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Stunning Solo Saturday Summits: Ben Lui & Beinn a'Cleibh
by lindseym » Sun Apr 19, 2015 2:27 pm
Route description: Ben Lui and Beinn a'Chleibh
Munros included on this walk: Beinn a'Chleibh, Ben Lui
Date walked: 18/04/2015
Time taken: 6 hours
Distance: 9.5 km2 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
I knew Ben Lui was very boggy so hoped the preceding few days of dry weather and sunshine would have helped to dry it out a touch and also that it was a long slog, so thought it would be good to get it done outside of summer when it could be extremely hot.
As is often the case with April, it was hard to know what to take with me as it was a glorious day but there was clearly still plenty of snow, especially on the higher summits, so I set off from the car park at 9am with everything from flips flops (for the river crossing) and Factor 30 to thermals, ice axe and crampons.
I crossed the river almost immediately in my flip flops and thoroughly regretted it - it was extremely cold! However the water would have been above my boots so it probably was the right choice. Then it was under the very low bridge before changing into my boots and starting the walk proper, the feeling eventually returning to my feet.
Off through the absolute quagmire of a path I went, with endless comical moments for which I was glad no one else was about to witness. At one point I was stood on one foot on a patch of grass which was more or less adrift in a sea of mud, clinging on to a branch for dear life while ten other branches stabbed me as I tried in vain to find a sensible next move. If it hasn't already been said enough, this is NOT a walk for when it's rainy, likely to rain or has been rainy in the past few days as while it wasn't the most fun at times yesterday, it would be utterly miserable in wet conditions.
Next it was time to cross the river just under a small waterfall which resulted in me lying face up in the river and my ice axe finding the only ice axe-shaped crevice to get stuck in so I flailed about like an upside down lady bug before breaking free, checking no one had seen and finally crossing over, half amused, half cringing.
It could only get better, or so I thought, until I rounded the hill a few hundred yards later into the blazing sun and realised that my sunglasses had fallen off my head during my diving expedition and had to repeat the very same river crossing to retrieve them! Fortunately they had also found the only sunglasses-shaped crevice which had prevented them from being swept downstream...
Through the forest the path went, occasionally tricking me into thinking it was drying up before presenting yet another seemingly impassable bog. Everything I thought I knew about dry land appeared to be a myth with even the most solid looking piece of rock sinking in the mud.
Just as my patience threatened to wear thin, I reached the deer fence which guards entry into the corrie and the dry grassy land was a sight for sore eyes. I crossed over the river to a big rock which I thought would make an ideal snack stop and where I discovered the true victim of my fall in the river - my banana was more milkshake than banana.... mmm.
After my snack I began the long slog up the slope of Ben Lui which was hard going but rewarded me with amazing views all round. I'm not the greatest at identifying mountains in the distance but they were truly beautiful and spurred me on until I reached the path on the main ridge of Ben Lui.
Once on the path, it was a lot easier to keep a decent pace as it zig-zagged up the increasingly rocky ridge and with a couple of nice short scrambles to mix things up. Eventually I reached the first smaller summit which gave awesome views of the snow covered North face and the true summit.
A very quick walk over and the summit was reached with amazing views all round.
I returned to the dip between the summits to have lunch out of the wind at which point two skiers turned up apparently planning to ski down the North face; I wasn't sure if they were incredibly brave or totally crazy and they hadn't made a decision by the time I had to leave the top but I hope they had fun whatever they did!
I headed down to the bealach and began the ascent up Beinn a'Cleibh and was grateful for doing it that way round as it was a total breeze compared to Ben Lui and reached the summit in no time at all, with more amazing panoramic views.
I spent quite a while on the summits of each Munro today as the weather was so nice and as I headed back down to the bealach and then down into the corrie it got warmer and warmer and I even ended up with a bit of sunburn despite the Factor 30. The ice axe and crampons were never needed but looking at other hills in the distance there could definitely still be a need for them on some hills depending on the route.
I won't speak again of the delightful return journey through the swamps of the forest but eventually I made it out the other side and back to the car and, reflecting on the day, it was a only small dark mark on an otherwise exceptional day.
by litljortindan » Mon Apr 20, 2015 12:10 am
by scottishkennyg » Mon Apr 20, 2015 6:26 pm
by dooterbang » Mon Apr 20, 2015 11:43 pm
And I like your selfie shot, its almost up there with my posing
by kev_russ » Tue Apr 21, 2015 12:02 am
by edinburgh36 » Tue Apr 21, 2015 8:57 pm
by Mal Grey » Wed Apr 22, 2015 10:46 am
by lindseym » Wed Apr 22, 2015 10:22 pm
litljortindan wrote:A dazzling cornice. Looks an excellent day.
It certainly was! It scared me to see a fair few footprints on it
by lindseym » Wed Apr 22, 2015 10:23 pm
scottishkennyg wrote:Great pictures , especially the summit one with the snow line. Glad you got your sunglasses back and the good weather to enjoy using them. Cheers
Thank you, it was such a lush day! Haha yes I'm glad too, and glad my day turned around after that!
by lindseym » Wed Apr 22, 2015 10:25 pm
dooterbang wrote:Great report Lyndsey, what a day you got for it
And I like your selfie shot, its almost up there with my posing
Thank you, it was such a great day! Glad I'm amongst my fellow posers on here
by lindseym » Wed Apr 22, 2015 10:26 pm
kev_russ wrote:Cracking pics Lyndsey, Saturday was a braw day on the hills
Cheers! Hope you had a good day too
by lindseym » Wed Apr 22, 2015 10:27 pm
edinburgh36 wrote:Great report and lovely pics! Nothing wrong with a selfie I say
Thank you for the compliment and thank you for making me feel less self-indulgent
by lindseym » Wed Apr 22, 2015 10:33 pm
Mal Grey wrote:Highly entertaining report, thanks for sharing, had me chuckling away remembering similar situations.
Glad my misfortunes could provide you with entertainment it's nice to know I'm not the only one who ends up in these situations!