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Unfinished Business

Unfinished Business


Postby Jock McJock » Tue Oct 04, 2011 4:40 pm

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

Date walked: 27/07/2011

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Part 1


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Been a bit of a non starter for me this year as far as getting some Munros is concerned. Work, work, work and more work. And when I have had any time off the weather has always been mince :lol: . So in July, with some time off and some decent weather a grand plan was made to get the 4 Munros in the Ben Lui group and include a wee wild camp to try out some new gear that I had got myself.
So, the plan was, walk in via Connonish early evening, do Ben Lui and Beinn a'Chleibh, camp on the bhealach between Beinn a'Chleibh and Ben Lui overnight then up in the morning, traverse round the side of Lui and walk out over the tops of Ben Oss and Beinn Dubhcraig. Hadn't been out for a while so thought breaking it up would be good idea. And it would have been however......................

On arriving the weather closed in and the clouds were down to about 300 to 400m. There was patchy rain and didn't look like letting up. Quite the reverse of what was predicted I might add! :lol: Anyway I thought I would at least walk in to Ben Lui and see what it was like when I got there. So off I went, with a big, heavy rucksack, full of gear, on my back for the first time in years. Needless to say i was soon feeling it and it took me just short of 2 hours to walk from the car park near Dalrigh to the bottom of Ben Lui. At this point I deceided to camp at the bottom of Lui for the night as the weather was worsening and there didn't seem much point continuing that night. So I set up camp and actually had quite a good nights sleep.
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My evening view.


I awoke about six the next morning and looked out to be greeted by this
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My morning view.


Brilliant, I thought, and packed up my gear, had a bite to eat and was off for seven. I headed off up Lui and was soon feeling the big bag on my back again. My legs were really feeling the extra weight and I had to stop frequently for a rest. The cloud came in a little as I climbed and I thought the weather might deteriorate again.

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Its up there somewhere!


Imagine my delight when I then came through the cloud, seen blue sky above me and turned around to see this
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Inversion 1


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Inversion 2


Then looked up again to see this

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Ben Lui


Sometimes the hard slog is really worth it. First time I had seen anything like this except in other peoples pictures so was really chuffed to see it for real. With the inversion raising my spirits I headed further up into the corrie and then up onto the ridge at Stob Garbh. All the while turning round to see the inversion behind me break up the higher I got.
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Heading onto Stob Garbh

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Once on the ridge its a great walk up onto the top.
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The way up the ridge.


The views all around were stunning and i sat and took them in while getting my breath back and grabbing a bite to eat.
DSC04327.JPG
View from the top 1 - Looking out to Cononish

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Top of Ben Lui with Ben Oss and Beinn Dubhcraig behind.

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Looking towards Loch Awe and Ben Cruachan, hiding behind the broken cloud.

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Beinn a'Chleibh, Loch Awe in the distance.

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Top of Ben Lui. Arrochar Alps in the distance.


I had been seriously considering calling it a day on my way up. The extra weight of the big bag was really making it difficult for me. i thought about just getting Lui and walking out. But, with the views, the weather getting better by the minute and Beinn a'Chleibh looking but a stones throw away I decided to press on.

At the back of my mind I knew I was going to be pushed for time. I had left word of when I'd be back and if I was going to get the four in one day I was probably not going to be back when I said I would. With this in mind I set off down Lui trying to make up some time on the downhill part. Big mistake! In my haste, and on some pretty slippy, loose stones my feet went from under me and I came down very hard on my right arm :shock: . I knew right away that something was not right. When I looked down at my arm, expecting to see, blood or bone, it looked OK. There was no pain, but i knew something wasn't right. Then I noticed that my arm was hanging lower than it should have been and that my right shoulder was a wee bit further out than it should be. I had popped my shoulder right out of the socket :shock:

About a thousand thoughts at once crashed through my mind, mostly involving helicopters, the quickest route out, would i be able to walk out, dumping my gear cause i could't carry it anymore, no phone signal etc etc etc. So as I sat there I thought maybe I should get some support under my arm. I put my left hand under my right elbow and pushed it slightly upwards............and POP, the shoulder went straight back in! Now i was thinking, here comes the pain........but nothing! I sat for a few minutes, then eventually tried moving the arm around, no problem. I got up, walked around, fine. Picked up my poles and put some weight on my right arm, slightly sore but nothing too bad. The question then was, what to do now? Do I crack on? Do i get the hell out while the going is good?

