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The good, the bad and the ugly - Ben Vane

The good, the bad and the ugly - Ben Vane


Postby quinners161 » Mon Sep 24, 2012 12:10 pm

Route description: Ben Vane, from Inveruglas

Munros included on this walk: Ben Vane

Date walked: 24/09/2012

Time taken: 3.45 hours

Distance: 11 km

Ascent: 930m

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I have been lurking/gleaning around here for a while, I thought it would be time for my first attempt at a walk report so bear with me!

The weekend started off with the bad and the ugly in quick succession (an evening on Buckfast - the bad; and the resulting hangover - the ugly :sick: :oops: ) and was followed by the good, a cheeky trip out to Loch Lomond for some exercise on Ben Vane :)

After a morning of housework (I had to earn my time out...) I drove up to Inveruglas and parked up at the visitor centre. I was out solo today, so I was kitted up and on the track for 12.45. After the first half a mile next to the road, it was time to get the heart pumping and I made mince meat of the tarmaced track up to the bridge. The views opened up pretty quickly.
IMG_3708.JPG
First views

IMG_3709.JPG
A' Chrois


It was here that I saw a guy on his own that was navigating using his phone. Now I might not be the most experienced hill waker out there, but if anyone can shed some light on how this is possible/if it safe... I would have thought that if you lost your phone signal you'd be pretty stuffed :shock: Give me a map and compass any day.

Broke track and headed through a bog :( :( :thumbdown: and up onto the ridge. Looking up at what is to come, I found myself thinking, how the hell am I going to get up that. Usually the closer you get, the more obvious the route becomes, but in this case it was pretty hard to spot.

IMG_3713.JPG
First of the crags


Now, as I was out to log another experience day for my ML, I was working on my pace and foot placement. what a test! The path seemed to get steeper and steeper and when you thought it could not get any steeper it would throw some more at you and even then there were places that you needed to get your hands on the rock and pull yourself up. It was nice to not have to think about anyone else and concentrate on the goal - if I felt comfortable with it I went for it :D :thumbup: and theres not much I didn't go for.

Finally, the views started to open up, with views down to loch Sloy and Ben Vorlich on the right, and A'Chrois and Ben Narnain on the left.
IMG_3714.JPG
Loch Sloy and Dam

IMG_3715.JPG
Over my left shoulder


A quick stop for a drink and to get some calories in me - a new one for me, yogurt and fruit/nut mix. A bit strange, but it did the trick. :D :D Onwards and upwards and I was undone by the same thought that gets me every time. "Not far now, its just there." Its never there. Ever. Not once when I have been out have I got it right. It was my own fault, it quite clearly shows on the map that there are a couple of false summits to go over before the real summit. And with a small scramble off the main path I was there.

IMG_3725.JPG
Two summit cairns with Ben Lomond between

IMG_3718.JPG
Ben Ime

IMG_3720.JPG
Beinn Dubh and northwards

IMG_3723.JPG
Loch Sloy and Ben Vorlich

IMG_3724.JPG
3 lochs


After a quick text to the Mrs and some more of the yoghurt mix, I was off back the way I had come. I am not sure about anyone else, but I find it easier to run down the slopes rather than walk. Less painful on the knees too. You should have seen some of the faces of the people that I went past - quite a picture. :D :D I made sure I said hi to them all though.

I was back to the tarmac in under an hour and then began the picturesque but slightly sloggish walk back to the main road and the car. Got another walk planned in 10 days or so and another change to log more QMDs for my ML next year - hopefully I will have some pictures and a story to share of that too. Stay tuned!
IMG_3726.JPG
Last look back...conquered!
quinners161
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Re: The good, the bad and the ugly - Ben Vane

Postby Johnny Corbett » Mon Sep 24, 2012 1:25 pm

A fine first report on a nice walk. I'm with you on the map and compass, too many rely on technology nowadays and we all know what happens with technology, it eventually breaks. :wink:
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Re: The good, the bad and the ugly - Ben Vane

Postby ronofcam » Mon Sep 24, 2012 2:01 pm

Johnny Corbett wrote:A fine first report on a nice walk. I'm with you on the map and compass, too many rely on technology nowadays and we all know what happens with technology, it eventually breaks. :wink:

If someone needs to use any form of navigation on Ben Vane in Septemer in good weather then that would concern me. It's about as easy a hill as you can get, and the path is unmistakable, even for the most inexperienced of walkers.

