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Ben Lawers and Beinn Ghlas

Ben Lawers and Beinn Ghlas

Postby Myth » Mon Jun 09, 2008 5:30 pm

Route description: Ben Lawers and Beinn Ghlas

Munros included on this walk: Beinn Ghlas, Ben Lawers, Meall Corranaich

Date walked: 09/06/2008

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May 2008, 2 Adults, 2 Children, dog. Heavy cloud rolling over the hills, cold breeze.

We did a slight variation on the described route, returning on the low path around the back (north) of Beinn Ghlas, and, just because it was there and the weather cleared, hopped up Meall Corranaich on the way back as well.

We traveled down the night before, and were up bright and early at the carpark - but not first on the hill. Whilst loading up the sacks and getting boots and poles sorted, there were a flurry of arrivals, from serious looking mountain men, through students who obviously slept in the car, to a huge troop of scouts, and everything in between! LOADS of dogs in the car park which was nice - we were not the only ones shouting for a change! Thankfully, just as we set off, the visitor centre opened (there was a "closed" sign, but no indication of opening hours), and we "detanked" before heading up.

The initial walk through the nature trail (re-forestation area) is sheltered, very pleasant, and simple, if very up and down, and gains height deceptively. We followed the main path, but there is a smaller path on the east side of the gully that looked nicer - but had squeaking (small) children so we avoided. All through the plantation we were catching up with the group of Scouts, who paused for a time at the gate out onto the hill proper. When we got there we realised why, and geared up ourselves. Buffs and softshells for most of the party. On the way up here the route can be deceptive, as Meall Corranaich appears straight ahead, but Beinn Ghlas is tucked away right behind it's shoulder, and for us in cloud...

Once in the open, we followed the crowd WNW up onto the hill, and the climb started straight away zig zaging up to a small rocky plateau where we caught the Scouts rearguard. The next pitch is more shear and rocky, and on this day was quite trecherous, with the path obviously in poor repair, and the stonebed coming loose, causing problems for some of the scouts who were shorter of leg (and for the most part lacked decent boots).and before the path eased again we were past the whole party, and climbing into the cloud base. By now we were wearing hats, gloves and softshells, and needing them all, and we didn't even stop on the top of Beinn Ghlas, but pushed down the far side a bit before pausing - to add buffs... marvelous things.

The path goes through a small saddle, before dropping down across a steep right to left slope to the bealloch, (back out of the cloud), which was sheltered, broad, and had several parties sheltering and gaining courage for the climb of Ben Lawyers. It's from here that the path splits on the return journey, and you can see it fall away to the ENE over softer ground. The initial rise from the bealloch is quite a haul up a very good "stepped" stone paththis starts out over the NW face, and gradually ti tightens (noticed on the way back!) as the climb continues into quite a tight and rocky climb, almost a scramble, as the summit gets closer. Just before the summit there is a lovely round little shelter to the right (south) of the path that served as our lunch stop. Our summit photo contains a large Cairn, three peole sheltering behind it, and lots of cloud. Lots and lots.

I'd sort of hoped that the weather would clear to push on and visit An Stuc, but in cloud with the kids, I decided to retreat, and after lunch just 30m away in the sheltered area, we made our way back down past a steady stream of scouts and assorted walkers. Predictably, just as we got halfway down to the bealloch, the cloud lifted a little, and became whispy, roiling around the summits of Ben Lawers and Beinn Ghlas, offering tantalising glimpses and photo opportunities on the way back down. Anyway we headed down the alternate route to the ESE dropping height quite fast, down to a stream at the bottom where we refilled before pushing up slightly round the North buttress of Beinn Ghlas... just in time to see three nutters running straight down it. Wow.

While we watched them, the cloud lifted a little further, and I suggested we could get up and down Meall Corranaich, a suggestion that wasn't universally welcomed, but was carried by a majority vote after I agreed to leave the pcacks at the bottom. There is no path shown on my maps for this, and another couple starting out from the same place forged up and slightly left onto the heathery flanks of the hill, but my daughter went straight ahead and bore ahead and then slightly right once we were on the real slope towards a very unprepossessing looking rocky outcrop - only for a brilliant stalker style path to unfold tucked in and amongst the rocks - the hill runners passed us on the way up.... Very airy in places, is was a hard but uncomplicated push to the summit which was surprisingly rounded and sort. The cairn was a mess, and as we did photos the cloud dropped fast again and the hills to the southdissappeared so we took the hint and didn't linger.

Retracing our ascent route was very steep, but easy, and after once more dropping out of the cloud, and recovering our packs we returned along the excellent and easy on the knees path that descended the flanks of Beinn Ghlas back to the nature trail, and on to the car park, arriving back at the same time as the scout troop.

A very enjoyable walk, and adding Meall Corranaich wasn't difficult, only adding 45 minutes to our time.
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Re: Ben Lawers and Beinn Ghlas

Postby goth_angel » Sat Jun 28, 2008 1:57 pm

We did this one at the end of May - a good walk - bottled out of doing An Stuc as well though which we are kicking ourselves about in hindsight given that conditions on the day were fantastic. :(
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Location: Too far awav from Scotland (Kent)

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