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A long day on the Ben Lawers Range

A long day on the Ben Lawers Range

Postby AndyGerrard » Mon May 28, 2012 9:34 pm

Munros included on this walk: An Stùc, Beinn Ghlas, Ben Lawers, Meall Garbh (Ben Lawers), Meall Greigh

Date walked: 24/05/2012

Time taken: 7 hours

Distance: 22 km

Ascent: 1630m

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Continuing with my epic walk report catch up I thought I'd go for a more recent one!

Planned a few days away to make the most of the amazing weather we've had over the past few days and what better place to spend it than Aberfeldy and Loch Tay? For the first day I had planned a small day out as I would be traveling from Fife and would be arriving late after stopping at Asda for some food supplies.

I got to the car park at Ben Lawers at 11 a little later than expected after 15 miles at 30mph behind a lorry. I guess it gave me more time to take in the scenery! for such a fine day I was surprised it wasn't busier there! Set off down the track towards Beinn Ghlas and had a hell of a sweat on by the time I'd even got through the gated nature reserve section.
Looking up the track to Beinn Ghlas

I passed two couples on the way up, stopping to have a chat with a lovely couple Ian and Geraldine who most kindly offered to put me up for the night at their holiday cottage in Kenmore. They had left me the vaguest details on how to get there but insisted I should carry on with my day without them. I was sure I'd see them later on the way back down anyway! I pushed on to gain the top of Beinn Ghlas at 12.10.
Cairn at Beinn Ghlas looking on to Allt a' Chobhair

Beinn Ghlas

After stopping for 10 minutes or so and enjoying the hot sun and beautiful views I continued on to Ben Lawers.
Looking on to Ben Lawers

The path quickly became steeper however it was well maintained and relatively easy going to the summit. There were a view other people up there by this point so I managed to get the obligatory summit photo :)
Ben Lawers Summit

At this point I really couldn't decide what I wanted to do. I felt really good and with it being such a lovely day after 40 minutes of deliberation I decided I would push on to An Stuc. Without a clear route marked onwards from there I believed this would be as far as I would go. I passed another young couple and a man up on holiday from England who suggested there was a track running South-west from the bottom of Meall Greigh. Now with more encouragement to carry on and bag all 5 I scrambled up An Stuc from the much easier south side. I reached the summit at 2o'clock.
Looking back from An Stuc to Ben Lawers

Summit Cairn at An Stuc

By this point the thought of bashing my toes on the steep descent of An Stuc and then Ben Lawers had me planning the return route from Meall Greigh. I scrambled down the steep north side of An Stuc. In hindsight not the most sensible thing to do with a recovering broken arm and by yourself as it was very testing on the nerves!
The scramble down :-S

At the foot of An Stuc if it wasn't before, it now cemented my plans to carry on. The heat was immense and as I approached Meall Garbh just after 1430 the amount of water I had left was becoming a concern.
Meall Garbh Summit with An Stuc in the background

It was an uneventful walk to bag my fifth and final munro of the day Meall Greigh at 1530. By this point I thought I had figured out my return route, spotting the aforementioned track at the bottom of the glen.
Top of Meall Greigh

IMG_0979 annotated.jpg
Route back shown with Ben Lawers in view

There was no marked track so I picked a route between two emerging streams and crossing Lawers burn at the dam below Lochan nan Uan.
Dam over Lawers burn

The going was easy and dry and I arrived at the foot of Meall Greigh very quickly (40 mins). I followed the clear track that led to the dam contouring the Ben Lawers at 630m. I soon reached the end of the track and this is where my day turned in to such a slog... In hindsight I should have continued down the track onto the A827 and to Ben Lawers car park on the car route. Instead I decided to follow the fence line below Creag Dhubh directly towards the car park. Within minutes I found myself scrambling down coverings to another dam and back up the other side of the steep gorge of Allt an Tuirc Bhric. I instantly regretted this decision as my mouth was now drier than ever, not to mention the heavy legs!
The crossing over Allt an Tuirc Bhric

The going got worse from here, despite how dry it had been so far it became very boggy and quickly filled my boots :) An hour, couple of slips in the mud and a few ankle twinges later I eventually made a direct line for the Glen Lyon pass joining the road at the Bridge crossing the Burn of Edramucky. A quick jaunt up the hill from here and I was finally at my car by 1800. Luckily I'd left a few litres of water in the car!

Another lesson learned out on the hills. Roads although the route might be longer, are much quicker and less painful than bogs. Won't be doing that walk again in a hurry! Take the A827 or do the ol' 2 car trick. Saying that, if you've read any of my other reports, that ain't foolproof either!

Almost forgot to mention what happened that evening. As I decided to continue on I never saw Ian and Geraldine again. I drove through Kenmore to find their resort to no avail, so went on to Aberfeldy to get some wine and Haggis neeps and tatties so as not to turn up empty handed (and to search it on the internet). On my return to Kenmore I found the right place and was was received to the warmest welcome by Ian and Geraldine. We shared dinner, a fine scallop pasta dish for starters and my haggis for mains with some wine and good conversation, going on to spend the most comfortable nights sleep in their spare room. In case they get the chance to read this. Thanks again for putting me up for the night! Had a lovely evening!
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Re: A long day on the Ben Lawers Range

Postby Fudgie » Tue May 29, 2012 11:23 am

Thats a great effort and to do it in 7 hours is some going. I took me about 9 to do it although there was a fair amount of snow around and like yourself, that gully on the way back knocked the stuffing out of me.
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Re: A long day on the Ben Lawers Range

Postby skuk007 » Thu May 31, 2012 10:37 pm

Nice timing Andy, I'm hoping to do these 5 in July but in the opposite direction, I'd rather be climbing An Stuc than trying the descent. Good to see some pics of river crossings I should be looking out for.

Good time in that heat too. :)
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