Walk of the Week: Meall Reamhar

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THE cleared area gives good views of Schiehallion

After bacon butties and coffee at the House of Bruar, Rhona and I headed the short distance west for Meall Reamhar, a hill that even those within the hillwalking fraternity would have problems identifying. Situated between Glen Errochty and Loch Tummel, Meall Reamhar is the central bulge amid the Tummel Forest (Reamhar is gaelic for fat or plump). The immediate area around the dome is free of trees. Elsewhere my map shows a heavily forested area, though there has been extensive recent felling.

At 493m/1617ft, Meall Reamhar is not quite the highest point (that belongs to a tree-swathed 512m bulge to the north-west), yet its summit boasts a trig point indicating that there are good views all round. Two mapped communication masts reinforce that prospect.

The anti-clockwise walk on forest tracks approaches the summit from the south, and then returns to a northern track via a grassy clearing: a circular walk, which apart from one small detour, retraces not one step. On our day of drizzle and strong winds, we met not a soul.

The Route:

Drive along the B847 to the bridge over the Errochty Water, map ref 766636, ½ mile west of Kinaldy. Park just over the bridge, but no further than the sign – authorised vehicles only. Head westwards for one mile, then turn left (south-east) at the first junction on a steady rise past a large felled, fenced, area on the right.

Turn right (south-west) at the next junction, then before the main track curves east and starts to descend make the short detour on a narrower grassy track to a communication mast. Mapped indeed, but now just the stump of the mast remains beside a locked stone built hut – and the views are not outstanding.

The main track winds its way through more mature trees, descending past another cleared area on the right to give good views of Schiehallion, but mist shrouded on our day. At the next junction, map ref 765604, curve left (east) to reach the second communications mast, this time a 100ft high metal pylon.

There are superb views down to the Tummel Bridge power station and the lines of electricity pylons, with the conical peak of Farragon, climbed just the week before, instantly recognisable to the south-east. From the mast immediately climb over heathery ground interspersed with silver birches to meet an unmapped and much smaller mast. Then follow a vague all-terrain vehicle “track” up the hill by the edge of the forest to reach 477m Creag nan Caisean. Low-clipped heathery terrain (plus the “track”) makes for an easier traverse to Meall Reamhar, its trig point enclosed by an unusual and charming turf circle that gives grand shelter.

The descent is over rough wet moorland (sensible boots advised), heading for the hidden-at-first burn to the north, map ref 778625. I advise taking a 330 bearing. Cross to the west bank and over a line of old fence posts and follow them into a narrow clearing, with the burn gradually forming a small gorge on the right. A grassy way through the tall trees leads to a track, then followed west back to the start.

The Facts:

Map: Ordnance Survey map 42, Glen Garry & Loch Rannoch

Distance: 9 miles

Height: 400m

Terrain: Forestry track and heathery slopes

Start point: Off B847, south side of bridge over Errochty Water

Time: 4 to 5 hours

Nearest town: Blair Atholl

Recommended refreshment spot: The House of Bruar, by Blair Atholl