Ben More and Stob Binnein - walking in a winter wonderland
by CurlyWurly » Mon Jan 25, 2010 11:10 am
Munros included on this walk: Ben More, Stob Binnein
Date walked: 24/01/2010
Time taken: 7 hours
Distance: 15 km
Ascent: 1382m1 person thinks this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
Rather than climb it from Benmore Farm, I decided to park at the end of the Balquhidder Road and climb Stob Binnein via its South Ridge drop down into the bealach and then summit Ben More. On return I was hoping to retrace my steps back over Stob Binnein’s summit and Stob Coire an Lochain, then head eastwards and take in the Munro Top Meall na Dige from where I could descend the ridge of Am Mam back to the car.
Just as daylight was breaking I was driving along the Balquidder Road that hugs the shoreline of Loch Voil. With twists and turns, this is no road to take after a full Scottish breakfast and I was glad that I had no eaten the Cornish Pasty, wrapped in tin foil, sat invitingly on the passenger seat.
I arrived at the car-park and the good news was that there were no other cars parked. There is something about being the first person on the hills. This came as no surprise as I suspect that most people tackle Ben More and Stob Binnein from Benmore Farm.
Within ten minutes the Cornish Pasty had been devoured and I was fully kitted up and ready for the ‘off’. A signposted baggers’ path directs straight up the steep hillside to the north. I do not know whether I had overindulged on the mince pies over Christmas or the Pasty was lay awkwardly in my tummy, but this was one gruesome slog. It was with great relief to top out at 700m on Stob Invercarnaig where the steep ascent eased.
From here I could see the ridge clearly, broad at first then narrowing along Na Staidhrichean as it approaches Stob Coire an Locahian then a final push to the summit of Binnein. With blue skies and excellent visability, the last hours exertion was pushed to the back of mind as I pushed on. It was not long before walking poles were swapped for ice-axe and crampons and soon I was sat on top of Stob Coire an Lochian with a cup of hot vimto admiring the views.
The final push to the summit of Stob Binnein did not seem to offer any issues and I remember the distinct path along the ridge in a guidebook. With a decent layer of snow I was offered no such luxury and conscious of the cornices, I decided to keep well to the left and snake round to the summit.
The views from the summit where amazing and in the distance I could see a small group of people ascending Ben More’s broad ridge. After a brief pitstop I descended Stob Binnein’s north ridge towards the bealach.
Clouds were sweeping in from the east so I pushed on down stopping to chat briefly to a couple of weary people trudging back up the opposite way.
Crossing the bealach I could just about see a group of people close to the top being engulfed in cloud. It looked like I was not going to be granted my wish of a cloud free summit and for a second I contemplated leaving Ben More for another day. But what if the cloud blows over and you have descended? With this in mind I pushed on up towards the top.
For a moment I thought my wish would come true as the wispy cloud opened up to reveal patches of blue sky. But it was not to be. As I approached the summit the door was shut firmly in my face. Wasting no time I hit the summit and descended immediately and within 50 metres of descent, the cloud opened to reveal some amazing views.
In the distance a long snake of people where heading up to the summit of Stob Binnein and eastwards I could see the Munro Top, Meall na Dige. I did not contemplate for long; there was no way I could face humping another 300 metres back up the north ridge of Stob Binnein just to take in a Munro Top. Instead I would descend the hillside of west of the bealach and head south along Inverlochlarig Glen where according to my map there was a land rover track that would lead me straight back to the car.
Due to the recent cold weather the ground was pretty frozen and not boggy as I thought it may be and I made good progress as I hugged the burn through the glen. It was with great relief that the land rover track appeared at exactly the point where the map said it would (why I had doubts that this would exist is beyond me, maybe tiredness and hunger do things to your mind).Another 30 minutes later I driving back along Loch Voil and there was still some daylight. And to make an amazing day even better whilst rummaging for a CD in the glove compartment, I found a huge bar of chocolate I did not realise I had. Happy days!
by sloosh » Mon Jan 25, 2010 12:09 pm
Great pics! Looks like you had a good day. How was the going underfoot on the way up? Crampons?
by CurlyWurly » Mon Jan 25, 2010 12:48 pm
by kevsbald » Mon Jan 25, 2010 1:04 pm
by Graeme D » Mon Jan 25, 2010 5:31 pm
by Paul Webster » Mon Jan 25, 2010 5:34 pm
Ten minutes to eat a cornish pasty - slacker!
by sloosh » Mon Jan 25, 2010 6:41 pm
Paul Webster wrote:Ten minutes to eat a cornish pasty - slacker!
Do you use intravenous ones?
by kinley » Mon Jan 25, 2010 6:55 pm
by CurlyWurly » Tue Jan 26, 2010 9:55 am
Paul Webster wrote:Stunning stuff - do you have a polariser?
Yes I have a circular polarizer that i used it on the photographs of Stobb Binnein. Really made the blues come out
by CurlyWurly » Tue Jan 26, 2010 9:58 am
Could have potential for a summer evening trip with the sunset experience on the summit!Graeme Dewar wrote:Just means I'll have to go back on a day like the one you got and do them the decent way. Oh well, if I must......
by Graeme D » Tue Jan 26, 2010 2:46 pm
CurlyWurly wrote:Could have potential for a summer evening trip with the sunset experience on the summit!Graeme Dewar wrote:Just means I'll have to go back on a day like the one you got and do them the decent way. Oh well, if I must......