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Ben Vorlich adventure

Ben Vorlich adventure


Postby fipriestley » Mon Jan 23, 2012 2:13 am

Munros included on this walk: Ben Vorlich (Loch Earn)

Date walked: 21/01/2012

Time taken: 4 hours

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I've added the Munro to this post but not ticked it off on my map as I only made it to the trig point and not the cairn.. means I can have another adventure day and add Stuc a'Chroin next time :)

I've been out in the hills every week bar one since mid-Sept so when my usual walking pals couldn't make it this Saturday (and there were no WH meets posted) I had a choice - go alone or just do the shorter but still 'nice to get out' Ben Cleugh circular on Sunday afternoon. Not a good forecast but the more I was advised to not be so daft even thinking about going out on my own for the first time in the winter, the more I felt that I wanted to go on this adventure :D :lol:
weather.JPG
mwis forecast


I did my homework in advance, writing out a series of bearings (don't use a GPS but been going to navigation classes) so I could find my own way even in poor to no visibility instead of following others, which is mainly what I've been doing until now. This was a fairly straight route though and has paths all the way. I packed more clothes and food than I would normally take, and even tried on the crampons I've borrowed so I could fit them more quickly/easily if needed. Left a copy of my map and route at home along with a rough estimate of how long I'd be, and promised I'd be in touch within that time.

Had a lie-in(!) leaving the house at 8.30am and although bright when I parked at Loch Earn, I could feel the car rocking in the wind :shock: Wasn't expecting it to be so strong already! By the time I'd kitted up the rain had started and the 2 sets of folk also parked up had set off - we played leapfrog with the lead all the way up as the 5 of us were at the trig point together.
SDC12514.JPG
wind chops up Loch Earn


It wasn't long before the rain eased off and the wind died down giving a clear view of the full hill ahead. For a short time it was really quite sheltered and I'd almost forgotten all about that forecast - didn't need to use the map, compass or bearings anyway!
IMAG0629.jpg
road to Ben Vorlich


Once on Vorlich's ridge the wind did pick up again. Snow was only in patches so there was no need for ice axe or crampons today (had both with me). I managed to take a few pics while it was still safe enough to get the camera out :)
IMAG0632.jpg
patchy snow, patchy clouds
IMAG0633.jpg
IMAG0634.jpg
looking back to Loch Earn


The real adventures came after that though! Flurry of snow gave way to a brief blizzard, so I put my new ski goggles on :) Although visibility dropped, it was only for a few minutes and I could still see the path in front of me no problem. Once the snow stopped I went to take the goggles off, and realised they were helping keep the wind out my eyes too so I left them on. 8) The wind became stronger the higher I went, until I couldn't stand upright any more. Then I was walking hunched over for a few steps and lying down, or making like a spider and trying to grip with my hands and feet as I climbed :lol: Very surreal when at one point I lay down and turned to look up the hill only to see 4 others lying down on the hill just ahead :o :lol:

Comforted knowing there were others there, and I was coping just as well as them, I pushed onwards. At one brief stop I took one (new!) glove off to get to a tissue and the glove just flew away :( Glad I had thin gloves underneath as this was not bare-hand weather! I crawled the last few feet to the trig point, where the other 4 were already lying down against it. Explaining this was not the summit but the cairn was over there across the short ridge [clear views up here!], I was told I could go on and touch it for the rest of them :eh: :lol:

Hmm, choices again :think: Fleeting thoughts of going for it, maybe asking the others to hang on to my bag while I did since I found that it was helping the wind knock me about (did think about tightening the straps part way up but decided to just keep going as it was).. but there was no hanging about. With the other 4 already making for the descent I decided not to go for the summit cairn as today was all about the adventure more than bagging another Munro.

