Ben Lawers anti-clockwise
by retrogear » Wed Jun 29, 2011 12:16 pm
Route description: Meall Greigh, Meall Garbh and An Stuc
Munros included on this walk: An Stuc, Ben Lawers, Meall Garbh (Ben Lawers), Meall Greigh
Date walked: 28/06/2011
Time taken: 7.5 hours11 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
Having missed the Roybridge meet I was determined to get on the hills before I went back to work. I decided on Ben Lawers from Lawers in an anti-clockwise circuit. I’d read the guide books and all the trip reports, and the one big theme that recurs is the ascent of An Stuc. I don’t mind a bit of scrambling but I usually walk with a partner and this time I knew that being an early mid-week start, there would be no-one to follow or give advice.
I got up very early on Tuesday morning and decided to take a leisurely breakfast before heading for the hills. The hope was that my porridge would have time to digest before the strenuous work began. I arrived at the Ben Lawers Hotel and set off at 6.40.
The walk up the farm track at Machuim led to some pleasant mixed woodland with birdsong bursting from it. After the wood ended the sun blistered in a cloudless sky, so I put my hat on and plodded along the track. The guide books say that the ascent of Meall Greigh is up the broad ridge of Sron Mhor. Well, with my aptitude of getting lost on the lower slopes of almost every hill I do, I wandered along some sheep tracks until I got to the long SW-NE line of crags, where I decided that I’d better get up the hill. It was great to be in the shade, but the first long drag of the day had my heart pounding and my porridge violently recurring on me.
Once up on the ridge, the views of Loch Tay were splendid, but a line of clouds were coming in from the west.
Looking towards Ben Lawers, the prominent features of An Stuc stuck out on the skyline, giving me little peace of mind. At one point I noticed the shimmering surface of Lochan nan Cat. I like seeing hill lochs as you know that you are gaining some height. A quick glance at the ridge soured my initial joy as there was so much more height to gain.
More slogging followed and I reached the top of Meall Greigh. Taking a quick snap, I realised that this was my first solo Munro.
Off down the grassy slopes to the Lairig Innein with a real spring in my step. Meall Garbh was good to climb as by this time I’d got a rhythm to my walking. I took a prolonged stop at the top to refuel. I was going noticeably slower now taking any opportunity to delay the inevitable.
At the bealach I went over my plan of action. In Stretch’s trip report he says that if there had been no-one else around he might have turned back. This had been playing on my mind. (Thanks Stretch!) So – three points on/do not look down/do NOT look down – that was my plan. I had been wearing my bright yellow top all day so that the helicopter could spot my crumpled remains if I fell off.
A ewe and her lamb were sitting down watching my progress. The first part of the climb is nice – then it goes straight up. The holds are good, but my heart was still pounding. My brain was screaming the three parts to my plan all the way up. At one point, while I was adjusting my feet, I came to a halt. It can only have been for about five seconds but the voice in my head was shouting “Don’t stop, or you’ll never start again! 3 points on! Don’t look down!” I got to the top with a big grin on my face. The whole scramble can only be 60 seconds at most – but it was good fun – in retrospect.
From An Stuc there is a good view of Beinn Ghlas. From the visitor centre side it just looks like a bug lump and I’d always wondered why it was classified as a hill in its own right rather than a top, but from the other side you can really see its mountainous aspect. At this point I was feeling quite fresh and I thought about doing Beinn Ghlas and the other mountains in the Lawers range. At this point it I’d been walking for about 4 hours. The slog up Ben Lawers changed my mind. The wind was getting up and it was becoming cold. At the top I managed to use the cairn and trig point to my advantage and use the timer on my camera. The views were great and I wandered round the eastern ridge of the hill.
There were some odd, well-made stone constructions up here- too high for shielings, surely.
I picked my way down the steep slopes of this ridge and through the bog to the dam and then the path back to the road. At the hotel I explained that I’d used their car park. Not knowing whether to pay the £5 or have a soft drink in the bar, the barman explained that the bit about a £5 charge for non-hotel users was only to ensure that people came into the hotel, and that £5 wasn’t to be seen as a minimum spend. A fizzy drink and a bag of crisps later I was ready to get in the car and drive home after a fantastic day.
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by stevemillar » Wed Jun 29, 2011 8:39 pm
I did this walk a few months ago, and it's a far better route to take rather than starting at the carpark end, (in my opinion).
Also, if you get tired, you can descend to the lochan after doing An Stuc and track back to the Lawers Hotel that way and save Ben Lawers for another day.
by Stretch » Wed Jun 29, 2011 9:11 pm
by L-Hiking » Wed Jun 29, 2011 9:26 pm
Stretch also offered me advice last year just the same as you, it seems to have worked fine well done again. The couple of pints of Loch Ossian in the Lawyers Hotel helped to brighten the day up
I will be back!!!!!
by SouthernUplandKing » Wed Jun 29, 2011 9:57 pm
Also, there is a trail on the other side of Lawers Burn which means you dont need to trudge through bog
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by spiderman » Wed Jun 29, 2011 10:44 pm
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by Paula Hubens » Thu Jun 30, 2011 10:58 pm
Taking a quick snap, I realised that this was my first solo Munro.
I took a prolonged stop at the top to refuel. I was going noticeably slower now taking any opportunity to delay the inevitable.
Congratulations on your first solo munro!
Ha, ha, I recognise that, dawdling to delay the moment you've got to face a tricky ascent. I usually start taking lots of pictures.
The Ben Lawers range is on the programme for my next holiday. I have already been reading up on it. Really like your report.
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