Glen Lyon Munros

Glen Lyon Munros

Hillwalking route up the Munros north of Glen Lyon, including Carn Mairg and Carn Gorm

The four Munros of Meall na Aighean, 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. Though not as high as their neighbours in the Lawers group, or as visually attractive as Schiehallion immediately to the north, they have a character of their own with some interesting features.



Route outline


Munros

Carn Gorm, 

Meall Garbh, 

Carn Mairg, 

Meall na Aighean

Corbetts

Beinn Dearg

Ascent 1450m (4750ft)
Distance 17km (11m)
Time 6:40hr
Start/finish Invervar
Grid Ref : NN666482
Terrain
easy hard
Nav
easy hard
Effort
easy hard
Scenery
ok fab


Fine views are had from all of the summits, with the views west from Carn Gorm to Meall Ghaordie and beyond, and north from Meall Garbh to Alder and Drumochter being particularly worthy.

I find the circuit is best done anti-clockwise as, for the most part, you'll face the westerly mountainous views, unlike the more flat distant ground that is viewed to the east. Access may be an issue in this area (search for North Chesthill Estate for more info).



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Route description


1. Getting to Invervar

Start from Invervar

Start from Invervar

North of Loch Tay an unclassified road heads westwards from picturesque Fortingall with its thatched cottages near Aberfeldy. This road travels along the length of Glen Lyon and ends by the dam at the easterrn end of Loch Lyon.

On this road, around 7km west from Fortingall, is the hamlet of Invervar, from where this hillroute begins.

After the Covid Lockdowns of the early 2020s, many roads in Perthshire were slapped with 'Clearway' to curb irresponsible parking. The 2 mile stretch of road around Invervar is unfortuantely one of these roads and on my last visit to the area, the small car-park by the red phone-box in Invervar was blocked off.

The nearest parking spots outwith the 'Clearway' are an off-road layby 1km west of Invervar and some rough ground by a corner in the road 1km east of Invervar close to an old telephone exchange.


2. Meall na Aighean (Creag Mhor on older maps)

Looking up the south-west shoulder of Meall na Aighean

Looking up the south-west shoulder of Meall na Aighean

In Invervar, just to the east of the old bridge over Invervar Burn, a sign on the north side of the road points the way up to the hills, initially through a patch of ground around the back of some houses.

The route joins with a rough track and begins to head up through felled forestry and rhodedendrons. At the end of the forested land it's onto a more pleasant track and out to open hillside.

Walk a few metres up the track and look for a faint path off right heading directly up the western shoulder of Meall na Aighean. Follow this path over grass, then as it makes a way through heather.

At one point, the path splits - don't take the left fork as this is a direct descent route from Carn Mairg (described in 'Escape routes'). Keep heading directly uphill on the crest. The heather becomes more stunted higher up and the south-west summit of Meall na Aighean can be bypassed.

A faint path continues eastwards over Meall na Aighean's grassy plateau to its rocky main summit . On older maps, you may find Meall na Aighean refered to as Creag Mhor - the name belongs to a minor top to the south-east.


3. Carn Mairg

Path leading to Carn Mairg

Path leading to Carn Mairg

From Meall na Aighean return towards the dip between its two summits, then head off right (north-west). An obvious path develops and picked up heading northwards towards Carn Mairg.

The path crosses a wide grassy bealach and aims for the col between Carn Mairg and its nearby minor summit of Meall Liath. At this bealach turn westwards and head for the boulders below Carn Mairg's summit.

Clamber up boulders and reach Carn Mairg's summit with its two cairns.


4. Meall Garbh

Summit of Meall Garbh

Summit of Meall Garbh

From Carn Mairg, navigation is pretty straightforward for a fair distance - it's more or less a case of following a line of fence-posts !

From the summit of Carn Mairg, head north-west and pick up the line of posts. Keeping to the left of the line of posts as they continue north-west, the ground is grass-covered and easy underfoot and a path can be followed. The path turns westwards and further on patches of bouldery ground are crossed.

Over the flat top of Meall a' Bharr , the path and posts then take a sharp turn north-west. Around 500m further on, the path turns westwards and drops though heather covered ground to eventually arrive at the foot of Meall Garbh after passing a lochan . Follow the path westwards and uphill bypassing Meall Garbh's minor south-east top.

Meall Garbh's summit cairn is reached - it is made entirely of old iron posts ! Decent views from here, with the southern aspect of Schiehallion given a fine show.


5. Carn Gorm

Approaching the summit of Carn Gorm

Approaching the summit of Carn Gorm

Leave Meall Garbh following the fence-posts. As the posts start to turn north-west , leave them and follow the faint path to the bealach Leave Meall Garbh following the fence-posts initially westwards.

After dropping around 50m, the line of posts changes direction and turns north-west , leave them at this point and drop south-west following a faint path to the bealach below the minor top of An Sgorr .

At the bealach, there's a choice - two paths contour around the north-west side of An Sgorr and another heads over it. Either way, all paths eventually lead to the bealach west of An Sgorr and below Carn Gorm. There's a broken line of rusty posts heading up to from Invervar Burn to this point.

Heading up the northern shoulder of Carn Gorm, the line of posts disappears abruptly, but a faint path is followed onwards to Carn Gorm's summit .

On Carn Gorm's summit, two cairns sit on the crest, of which the northerly one has a trig point, now broken from its base. Both summits offer little in the way of shelter against north-westerly winds.


6. Return to Invervar

The track by Invervar Burn

The track by Invervar Burn

From Carn Gorm's summit, continue following the path as it makes a way down the mountain's south-east shoulder. The path is a hill-runner's delight !

After dropping around 500m, the edge of forestry above Invervar is reached , just before which ground begins to become quite sodden. Walk north-east tracing the forest bounderay then drop to a shoogly bridge over Invervar Burn.

Cross the bridge and follow an old track downhill. The track improves with height lost and reaches the gap in the forest earlier, from where retrace your steps back to Invervar.


7. Escape routes

Post marking path of hut by Allt Coire a'Chearcaill

Post marking path of hut by Allt Coire a'Chearcaill

Direct descent (or ascent) from Carn Mairg

From the summit of Carn Mairg , turn south-south-west and clamber down some bouldery ground. Reach grassy ground below, then descend over heather to drop down to a hut by the Allt Coire a'Chearcaill. From here, a good path travels downwards to meet up with the path used to head up Meall nan Aighenan.

Direct ascent (or descent) to Meall Garbh

From Invervar, head up on the track through the forest to the bridge over Invervar Burn. Keeping to the northern side of Invervar Burn and you'll come to an old corrugated hut, from where the track becomes fainter. The path continues onwards north-west to the base of An Sgorr , from where continue north-west on pathless ground to gain the col between An Sgorr and Meall Garbh.


8. Detour to Beinn Dearg

Beinn Dearg from Carn Gorm

Beinn Dearg from Carn Gorm

More commonly ascended on its own from Innerwick, the nearby Corbett of Beinn Dearg can instead be tagged on to day bagging the Glen Lyon Munros. Although the start and end points of such a day are a few kilometres apart, there is only 200m of additional ascent.

This route begins from just west of the forest of Camusvrachan, where a track heads up over farmland into the trees. Following this track leads through the forest and up to open heathery hillside .

Simply hike uphill to the summit of Beinn Dearg with its fine views south onto the Lawers group.

To progress to Carn Gorm, just drop north, then north east to the col at the top of Dubh Choirein , from where it is a steep trudge up to the north-west arm of Carn Gorm.





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