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Ben Lui - with drips, trickles and streams

Ben Lui - with drips, trickles and streams

Postby old danensian » Tue Jul 07, 2009 11:19 pm

Munros included on this walk: Beinn Dubhchraig, Ben Lui, Ben Oss

Date walked: 07/07/2009

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I hope belated reports aren't frowned upon. Having spent six weeks enjoying the site I've only just got round to registering and writing up my first report.

Saturday saw five hours on the M6 and M74, alleviated by kebabs and cocktails at a bbq in Glasgow.

Sunday saw us supervising the grandchildren laying seige to Culzean Castle.

But Monday (1 June) was my "get up a hill" day. As it was forecast to be Scotland's hottest day of the year so far, I doubted that it was the best preparation for a 10k that I had to coax my legs round on the following weekend. However, the gear was in the back of the car and it seemed a shame to waste the diesel bringing it all the way up.

River Cononish from Dalrigh

A pre-rush hour dash from Glasgow meant I was away from the car park at Dalrigh well before 9.00am. The West Highland Wayers and the railway were left behind at a good pace while it was still relatively cool. Unfortunately, my brain and navigation skills left the car park just after 9.00am. Looking back across the Cononish at folks heading up the other side of the valley I noticed the footbridge I should have taken to get to the Allt Coire Dubhchraig. Sweat started to drip as I retraced steps for a few hundred yards and regained height after missing the right turn immediately after crossing the railway.

Following the Allts Gleann Auchreoch and Coire Dubhchraig through the old woodland was not the moist, muddy meander that some reports had described. The heat of the previous few days meant that half an hour or so of soft cushioned ground underfoot and dappled sunshine could be enjoyed before the tree line was breached. The first prize of the day was the view once the open hillside above had been crossed and the ridgeline reached. The drip had turned to a trickle down my back, but it was a small price to pay with the tops for the remainder of the day on the skyline. Beyond the col on the ridge, the final clamber gave way to a surprise view down Loch Lomond, and another perspective on the route for the remainder of the day.

Ben Oss and Ben Lui from Beinn Dubhchraig

Once the descent towards Ben Oss had been tackled, "the book" suggested that the knoll on the ridge could be avoided. Having been lured too far along the track to the south west, the trickle returned as higher ground and the original ridgeline on Ben Oss was regained. Looking back down the slopes the alternative hardly seemed worthwhile. The detour was nevertheless rewarded with the skyline broken by the silhouette of two deer as the summit was approached.

Deer on Ben Oss

Views from the broad top gave the prospect of a pleasant meandering descent down the slopes to the start of the south ridge coming down from Ben Lui. The possibility of contouring round to Beinn Chleibh to do four Munros in the day, without having to do Ben Lui twice, was in mind. But the top didn't look too inspiring when compared with what was to come, so it was left for another day. The fact that the trickle had now turned to a steady stream off the end of my nose might also have had something to do with the decision.

Ben Lui's south ridge was overcome at a steady (in my case slow) pace, made easier by aimiable conversation with a fellow walker who had been on the same hill only a few days earlier in high winds and sleet. The summit was reached in an honorable time (for me anyway) of just over five hours.

Ben Lui summit

Ben Lui summit

The Stob Garbh ridge had been in profile for nearly the whole day, and I was looking forward to an interesting descent. Having done Striding Edge on Helvellyn just a couple of weeks previously, it was a disappointment to see the more gentle hillside fall easily away to the north. However, standing on the north west summit it was fascinating to see a "diretissima" descent down the ridge, through the mouth of the Coire and down the Cononish road in an almost straight line down to the car park.

With few surprises to emerge on the way down, the light coloured ribbon of the Cononish road seemed to take an eternity to arrive. Any hope of getting along it as quickly as the pair infront were then dashed on realising that they were on bikes.

It had been a great day out, with three wonderful tops. As my companion in the latter half of the walk pointed out, as our route had swung round the line of tops, the sun had followed behind us, "and your neck's quite red" he observed. Despite all the best intentions, the drips, trickles and streams had washed all the carefully applied sunscreen into a greasy sludge at the top of my t shirt.

As legs wearied and the end of the road didn't seem to get any nearer, my consolation was that next weekend's 10k couldn't be any more ardous. It wasn't - it bucketed it down with rain and blew a gale, but only lasted 52 minutes. The fact that I was hobbling round and reduced to using the trek poles up the stairs in the house the day after can only mean that climbing mountains is healthier than running.
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old danensian
Posts: 418
Munros:282   Corbetts:64
Joined: Jul 6, 2009
Location: Ayrshire

Re: Ben Lui - with drips, trickles and streams

Postby mountain coward » Wed Jul 08, 2009 6:12 pm

All my reports are well after the event as I have to first get my processed films back and then scan them before I can even think about putting a post out!

Do you mean you descended the centre corrie?? :o
mountain coward

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