M179 | 975 m. | 3199 ft.
Translation: The horse place
Pronuncation: a varkaneech

2006 The first day of the 2006 walking holiday had seen Alex, Frank and me stomp up and down Shiehallion in three hours. The second tour of three of the western Drumochter Hills was squeezed into the transfer day from Perthshire to Glen Strathfarrar where our chalet was. Starting the hike at the beginning of the landrover track into Coire Dhomhain we walked up this glen with the Sow of Atholl to the left and the Boar of Badenoch to the right. After two kilometres we left the track, crossed the Allt Coire Dhomhain and headed for the bealach between the Sow and Sgairneach Mhor. The going was easy over grassy and mossy terrain which was not too wet. Fine conditions. Soon we reached the bealach and continued due west along the rim of Corrie Creagach. The remains of massive cornices were still there and the arching corrie rim was a beautiful sight. Then we attained the summit of Sgairneach Mhor. Off we went over the grassy plateu to the very head of Coire Dhomhain and the foot of Carn ‘Ic Loumhaidh which we climbed to get onto the ridge leading to the highest hill of the tramp, Beinn Udlamain at 1011 m. At Beinn Udlamain’s summit we met another group of hill walkers and we all huddled close by the cairn searching shelter from the strong wind. From Beinn Udlamain we set out on the three kilometre stretch of ridge leading to A’ Mharconaich skirting around Fraoch-Choire. After 35 or 40 minutes we arrived at the summit cairn of the third munro of the day which I had visited in autumn 2002 already. From there we descended steep slopes of grass and snow in a south easterly direction back into Coire Dhomhain where we hit the landrover track and walked back to the A9 and our car. An easy circuit of three hills with great views of Loch Ericht and Ben Alder. Relaxed walking, quick progress and nice cornices above Coire Creagach. A good day for Alex, Frank and me. Even more so as we reached the car two minutes before the rain set in :-).

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2002 Parking by the A9 two or three kilometres north of the Pass of Drumochter we crossed the railway at the Balsporran B&B heading for the north-east ridge of Geal-charn. All the glens were filled with morning fog and clouds. Even though there had been a few very dry days before the walk the ground on the track up the ridge was quite boggy torn open by some caterpillar vehicle. Needless to say that the going was unpleasant in such conditions. At about 650 m we climbed above the clouds and the mountain scenery stretched out before us. Geal-charn, A’Mharconaich and the Boar of Badenoch. We reached the summit cairn of Geal-charn and walked on to the second cairn from which a great view along Loch Ericht and over Ben Alder and the Loch Laggan Munros opened up before us. From there the going to the col at the head of Coire Fhar was easy and agreeable. From the col we climbed medium steep gras slopes until we reached the ridge of A’Mharconaich which we followed another kilometre in a north-easterly direction. We took a break looking out to Beinn Udlamain, Sgairneach Mhor and the Sow of Atholl. Another easy walk including two munros on the other side of the Pass of Drummochter along the undulating plateau was visible in its entirety. We continued our walk down the north-east ridge of A’Mharconaich. At about 550 m we dropped into Coire Fhar, crossed the Allt Coire Fhar and regained the path on the north side of the burn. Soon we left the corrie, crossed the railway, the river and arrived at our car. A short and enjoyable end point to the 2002 walking holiday in Scotland.

Description These two hills form the northern half of the Drumochter range on the west side of the A9 road. Geal-charn is a rounded and unremarkable hill which used to have some tall cairns near its summit which were visible from the road, but when they were knocked down a landmark was lost. A'Mharconaich is a much more impressive hill with a fine north-east corrie directly under its summit and two ridges jutting out towards the Pass of Drumochter, the southern one ending at a steep little hill called the Boar of Badenoch. To the south-west of its summit, a long level ridge goes towards Beinn Udlamain.The traverse of these two hills is a very short walk from Balsporran Cottages, where there is a large carpark. Follow the path on the west side of the railway for a few hundred metres and then go up the broad north-east ridge of Geal-charn, which becomes very stony near the summit. Descend the south ridge to a wide col and climb grassy slopes south then south-east to the level summit of A'Mharconaich, whose cairn is at the north-east end of the ridge. Descend north then north-east down a long ridge. The rough heathery ground at its foot may be avoided by crossing the Allt Coire Fhar to reach the path on its left bank.