Mealls Garbh and Tairbh with a Beinn Suidhe summit camp. April 2012.

Date: Saturday/Sunday 14th/15th April 2012
Distance: 24km + 12.2km
Ascent: 1400m + 460m

An interesting looking weekend forecast – a mix of sunshine, snow and cold air. Looked good for a wild camp although the temperatures meant a bit more insulation than normal.

We’d started with a plan to walk from Dalmally to Bridge of Orchy with trains from and to Tyndrum, a bit more thought on the Thursday night saw us decide to go out and back from Victoria Bridge, giving an advantage of dropping the camping gear for a proportion of the walk.

Set off at a leisurely time in enjoyable sunshine. The sun has appreciable heat at this time of year – which in cold air means that perceived temperature can vary wildly depending on cloud and wind.

There are some smashing views along the track to Loch Dochard, a bit of sun and snow always works well.


Loch Dochard itself is a lovely spot and well worth a visit on a good day. Our 2012 views were not as good as those of 2006.

From Loch Dochard the track carries on being of reasonable quality most of the way through to Glen Kinglass. We dropped the camping stuff a bit off track at the high point above Coire Beithe and then carried on downhill into Glen Kinglass.

The bridge at NN 186 402 is in a state of disrepair, we simply walked across the river here. Of note is the presence of another bridge a short way downstream at about NN 185 398 – not sure how long this has been there.

The sun had been a bit absent for an hour or so but began to come out again as we followed the Glen Kinglass track. The river is a delight of occasional small waterfalls – must be impressive in spate too.

Beinn a Chochuill:

Meall Garbh:

Beinn Eunaich:

We dropped right down to Glenkinglass Lodge and used the bridge. As we were preparing to climb uphill a Red pickup truck drove up with the occupant saying hello. He mentioned there had been a lot of walkers tackling Meall Garbh from here recently and asked if there was a new book out! He headed off down the glen and we headed uphill.

Glenkinglass Lodge:

We headed up between 2 forestry fences to pick up the to pick up the west bank of the Allt nan Clach Sgoilte to approach Meall Garbh via the grassy eastern flank.

Common lizards mating (I think):

H on Meall Garbh ascent:

An adult Golden Eagle was circling the summit for a while as we ascended before setting off south.

The summit is a fine viewpoint – Mull:

H on summit:

Ben Lui:

Chochuill and Eunaich:

Sat and enjoyed the views awhile and then reversed route. Decided to cross the Allt Clach na Sgoilte and cross the river at the waterfall as the levels were low.

A well-placed shieling/ruin:

Waterfall:

River Kinglass:

Then it was an easy wander in warm sunshine back to the camping kit. Some newts were in shallow water sunning themselves in the pools by the road:

The clouds and snow showers were beginning to pulse through giving some interesting looking views.

Meall Garbh and Glen Kinglass:

Glas Bheinn Mhor:

The changes were fast:

Got to the summit of Beinn Suidhe and picked a campsite – plenty of options so we plonked the tent to the SW of the summit cairn to minimise the NE breeze.

Loch Tulla and the BoO munros:

Cruachan/Chochuill:

Patchy sunshafts – Ben More and Stob Binnein:

The sunset was impaired by a modest amount of cloud – only a few patches of red cloud.

Sunset behind Starav:

Loch Tulla sunset:

Another cold night – certainly a few degrees subzero but fairly toasty in the sleeping bags. Occasionally aware of nearby ptarmigan calls but there are worse neighbours to have.

Up at 0600 for sunrise, again a bit too much cloud in the wrong places for a cracker. Minimal Alpenglow towards Cruachan group:

Tent pitch:

Stob Ghabhar:

Beinn Suidhe summit area:

Had a leisurely breakfast and struck the tent – warm in sunshine for a spell. Watched a raven on a nearby outcrop sunning itself too – at one point it was spread out flat on the moss.

Headed off SW along the ridge of Beinn Suidhe – a flat and grassy ridge with numerous pools and tarns. Lovely views too:

Dropped from about NN 205 383 down to the shielings marked on the map – a nice view down to Loch Tulla over Creag an Tailleir:

From the shielings it’s an easy 160m climb up the Marilyn Beinn a Chuirn. This has a rather nice view down Glen Strae to Loch Awe:

And a view in the opposite direction to Loch Tulla (there’s a nice quartzite band here just down and left of centre):

Had some lunch here and then headed NE about 300m to give a grassy descent SE to the bealach and the ridge to Meall Tairbh. This is a broad and somewhat bobbly affair:

It’s a fairly gentle amble up to Meall Tairbh – views back to Beinn a Chuirn with Mull through the gaps.

Things had clouded from the NE so the sunshine of the morning had left us. Sat at the summit cairn and had some more to eat. We had planned on going over to Beinn Inverveigh but the absence of sunshine and the presence of camping packs persuaded us to turn for the car heading NNE down the ridge of Meall Tairbh with Loch Tulla to the fore:

A few lizards here and there, fairly active by now:

View back to Tairbh, Chuirn and Suidhe:

Back at the car fairly sharp – quite a nice meander over these hills. Was enjoyable to fill in the gaps a bit in this little visited hinterland between Loch Etive and Glen Orchy. Great to get back to both Glen Kinglass and Beinn Suidhe.

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