Southern Highlands Weekend – Wet ‘n Wild on Day 2   10 comments

After our exertions on day 1 we woke to the welcome sight of hammering rain on the morning of day 2. Time for a VERY leisurely breakfast and some more indecision on where to go. A small splinter group set off for Bheinn Bhuidhe down south (JB is close to completing his second round of munros and this one was missing). The rest of us plumped for the Tarmachan ridge above Loch Tay after a morning swapping music files and generally waiting for the rain to stop. It was a cunning plan as it had stopped by the time we set off.

Tarmachans Ridge, 8.5 miles, 2,900 feet of ascent

We dropped TBM and ED off in Killin for what was to become a familiar tale of low-level ambles between bars and pints. It’s their way. You can read ED’s post of his day here.

The rest of drove to our starting point near what was the nature reserve car park under Ben Lawers, now a building site? Last time I was here was in 1986 in full winter conditions (remember them) but today no snow but at least it had stopped raining and looked reasonably promising for a half reasonable day. It’s a nice walk for a laid back day with an excellent track that goes pretty much to the bottom of the far end of the ridge and then its a short steep climb onto the ridge and walk back along it before a short drop down to the car.

There were some pretty reasonable views across Loch Tay and even some glimpses of sunshine.




Stormy view over Killin

We figured the ridge would be cold and windy (a correct analysis) so we stopped for lunch just before the final climb to the ridge. I brewed up amongst the usual pish-taking about my stove but frankly I didn’t give a damn (they should use that in a film – sounds good) as I sat with fresh cuppa.


R poses for photo


That's EWO and HMB on that summit

The climb up onto the first top was exceedingly steep and grassy but once up the views were pretty impressive.


GM tries vegetation scrambling, a dying art

The ridge snakes along ahead of you and you realise then that the Tarmachans have 4 tops so there is quite a lot of up and down. It’s a really interesting ridge twisting and turning with lots of interesting spots and some decent views.


OFS, TCK and the Tarmachans ridge


Shafts of sunlight

It’s a great route to introduce beginners to winter walking with snow with a couple of narrow rocky sections without ever being too hard.


The paths twists amongst the tops

One of our friends from Yorkshire was back on his first visit to Scotland in several years and was revelling in the day even though it was wild and windy. I’ll refer to him as The Cauliflower King (TCK). Why? Well he’s not the most culinarily gifted of people and once while on a trip to Switzerland I asked him to chop up a Cauliflower for a Vegetable curry. He SLICED it! I kid you not. What we had were numerous wafer thin tree-shaped slices of whole cauliflower which turned the meal into a sort of Cauliflower soup. He’s never lived it down.


EWO nad Creag na Caillich

Anyway we carried on along the ridge, all of us really enjoying the twists and turns and climbs and looking for a second lunch spot. The weather had other ideas though and it started to snow and suddenly we were in a sea of white, not quite a white out but pretty nasty and definitely not a time for a sandwich and a cuppa. We thought it might blow over but it lasted for well over an hour until we were heading back down to the car. Bit of a shame as we didn’t get to enjoy the short narrow scramble in the middle and couldn’t linger on the summit.


Just before it turned truly nasty

As we plodded down the sun suddenly came out and we had a short spell of sensational views across Loch Tay with cloud brushing the tops of Ben Lawers. Alas my camera got damp and the lens fogged up so none of my photos came out. By the time we reached the car it was raining again and were all pretty tired but it’s a longer and tougher day than it looks but a thoroughly rewarding one. It’s one of the best ridges in the Southern highlands and well worth a trip if you’re up this way

We had another splendid evening in the bar at Suie Lodge including EWO, the worlds tightest miser eating a posh sounding tuna and cream cheese pate (this is a man who lived on millet during a frugal round Europe bike ride). Made us laugh though


"How much is this costing me?"


The gangs all here

Another little slide show to enjoy before the final instalment in the Southern Highlands trilogy


10 responses to “Southern Highlands Weekend – Wet ‘n Wild on Day 2

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  1. Now that looked like a nice afternoon out. And I have to admit, I’m very partial to ‘cold and windy’……


    • Have to say I love wild wintry weather as well – considering how awful the weather was in the morning it wasn’t a bad day at all and it’s a really nice ridge walk. The next day was even better….


  2. TCK – I’m glad you explained, I was scratching my head there.
    TMTCH – still touring, still incredible live. Cost me 50p first time I saw ’em in the Solem Bar. (Might have bored you with that before perhaps…..)
    The principle thing I remember about that 86 visit was wearing crampons (possibly for the first time) on hard frozen ground, and GM launching himself down a steep gully in a reckless glissade.


    • I thought the nickname was a good one!
      I’m a bit of late convert to TMTCH, never seen ’em live and yes you have bored me that story before… several times!
      It was a memorable day in ’86 and a memorable trip. I recall GM flying past us in that scree filled gully and claiming it was a rush. It was the trip of the spud eating contest in Glencoe as well


  3. great photo’s again, nice post 🙂


    • It didn’t look promising at 10 o’clock but it turned into a pretty fine day in the end (by scottish mountain standards!). Just a shame my camera didn’t catch the best views at the end of the day 😦


  4. The Cauliflower story reminded me of a day at work when I sent out a trainee to buy some mince meat for a cookery course I was doing later that day. We were making mince pies for Christmas. He returned with minced beef…………………….


    • He’s a star is TCK. He’s at the heart of many a story. Another food one I can share. He once made us a chilli (bless him, we were too lazy), he threw the whole tin of kidney beans in including the sugary water, and then overcooked the rice and threw that on the plate without draining the starchy water off. Possibly the worst plate of food I’ve ever eaten


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