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Ben Tee from Laggan Locks by bus

Ben Tee from Laggan Locks by bus


Postby steverabone » Sun Sep 12, 2021 2:49 pm

Route description: Ben Tee, Kilfinnan

Corbetts included on this walk: Ben Tee

Date walked: 31/08/2021

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Since the beginning of the pandemic I have decided that hiring a car when I come up to Scotland is too much hassle as there is always the chance that the rules change and make this more difficult.

Therefore I've gone back to my old method of using buses and trains. What this means is that my Munro climbing has been put on the back burner at 190 - all the Munros I need to climb need a car to access.

However, there are Corbetts to climb and as we all know many of these are often a lot more interesting and sometimes more difficult to climb than Munros.

I'm in the middle of compiling a list of Corbetts that can be climbed using public transport and find that there aren't as many as I expected.

Anyway, at the end of August and beginning of September I spent a few days in Fort William and climbed Ben Tee, Sgurr an Utha and Carn a' Chuilinn. This is the first report on Ben Tee .

On the last day of August 2021 I took the bus from Fort William to Laggan Locks in the Great Glen with the aim of climbing Ben Tee which at 904m isn't much short of being a Munro. In fact its two Munro neighbours Meall na Teanga (918m) and Sron a' Choire Ghairbh (937m) aren't significantly higher and certainly no more difficult to climb. The 3D image gives an impression of the terrain.
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Leaving the bus stop at Laggan Locks this lane leads...
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....straight down to the Caledonian Canal where you cross along the top of the lock gates.
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After following another lane past some holiday chalets there's then a short section along the public road to Kilfinnan.
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Just before the bridge a faint path can be seen leading up diagonally through the bracken.
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Looking back to Kilfinnan with Loch Lochy behind....
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....and in the other direction is Laggan Locks.
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Initially the path is clear but...
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....it leads directly to a steep hillside covered in dense bracken. I tried to follow the path but with the bracken up to chest height I was soon stumbling about. Some guide books refer to another very faint path that bypasses the section when the bracken is high. I'd obviously missed the turning.
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Fortunately, I had entered a way mark into my GPS which was on this path (NN27640 96370) so I retreated and climbed through slightly less dense vegetation...
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...and reached the much better path.
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Later in the day, on the way down the hill, I discovered that the path junction is actually at NN 27578 95987 but as can be seen it is easily missed as the track is almost invisible as you walk past it.
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Having recovered my composure and sense of humour I'm now well above the steep bracken covered hillside and on a mainly clear path which will take me most of the way up the hill.
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The path contours round the Kilfinnan Burn above a waterfall - this can't be seen because of the trees.
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A rather dilapidated deer fence is soon reached with a broken gate that had a padlock hanging loose, so it was simply a case of stepping through the gap.
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Looking back down the burn towards Loch Lochy.
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The path heads west with the 693m high Meall nan Dearcag ahead.
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The track then turns towards the north west and heads directly up the gentle slopes of Ben Tee.
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In the distance is Loch Ness beyond Fort Augustus.
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Looking back down hill with the small Lochan Diota over to the east.
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The track heads towards the slightly steeper slopes at the head of Coire Buidge.
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In places the track becomes indistinct but the final approach to the ridge is clear enough.
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I'm still below the cloud level at about 800m on the eastern ridge of the hill so....
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......I took a series of photos to give a panoramic view looking over Loch Garry with its small islands, then the small Loch Lundie and on the far right Loch Oich in the Great Glen and in the distance Loch Ness.
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As the summit is approached the ground becomes stonier...
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.....and the mist drifted in.
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Ben Tee has a substantial cairn...
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.... but the views were disappointing with this view of Loch Garry being the only one. It had taken me about three and a half hours from Laggan Locks a little longer than expected due to the problems I had at the beginning of the hill walk.
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Heading back down the hill I decided to walk away from the track for most of the distance simply heading towards the bend in the Kilfinnan Burn.
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This panoramic view shows the horseshoe of hills surrounding Coire Glas. From left to right:
Meall nan Dearcag (693m), Sean Mheall (888m), Sron a' Choire Ghairbh (937m), Meall a Choire Ghlais (901m) and Ben Tee (904m)
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A final view of Ben Tee now completely clear of cloud!
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Looking south west along Loch Lochy with Ben Nevis and Aonach Mor in the distance. On the far side of the loch the course of the old railway from Spean Bridge to Fort Augustus can be seen.
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The photo from Google Streetview shows the bus stop at Laggan Locks looking towards Inverness with the Fort William direction behind the camera.

