Three Munros in one hike. Fairly starting to tick off the Munros! Having done Beinn Ghlas & Ben Lawers just two days before, my legs were sore which made it a bit of a challenge. I pushed on though and the sense of achievement at the end was definitely worth it. Only two more to go to complete the Lawers Group!
Meall Greigh, Meall Garbh & An Stuc
Category – Munro(s)
Height – 1,001 metres (3,284 ft); Meall Greigh, 1,118 metres (3,668 ft); Meall Garbh & 1,118 (3,668 ft); An Stuc
Location – Lawers National Reserve, Loch Tay
Difficulty Rating – 8.5/10
Approximate Timing – 7 – 9 hours
Pronunciation – Myowl Gray, Myowl Garv & An Stook
Meall Greigh (hill of horse studs), Meall Garbh (rough hill) and An Stuc (the peak) are another three Munros that can be found in the Lawers Group, on the Northern side of Loch Tay. Unlike the others though, you don’t drive up into the reserve to park. Follow the A84 then A85 up towards Crainlarich and take the A827 cut off and drive through Killin and past the Falls of Dochart. Drive along that road for around 15 minutes, and you’ll come to the Ben Lawers Hotel. You can either pay behind the bar to use their car park (if it’s not busy) or use the car park a couple more metres down the road. There’s an honesty box at the second one. You won’t miss it, there’s a sign.
To begin the route, you first have to make your way East for about half a kilometre down the A827 road. Be careful, there’s no pavement. Keep close to the side of the road and aware of any oncoming traffic. You’ll notice a couple of buildings on the left, one of them selling carved antler & bone products. Immediately after that, there’s a track leading up and behind them. Follow that. As the track begins to veer right, you’ll see a barn with a red roof. You want to head to the left of the barn, following the sign for the hill path. This will take you on an incline trail through the trees. After about 45 minutes, you’ll come out of the trees and cross over a stile. That’s you in the Lawers National Reserve.
Keep following the faint track and you’ll see Meall Greigh on the left, Meall Garbh straight ahead and cone shaped An Stuc just beside it. To the left, is the bulking mass of Ben Lawers. You’ll notice areas where there would have been old stone houses, continue past them until you see the path steer right, and uphill. You can continue on and across the Lawers burn to do the loop in reverse but I’d recommend going right. I’ll explain why later. The path fades slightly on the way but becomes more visible as you reach the steeper incline. Once you reach the top of the first hill (Sron Mhor) you’ll get a beautiful view of Loch Tay behind you.
Continue following that trail, across the peaty section and then up the ridge to the summit of Meall Greigh. You’ll know you’re there when you see the small cairn. From the summit of Meall Greigh, you’ll get a better view of the next two you’ll be doing, with Ben Lawers just beside them. All cradling the small Lochan Nan Cat.
Once you’re rested and got your photo, continue following the path, down onto the ridge between Meall Greigh and Meall Garbh. The trail becomes more of a moorland at this point but make your way across to the path on the other side. Make your way uphill following the faint trail. It’s relatively steep for a wee bit but once you’re over that, it’s easier going. You’ll come to a false summit with a rocky peak, but the true summit is just beyond that. Once you reach the small cairn, that’s the Meall Garbh summit. Second Munro of the day.
Take your time to recover, get your photo and then time to tackle Munro number three! Continue down the ridge and take in the majestically shaped An Stuc. As you get further down the ridge, it towers over you with it’s pyramidal shape. The ascent for this one can be quite tricky. It’s a steep scramble, so please take great care. This is the reason I recommend taking this route opposed to doing it in reverse. I wouldn’t want to tackle that going down!
Because of how steep and direct this part of the trail is, it won’t take long until you’re at the summit of the third and final peak of the day. There’s definitely a sense of relief and achievement to reach this summit. The relief probably comes from knowing you’re off the steep side of the mountain and that from here, it’s all downhill. Believe it or not, An Stuc was only promoted to Munro status in 1997!
After a well earned rest and photo opportunity, it’s time to begin the descent. Continue the path down the Western side of An Stuc. It’s not overly steep, but care is still required. Definitely not as steep as the other side though! The lower you get, you’ll begin to notice the path comes to a fork. If you’re feeling brave, you can continue right on to Ben Lawers. If you’ve already bagged it, or you’re happy to call it a day, take the left route. It does get a little steep as you make your way down to Lochan Nan Cat. Still not as bad as the way up. Again, the track fades as you cross over peaty bogs. As long as you’re heading parallel with the Lochan, you’ll be heading in the right direction.
Eventually, you’ll come to a dam and see a clear cut road, used for access to the dam. Follow that for a little while, until you see the path down on the other side. I saw a guy cross at the dam and thought I’d took the wrong route… but like Moses and the sea, it was like the grass had parted for me and I followed the correct route. Head down the steep sides of the ravine and cross over the Lawers burn, and you’ll rejoin the original path you were on. From here, it’s a case of retracing your footsteps back down through the trees, all the way back to the Ben Lawers Hotel. That’s it. Three Munros bagged in the one hike. Happy days!
Despite the pain of hiking for thirteen miles, the feeling of achievement makes it all worth it. I got quite annoyed when the track faded, and I started to think about chucking it, before I’d even managed the first one! I’m so glad I never, if I started to throw in the towel every time there wasn’t a proper trail, I’d never manage to bag all 282 Munros. Even though I went myself, I met a fair few people and ended up chatting with them. There were a few crazy folk doing seven out of the eight Lawers Group in one day. Not for me! I ended up walking the last hour or so with a lovely elderly chap from England. It definitely made it pass by quicker.
Well that’s it for another post. Hope you enjoyed it! It’s a fair hike to be sure, but I’d highly recommend it! I’ve attached photos as always, let me know your thoughts below. Next up will be Meall Corranaich and Meall a’Choire Leith which will mark the Lawers Group complete!
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