Walk: Tarmachan Ridge - making a Meall of a Munro

[Tarmachan Ridge at Meall Garbh]

A few miles west of mighty Ben Lawers is the lower Munro lump of Meall nan Tarmachan (Rounded hill of the ptarmigan). Its grassy slopes and sprawling summit give little clue to what lies beyond: a wonderful, characterful traverse encompassing three further summits, short sections of exposed ridge and one slightly awkward (though avoidable) scramble. Meall Garbh is the highlight: a jaunty dome with the most dramatic part of the route immediately beyond it. Loch Tay sparkles to the south, while Glen Lochay stretches away west towards an array of West Highland hills. Overall, a very satisfying hillwalking feast with plenty of interest.

[Ben Lawers & Lochan na Làirige, seen from the ascent of Meall nan Tarmachan]

📌 Walk: Tarmachan Ridge - making a Meall of a Munro ★★★★☆
▶ 14 km / 9 miles ▲ 850 metres ⌚ Full day walk
Main summits: Meall nan Tarmachan (1044 metres, Munro); Meall Garbh (1027 metres); Beinn nan Eachan (1000 metres); Creag na Caillich (916 metres)
Start / finish: National Trust for Scotland car park (with charge) on minor road 2 miles north of Edramucky, Loch Tay, G.R.: NN 608377 ///area.bloom.jogging

Route: Car park - cross track at G.R.: NN 603379 - Meall nan Tarmachan - Meall Garbh - Beinn nan Eachan - Creag na Caillich - return to previous bealach - join track below quarry at G.R.: NN 573373 - track junction on outward route at G.R.: NN 603379 - start
Terrain: Good hill path with sustained ascent until Meall nan Tarmachan, with improvements to the short boggy sections in progress at time of writing. Generally clear but rougher path beyond, with a little exposure in places and a short, slightly awkward scramble on descent from Meall Garbh. The scramble is avoidable on grass to the north. Intermittent, faint path (wet in places) for first mile of descent from ridge, then good track.
Wildlife today: A few sheep; friendly raven following us from summit to summit.
Weather today: Clear at first with some clouds in the afternoon. Light winds, just above freezing at Munro level. Snow patches above about 700 metres - a few on the path - and high altitude lochans still frozen and snow covered from the winter. Water ice made the scramble off from Meall Garbh difficult.

[Meall Garbh (left), Beinn nan Eachan (right) & Creag na Caillich (centre) from Meall nan Tarmachan] 

Route map


Route credit: Walkhighlands (modified)

Chronological photo guide

[The ascent of Meall nan Tarmachan is on a good path]

[Snowy Meall nan Tarmachan beyond the first false summit]

[Ben Lawers beyond Lochan na Làirige, from the ascent of Meall nan Tarmachan]

[Loch Tay seen from the 923 metre false summit]

[Ben Lawers from Meall nan Tarmachan summit]

[Loch Tay from the summit of Meall nan Tarmachan]

[View west from Meall nan Tarmachan]

[Zoom of the three remaining summits: Meall Garbh (left), Beinn nan Eachan (right) & Creag na Caillich (centre)]

[Frozen lochan]

[Approach to Meall Garbh]

[Meall nan Tarmachan from Meall Garbh]

[Raven on Meall Garbh]

[The narrowest section of ridge, leading west from Meall Garbh]

[Looking back to Meall Garbh]

[Coire Riadhailt]

[The way ahead to Beinn nan Eachan & Creag na Caillich]

[Looking back at the hardest part of the route: the descent from Meall Garbh]

[Meall Garbh (right) & Meall nan Tarmachan (left) from Beinn nan Eachan]

[Looking west to Meall Ghaordaidh]

[Route to Creag na Caillich]

[Beinn nan Eachan (left), Meall Garbh (right) & Meall nan Tarmachan (centre) from Creag na Caillich]

[Looking west up Glen Lochay from Creag na Caillich]

[The descent from the ridge has only a faint, intermittent path]

[Great views of Ben Lawers from the return route]

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