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Bagging mountains in Glen Lyon: Meall a’ Mhuic and Beinn Dearg

Written by Fiona

February 26 2024

I met my freind Ben for this walk of the Corbett Beinn Dearg in Glen Lyon. We tagged on a Fiona, Meall a’ Mhuic, to give us a walk of around 12km and just over 900m of ascent. If you plan to do this route, note that we made a couple of silly navigation errors at the start. There rae a few different tracks from the start point at Innerwick, near Bridge of Balgie, and because we were chatting we missed the right turn at a junction.

It didn’t matter too much as it was the early stage of the walk and we knew we would need to head off the wide Landrover tracks lower down the slopes on to rugged, off-trod walking fairly early on.

We decided to head for Meall a’ Mhuic first, then on to Beinn Dearg to form a clockwise circuit.

Road to Innerwick

It is a drive of around 10 miles along Glen Lyon to reach Innerwick, where there is a parking area. You depart the B846 west of Aberfeldy. and on to the windy, singletrack tarmac road, which seems to go on forever. It’s a good idea to allow more time than you might imagine to drive along the glen.

First summit.

Walk to Meall a’ Mhuic summit

We left our vehicles in the Innerwick car park and set off on foot for our first summit Meall a’ Mhuic, which rises to 745m. It was a rugged and fairly steep walk uphill and Ben and I found ourselves stomping through snow at a lower elevation than we had expected. While the weather was calm and surprisingly warm for February in Scotland, there had been a recent dump of snow.

In some ways, the snow makes walking on grassy tussocks and heather a bit easier because it fills in the gaps and ruts in between the vegetation. However, the snow is also energy sapping when you are making fresh tracks.

As we plodded upwards, we caught up on our chat. We had not seen each other since New Year so there was plenty to talk about. We both enjoyed the companionable pace and the wonderful winter walking conditions.

Looking back over our shoulders every so often, we could see the vista of the Ben Lawers mountain range covered in a thick blanket of snow. At this point, the clouds were still above Munro summit height although they formed a top-heavy frame.

The shelter cairn on Meall a’ Mhuic was deep in snow but since there was zero wind on the summit we didn’t need the protection. After a cup of tea and a sandwich we started the walk towards the Corbett.

Ben on Beinn Dearg.
Me on the summit.

Hike to Beinn Dearg

We could see Beinn Dearg rising to the east of Meall a’ Mhuic, but to reach the summit we needed to descend towards Lairig Ghallabhaich at around 450m elevation and then begin another ascent. Despite wearing good quality hiking boots, waterproof socks and waterproof trousers, I had stupidly forgotten to add gaiters. This meant that the snow got into the top of my boots and I ended up with cold feet for much of the rest of the walk. (You’ll note that the next day when walking another Corbett in snow, I made sure I was wearing gaiters and my feet remained much warmer.)

Having descended the Fiona in a north-easterly direction, we struck off generally souther-easterly to climb the Corbett. We reached Meall Glas at 713m elevation first and then walked more easterly and on a gentler gradient to reach the summit of Beinn Dearg at 830m.

During a brief stop for another cup of tea and a sandwich, we were treated to a low fly over from a fabulous golden eagle. I have not seen an eagle so close before.

A pile of stones marked the top and we again enjoyed still and surprisingly warm conditions. By now, the clouds had deepened and the tops of the highest mountains in the Lawers range were covered. While the panorama was mostly monochrome, here and there, sunlight added bright touches to some tops of the peaks.

To descend, Ben and I returned a short way to the west and then struck off more southerly to approach Innerwick. The slope was quite steep and once we were below the snowline, the terrain was rugged and quite hard going.

We were amused by an old gate that had become separated from the fence it once joined.

We could see the small church close to the parking area where we had departed earlier in the day. It is situated in a very remote location in Glen Lyon, although we later read on a sign that people once walked from Loch Rannoch on Kirk Road to reach the church in Glen Lyon.

Our route: Strava and OS Maps

Corbetts bagged: 140

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