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(Ben) More is definitely, er, more!

(Ben) More is definitely, er, more!


Postby chickadee » Sat Aug 30, 2014 5:26 pm

Route description: Ben More (Mull) from Dhiseig

Munros included on this walk: Ben More (Mull)

Date walked: 24/05/2014

Time taken: 5 hours

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This isn't an unusual route or remote hill, but I have my own story to tell so I hope it's not too boring. :)

In May I took a long weekend and my faithful car (Lily) and I went to Mull. I'd never been before and long wanted to visit, and as long ago as February I planned the trip as a present to myself after going through a pretty rotten break-up at Christmas. I spent the whole time between February and May hoping I'd get good weather, but to be honest at the start of the year I'd no plans to do a hill. I thought I'd probably drive and walk and take photos, but February was my pre-solo Munro life. By the time May rolled around, I'd actually done one by myself and realised it wasn't so bad (I should probably do a report about that, though it was exciting only to me, really!) and so if the weather was good I hoped to do Ben More. I think the previous weekend had been pretty glorious, but the forecast hadn't been too cheery through the week. I didn't know what to expect. But as soon as I got past Tyndrum it was basically gorgeous weather, ferry crossing was great and I enjoyed my drive to Bunessan where I was staying in a B&B (no wild camping for me just yet! Plus it was a holiday treat... I know, excuses, OH WELL!). Quality location, by the way, with excellent tea-making facilities!

I left later than intended the next morning, partly because breakfast was at 8.30 and I enjoyed chatting to the other guests, and partly because I was paranoid about the weather. It looked OK but it's Scotland, we all know what can happen! To be honest I was also apprehensive because it was the first hill I'd travelled to do where I didn't know anyone locally and wasn't heading home afterwards. But I don't know why I worried. As I set off the sun came right out and it was beautiful.

On the way...
Image by bruised_daylight, on Flickr

Oh, there you are, Ben!
Image
by bruised_daylight, on Flickr

The drive to Dhiseig felt much more remote than I'd expected, though I did pass a few cars and a mini-bus wildlife tour! There's a bit where I just rounded a bend and suddenly was faced with a stunning view over the coast from high up, which already made the whole trip worth it. Sadly I couldn't get a photo to do it justice so it'll have to live on in my own memory.

Anyway, eventually got to Dhiseig and parked the car beside a few others. At that point the day was starting to get really warm and I realised I didn't have a hat or suncream. I seem to have learned no lessons from my Schiehallion/heat exhaustion debacle of 2013! Well, OK, not strictly true, as at least this time I had Lucozade and crisps, things I no longer do hills or walks or any kind, really, without. So all was not lost.

Right, off I went! Hooray. Got a cheap walking pole. I usually borrow them from friends but I have no friends on Mull, sadly, so just thought it was about time I had my own. I learned that ones with flat ends aren't that useful, but it was better than no pole, which just hurts my knees so badly. I brandished the pole (aherm) and strolled on up the nice grassy part of the Ben More ascent, which has a house and sheep and water. This soon gives way to more rocky ground, and it was harder than I'd expected to find the best 'path' to use, though I knew to stick to the side of the waterfalls, which did help at the beginning (with no one else around to consult, I just wanted to be sure!). Checked the map a few times, partly because I really like reading maps. The waterfalls were lovely, with really clear water. Getting kind of.... dare I say... hot? on the Ben by this point, with just a wee breeze, so I stopped quite often to drink and catch my breath. I didn't need to race up (good thing really as I was fairly unfit!) so instead I paused, taking photos when possible. The views back down were already amazing and I wasn't even half way up yet.

Here I go...!
Image by bruised_daylight, on Flickr

Probably Ben More is fairly popular, I'd think, for people visiting, and the weather was nice, yet I was the last one up the hill, maybe because I left later. So that meant I got the views to myself on the ascent, which was great because it felt isolated without really being isolated. I met a lady with an Antipodean accent coming down; she was using two poles. "I'm jealous of you coming down the hill!" I said, trying not to wheeze at her as she passed. "Oh it's worth it though!" she replied. I did hope so.

The last third was harder with the ground turning scree-heavy and steeper, so I took my time heading up. I hadn't had to deal with scree on a hillwalk before, so wasn't used to how things felt and what I felt I could deal with. I paused often to give my poor thighs a break. The cairns on the way up promised I was getting there.

So of course I did and got there and the moral of the story is at least if you go walking alone no one else can witness your total lack of fitness and laugh at you for it (instead you can go back to the office to work and regale people with your Munro stories and they think you're impressive and stuff, the fools).

I honestly couldn't have had a better day for doing Ben More. Once I got to the top, the full 360 panorama was just incredible.

YESSSSS
Image by bruised_daylight, on Flickr

Imageby bruised_daylight, on Flickr

There were brilliant clouds hovering nearby and creating dramatic scenes, but not obscuring the view. I could see Iona and down to where Bunessan would be.

Image by bruised_daylight, on Flickr

I could see the white beaches in the distance of Coll and Tiree, and then I could see Ulva and far, far across to Skye. I wanted to stay there forever, it was just so great! And I felt far away from troubles and problems. It was cooler but not too cold at the summit. I touched the big cairn and then chatted to a man from a walking party, who, a few minutes after I got there, came up to the top from the other direction. The man kindly took my photo so I could remind myself I did actually do it!

