Sunday 29 July 2012

Summer meet with DMC, 13-15 July 2012

Friday 13th to Sunday 15th July 2012 - Loch Tay, central Highlands 

Swimming across Loch Tay. Running across seven Munros. Kayaking seven miles, then cycling another 34 around the shores of the loch.

Yes, we were quite content to watch other people do all those things.

This summer's joint meet with DMC at Loch Tay coincided with the Artemis Great Kindrochit Quadrathlon, the "exhilarating test of stamina, strength and fitness" that requires completing the above in a single day. Our own plans turned out to be much more modest: a couple of Munros of the Ben Lawers group and a traverse of the Tarmachan Ridge.

Beinn Ghlas
Beinn Ghlas from near the summit of Ben Lawers

Most of us arrived at the campsite on Friday evening. It was tipping down with rain, but a lull allowed us to quickly get our tents up and then hit the pub. Fortunately, Saturday turned out to be fine and, after being joined by Paul C and Suchi, we set off.

Throughout the day we were stepping aside for participants in the Quadrathlon, some of whom were already finishing the last of their seven Munros even at mid-morning.

Beinn Ghlas and Ben Lawers

Juan and Jim tackled these two, a straightforward walk affording fantastic views, at least until the weather turned on reaching the top of Ben Lawers.

View over Ben Lawers National Nature Reserve
Ascending Beinn Ghlas: a view over the Ben Lawers National Nature Reserve
Ben Lawers from Beinn Ghlas
Ben Lawers from Beinn Ghlas
Looking along Allt a' Chobhair
Looking along Allt a' Chobhair
Summit of Ben Lawers
No view on Ben Lawers, just biting wind, rain and hail

We could hear bagpipes as we descended, and there appeared to be quite a gathering on top of Meall Corranaich.

Meall Corranaich
Meall Corranaich
Looking back to Beinn Ghlas
Taking a shortcut down to the main road, looking back to Beinn Ghlas

Time taken: 4.5 hours.

Tarmachan Ridge

The main part of our group took on Meall nan Tarmachan and the Ridge traverse: Euan, Hazel, Jon, the two Pauls, Ruaridh and Suchi.

The dam on Lochan na Lairige
The dam on Lochan na Lairige
On the ascent
On the ascent
False summit with children's toys
At the false summit, a father had stopped to take some travel photos of his kids' favourite toys
Looking down at the dam
Hazel & Jon looking down at the dam

There was a Quadrathlon checkpoint on the summit of Meall nan Tarmachan, so we moved on quickly.

On the way to the next peak of the ridge, Meall Garbh
On the way to the next peak of the ridge, Meall Garbh
Group photo on Meall Garbh
On Meall Garbh (l-r): Paul C, Suchi, Paul, Hazel, Jon, Euan (seated), Ruaridh
Final peak
Looking towards the final peak, Jon surveying the view
Descent from Meall Garbh
Looking back up the slippery rocks on the descent from Meall Garbh
Admiring the view
Hazel and Suchi admiring the view
The last stage towards the car park
The last stage towards the car park

Time taken: 5 hours.

Saturday evening

We regrouped at the Lochearnhead Watersports Centre to relax and enjoy a few drinks. Quadrathletes finishing the Munro stage of the event were arriving to cheers and applause, and taking to the water in their kayaks. We also witnessed the ultimately successful retrieval of a boat that had sunk in the loch.

Sunken boat

Later, we decamped to The Old Smiddy in the village of Killin for an evening meal.

Beinn Ghlas from Killin

Then it was goodbye to Paul C, Suchi, Jon and Hazel, the rest of us heading back to the campsite for a beer-fuelled game of football, and it lasted a good while before tiredness and the increasing attentions of the midges brought things to a close.


Sunday brought steady rain, and with no sign of any respite we decided to pack up and head back to Dundee. Nonetheless, it was a great weekend all told and our thanks to the organisers, drivers and all those who came along. We're sure DURC and DMC will continue to enjoy close ties and we hope to do another joint meet next summer.

Photo credits: Ben Lawers group, Killin - James Simpkins; Tarmachan Ridge and boat - Paul Crawford

For the Dundee Mountain Club write-up of this trip, please see the DMC website.

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