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Ben Lawers and Beinn Ghlas

PostPosted: Wed Jul 23, 2008 9:04 pm
by ConnieW
1Adult, 1dog
Seems I had a bit more luck on Ben Lawers yesterday then the previous posters. After a glorious day on the Tarmachan Ridge the day before, with clear blue skies and views as far as Ben Nevis, I was keen to do the Lawers Ridge.When I got to the car park in the morning the clouds were still around the summits, but it looked as if they would blow off later. I took the main route through the nature reserve on the well maintained path and was lucky enough to get a break in the clouds on top of Beinn Ghlas. Despite some steeper sections I found the ascent to Ben Lawers easier than expected and started debating with myself whether I might have time and energy enough to do the next three on the ridge. I didn't really fancy the long traverse back though. Maybe I could descent to the Lawers Hotel and take a Taxi back to the Visitor Centre? Is that considered cheating in Munro bagger circles? I spent 15min on the top enjoying the views through the bits of cloud that kept coming and going, mulling these questions, when the weather answered it for me. The wind had picked up when I rose from my shelter and it felt cold enough to check I had gloves. It was just me and the dog, there was a scramble involved on An Stuc that I wasn't too sure about, maybe not such a good idea after all. So I went back down towards the bealach and chose the path around Beinn Ghlas for a bit of variety. By now the clouds were gone, I was looking up Meall Corranaich, which seemed ridiculously close, why not? But going only made sense if I did the twin as well, otherwise I would have to come back for a rather short outing. I still had tons of time before I had to go home, so decided to give it a try. It is quite steep from the bealach and I'm not sure I would fancy it in wet weather or poor visibility, but I got to the top quicker than I thought and proudly looked back at the two peaks I had already done that day. I decided that the next one, Meall A'Choire Leith, was only a matter of distance in rather benign terrain, with very little ascent and it would be a shame not to finish what I had begun. So off I went, enjoying the odd look back at my achievements and across to Tarmachan from the day before. Meall A'Choire Leith was quickly reached and pleasant enough, although probably the most featureless mountain I have been on so far. The descent was ok initially, on a faint track that is beginning to erode. The dampener literally came further down, when I walked through wetland/bog for what felt like hours but is probably about a mile or so. There was a bit of uphill, very gentle, but towards the end of a walk it just feels WRONG. We then had to walk back along the road for about 5k down to the car and sods law dictated that the little traffic that was all went in the other direction, so no chance of a lift. Not that anybody would have stopped anyway, Hamish had still half the bog dripping off him, only an exceptional animal lover or a cattle truck would have come near us.
All in all a very pleasant day, the weather turned out better than I thought, I am rather chuffed that I did four and I think it is not a bad combination of hills. I guess the overall ascent was probably about 1200-1300m, the length 17-18km. Anybody who plans to do it this way could leave bike and freewheel the last 5km. :D

Re: Ben Lawers and Beinn Ghlas

PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 12:00 pm
by Myth
That sounds like a great day out - and well done on the fourth.
The climb to Meall Corranaich is steep but simple, and like you I was surprised by the speed we made up it - beat my estimate quite easilly...

I tried quite hard to convince my party that the fourth was possible, but since the vote had gone against me, and with the packs at the bottom and clouds still scudding in it was probably the right call to leave it - and we're not planning or aiming for a full round anyway!

The Tarmachan ridge sounds nice...

Re: Ben Lawers and Beinn Ghlas

PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 1:03 pm
by bio-man
Sounds an excellent day you had Connie. I did the same when I was counting Munros and probably didn't enjoy the day as much as I should have. The main day was the last one and we completed the whole traverse between Beinn Ghlas and Meall Greigh. We had two cars as we were staying the area for a couple of days. Meall a' Choire leith and Meall Corranaich were on the first day and we started north of the loch. The Tarmachan Ridge was on the second. Although it was an excellent few days, I plan to re-visit and explore more rather than aim from start to finish.