The point about it being unwise to navigate using a phone is unfounded. If he were using Google Maps, yes. I'd agree. However, although I do not rely in it, I have the mapping function Outdoors on my iPhone, as well as 1:25k series maps. I've used it several times in good visibility, just to make sure it is accurate. As it relies on GPS, it invariably always is. It's also a darn site more convenient than having to take constant bearings if you don't know where you are. I also have Satmap and can read a map and compass, just in case.

The moral of this tale: if technology works, it's my first port of call (after instinct and experience, of course).
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Re: The good, the bad and the ugly - Ben Vane

Postby quinners161 » Mon Sep 24, 2012 2:34 pm

ronofcam wrote:
Johnny Corbett wrote:A fine first report on a nice walk. I'm with you on the map and compass, too many rely on technology nowadays and we all know what happens with technology, it eventually breaks. :wink:

If someone needs to use any form of navigation on Ben Vane in Septemer in good weather then that would concern me. It's about as easy a hill as you can get, and the path is unmistakable, even for the most inexperienced of walkers.

The point about it being unwise to navigate using a phone is unfounded. If he were using Google Maps, yes. I'd agree. However, although I do not rely in it, I have the mapping function Outdoors on my iPhone, as well as 1:25k series maps. I've used it several times in good visibility, just to make sure it is accurate. As it relies on GPS, it invariably always is. It's also a darn site more convenient than having to take constant bearings if you don't know where you are. I also have Satmap and can read a map and compass, just in case.

The moral of this tale: if technology works, it's my first port of call (after instinct and experience, of course).


Fair point, I suppose being able to read a map is one thing, but couple it with other methods and the likelihood of error is reduced even more.
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Re: The good, the bad and the ugly - Ben Vane

Postby quinners161 » Mon Sep 24, 2012 2:35 pm

Johnny Corbett wrote:A fine first report on a nice walk. I'm with you on the map and compass, too many rely on technology nowadays and we all know what happens with technology, it eventually breaks. :wink:

Thanks Johnny, I wouldn't want to be out if my technology broke - especially in bad weather and you didnt have the skills to sort yourself out safely.
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Re: The good, the bad and the ugly - Ben Vane

Postby Fudgie » Mon Sep 24, 2012 2:59 pm

That was a good read about the first hill that I did solo :thumbup:

I have the Viewranger app on my phone and it works quite well without relying on a signal. It was a wee bit screwy on Ben Lui last week but apart from that it's never let me down. I've always got a map and compass with me but it's much quicker to look at the phone.
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Re: The good, the bad and the ugly - Ben Vane

Postby Johnny Corbett » Mon Sep 24, 2012 6:06 pm

ronofcam wrote:
Johnny Corbett wrote:A fine first report on a nice walk. I'm with you on the map and compass, too many rely on technology nowadays and we all know what happens with technology, it eventually breaks. :wink:

If someone needs to use any form of navigation on Ben Vane in Septemer in good weather then that would concern me. It's about as easy a hill as you can get, and the path is unmistakable, even for the most inexperienced of walkers.

The point about it being unwise to navigate using a phone is unfounded. If he were using Google Maps, yes. I'd agree. However, although I do not rely in it, I have the mapping function Outdoors on my iPhone, as well as 1:25k series maps. I've used it several times in good visibility, just to make sure it is accurate. As it relies on GPS, it invariably always is. It's also a darn site more convenient than having to take constant bearings if you don't know where you are. I also have Satmap and can read a map and compass, just in case.The point i was making is some walkers rely solely on technology, ie mobile phone, satmap, gps etc with no back-up. There was a post on here stating most rescue calls now are for walkers with gps and no back-up. I agree gps is ideal to get a grid referance rather than getting the map out but surely once you get that grid referance you then need the map to see where you are :?

The moral of this tale: if technology works, it's my first port of call (after instinct and experience, of course).
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Re: The good, the bad and the ugly - Ben Vane

Postby ronofcam » Mon Sep 24, 2012 6:41 pm

quinners161 wrote:Fair point, I suppose being able to read a map is one thing, but couple it with other methods and the likelihood of error is reduced even more.

