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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.

ben vane and beinn ime

ben vane and beinn ime

Postby ricardo » Thu Mar 18, 2010 12:44 am

Route description: Ben Vane, from Inveruglas

Munros included on this walk: Beinn Ìme, Ben Vane

Date walked: 17/03/2010

Time taken: 8 hours

Distance: 20 km

Ascent: 1614m

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Planned our next trip up winter munros as best I could. We initially planned to stay at beinglas campsite in a wigwam but on the thursday before hand we phoned only to find out it was closed till easter. So after much internet searching and pricing we opted to stay at strathfillan wig wams inbetween crianlarich and tyndrum www.wigwamholidays.com/Strathfillan_Wigwam_Village. We had to hire a large wigwam due to the site being completelly full except the large one. Around 6pm we left Kelso and began the drive north, stopping only at straiton for fuel for the car and our backpacks. Coming through crianlarich we noticed snow was still lying on the low ground an was surprised, yet when we got to strathfillan 3miles up the road the snow had disappeared. We checked in and got our keys to what turned out to be a huge shed with beds, heating, microwaves, tv and fridge, excellant. Feeling pretty pleased with our digs for the weekend we headed to tyndrum to try and get a chippie for our dinner which we'd not had, only to be dissapointed that everything was shut. Back to the wig wam starving and made do with a few beers and doritos. Bedtime came and we set the alarm for 6.30am and retired for the night. Woke up at 6.15am and got up for breakfast. Got down to the site kitchen for 7am with our provisions we'd bought off the owner at check in. Nobody was up yet so had the place to ourselfs to cook up 3 bacon and egg rolls each, our health fuel for the start of the day :o . Feeling contently stuffed we set of for inveruglus slurpping cans of red bull and filled with anticipation of our planned route. The route we'd set ourselves was ben vane, beinn ime and beinn narnain, 3 munros all steep. A bit of an ambitious walk but based on a take it as it comes attitude and see how it goes. We could either drop off at several pre-picked points or complete the circuit as planned depending on weather, safety and tiredness. The car went past the famous drovers inn at inverarnan, a pub we planned to visit at night for our reward :D then onto inveruglas and the visitor centre carpark on the banks of loch lomond.
view from car park across loch lommand
We walked along the road passed the power generating station fed from loch sloy through hydro electics, then turned right through the swing gate (which you need to climb up the fence slightly to get through with a backpack on) and up the road towards ben vane. It was a fair old walk up the road to the start of the hill but you have views of loch lommand and ben lomond behind you and views off ben vane in front of you and A' Chrois to the left. At first we thought A' Chrois was beinn narnain but a quick look at the map showed that it was not. Ben vane and the surrounding hills had there tops hidden by low cloud but you could see enough to know it was steep.
ben vane in front from the road
A' Chrois
When we reached the Coiregrogain the path took a right at the small bridge and we were on the hill at last. Due to some dilly dallying by me the time now was around 9am so we were'nt as far on as first hoped, never the less we pushed on through some boggy and muddy pathway up a slight slope till we came to the first small but steep climb up what was essentially just mud and was awkward to get up without slipping. The weather still didnt know what it wanted to do by this point and was just a bit drizzly on and off with some wind. The sweating had began and a de-layer of the micro fleece was required. Onward and upward we went, noticing other walkers a bit further up the hill. The path was now zig-zagging its way up with little patches of soft snow appearing from time to time. In the distance we spotted a small cave/ledge like place which we'd stop at for a breather and snack.
our first point of rest
view from cave off ben lomond (on the right)
Round the corner from the cave we went up further and the wind was picking up and it was now too cold to be in my base layer alone so put on a fleece and headed for a jutting rocky outcrop which was situated as if nature had intended it as a view point of loch sloy
the partially frozen loch sloy
As we got higher, around the 800m mark we'd got above the snowline and caught up with 3 guys in differnt get ups and only one of them looking like a hiker. Another of the guys had no pack and was wearing ultra thin cotton sport trousers and a matching burberry jacket (I thought he must be freezing). They asked how far to the top and we told them 100m although once they'd walked away we realised that was just in height and not distance. We took our bearing and checked on the map that everything was good and we were on the right track and put on our gore-tex jackets. The wind had really picked up now and it was driving the drizzle in to you so it was good to not be getting wet or have the wind blowing through my fleece. We caught up with the guys again and this time they'd decided to give up due to the weather and the increasing ice underfoot. My mind will be scarred at the sight of the guy in his now completely see-through trousers and Y-fronts :shock: (idiot, what did he expect of a winter munro). Out came the crampons and ice axe and not a second too soon as the summit push was steep ice and howling gales.
me, ready for the summit push
chalky getting geared up
not going that way!
up we go
On top we staggered towards the small cairn (due to the wind strength) It was time for the obligatory summit pics but they were gonna be few and fast so we could get out of the wind quick sharp.
"thats it, now lets go!"
A quick check off the gps and we headed off the top following footsteps of others yet keeping and eye out for any looming dangers. The wind had died a bit once we'd desended a bit but was ever present to the valley floor. Snow was good to start with but got softer as we headed down and was now very deep and we tried stepping in frozen footstep marks to avoid sinking as far.
route off ben vane
At the bottom we picked our route up the side of Beinn Chorranach traversing toward Glas bhealach. Half way up we found a sheltered patch under an overhanging rock and were out of the elements. Chalky was now wanting to quit and head back but I said he'd be all right after a hot meal and some chocolate.
view from lunch spot which we took to be A' Chrois
We hadnt ate since breakfast other than some oat bars and at 12'30pm it was time. Out came the jetboil and the chilli con carne with some mocha to warm us through, some sweets and a map reading and it was time to head again. a couple of steep bits had to be met first before the ground took a less steep ascent toward the top of the bhealach. Back above the snow line the going wasnt too bad steep in bits but all together not too bad.
route up to the the head of Glas Bhealach
ben vane long gone behind us
up on the bhealach there was alot of ice and the wind was up again we headed up to where we could see Stob Coire Creagach and took our final bearing before strapping the crampons back on and heading up the sheer ice ascent of Beinn Ime which looked awfully steep
toward glen kinglas and Stob Coire Creagach(right)
steep slopes of beinn ime
The higher we got the harder the wind blew and with ice axes in hand we continued. At times the sun blazed through small breaks in the cloud and I thought this is beautiful, ice crystals littered the surface and our zig zag traverse took us into even stronger wind and a more vertical ascent due to the stinging bombardment of the ice crystals lifting of the mountain side. We could see the summit cairn and pushed on, I got the camera phone out for chalky to take a pic of me on top. This seemed a god idea but getting on top and staying on top took some sure footing and leaning into the incredibly srong wind which just about blew me off.
not and easy place to stand on that day
chalky on top
summit cairn of Beinn Ime
It was time to desend off Beinn Ime towards Bealch a Mhaim and out of the wind. Here we passed several walkers on their way up and met a guy who'd followed us up Beinn Ime. He was a local guy and advised us of our revised decent to keep to the left till we got to the road. We'd decided that the opposing sight and size of Beinn Narnain was to be kept for another day coupled with the impressive looking cobbler.
the cobbler
the slopes of Beinn Narnain
Time to head back to the car but we still had a long walk ahead. Down into Gleann Leacann Shelleach we went keeping to the left as advised as usual it was easier to plod down the edges of snow filled gulleys but the inevitably whole leg sinking steps occurred more often than not and at lower levels and flatter ground we managed to stand through 4ft of snow into running water yet the boots held dry until the woodland. There didnt seem any obvious route and in the trees I found myself standing in deep bog water under the snow and this time it had breached my left boot. The wood was a bad idea and we headed up the slopes to the side and skirted round and got to the dirt track thankful that was over.
route back
soon we got back onto tarmac and headed back along the road passing the start of ben vane and back down the road we'd came up first thing. Tired legs and drained bodies thoughts turned to a hearty meal in the drovers and a hot shower. Talk began of our next trip to the Arrochar alps to bag the one that got away haha and ben vorlich. in the distance loch lomond was a striking blue colour under the patch of blue sky which sat above it lighting up the inversnaid hotel and ben lomond pointing like a pyramid into the sky to the right. Back at the car we got the boots off, put clean socks on and t-shirt and sat down, what a feeling, pleased with ourselves time for food :D