I decided to carry on down to the bhealach and take stock there. When i got down there i was feeling OK, the arm wasn't hurting too much and Beinn a'Chleibh was right there in front of me. So I dumped the big pack at the bottom and set off up Beinn a'Chleibh.
DSC04354.JPG
Top of Beinn a'Chleibh.


Didn't take long and I was soon back down again. So, two choices now, head back over Lui and out or press on? I sat a while, had a bite to eat and decided to do the traverse around Lui and see how I felt when I got to the bhealach between Lui and Oss. I knew there was still a way out from there by following the Allt Coire Laoigh back down to the track that runs out via Cononish.

So off I went, replenishing my water supply on the side of Ben Lui as I went. This traverse was to prove the nail in the coffin that day. There is no path so its a real slog through lots of long, tufty grass and there is a lot of quite boggy ground. It took mr an hour to get to the bhealach by which time I was completely knackered. The extra weight of the big bag had finally taken its toll. The shoulder was starting to protest too. So I looked up at Ben Oss and thought, no way, not today. I once again rested, had a bite and then headed down the side of the Allt Coire Laoigh back to the track at the bottom of Ben Lui.
DSC04368.JPG
The way out.


As I walked the track back to the car park Ben Oss and Ben Dubhcraig were high above and I couldn't help thinking they would be having a wee snigger at my expense. So I promised them both that I'd be back to kick their arses! :lol:


Part 2

30/09/11


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So back I came. Once again managed to get some time away from work and a decent forecast. Headed up to the car park at Dalrigh and was booted up and off by 10am. Followed the WH report out of the car park, along the track, over the railway and into the field......oh dear. Very, very, very wet and boggy! :(
DSC04436.JPG
Ben Dubhcraig ahead in the cloud. Boggy field to the right.

Managed to get through it and found the wee bridge over the river. Off then into the forest. This would have been a very nice part of the walk but for the fact that like the field it was very very wet and boggy. Underfoot conditions were awful and it wasn't long before my usually very waterproof boots were soaking. It was also very energy sapping as I was constantly sinking into the mud. The forest is lovely though and the autumnal colours of the trees and ferns made it worthwile.
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Forest 1

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Forest 2


Once up out of the forest I thought the going would get better but it wasn't to be. It remained very soft, wet and boggy almost all the way to the top of Beinn Dubhcraig. Which really made it a bit of a slog. The cloud insisted on clinging onto the top which was really annoyong as when I looked across at Ben Chalum, Ben More etc they were all clear!! :lol:

But I pressed onwards and reached the top of Dubhcraig in just under 2 hours.
DSC04457.JPG
Top of Ben Duhbcaig.

The cloud was blowing in and out so i sat a while to eat and just watched the views open up then disapear from one moment to the next. Then it was off for my second target of the day, Ben Oss.
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Next target, Ben Oss.

DSC04472.JPG
Looking back at Ben Dubhcraig.

I headed down into the bhealach and as directed by the WH guide found the path off to the left that climbs steadily around the side off Oss. The path then steepens nearer the top for the final push. As I had taken my time and stopped to eat on the way it took me about 2 hours from the top of Dubhcraig to the top of Oss. The cloud had decided to hang around on Oss and so I only got fleeting hazy glimpses of the surrounding views. Ben Lui looked good opposite.

DSC04476.JPG
Top of Ben Oss.


I had been thinking about the descent and really didn't fancy the walk back out via the forest as it was bad enough coming up and I didn't fancy the underfoot conitions for going back down. So I dug out the map and decided to head back over onto the ridge at Ben Dubhcraig, as directed by the WH guide, but to then stick to the ridge and head for the steep slopes above Cononish Farm as i knew there was a bridge over the river down there. So down off of Ben Oss I went, into the bhealach and back up onto the ridge of Dubhcraig.