Me at the top, a bit windswept (and interesting?)
Image by bruised_daylight, on Flickr

I stayed there for at least 20 minutes, maybe longer, eating snacks and taking photos. It was difficult to think about leaving when the views were so spectacular!

Image by bruised_daylight, on Flickr

Eventually, and reluctantly, I headed back down.

Going down... not a bad sight!
Image by bruised_daylight, on Flickr

On the way I saw a frog! But he wouldn't stand still for me to take his photo. I also found some pretty flowers – does anyone know what the one in my photo is? I'd never seen it before. I need to brush up on my flora knowledge.

Pretty flower
Image by bruised_daylight, on Flickr

The descent felt long and was quite tiring, and I was very glad to see my car again. Once I'd recovered, I drove to Tobermory for fish and chips and some laughing at seagulls (probably the feeling was mutual), then all the way back down listening to the radio. The sun was setting and Ben More looked impressive as I headed back - hard to believe I'd just been up there!

Image
by bruised_daylight, on Flickr

(And then the next day, I completed the other 'to do' of my trip - I went to Staffa to see the puffins! I even managed not to steal one to take home though it was tempting as they are just so adorable and hilarious.)

PUFFIN
Image by bruised_daylight, on Flickr

It's true – Munros (and puffins) are the best therapy!

034.jpg
Bonus Ardalanish Bay pic
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chickadee
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Re: (Ben) More is definitely, er, more!

Postby Sunny Speyside » Sat Aug 30, 2014 5:49 pm

Hi
Your wild flower is a Scottish Orchid.
Glad you enjoyed your visit to Mull
Cheers
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Re: (Ben) More is definitely, er, more!

Postby PeteR » Sat Aug 30, 2014 6:05 pm

Looks like a superb day you had there. Great weather and great views :D

Still have the Ben More to do and the circuit route of the hill looks good :D
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Re: (Ben) More is definitely, er, more!

Postby chickadee » Sat Aug 30, 2014 6:08 pm

Sunny Speyside wrote:Hi
Your wild flower is a Scottish Orchid.
Glad you enjoyed your visit to Mull
Cheers


Ah, thank you! It was the only one I could find as well.
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chickadee
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Re: (Ben) More is definitely, er, more!

Postby rockhopper » Sat Aug 30, 2014 9:10 pm

You certainly got a great day for it - well done ! :clap: Bet the fish and chips tasted good - cheers :)
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Re: (Ben) More is definitely, er, more!

Postby chickadee » Sat Aug 30, 2014 9:22 pm

rockhopper wrote:You certainly got a great day for it - well done ! :clap: Bet the fish and chips tasted good - cheers :)


Thanks! Was very lucky with the weather. It only rained on Sunday evening once I got back from Staffa, so it worked out brilliantly. Best chips ever... at the time at least :D
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Re: (Ben) More is definitely, er, more!

Postby chickadee » Sat Aug 30, 2014 9:23 pm

PeteR wrote:Looks like a superb day you had there. Great weather and great views :D

Still have the Ben More to do and the circuit route of the hill looks good :D


It was fab, I couldn't believe the views. I'd like to do it the hard(er) way next time!
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chickadee
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Re: (Ben) More is definitely, er, more!

Postby Silverhill » Tue Sep 02, 2014 9:43 pm

What a lovely report! I’ve still got Ben More to do and am now definitely looking forward to it. 8) Well done on your second solo munro! :clap:
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Re: (Ben) More is definitely, er, more!

Postby AnnieMacD » Wed Sep 03, 2014 8:24 pm

Looks like a great hill and what a fabulous day out you had. Wish this hill was closer to me and I'd be up like a shot!
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Re: (Ben) More is definitely, er, more!

Postby chickadee » Thu Sep 04, 2014 11:09 pm

Silverhill wrote:What a lovely report! I’ve still got Ben More to do and am now definitely looking forward to it. 8) Well done on your second solo munro! :clap:


Thanks! It's definitely helped my confidence and I want to venture out more on my own soon!
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chickadee
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Re: (Ben) More is definitely, er, more!

Postby chickadee » Thu Sep 04, 2014 11:10 pm

AnnieMacD wrote:Looks like a great hill and what a fabulous day out you had. Wish this hill was closer to me and I'd be up like a shot!


Yes it's one that requires effort to get to but is totally worth it! I was up very much not like a shot, more like a very slow human... haha!
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Re: (Ben) More is definitely, er, more!

Postby Huff_n_Puff » Fri Sep 05, 2014 7:15 am

Lovely report, I still have this hill on the 'to do list' so thanks for the route and photos. Looks like a very successful holiday :clap:
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Re: (Ben) More is definitely, er, more!

Postby dogplodder » Tue Sep 23, 2014 8:25 pm

You got the views we missed and you deserved them for your determination in doing that solo! No pics of your Iona day but if overcast maybe not as photogenic as day we were there? :wink:
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Re: (Ben) More is definitely, er, more!

Postby MunroMadMen » Tue Nov 18, 2014 1:18 pm

Great report with some stunning pics ;) well done you
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