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Ben Lawers: Feel a bit of a cheat.

PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2011 12:21 am
by Morecambe Monkey
After the great weather i had for the walk up Ben Cruachan & Stob Diamh the previous day,the forecast for Tuesday had something totally different in store. My base for the week was the Welcome By The Way campsite in Tyndrum & as i rolled out of my tent at 9am i was greeted by low cloud shrouding all the surrounding tops,but at least it was dry,for now. By the time i'd had breakfast the rain had started but i still headed off to Ben Lawers car park,in the vain hope the weather would improve. It didn't improve & there i sat in my car for 3 hours or so watching the rain hammering against the windscreen & the cloud hanging about 100 metres above the car park. At least it gave me the opportunity to get engrossed in my book!

Wednesday morning arrived & after nearly 24 hours of rain the forecast promised a better day,so yet again i headed off for Ben Lawers. As i travelled east the higher tops were still well covered by cloud & i resigned myself to a day of no views. Today was to be a no frills out & back by the 'tourist route' affair from the Ben Lawers car park,which with it starting at a height of 450 metres sort of feels like you're cheating a little but what the hell,it's very handy. Leaving the car at 12.35pm,i headed off up the obvious & well made path/boardwalk to soon reach the gate in the fence at the point of the start of the nature trail. I decided against taking the trail & continued onwards along the main path making a steady ascent.
Beinn Ghlas from the main path.

As the climb steepened the top of Beinn Ghlas was in & out of view as the clouds drifted across it but as i gained the ridge just below the summit the clag decided to stick & the views were gone. Arriving at the cairn at the top of Beinn Ghlas,i was met by quite a large group of people who,taking one look at me,scurried off into the mist,without even the briefest of hello's(have i got two heads? i asked myself.) Still surrounded by the clag,i decided to have my lunch break here & take a few photos of the summit with Ben Lawers lurking behind the mist.
Ben Lawers through the mist.

As i was putting my camera away the clag suddenly lifted & there was my first clear view of Ben Lawers towering majestically in front of me. What a sight!
Ben Lawers from Beinn Ghlas.

Finishing my first lunch break i headed off along the gentle ridge leading to the foot of the ascent to Ben Lawers which from here looked very steep & slightly brutal. I was pleasantly suprised to find the ascent was nowhere near as bad as it looked at first & i found it pretty straightforward as i climbed up into the clag which had now set in to last. The trigpoint at the summit was soon reached & the poor visibility combined with the lack of other people at the summit made for a rather eerie stillness which was a worthy compensation for the obscured views.
The trig's seen better days.

Finishing the rest of my food while sat next to the trig i again had it all to myself apart from one brief moment when a solitary figure appeared out of the mist from behind the viewing point. Greeting him with a "Hello" he responded with a noise along the lines of "Hhhmmm" & quickly disappeared into the gloom without even stepping up onto the high point(i've definately got two heads i tell myself & maybe i smell?)

Eventually after spending 50 minutes or so without the cloud lifting,i headed back down the same route as the outward leg reaching my car at 1751. 5 hours 16 minutes start to finish & very enjoyable.

On my way back to Tyndrum i made a stop off at Killin & took in the Falls of Dochart. Lovely stuff.
Falls of Dochart