Coming down was just as windy, so involved some reverse-scrambling and bum-shuffling.. I'm now needing to repair the seat of my over-trousers! :shock: :lol: and only just after I finally fixed the seam-tear in them caused by previous ice-slides :roll:

Got back to the car just after 2pm and had some lunch; hadn't felt the need to stop for food up there! Although my Raynauds had kicked in by now (half way home before I regained full feeling in my fingers!) I couldn't help thinking that if I'd realised how early it still was when I was up at the top I might have just carried on to that cairn... :lol: [ :? assuming you have to get to a summit cairn to 'bag' a Munro.. but here the trig point is higher :?: ]

All in all, pretty chuffed with myself - this was a great day out! :D and I still did the Ben Cleugh circular the following day :)
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Re: Ben Vorlich adventure

Postby scoob999 » Mon Jan 23, 2012 9:04 am

Your madder than me Fi :lol:
Well done for getting that far though :shock: pick a nice day the next time because there's a bit of a scramble up
Stuc a'Chroin
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Re: Ben Vorlich adventure

Postby Dave Hewitt » Mon Jan 23, 2012 10:38 am

Fi – well done re getting up the hill. You can safely tick it off on your Munros list – as you say at the end, the trig point is higher than the cairn (by one metre, 985m plays 984m), so you’ve been to the summit. The cairn is the better lunching spot on a calm day, but it’s not the summit. (I once met a man at the trig who thought that the cairn was Stuc a’Chroin; had no one said to him, he’d have come down thinking he’d climbed both Munros – the easiest pair of them if so, given that they’re about a minute’s walk apart!)
Just to confuse matters, on the other Ben Vorlich the trig isn’t on top, but that’s a different matter. On the Loch Earn one the trig is the top.
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Re: Ben Vorlich adventure

Postby gary » Mon Jan 23, 2012 11:51 am

Like the report, nice pics, had very similar experience up Vorlich at start of January :)
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Re: Ben Vorlich adventure

Postby fipriestley » Mon Jan 23, 2012 9:32 pm

scoob999 wrote:Your madder than me Fi :lol:
Well done for getting that far though :shock: pick a nice day the next time because there's a bit of a scramble up
Stuc a'Chroin

Thanks Stuart, just adding to the experience :D Look forward to doing this one again on just my 2 feet :lol:

Dave Hewitt wrote:Fi – well done re getting up the hill. You can safely tick it off on your Munros list – as you say at the end, the trig point is higher than the cairn (by one metre, 985m plays 984m), so you’ve been to the summit. The cairn is the better lunching spot on a calm day, but it’s not the summit...
Just to confuse matters, on the other Ben Vorlich the trig isn’t on top, but that’s a different matter. On the Loch Earn one the trig is the top.

Right Dave, on your authority I'm ticking this one off! Also on the understanding that when I do go back for Stuc a'Chroin I'll be going back over Ben Vorlich anyway. Cheers for this :thumbup:

Thanks Gary, great feeling of achievement :)
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Re: Ben Vorlich adventure

Postby Fudgie » Mon Jan 23, 2012 11:03 pm

I'm glad to see you plan to go back to climb Stuc a Chroin today as I did them on the same day and despite being in clag until the very top, it was a good walk. We were treated to an inversion on Stuc a Chroin and I hope you're just as lucky :D the return route around the side of Ben Vorlich is the best way to come back.
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Re: Ben Vorlich adventure

Postby Dave Hewitt » Tue Jan 24, 2012 12:26 am

Fi – When you go back and do them as a pair, give some thought to starting somewhere other than Ardvorlich. That’s an OK way up, but very much the trade route and they’re not an entirely logical pair from there as Stuc is out on a limb. The past few times I’ve been there, I’ve got back into the habit of going from Edinample, which has dropped out of fashion (25 years ago it was much more commonly done) and is a nice way up.

Flat plod in to begin with, along the track, then a bit of riverside path (signposted) to the start of the block of trees. Various ways round/through these, but the easiest is to sneak round at the very start, alongside the farm fence. That lands you on the old path/track that slants up the corrie and is a lovely way up. Various options once on the col between Ben Our and Vorlich (there’s a path all the way to here), but the most logical is probably to carry straight on up the NW ridge of Vorlich, across to Stuc as per normal, then down its NW shoulder until clear of the crags and then yomp down a rougher (but not too long) bit of hillside to pick up the ascent path. The whole thing is a bit longer than the Ardvorlich way, but not much and is likely to be quieter. Also gives great side-on views of the Stuc buttress from the glen/corrie path.

