Praying Hands of Mary and Meall nam Maigheach
A short but tough route around the corbett of Meall nam Maigheach which passes the Praying Hands of Mary. The hill itself is pathless and rather boggy in places so can be quite hard work. You should be properly equipped for a hill walk if tackling the entire route including OS map and compass. Allow at least 5 hours for this walk. It would of course be possible just to walk to the Praying Hands and back again if you don’t want to do a hill walk.
- Distance: 8.6 miles / 14 km
- Ascent: 2500 feet / 750m
- Distance: Path-less hillside with peat hags
- Start / finish: Bridge of Balgie, Glen Lyon, a number of small parking areas are available on the road over to Ben Lawers
Start the walk by walking down the road toward Bridge of Balgie. Before you reach the bridge over the river there is a large gate on your right hand side at the start of the track to the Meggernie Outdoor Centre. Walk up this track, going past the outdoor centre. After the centre the track becomes more grassy and is pleasant walking through fields and alongside the river in places.
When you reach the farm at Roroyere go right onto a path opposite the house (before the river). The path starts to go uphill and will reach an area with scattered boulders. Look over to your right and you should be able to see the tip of the Praying Hands. A feint grassy path leads from the path you are on over to the hands.
Once past the hands the path becomes harder to follow and you will probably lose it. Go straight up the hill keeping left of the rocky outcrops. It is steep so just take the easiest line for you as there is no obvious path. An old wall can be crossed at a gap. When you reach the crest of the hill there is an old fence line which you can follow. As you go up the hill don’t forget to keep looking back from time to time for fine views down into Glen Lyon.
From now on the going gets tough as peat hags and boggy bits are strewn across the hillside. The summit looks a long way off! There is no obvious path to follow and you will need to pick your own way around and across the peat hags. It’s almost 3km to the summit and it will probably take longer than you expect due to the peat hags.
There are two cairns on two hillocks at the summit. From the westerly cairn on Meall Luaidh, descend in a westerly direction down a steep slope. This starts off on short cropped heather with moss and soon becomes grassy as you lose height. After the peat hags and bogs this is a pleasant change. The slope is steep so you may find it easier to zig zag your way down. Lower down some bracken patches may need to be negotiated in the summer months.
Make your way off the hill and on to the road which is visible below you. If you keep to your right before joining the road it will reduce the road walk back to your car. After your walk treat yourself to a bowl of soup or coffee and cake at the Bridge of Balgie Post Office.