Meall Nan Tarmachan

Meall Nan Tarmachan…..

I had promised myself I would activate a six point SOTA summit this summer then what do I go and do? I  activate an eight point summit instead.

The summit looking towards the Cairngorms

The plan was to ‘activate’ a summit on the Bank Holiday Monday but I had originally planned it for one of the Arrochar ‘Alps’, Euan had decided to travel too so we decided to go further afield. We ‘discussed’ where and where else on the Sunday night. Late on, it was decided on Meall Nan Tarmachan, as it looked a reasonable Munro to start with, I must admit the last Munro I stood on the summit of was Buachaille Etive Mor in Glencoe in the mid ’70s approx 35 years ago !!!!! We set off early from home, crossed the Erskine Bridge and made good time up Lomondside before reaching Crainlarich, we then turned east heading towards Loch Tay, taking the road to Killin but carrying onto the cut off to the Ben Lawers Centre, now sadly closed, we carried on up the road until we arrived at a rough car parking area  (NN605383) just before the Lochan Na Lairige reservoir. It was from here that we set off up the first stage of the hill, a short trip along a track then the path to the top cuts off and heads towards the first summit, this first summit is at 3,000 ft where  we had had a quick break for a drink and sandwich before then heading down towards the bealach and then towards the summit, the ‘going’ was a good work out for me until the bealach and I saw what was next, I had read the route directions on some of the walk forums and had known of the steep last ascent but to see this took my breath away. I took rather a few ‘rest stops’ to reach the summit from here, it is a steep gully where rough ‘steps’ have been put into place, I found this the hardest part of the ascent. Two hours and 30 mins after setting out, I reached the summit cairn.


After the usual photo shoot, it was time to find a good radio base, the wind was strong from the SE and I managed to find a nook, I first, as usual, set up the 4m JPole and gave out calls, nothing except foreign broadcast stations ‘coming’ in and out, I guess Sporadic E. Next was 2M SSB, nothing heard, it was time to go to S20, first reply to my call was David, a MM0 station in Falkirk, thanks for the ‘spot’, David. Gordon, a MM0 station from Airdrie was next followed byAlan, a GM0 station who had remembered our last contact was on one of my previous SOTA activations. A regular SOTA chaser and activator, Brian MM1 from Howwood called in for a chat. Other stations who called in were Jim, a MM0  from Cumbernauld, Fraser, a MM6 from Bo’ness and finally 2Mo, Callum from Strathaven.

The view from the summit was breathtaking, Ben Lomond, Ben More, Stob Binnean, Beinn Ime, Ben Nevis were just a few hills amongst many even the Cairngorms had a good covering of snow this late in the season. Euan took a detour and headed towards Meall Garbh.

Meall Garbh with Ben More and Stob Binnean

The wind by this time was approaching near gale force, it was time to break down the station and have a last look at the panoramic view and head back down to the car park, an alternative to returning to the car park is to walk the Meall Nan Tarmachan ridge , we retraced our steps  and it took only 90 mins to get back to the car, a last bite to eat and headed back towards home via Crainlarich and a long, long tailback on Lomondside.

Meall Nan Tarmachan Flickr photo set <here>

Click on post photos for larger size.

All photos courtesy of my son, Euan and as always ‘All rights reserved ©’

Facts :

Meall Nan Tarmachan  is  ‘the rounded hill of the Ptarmigan’  1,044m ASL (3.425 ft)

Round Trip of  8 km

Total Ascent : approx 574 m (1,883 ft)

Google Maps – Track

Map <HERE>

Wikipedia article <HERE>

About gm7something

64, married, three kids......overweight, unfit, folically challenged, need I go on ?
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4 Responses to Meall Nan Tarmachan

  1. Roddy says:

    Looking forward to seeing the details. Managed to get the day off myself on Monday, missed you on the radio though. Next time. 73 Roddy

  2. gm7something says:


    I had something planned but the decision on what hill to be activated took place late Sunday evening, it originally was to be in the Arrochar area but….I only posted the ‘alert’ early on Monday morning.


    • Roddy says:

      Nice one Bobby. I have camped down in the lee of the dam a couple of times, obviously much younger then, and maybe a bit dafter too hihi. Remember watching guys skiing down the side of the hill you were on, scary stuff to watch, must have been a hoot to try it though. Didn’t know the visitor center was shut, the carpark was always busy whenever I was there. I fancy having a bash at Ben Lawers itself sometime. I have heard it has a reputation for accidents, although people cause accidents, not mountains I suppose. Still trying to get Sherpa Patsy up another hill, but his work commitments dictate his weekend movements. He enjoyed Ben Lomond ( eventually ) and I’m sure he’d be up for another sooner rather than later. 73 Roddy.

  3. gm7something says:

    It is a cracking bit of countryside, the centre is closed now.
    Ben Lawers looks impressive plus more summits on its ridge walk are SOTA qualifiers. I think Lawers would be my target. Accidents are caused mostly by tiredness and risk taking that’s why I take my time LOL….Looking forward to ‘chasing’ you…must talk with you regarding the Rybakov which I’ve used on the hills locally.


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