A circuit taking in the Corbett of Beinn nan Oighreag and the Munro of Meall Ghaordaidh above Glen Lochay near Killin.
Date: 31st March 2019
Time: 5hrs 45mins
Hills: Meall Ghaordaidh (Munro, 1,039m), Beinn nan Oighreag (Corbett, 909m) Weather: Bright and sunny with barely any wind at all
Route: Click to view on an OS Map
Though the clocks had changed the morning dawned with a crisp, frosty feel to the air more appropriate for winter than early spring. The dawn was also cloudless and as I drove over the hills towards Doune the peaks of the Trossachs glowed red in the morning sky. Glen Lochay was quiet and only one car had beaten me to the start of the walk up to Meall Ghaordaidh.
With this being a fairly straightforward Munro, I decided to extend the day by also taking in the neighbouring Corbett of Beinn nan Oighean. The start of the walk was the same for both, crossing a couple of sheep pastures to gain a vehicle track that wound up alongside the Allt a' Croisg.
After crossing a stone wall by way of a sturdy stile the landrover track continued up the hillside. As it wound off uphill I followed a narrower footpath that stayed closer to the edge of the water. Eventually though I rejoined the vehicle track higher up and followed this until it petered out up near the shielings.
Now it was a bit of a slog across boggy and tussocky ground to gain the lower slopes of Beinn nan Oighean. Off to the left Meall Ghaordaidh was picked out in snow-clad white with the ridge of Cam Chreag extending off to the right. Above me a huge phalanx of geese, easily more than 50, flew over me heading northwest.
On firmer ground I quickly gained height, watching as the western side of the Tarmachan Ridge emerged from behind the closer hillside. Higher up a more definite track appeared and I followed this up through some rocky outcroppings emerging on the rounded plateau with views up to the summit. With the steep climb done I enjoyed the bimble across the grassy plateau, enjoying the fact that there was barely any wind and that the views had opened out nicely.
Once across the plateau there was a second steep but short pull up to the summit area. As I’d moved northward the views had changed and now Glen Lyon dominated the view, its loch a mirror below the encircling, snow-streaked peaks. I also caught a glimpse of the end of Loch an Daimh.
The summit was a rocky slab with a small cairn on top of it. I paused here briefly but then continued on to the next high point on the plateau marked by a slightly more substantial cairn. Here I paused to have a snack and a coffee. Although the wind was light it was cold and I donned an extra layer to stay warm whilst I sat.
I had contemplated my route of the hill. Although the southern slopes would be much more gentle, there did appear to be a viable route dropping straight west from the summit area and it was this that I checked out.
Although the slopes were steep it was grassy and easy to negotiate down with care. I plunged straight down slope into the Lairig Luaidhe which dropped off to the right into Glen Lyon. Once at the bottom I crossed the allt and paused in the warm sunshine for a quick break before tackling the western slope. This was equally steep but topped out around 100m lower down than the Corbett so was over fairly quickly.
From here the views were dominated by Meall Ghaordaidh which was much closer by. I could see the line of the Cam Chreag ridge as it swung around to the south and then climbed up westward to meet Meall Ghoardaidh. Studying the route I noticed that there was one snowslope that was unavoidable but otherwise everything looked in order.
The ridge is wide, more of a series of lumpy plateaus that connect together and it was nice to amble along this quiet place in the sunshine. As I headed south the views now opened up across Glen Lochay and over to the distant Crianlarich hills.
The ridge gradually rose and after passing over a series of small knolls and rocky outcroppings I found myself climbing up to the meet the northern arm of Meall Ghaordaidh.
Here I had a snowslope to cross but it was fairly shallow and so I put on microspikes and was quickly up. A pair of ptarmigan briefly crossed my path.
Once on grass again it was then an easy climb up the north ridge to the summit of the Munro. There were a couple already at the summit but they had taken their summit selfies and were just heading off as I arrived.
The summit is quite lofty and offers excellent views all round. The wind continued to be light and so I found a nice sunny spot to lounge and enjoyed a relaxed lunch.
From the summit there are excellent views down Glen Lochay towards Ben Challum and beyond it Ben Lui. Glen Lyon and its loch are spread out to the northwest and in the distance Ben Nevis was an obvious high point amongst the peaks of Lochaber. Closer by the Tarmachanc Ridge and Lawers range looked great in the sunshine.
After a long break on the summit I tore myself away from the mountain views and made my way off, this time following the well trodden baggers path down the southeast side of the hill. Initially this is quite interesting as it passes down through some crags and rocks, some of which were still holding deep snow. Beyond that though it was a somewhat boggy morass with the path often being entirely lost in the peat hags and general bog.
Beyond the peat the ground dropped away again and it dried out. The path was on springy turf in places and I was soon almost back down at the vehicle track. I took the opportunity for one last break, leant against a large boulder overlooking the lairig with views to the morning’s Corbett and the Tarmachan.
It was then a simple case of dropping down to the vehicle track and retracing my outward route back to the car where it felt very springlike in the warm sunshine.