After completing Beinn Dorain & Beinn an Dothaidh last week and the beautiful weather we’ve been having, I thought I better get out and do another. Originally, I was planning on doing Beinn Achaldadair & Beinn a’Chreachain at Bridge of Orchy. However, I woke up with a bit of a sore back and was ready to have a rest day. Instead, I decided to re-visit an old friend… Meall Ghaordaidh and I’m glad I did, my back eased off and I got another Munro in the bag! If you’re wondering why I say “old friend”, I’m talking about the time that I attempted it and saw dark clouds above and took the wrong path, so I went home. It was another roasting hot day and the ascent was difficult with the sun beating down but the view at the top is 100% worth it!
Category – Munro
Height – 1,039 metres (3,409 ft)
Location – Duncroisk in Glen Lochay, near Killin
Difficulty Rating – 6/10
Approximate Timing – 3 – 5 hours
Pronunciation – Myowl Jirdee
Meall Ghaordaidh (possibly meaning rounded hill of the shoulder; arm or hand) is one of the Mamlorn Hills Munros. The starting point is at Duncroisk in Glen Lochay, near Killin. Take the usual road to Crianlarich (follow the A84 from Stirling and through Callander, Strathyre and Loch Earnhead. Join the A827 and head for Killin and head along that road (as if you were heading towards Ben Lawers & Beinn Ghlas or Meall nan Tarmachan). Pass through Killin crossing the bridge over the Falls of Dochart. Continue through the town and take the immediate left after you cross the bridge over the River Lochay. Follow the single track road for 10-15 minutes until you see the sign for Meall Ghaordie on the right. You can park at the side of the road on the right just after that (the road widens there). To begin, jump over the fence at the sign.
Once you jump over the fence, follow the rough track through the field (be careful if there is livestock) and pass through the fence at the other side. Continue following the rough track as it starts to climb into a field. The path may fade but bear right if in doubt and you’ll come to a a stile over a drystone wall. Keep heading along the track as it climbs through ferns until you see a small cairn on the left and a big boulder on the right. This is where you leave the track and head left at the cairn, you’ll notice a narrow path that crosses a small burn/ muddy patch.
From here, continue following the path (you’ll notice a pole on the left) and as you climb higher, you’ll see old shepherd shielings to the right. The path does become muddy but relatively easy to follow, passing an old & broken fence line. As you gain more height, the ground becomes peaty and parts of the path can give way underfoot. The trail can be lost in these sections but continue heading straight up and the path can be found again. Higher up, the ground becomes drier and the rocky section of the Munro will now be visible.
The path should now be straightforward to follow as it zig zags up the steep rocky section. You’ll come to a false summit before seeing the final ascent to the summit. Eventually, you will reach the trig point marking the summit which is surrounded by stones as some sort of wind shelter (not that I needed one, there wasn’t a lick of wind and the flies were ridiculous!). On a clear day, the view is spectacular. Ben More & Stob Binnein, Beinn Ghlas & Ben Lawers, Meall nan Tarmachan, Stob Dearg & Ben Nevis can all clearly be seen!
Once you’ve had a wee rest, got the obligatory photo at the trig point and appreciated the view, it’s time to head back down. Easy enough, just follow the exact same route you came up. According to Walk Highlands, you can tackle the neighbouring Corbett Beinn nan Oighreag but the descent and re-ascent is steep. My goal was the Munro so I just went straight back down. The Scotland game was on that night and I wanted to watch it with out falling asleep. Now that I have watched it, I think I would have preferred to fall asleep! Dreadful. Anyway, the descent should be relatively quick, it took me 1 hour 10 minutes to get back to the car. Because the ground is so soft, it never hurt my knees and I could go at some pace!
To be honest, I think this is one of the easier Munros that I’ve done. Don’t get me wrong, it was challenging heading up with the sun beating down but when I think about it, I don’t think it would have been as difficult if it was cooler. At points it did feel relentless and constant uphill but I think that every time. The first time I attempted it I missed the small cairn to come off the track. If you make sure you take that path, it’s simple. I know I say it every time but what a view! You would think I would get tired of the view from the summits but each one has a unique view of the surrounding mountains which has got to be appreciated!
As usual check out the photos below, and if you have a spare ten minutes, I’ve made a video about the hike as well! You can see it at: Hiking Meall Ghaordaidh. If you find what I’m doing helpful, let me know… and consider subscribing to the page, I don’t send much, only adventures! I’d also appreciate a wee subscription on YouTube, if you can.
Thanks for reading,