A belated route report from last weekend.
This club walk promised so much, walking in a area of the Highlands I haven’t explored before, ascent of an iconic mountain and the possibility of conquering five or six Munros in one day. Alas high expectations soon turned to disappointment, as the cloud that had been threatening to engulf the area from the south soon rolled in to envelop the summits. There would be none of the fine views promised by fellow walkers and guidebooks but the sight of walkers lurking in the greyness ahead.
Much of this area is owned and managed by the National Trust for Scotland and the first part of the walk heads out through the Trust’s nature reserve enclosure. This area is cordoned off from grazing sheep and deer to allow the moorland to regenerate and native plants to have a foothold. The well made path through the enclosure makes for a pleasant prelude to the walk, reminiscent of days in the Lake District.
Eschewing the main tourist footpath direct to the summit of Ben Lawers, we took the alternative path up Coire Odhar a steady rise to the bealach between Meall Corranaich and Beinn Ghlas. It’s a short climb up a zig-zagging path to the summit, at this stage we were joined by what seemed half of Scotland as competitors in a quadrathon threaded their way around us. The wind grew stronger as we ascended and the path provided no shelter. On reaching the summit of Meall Corranaich we immediately turned around to get down to lower ground and out of the wind.
Back at the bealach we rejoined the path that skirts around the northern side of Beinn Ghlas steadily ascending to another col below the summit of Ben Lawers. At the summit having hastily consumed two rolls and felt the full effect of the wind chill we discovered wind speed to be 40.2mph. This was not gusting but a steady onslaught from the north. With such strong winds and little visibility there was no incentive to carry along the ridge to complete the other Munros. A hasty descent and then re-ascent to Beinn Ghlas saw us heading down the tourist track to the car park and finally catching glimpses of Loch Tay below the cloud base. Only hot chocolate at the Killin Hotel made up for what was a disappointing day on the hills.
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Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.