The situation with the bus stop at Laggan Lochs remains as confusing as on my last visit. The driver on the bus from Fort William told be I should stand in front of the bus shelter (which is on the opposite side of the road to the Fort William direction and put my hand up when the bus appears. The bus then would then pull across the road and into the layby. Nobody seemed to know what to do if another vehicle blocked the view! As it happened at the bus stop were a couple who were walking form Lands End to John o' Groats - in stages of about 12 miles; they were two years into the task!! That they they had just walked from Gairlochy to Laggan Lochs and were heading back to Fort William.
We decided that I should stand on the verge on the Fort William side of the road and flag down the bus while they stood by the shelter. It worked but seems a not particularly sensible way of operation. It's a shame because there is an excellent service between Fort William, Skye and Inverness along this road.

If using public transport to this point for the two Munros and Ben Tee I would be inclined to get the bus from Inverness which would eliminate this issue.
Attachments

Ben Tee.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

steverabone
 
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Re: Ben Tee from Laggan Locks by bus

Postby Alteknacker » Sun Sep 12, 2021 10:49 pm

I knew there were some advantages in visiting this peak in winter - I just didn't recognise them at the time!!!
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Re: Ben Tee from Laggan Locks by bus

Postby DaveSan » Tue Sep 14, 2021 2:19 pm

IMG_20210902_104657330.jpg
I climbed Ben Tee on 2nd September and had similar experience to you in relation to paths and dense bracken lower down, although as often is the case, easier on descent than ascent.
I enjoyed the good path once above the bracken despite the murky conditions. The mountain forecast had hinted at a cloud inversion - didn't seem likely upto about 800 mtrs - but then to my surprise and delight I popped out above the cloud - and experienced the most amazing cloud inversion all way to top :)
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Re: Ben Tee from Laggan Locks by bus

Postby steverabone » Tue Sep 14, 2021 2:35 pm

I am jealous - I've only experienced this once in Scotland in the Lawers hills on Meall nan Tramachan but your inversion was far more dramatic.

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Re: Ben Tee from Laggan Locks by bus

Postby Graeme D » Wed Sep 15, 2021 8:34 pm

Aye, I remember that ascent from Kilfinnan as being one that would test the patience of a saint and the sense of humour of an award winning stand up comedian. Once through that though the hill itself is more than just reward.
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Re: Ben Tee from Laggan Locks by bus

Postby gld73 » Wed Sep 15, 2021 10:06 pm

Great report - sounds like a lot of us have lost that path in the bracken :lol:

Regarding your outstanding munros, if you're happy to cycle in on an easy track, the Fannichs are accessible by public transport, just accessing them from the 'other' side than the Ullapool side. You can cycle from Lochluichart station down the Fannich Lodge access road (looks like one even I could cycle, I've left the eastern 2 Fannichs deliberately to do them that way. Suspect I'll end up walking it rather than getting my barely used bike out of the shed though, so it'll just be a long but easy walk in that way). The Inverness-Kyle of Lochalsh line has a few useful stops for hills down Strathcarron too.
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Re: Ben Tee from Laggan Locks by bus

Postby BlackPanther » Thu Sep 16, 2021 4:57 pm

We did this route twice in winter conditions, looks a whole different world with lush vegetation!

I remember that dilapidated stile, I almost broke my leg trying to clamber over when it was covered in ice... I see there is an easier way through now, just as well :wink:
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Re: Ben Tee from Laggan Locks by bus

Postby steverabone » Thu Sep 16, 2021 5:17 pm

gld73 wrote:Great report - sounds like a lot of us have lost that path in the bracken :lol:

Regarding your outstanding munros, if you're happy to cycle in on an easy track, the Fannichs are accessible by public transport, just accessing them from the 'other' side than the Ullapool side. You can cycle from Lochluichart station down the Fannich Lodge access road (looks like one even I could cycle, I've left the eastern 2 Fannichs deliberately to do them that way. Suspect I'll end up walking it rather than getting my barely used bike out of the shed though, so it'll just be a long but easy walk in that way). The Inverness-Kyle of Lochalsh line has a few useful stops for hills down Strathcarron too.


I'm afraid I've never learnt to cycle and at 69 I doubt I will.

However, your idea of the Strathcarron area is a good one as there are a couple of Munros and Corbetts that I can climb from either Strathcarron or Achnashellach (and then walking on to the start of the hill walks at Craig - Sgùrr Chòinnich and Sgùrr a'Chaorachain for instance).

A few years ago I crossed the wire bridge over the Allt a Chonais and got up to the Bealach Bheannais but wasn't feeling very well and chickened out. Maybe that is one for next year!

I wrote up this day for my website which you may find interesting.

https://www.steverabone.com/MunroWalker/sgurr_choinnich.htm
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