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The Tarmachan Ridge

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There is one Munro included in this ridge, which looks over towards its bigger neighbour Ben Lawers. The ridge does however take in four other tops and taking in as it does some fine crag scenery adjacent to the ridge, it is a highly enjoyable outing.

Park just off the minor road which goes from Loch Tay to Glen Lyon, about 500 metres north of the National Trust for Scotland Visitor Centre for Ben Lawers. This is about 5 km north of Killin, which is a convenient centre for the area. The minor road leading to the visitor centre is often problematic on a winter's morning.

From the parking spot off the minor road, walk along a private road for a few minutes then take to a path on the hillside on the right to gain the south ridge of Meall nan Tarmachan. The SE top at 923m is reached, then a small bump ringed by the 900m contour line, before the col is gained by a short descent. This col lies beneath the south-east face, which like much of this ridge is quite craggy. Go straight up the steepening slope and at a rake below the upper rocks turn right and follow it north for about 150 metres before finally taking to steep grass on the left to reach the summit cairn of Meall nan Tarmachan, the Munro of the day.

The remainder of the ridge is now followed, taking the broad grassy ridge south-west to a col with two small lochans. Above, the ridge leads to the summit of Meall Garbh, whose pointy wee summit at 1026m is easily the best of the day. The next section of the traverse continues west along a narrow ridge before dropping steeply to the next col. Stick to the path as it twists its way up the ridge to the next top, Beinn nan Eachan (1000m).

The last top, Creag na Caillich (916m, crag of the old woman or witch), is easily gained from Beinn nan Eachan, dropping down a grassy slope then following the level ridge south-west to a col and a final rise to the summit.

To descend from the last top, go back towards the col between Creag na Caillich and Beinn nan Eachan, avoiding crags below the summit ridge. When it is visibly safe to do so, descend south-east into the Coire Fionn Lairige and cross the grassy bowl of this, heading towards the tail end of the south ridge of Meall Garbh to reach a disused quarry and the private road which leads in a tramp of several kilometres to the starting point.


Maps: OS Sheet 51 'Loch Tay & Glen Dochart'
Distance: 12 km
Ascent: c. 900m
Time: 5 hours
Food & Drink: Killin has several hotels, with the Kingshouse at the scenic Falls of Dochart being a friendly standard model.


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