- Sunday 16th June 2019
- Invervar, Glen Lyon
Today we were heading back out on the hills of Scotland and it felt good.
It had been 3 whole weeks since ‘therapy’ and today we agreed if it was rain, hale or snow…we were still heading out, it was time to dust off those cobwebs.
As our Russia trip is looming (2 weeks to go) we needed to get some serious hillwalking in and it needed to be, at this stage, a long day out on the hills. So we agreed that today we were going to try and undertake 4 Munros, getting in the miles, the hours and the ups and downs.
We have hiked our fair share of Munros but I think this just might be the most Munro’s we will have ticked off in one day.
This was a circular hike which we love to do as you don’t have to come back the same path you have went. So the Carn Gorm circuit involves four Munros with the inclusion of some Corbetts, and tops.
We were heading to the hamlet of Invervar, just past Aberfeldy. The four Munros of Creag Mhor, Carn Mairg, Meall Garbh and Carn Gorm, along with the Corbett Beinn Dearg, lie in the heart of Tayside, sandwiched between Glen Lyon and Rannoch. Glen Lyon is the longest glen in Scotland at around 25 miles from start to finish. It is not one of the most visited places in Scotland which makes the beauty of this wild and unspoiled place more unique in many ways.
We started our journey early as we had a long day ahead. The car journey turned out to be a nightmare and 3 times I got travel sick, stopping the car each time with approximately a 15 minute break. Once we eventually reached our destination I felt terrible…Hillwalking felt impossible. To make matters worse the car engine had just got turned off and the heavens opened.
After sitting in the car to compose myself the rain now was slightly lighter so we decided to just go for it…so whilst sitting in the car the waterproofs were put on and then we were off.
Just as we hit the track a young girl asked us if we would like to take part in a University study regarding the wildlife in the area. Basically we were to record anything we saw (apart from sheep as there were loads of them – her words not mines), and we were to use a GPS, and record location of animals and what they were doing, i.e grazing, stopping to look at us etc. Of course we agreed to this as we were out and about anyway but even if we wanted to refuse how could we as this young girl was sitting like a drowned rat waiting on passers-by to complete her study – can I just add here we never met a soul the whole day or any wildlife ironically!!!
And then we were off again. The beginning of the hike took us through what used to be a forest but it had all recently been thinned out but not cleared. There were fallen trees across the path which we had to manoeuvre over, under and around. Things were very muddy and slippery.
We passed by a beautiful old circular mill building just nestled in the trees.
After exiting the forest we started to incline upwards on a man made forestry road, which took us up past a river.
After about 20 minutes of this we left the path, crossing an old rickety bridge across the Invervar Burn and started to head into the hills.
The rain stopped and things got muggy so the waterproofs were off along with jackets and anything else we needed to remove to cool down.
Straight away things got steep, or was it my imagination having not been out for several weeks. The legs burned. Up and up we went.
Today was also the day to break in my new boots (Read:absolute stupidity, who breaks boots in when they’re doing a 4 Munro day).
So yes 2 weeks before Russia my ‘old faithful’s’ decided to call it a day on me, they had had enough, packed it in. I did not want to part with my companions as they have provided me with so much comfort so I had continued to wear them until I eventually had to give in, let them go and buy new ones.
Having tried to source the very same pair I was unsuccessful, so I had to buy the latest version of my older boots – why change something that isn’t broken. Now my old faithful’s were so comfortable I did not need to break them in, my first hill walk they were perfect, like slippers. Surely my new ones of the same make/model would provide me with the same comforts – how wrong was I.
I hadn’t even reached the top of the first Munro when my left heel began to blister. Straight away the compede was out. I walked for around another 15 minutes then the right heel began to blister. First Aid bag out again.
It was a long gradual incline to the summit and we hiked up and down some small hills. There were a couple of false summits until eventually we summited Carn Gorm (1028m/3373ft).
Views were amazing.
The sky with the dark clouds in them was so captivating and theatrical. We saw over to the Lawer Range, we could even see up to Glen Coe.
Since it had been a pretty hard going climb we decided to have some lunch just off the summit.
From here we could see the route we were next going to take. It looked like a pretty long walk to get to the 2nd summit.
On leaving the summit we started to descend to the bealach that led us towards Meall Garbh.
From here we continued to go up and down hills following a long line of old metal fence posts.
We continued along the path of rocks and boulders until we were at the summit and this cairn was very different to anything I had seen before. It was made from old steel poles, that looked to be old metal fence posts.
It took us just under an hour to reach the summit so it was pretty good going and we even managed to get in a Corbett, An Sgorr (840m/2756ft).
From here the terrain started to change and small rocks started to get bigger and bigger. We eventually reached the top of Meall a Bharr, a Corbett in between Meal Garbh and Carn Mairg.
We started to head towards our next Munro, Carn Mairg (1041m/3176ft), the third Munro of the group.
This route provided us with the opportunity to see all the other Munros we had just accomplished and the distance we had covered. it was pretty spectacular.
Again views were amazing.
To the north of the range the ground falls away gently over open moor and forests towards Loch Rannoch. To the south is the Ben Lawer Range and, to the north east, Schiehallion.
We started to head towards our final Munro, Creag Mhor (Meall na Aighean on the O.S maps, 981m/3218ft).
By this point my feet were aching and had actually been for the past five hours……note to oneself, never break in boots again on an 8 hour hike!!!
We approached the last incline of our hike. This was worth the final effort, to complete the circuit and get the view back over the whole distance we had covered previously and the views once again were amazing.
Our next goal was to get back to the car. The descent down destroyed my already destroyed feet. It was slow and it was painful all the way back to the car.
The route down with pain free feet would have been amazing as it wasn’t particularly steep.
You also walked along a ridge which just provided you with the most wonderful of views.
The sky was getting darker and darker and we were hoping to get back to the car before the rain started, we had been lucky all day with no rain other than the first 10 minutes of getting out the car. We new time was of the essence but unfortunately because our feet could not go any faster time was against us.
Eventually we were back on the gravel path and down came the rain heavily. We hurried as best we could but due to the state of the feet, the loose gravel under foot, it was not the quickest. We entered into the forest which was a huge relief as this meant we did not have far to go.
Then at last we had made it…..boots were off!
To check out our 4 Munro hike – Carn Gorm, Meall, Garbh, Carn Mairg and Creag Mhor in Relive click on the link below: