Meall nan Tarmachan - 1044m
Meall Ghaordaidh - 1039m
Wednesday 22nd May 2013
Weather/Conditions: Sunny morning, and ncie on Meall nan Tarmachan. Windy with threat of showers - some high winds moving through on Meall Ghaordaidh bringing heavy showers interspersed with hot sun, then light mist on the very top.
Distance/Ascent/Time: 15.4km / 1570m / 5h 30m
Let me explain. I'd climbed Ben Vorlich, Stuc a' Chroin and Ben Chonzie the day before, and only left Comrie after 9pm, stopping in Killin for a drink and some wifi. I then headed onto the Meall nan Tarmachan car park to spend the night. I spent the night sleeping in the car, which turned out to be a bit of a mistake.
For some reason, I just didn't sleep well, despite the fact I've happily snoozed in the front seat before. I kept waking up with pressure points, a sore knee (not good!) and sometimes sitting the wrong way on my legs so they went numb. Oops. I just kept waking up, and never got into deep sleep.
By the time 9am rolled around, I still felt pretty groggy and not in the mood for a hill. Overnight rain had cleared to bright blue skies, but a sharp northerly wind whistled through the car. It was cold outside and the wind blew without respite. I was in no mood to move, and stayed in my sleeping back in the warming sun until I decided I'd really better get going.
I decided I couldn't cook a breakfast in this wind, so drove down toward Loch Tay. Back at the road, I thought what the hell, I always remember getting nice hot filled rolls in Killin. So off I went, and emerged £3.90 down, with three rolls and sausage (with tomato sauce) in hand.
On to Meall nan Tarmachan. The sun was out and I'd had my very filling breakfast, but to be honest I felt quite wasted and kept the pace down. It was a strange day: the weather was beautiful, but the air was cold and the wind was so raw and squally; there seemed to be change in the air. It was unsettling, which wasn't what I needed.
But Meall nan Tarmachan was Munro #50 of the trip, and since the car park is so high up, it wasn't too difficult either. I'd had some concern after waking up with a sore left knee - after ten minutes walking it had been fine but it's one to watch out for. Trekking poles at the ready. At the summit I met a guy who told me it was going to snow later on, and this I could believe. Though with Meall Ghaordaidh to climb later, the news was unsettling.
I got back at the car, and headed into Killin, now on a mission to do Ghaordaidh before any weather closed in. I'd realised dehydration had been another problem, so I bought big cartons of apple and orange juice, and spent the rest of the day drinking up.
Finally, I headed onto Meall Ghaordaidh, a Munro I climbed simply get it out the way rather than feeling inspired by it.
The first time I climbed this one with Mick Coffield. We did it from Tullich Farm in Glen Lochay, and the ascent is just one huge slope with nothing to break up the climb. In addition, we did it on a pitch-black night with stars glowing in a hemisphere above our heads. Today, it was good to see the hill and the views, but it couldn't match what that first visit means to me.
I went up from the Duncroisk side, in Glen Lochay, which is a lot more interesting than the Tullich slope. The weather had turned, but not as severely as I'd expected: huge dark clouds would charge in, carried on high winds, and I'd get soaked in rain and pelted by hail. Five minutes later, the sun would be out in a deep blue sky, and the mini-storms would track off into Perthshire. The hill was a good romp up to the trig point, and I was glad to have my last summit of the day now complete.
Back at the car, I headed back to Killin, and then off west. My next day's target would be Beinn Bhuidhe, by Loch Fyne. But once I got to Arrochar, I parked up and considered my options: I was feeling rough after a disturbed night's sleep, and home was 40 minutes away. It was still early evening. It was a no-brainer, with a bed at home and lots of free food awaiting.
This continuous Round is working out a strange one. My mobility with a car means I can take advantage of home, but it's a bit out of touch with what I'd intended. I expect once I get beyond Blair Atholl, the whole thing will take on the feel of what I'd anticipated when I first set out. There won't be a home 40 minutes down the road, there will be less support, and the mountains will better link together continuously. Hopefully the weather will have picked up, too. For now, I'm enjoying my chosen style, but it will be a relief too, to finally move into wilder territories and a complete change of scenery. Not so long until I've finally completed the Southern Highlands!
Meall nan Tarmachan
(0.00) 10.05am Car park
(1.00) 11.05am Meall nan Tarmachan SE Top
(1.25) 11.30am Meall nan Tarmachan
(2.20) 12.25pm Car park
(0.00) 2.00pm Duncroisk
(1.50) 3.50pm Meall Ghaordaidh
(3.10) c. 5.10pm Duncroisk