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Guiness steak pie at the drovers was a massive helping and perfect post walk grub in a pub that is ancient and a step back in time. Ran out of attachments but I guess most who've been at the drovers has had a photo with the bear.
Last edited by ricardo on Thu Mar 18, 2010 10:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: ben vane and beinn ime

Postby mountain coward » Thu Mar 18, 2010 9:48 am

Have to say that seems a very challenging route in winter! Don't think I'd have gone for it... It's amazing how much people differ in what they need to eat to do the hills though isn't it - I was amazed you'd managed to eat 3 bacon and egg rolls for brekkie but then you were eating again around midday! Think I'd explode if I did that - I normally just have a few squares of choccie after a small brekkie like a bowl of porridge of suchlike. But I wouldn't say 3 bacon and egg rolls were unhealthy with the walk you had planned!

LOL to the guy with the see-through trousers and the other ill-equipped guys - but you do see them a lot don't you :lol:

That cave/ledge is where there was a guy sleeping rough when I did Ben Vane. Nice to see pics of Ben Vane though and the back of The Cobbler - all things I've never seen as the weather was awful when I did that area! :(
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Re: ben vane and beinn ime

Postby skuk007 » Thu Mar 18, 2010 10:48 am

Great report and photos. Gave yourself a challenge and a half there.

Did these three last summer when Scotland had the mini heat-wave, it was a long day even in the sun - don't think I would have attempted in those conditions so well done! :)
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Re: ben vane and beinn ime

Postby ricardo » Thu Mar 18, 2010 6:34 pm

cheers lads, was a tad stuffed after them but needed the fuel. conditions were ok apart from the wind on the summits, things couldve been worse had it snowed. Gonna do the cobbler with narnain some day and maybe ben vorlich the next. Yeah you always see the "straight out the pub" guys quite alot, none more so than ben nevis tourist trail, unbelievably what i saw people in that day
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Re: ben vane and beinn ime

Postby ricardo » Fri Mar 19, 2010 7:10 pm

sorry mountain coward from some of your reports I gather your a woman and I referred to you both as lads, I also read your the topless walker-hope to bump into you some hot day on the hills :lol:
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Re: ben vane and beinn ime

Postby monty » Sun Mar 21, 2010 4:24 pm

Great report with superb pictures. Done these last year. :D :D

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