Once on the ridge I tried to stay as near the left side as I could, keeping the mine above Cononish as my reference point as I couldn't see the farm from there. I continued down until the farm came into view and then just went staight down. The slopes here are very steep but were no problem to go down as the grass is nice and long and gives plenty of purchase, even though the grass was wet and it had started raining by this point. Once down, it was across the wee bridge and up onto the track to walk back out to the car park. Needless to say I gave both Oss and Dubhcraig the wee 2 finger salute on my way along the track bearing in mind that they had beat me the last time I had walked out this way :lol: . Back to the car and just short of 8 hours for the day all in.

I will remember these four hills well. Some good, some bad, but in truth they really are a lovely set of hills to get out on and I think i may return again sometime to do my original plan of the four with a wee wild camp. Just need to try and get the time, and the weather, and not fall, and get fitter,............ :D :lol:
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Re: Unfinished Business

Postby kinley » Tue Oct 04, 2011 5:21 pm

A high camp inversion and a dislocated shoulder :shock:

That's certainly a yin and yang trip :shock:

Nice wild camp though - well rewarded....initially :lol:
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Re: Unfinished Business

Postby Stretch » Tue Oct 04, 2011 5:36 pm

Dr Jock, popping his arm back in its socket! Very fortunate, glad that did the trick for you. Enjoyed the post and the pics!
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Re: Unfinished Business

Postby kev_russ » Tue Oct 04, 2011 7:46 pm

Great report and pics Jock :thumbup:
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Re: Unfinished Business

Postby Jockstar » Wed Oct 05, 2011 11:04 am

Well done on an epic trip...could be a blockbuster for ITV!! :lol: :lol:
Was there a course in First Aid on the railways before you did this trip, specialising in dislocated shoulders. :D Seriously good effort and love the photos of the inversions and many of the other pics of the views. Hopefully see you out on the hills next year (I have attained a border terrier so no good for walking till next March). :(
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Re: Unfinished Business

Postby lomondwalkers » Wed Oct 05, 2011 11:11 am

Great report Jock!! I'd have sat and cried for my mammy if my shoulder popped out :lol: That traverse round Lui to Oss aint much fun at the best of times, never mind the heavy bag and dodgy shoulder. I bailed out of the round of 4 after Oss when I did them, in hindsight I'd have been better carrying on, as the descent off Oss wasn't the best, but the legs just didn't have it in them to go upwards again. Been back and taken care of my unfinished business now too :D
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Re: Unfinished Business

Postby Jock McJock » Wed Oct 05, 2011 5:01 pm

Thanks all. Really was a bit of a trip that one. Good and bad right enough Kinley. Wouldn't have fancied bailing out on Oss LW, bit steep off of there :shock: , and well done for going back and getting it sorted :D

Cheers Brian, no first aid involved mate, just pure and utter luck. Blockbuster for ITV? Only of they call it When Eejits Do Hills or something along those lines :lol: Will def need to get a walk together some time next year.
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Re: Unfinished Business

Postby Jockstar » Thu Oct 06, 2011 3:14 pm

Jock McJock wrote:Cheers Brian, no first aid involved mate, just pure and utter luck. Blockbuster for ITV? Only of they call it When Eejits Do Hills or something along those lines :lol: Will def need to get a walk together some time next year.


No problem with a walk next year. Let me know when and we'll sort something out. No rain this time, though :lol:
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Re: Unfinished Business

Postby thufferin succotash » Thu Oct 06, 2011 8:28 pm

I stared at your Inversion pics enviously .... then continued to read on and really did turn green when you realised you arm was longer than normal and your shoulder not where it should be. :shock: Then you just popped it back in place and continued walking!!! Wow!! You been having lessons from Mel Gibson??? :) Think I'd have opted for the helicopter ride. Great report and pics, and an amazing display of courage. Bet you're feeling right chuffed with yourself ... and deservedly so. :clap:
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Re: Unfinished Business

Postby ChrisW » Thu Oct 06, 2011 9:05 pm

Great effort JMcJ, and some cracking pics though I'm sure the shoulder thing put a bit of a dampener on things :? when I was at school I had a friend who's shoulder popped out all the time and he would pop it back in :sick: he later had an operation of some sort to tighten the muscle ...... :?
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Re: Unfinished Business

Postby Merry-walker » Thu Oct 06, 2011 11:16 pm

Yikes, dislocated shoulder! What would you have done if it hadn't have popped back in? Very lucky it did.

