The Carn Mairg Group
Area: Loch Rannoch to Glen Lyon
Munros: Carn Gorm, Carn Mairg, Creag Mhor (Meall na Aighean), Meall Garbh (Carn Mairg)
Date walked: 16/09/2009
Time taken: 5 hours
Distance: 18 km
The Carn Mairg Group of four Munro’s lie in the rolling hills in the East end of Glen lyon approximately 10km North of the Lawers range of Munro’s and 22km West of Aberfeldy. Access to these hills is normally via the small settlement of Invervar.
I had the day free and had planned to do another walk in view of the great weather that had been forecast so after a quick look at my Munro map the Carn Mairg Group from Glen Lyon were to be my hills of choice for today. I set my alarm for 0600hrs and after breakfast I quickly headed up A9 to Ballinluig then turned onto the A827 to Aberfeldy. I continued for another 15km, rounding the head of Loch Tay to Fearnan, then headed North for 2km before heading west for the final 6km into Glen Lyon reaching Ivervar at 0740hrs. Now the weather looked overcast but it was not cold and I was sure the sun would burn through in no time. I parked the car in the car park below the telephone box and after a quick change I was ready to walk by approximately 0800hrs. My car was the only one in the car park and there were no midges about. I switched on my gps but I was not receiving a signal and after spending 10 min’s faffing about with it I thought not to worry because as always I have a map and compass with me and I set off on my way.
So at 0810hrs I cross the road and open the metal gate. There is a sign on the gate saying there is a deer cull today and it advises walkers to go elsewhere to walk. The sign looks very old and is very unhelpful. I had read that this particular estate had a history of harassment to walkers in the past and I hoped that this sign was a remnant of that time and that the estate was now more “walker friendly”. I decide to ignore the sign but I will try to stick to the main walker’s route so as not to disturb any deer in the Corries.
I walk up the path through the small forest crossing another two gates and come across the biggest stiles (fence crossing for walkers) I have seen in a long time. It’s very high and I decide that rather than climb the stile I will open the gate and walk through instead and then continue onwards through the forest. I used to live next to a forest and used to run every morning through the forest at 0600hrs. This brought back some fond memories of that time and I am soon out of the forest and continuing on up the track. I am walking quite fast with my head down, not a care in the world and onwards and upwards I go missing the Invervar burn crossing and heading off in the wrong direction lol. The main large track continues past the walker’s burn crossing which I should have taken. I later find out that there is a sign indicating the route but I seem to have walked right past it.
I realise something is wrong as Carn Gorm ridge seems to be over to my left instead of in front of me. A quick check on the map confirms my error. I get out my Gps and it looks like I had a signal from the end of the forest. The Gps confirms I am in the wrong place. Stupid me, but it’s not the first time I have walked past a route turning and I am sure it will not be the last.
I could retrace my steps back to the burn crossing but after checking the contours on the map I decide to leave the track, cross the burn and head directly South West up the slope to re-join the walkers path. I hope the stalkers aren’t watching lol.
I am slightly behind time now so I move into top gear and head quickly up to Carm Gorm summit which is in the mist. There is no point stopping so I take a quick summit picture and crack on. The underfoot conditions are good. The soft grass underfoot, which I expected to be boggy, is very dry with hardly any water at all and this remains the same over the whole journey.
I now head to Meall Garbh jogging most of the way down to An Sgor and the conditions are great. The sun is still not out but the mist is lifting so it’s looking a lot brighter. I head up the gentle ascent to Meall Garbh now picking up the line of fence posts. There are some boulders underfoot but nothing too tricky and I soon reach the summit. I take some more pictures and have a bite to eat before again heading off at the trot. It’s approximately 3.5km to Carn Mairg. I head of in an easterly direction keeping the fence to my right till I reach the spot height at 881m. I then head up the ridge to the cairns before turning SSE to the top of Meall a Bharr. I continue to follow the fence line until it jinks north and Carn Mairg summit is ahead of me. This summit at 1042m is the highest in the group and it’s the rockiest. There are some nice crags to the South face which would make some enjoyable scrambling should you choose to.
I spent a little time looking around and I took some pictures before continuing on my journey. Care is required going down the back face of Carn Mairg and there seems to be numerous sheep/stalker tracks. I basically made a bee line down the side face of Meall Liath and then picked up a good path which takes you to the top of the last Munro, Meal Na Aighean. It was just below the summit that I met my first walker. Otherwise the hills seemed blissfully empty today. After a quick chat I continue on to the summit. I then descend at the run over the summit at the spot height of 974 and quickly realized that I was heading down the Corrie so after a short traverse I then jog down the ridgeline to Roinn na Creige and pick up a stalkers path all the way back to the car.
That was another enjoyable day in the hills. These hills consist of gentle ascents and descents with great grassy underfoot conditions which are excellent for jogging on. However the route down Carn Mairg could be quite dangerous in the mist so care is required. The path which follows the flank of the hill almost all the way down to the forest from Meall na Aighean is superb and today this was the driest range of hills I have seen in a long time. The sun came out on the way down and I never saw or heard any stalkers or firearms being discharged during the round.
Back at the car park there were now 6 cars parked up so it looks like other walkers must be out today enjoying the sunshine on this round.