut across to the final Munro of the day Meall na Aighean. A nice leisurely descent down its south-west ridge took us back to our starting point and the end of a good day’s walk.

Carn Gorm Munro fourth ascent 1029 metres
Meall Garbh Munro fourth ascent 968 metres
Carn Mairg Munro fourth ascent 1041 metres
Meall na Aighean Munro fourth ascent 981 metres

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