The longer approaches from Braeleny and Glen Artney are also good, and it’s worth getting on the “back ridge” (the SE one) of Vorlich at some stage as it’s a fine thing. But the eastern approaches are quite a bit longer, whereas the Glen Ample one is fairly compact.
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Re: Ben Vorlich adventure

Postby luckyguy68 » Tue Jan 24, 2012 1:00 am

Well done for even attempting this one in winter all on your lonesome. I'm saving this one for the better weather or at the very least heading out with more experienced walkers. :thumbup:
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Re: Ben Vorlich adventure

Postby quoman » Tue Jan 24, 2012 11:21 am

Well done Fi
It sure was some wind on saturday good on you going yourself to :thumbup: i was in glenshee on sat and the wind was blowing us all over the place.
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Re: Ben Vorlich adventure

Postby dooterbang » Tue Jan 24, 2012 11:35 am

Ski goggles are much needed in these conditions - glad you had a pair.

If doing again you could cut across the moorland to Ben Our then tackle SoC first. SoC is dangerous in winter and much care is needed.

I have a report up from doing these 2 last New years day.

Well done on your winter solo :)
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Re: Ben Vorlich adventure

Postby ChrisW » Tue Jan 24, 2012 3:19 pm

Brilliant, I laughed along with you at this insane outing.

Explaining this was not the summit but the cairn was over there across the short ridge [clear views up here!], I was told I could go on and touch it for the rest of them
:lol: :lol:

great effort in getting as far as you did, the hill will look totally different the next time you go so it will be like a new one :D
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Re: Ben Vorlich adventure

Postby kevsbald » Tue Jan 24, 2012 3:40 pm

Well done Fi.
SaC could be combined with the lovely Corbett, Beinn Each from the South. Good sized layby off the A84, nice walk up to the bealach and Beinn Each gives a great view of Stuc a Chroin.

Goggles R Us. Now go and put your glove into the 'Lost and Found' section - last seen in Oslo.....
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Re: Ben Vorlich adventure

Postby Redrock » Tue Jan 24, 2012 6:47 pm

Great report Fi - and I take my hat off to you (and probably watch it blowing away like your glove! :lol: ) going up there in that wind! But you did well getting there even if it was on your hands and knees! :lol: I'm glad that Dave put you right on the summit - it would have been a pity to have done all that work and not claimed the blue flag! :D I get the white hand syndrome too - and usually spend a good chunk of the drive home sitting on one hand (to warm it) and driving with the other! This cold weather! :lol: But it's great to get out! 8)
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Re: Ben Vorlich adventure

Postby fipriestley » Wed Jan 25, 2012 1:33 am

Brilliant! Many thanks for all the suggestions and encouragement :D Confidence building with every outing, next time I'll be trying a different route instead of precisely following the WH marked one... just maybe not in the winter :crazy:
dooterbang wrote:SoC is dangerous in winter and much care is needed.


kevsbald wrote:Now go and put your glove into the 'Lost and Found' section - last seen in Oslo.....

Will do! :lol:

Redrock wrote: usually spend a good chunk of the drive home sitting on one hand (to warm it) and driving with the other! This cold weather! :lol: But it's great to get out! 8)

I keep a spare pair of (warm and dry!) gloves in the car for the journey home.. sitting on hands works better though :thumbup: Definitely better to get out! :)

ChrisW wrote:Brilliant, I laughed along with you at this insane outing.

I was giggling like a kid at times while hanging on to rocks.. ice slides have the same effect! :lol: ... you're in Calgary Chris?! I lived in a log cabin at Kootenay Lake (1-2 days' drive west from you) until I was 7 - profile pic is me as a wee lass in the Rockies, guess I never lost the outdoor bug :D
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Re: Ben Vorlich adventure

Postby ChrisW » Wed Jan 25, 2012 3:40 am

profile pic is me as a wee lass in the Rockies
I'll bet you wish you were back here once in a while don't you? I'll take a road trip out to Kootenay Lake at some point and take some pics for ya :D
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