Sunday, 11 August 2013

Meall an Tarmachain

We set off this morning for a walk at Sanna but didn't make it that far, stopping at a gate which gives access to the Kilchoan common grazings, the area of land on which all crofters in Kilchoan have a right to graze some animals.

Instead of the gentle walk along the sands, we chose to walk eastwards from the gate and, if the weather and our energy permitted, climb the hill called Meall an Tarmachain, ptarmigan hill.
The weather forecast on Yr.No - still the best forecaster for this area - was for showers.  We've had plenty of rain in the last few days so the little burn we followed uphill, the Allt nan Doireachan Beaga, the stream of the little groves, made a fine sight where is tipped over a shelf of hard rock.  But this rain also made the walking very boggy underfoot and, particularly when coming down steep slopes, slippery.

The walk took us steadily uphill, so that, each time we looked back, more and more of the countryside became visible.  In this photo we're looking across to Beinn na Seilg on the left skyline with Stacan Dubha to its right, and two lochans, Lochan na Crannaig on the right and, nearer us, Lochan nan Ealachan.  This lochan's name, which means the lochan of the swan, is lost from present OS maps, though it's clearly marked on earlier ones like the 1872 Argyllshire 6", available on the National Library of Scotland's website here.  On this side of the lochans we could see the Kilchoan to Sanna road

This is Lochan  a' Choire Chruinn, which seems to mean the lochan of the crown corrie, with Meall an Tarmachain's summit on the skyline.  It was be interesting to know how the lochan got its name as there is nothing crown-like there, nor is the shape of the bowl of land in which it lies particularly scooped-out, as most classic corries are.

From the lochan we had two possible routes to the summit of Meall an Tarmachain, one up the hill to the left and then along the saddle to a final scramble up some rock outcrops, and the other to the right, into the corrie that lies below the hill, and then up the overgrown slope to the ridge.  We chose the left-hand route.

There's only a small cairn at the summit but, as with so many of these hills, water is available in the form of a peaty pond.  We didn't need any water as, by that time, it had come on the rain, and the westerly wind had strengthened.  So we didn't linger, even though the view is spectacular - that's Ben Hiant in the distance beyond the cairn - but made our way back to the car down slopes which were now even more slippery.

An interactive map of the area is available here.

1 comment:

  1. Another tiny little lochan to try to catch a fish in one day....