Fab pictures and great report, I've yet to experience weather inversions (forgive me if I show some greeny jealousness :) )
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Re: Unfinished Business

Postby PeteR » Thu Oct 06, 2011 11:37 pm

Great report and pictures for 4 great hills. Winced at the dislocated shoulder section though. I can handle blisters and aching limbs, but would have panicked like nobodies business if that had been me :shock: You seem to have the knack though as you were able to pop it back in.

It's a pity about the bog trot up Dubhcraig. It would be so much better if work was done on that particular path to make it easier, as the forest is a great place in itself.

I now judge all bog trots on a Dubhcraig scale :lol: :lol: Not scored many higher than a Dubhcraig though :lol:
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Re: Unfinished Business

Postby rockhopper » Thu Oct 06, 2011 11:42 pm

Enjoyed that - well done :thumbup: Would agree with you - enjoyed walking these hills as well - approaching from Cononish, the first sight of Ben Lui is stunning :D
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Re: Unfinished Business

Postby Jock McJock » Fri Oct 07, 2011 8:34 pm

Thanks again all for the comments.

Thufferin - Yeah feeling chuffed now that I've went back and closed it out so to speak. Kind of knocked my confidence a wee bit so going back sorted that out and made me remember all the reasons I walk in the first place.

ChrisW - Not sure I want to start trying to do it for the fun of it :shock: Really hope it doesn't happen again, though a few people have said sometimes once that happens it can do it again, so fingers crossed :D

Merry Walker - Really don't like thinking about what I would have done if it hadn't popped back in. Would have ended up a very different day though :lol: Think I would have had to dump my gear, strap the arm up and try and walk out. The nearest exit from where I fell was out to the A85, which was about 2 hours walk out I think, maybe more. Glad I didn't have to find out though :lol:

PeterR - Winced a fair bit myself when I realised what had happened believe me :lol: and got that awful sinking feeling you get when you realise your in the brown stuff :lol: As for having the knack it was pure and utter luck, but I'll take that any day :D And yeah, think your bog scale is bang on, must be my worst yet too.

Rockhopper - Yeah, Ben Lui is really a stunning looking hill. Couldn't see it on the approach the night I walked in to camp. So was brilliant to wake in the morning, look out the tent, and it was right there above me :D
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Re: Unfinished Business

Postby Jock McJock » Fri Oct 07, 2011 8:35 pm

Thanks again all for the comments.

Thufferin - Yeah feeling chuffed now that I've went back and closed it out so to speak. Kind of knocked my confidence a wee bit so going back sorted that out and made me remember all the reasons I walk in the first place.

ChrisW - Not sure I want to start trying to do it for the fun of it :shock: Really hope it doesn't happen again, though a few people have said sometimes once that happens it can do it again, so fingers crossed :D

Merry Walker - Really don't like thinking about what I would have done if it hadn't popped back in. Would have ended up a very different day though :lol: Think I would have had to dump my gear, strap the arm up and try and walk out. The nearest exit from where I fell was out to the A85, which was about 2 hours walk out I think, maybe more. Glad I didn't have to find out though :lol:

PeterR - Winced a fair bit myself when I realised what had happened believe me :lol: and got that awful sinking feeling you get when you realise your in the brown stuff :lol: As for having the knack it was pure and utter luck, but I'll take that any day :D And yeah, think your bog scale is bang on, must be my worst yet too.

Rockhopper - Yeah, Ben Lui is really a stunning looking hill. Couldn't see it on the approach the night I walked in to camp. So was brilliant to wake in the morning, look out the tent, and it was right there above me :D
Jock McJock
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Joined: Feb 5, 2010
Location: Dumbarton

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