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My first (three) Munros

My first (three) Munros

Postby dbogosian » Fri Sep 18, 2015 3:42 pm

Route description: Ben Lawers and Beinn Ghlas

Munros included on this walk: An Stuc, Beinn Ghlas, Ben Lawers

Date walked: 07/09/2015

Time taken: 8 hours

Distance: 15 km

Ascent: 1280m

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A splendid day on the flanks of Ben Lawers inaugurated my first foray into Munro bagging, and I managed to come home with three to my credit, adding An Stuc to the tally.

My ascent started at the car park just off the single-track road to Glen Lyon, just north of Loch Tay. There was plenty of space, but do come prepared with 2 pounds in coins for the pay-and-display machine. I followed the standard route up through the fenced wooded area, with beautiful heather to frame the view of Beinn Ghlas ahead.

As you make your way higher, there are lovely views of Loch Tay, and also of Meall Coranaich off to your left (west), as seen below.

There's also much to see underfoot, as the entire path is strewn with quartz (mostly white, but some smoky and I did see one bit of amethyst as well!) and this other rock that shines like silver; don't know what it was, but it was ropy and wavy and glistened magnificently in the sunlight. Anyone know what this is?

The path is very steep, too steep for my taste, not a switchback in sight but straight up the ridge. Eventually the summit of Beinn Ghlas is reached, with stunning views all around, many distant peaks including what I believe was Ben Nevis (someone please correct me if it's not).

From Ghlas, Lawers is reached after a very steep descent followed by another steep climb up the ridge. It's so difficult on the psyche as you drop down, knowing that every step down has to be re-earned on the ascent. According to the map, you drop 100 m and then climb up 200 m, but it felt like double those numbers! At any rate, This shows Lawers from the summit of Ghlas with the saddle point in between. (Bealach, I think you call it?)

From the summit of Lawers, you can see An Stuc (peak on the left), Meall Garbh (peak in the center), and Lochan nan Cat (lake) arranged before you.

I wasn't planning to, but the day was fine and I decided to go for An Stuc as well. Again, a painful descent followed by a painful ascent, but I got my triple for the day! However, for the return, after descending from An Stuc to the bealach, I simply could not convince my feet to reascend Lawers (which looms above the bealach menacingly). So I skirted the side of the mountain on the north side, keeping roughly level and going across open heath. The footing was decent, there were some boggy areas and some rocky crags to be gotten around, but even though it was slower going than on the path, not having to climb back up and down again was priceless! Even though there is no path, the way is quite clear, and eventually you do intercept a path which leads back to the saddle point where the climb to Ghlas first began. You can see my route (roughly) in the last image on this post.

Some lovely views along the way towards the Meall Corranaich and Meall a Coire Leith, to the west:


Heather also, radiant in the afternoon sun:

An overview of my route is below; it's very approximate on the return cross-country leg, as the imagery in GoogleEarth is very coarse and it's hard to identify the more minor landmarks.

After getting back in the car, as I drove east along the north shore of Tay, I got to look back up at Beinn Ghlas (left) and Ben Lawers (right). It was a more difficult walk than I expected, but the exhilaration of being on those summits and seeing those views made up for the physical exhaustion. A warm, wonderful day to begin what I hope will be a lengthy campaign of Munro-bagging.
Last edited by dbogosian on Fri Sep 18, 2015 8:48 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: My first (three) Munros

Postby The Rodmiester » Fri Sep 18, 2015 3:57 pm

Hi there dbogosian, a wee bonus getting the third one done, might as well on a day like you had. Some nice photographs to boot :D Now for the next ones, the bug has been caught :lol:
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Re: My first (three) Munros

Postby grumpy old bagger » Fri Sep 18, 2015 5:35 pm

Wow, three at once to start your career! Fantastic :clap:
Looks like a great day out and not too terrible to add the third - will bear your route in mind when I get round to these :)
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Re: My first (three) Munros

Postby ancancha » Fri Sep 18, 2015 6:55 pm

Great start dbogosian :clap:
Some really cool photos as well 8)

I think they call the dip between two mountain peaks a 'col' and a bealach is a mountain pass NOTE however that I am not an expert :!: though with a bit of luck one will come along shortly :wink:

How did you find coming down An Stuc :?:
I did it the other way and climbed up a bit where there was a tricky scramble which left me hyperventilating and relieved to be alive once I'd gotten past it :lol:
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Re: My first (three) Munros

Postby dbogosian » Sat Sep 19, 2015 5:31 am

Thanks so much for all the encouraging comments.

So a saddle is a 'col' then? And a pass is a 'bealach'? Thanks for that, I can pick up terminology one bit at a time. Might be nice to have a glossary section on this site, for the non-Gaels!

The approach to An Stuc from the south is steep, but not scrambly. I had read in the "official" walk description that the approach from the north-east did require some scrambling, so that's what you must have run into, Ancancha. I have not hit any scrambles thus far.
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Re: My first (three) Munros

Postby Silverhill » Sat Sep 19, 2015 6:12 pm

I’m impressed! You travel all the way from California (not next door) to climb these hills (there are easier ones to start off with, you know), and you do three on your first trip (most start with one)! :clap:
Good luck with the rest of your munro campaign! You’ll have endless fun planning trips and then walking them! :D
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