Indeed!
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Re: The good, the bad and the ugly - Ben Vane

Postby soulminer » Mon Sep 24, 2012 6:55 pm

Glad you enjoyed the walk, not so sure about the Buckfast and the hangover :lol:
ronofcam wrote:
If someone needs to use any form of navigation on Ben Vane in Septemer in good weather then that would concern me. It's about as easy a hill as you can get, and the path is unmistakable


Surely the best time to use a map and compass is when the weather is fair, so you can check if the bearings you take are correct, and you can check you have set the map correctly with the surroundings. Yes the path is unmistakable, maybe they were using technology for the first time and picked somewhere easy to do it.

ronofcam wrote:
The point about it being unwise to navigate using a phone is unfounded


link now defunct......sorry. was linked to article stating- smart phones responsible for increased call outs....

I didn't find this unfounded. You did go on to explain your reasoning and I do take that point on board, but people have their own reasons.

I have my map to hand at all times, most of the time I don't need it, I know where I am because I research beforehand if I have not been there before. I use a map and compass in all weathers if I attempt a new route, not because I am unsure ,but because I like to keep the skills honed for use when it has become necessary to be map literate- clag and whiteouts. As a backup I have a Garmin Dakota 20 with full Scottish 1:50 map, have only used it in earnest 3 times as confirmation of position from my map in bad conditions.

I do not judge people on hills anymore- whether it is having no map etc, or trainers and jeans in Winter. I am not stupid enough to put my self at risk under any circumstances. If they are then their families will suffer, as they are negating their Personal Insurance- we all know how these Companies love to pay out for accidents. I will say this though, with the increase in call-out and accidents I would suggest it will not be long in coming that the old debate about Hillwakers having insurance to cover accident and call-out will be back on the agenda.
Last edited by soulminer on Mon Sep 24, 2012 7:06 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The good, the bad and the ugly - Ben Vane

Postby soulminer » Mon Sep 24, 2012 6:56 pm

ps - link to site is not found ,so I have removed it...my apologies
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Re: The good, the bad and the ugly - Ben Vane

Postby region_of_clouds » Mon Sep 24, 2012 7:22 pm

http://news.stv.tv/north/149570-smartphones-blamed-as-mountain-rescue-crew-deployed-four-times-in-four-days/

I think carrying a map and compass (and knowing how to use it) is essential and an absolute minimum. I also carry a basic Garmin Etrex for getting coordinates and altitude if lost, or just to confirm where I am. Also, spare batteries for the Garmin!

My phone stays switched off to preserve the battery, and in a waterproof bag, just in case the worst happens and I need to call someone.

I also carry a decent headtorch and spare batteries.

It's amazing how easily things can turn and you can get caught out. 99 times out of a hundred, you might be able to wing it, but I wouldn't want to rely on a smartphone when it all goes tits up.
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Re: The good, the bad and the ugly - Ben Vane

Postby region_of_clouds » Mon Sep 24, 2012 7:23 pm

Great report BTW quinners!
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Re: The good, the bad and the ugly - Ben Vane

Postby soulminer » Mon Sep 24, 2012 8:06 pm

That was the indeed the article, still comes up as not found this end :crazy: :lol:
Spot on !
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Re: The good, the bad and the ugly - Ben Vane

Postby tomyboy73 » Mon Sep 24, 2012 8:15 pm

good first report Quinners, I did Ben Vane solo too, loved the wee scrambles and got my first real Broken Spectre.
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Re: The good, the bad and the ugly - Ben Vane

Postby ronofcam » Mon Sep 24, 2012 8:20 pm

As I understand it, the folks in the Cairngorms etc were navigating using Google Maps and had no 'proper' mapping facilities. Plus they had no maps or compasses. Google Maps is great for some things, but not for navigating your way off a hill.

Oh, I also carry a solar powered reserve battery which plugs into the iPhone and gives it two full charges. That way I can use it for photos, phone calls (in emergencies) and navigating and don't have to worry about running out of juice.

A few years ago a friend and I became disorientated when descending to Glen Feshie from Braeriach. We were coming across the Moine Mhor in thick mist, and anyone who has ever done so will know how featureless this area is. Therwatered no features at all with which to get a bearing, and the compass seemed to be playing tricks on us (even these are not 100% reliable sometimes). We eventually found our way off by looking at the direction of the grass, and the way it was bent according to the prevailing wind. From there we were able to judge the likely route off.
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