Most guides I've read seem to write Beinn Ghlas off as something of an afterthought, a barely noticeable summit on the way to Ben Lawers, a summit whose only real purpose is a pitstop en route to the sheer bulk of the admitedly impressive next door neighbour who towers above everything.
At 3619ft Ghlas it is a serious enough proposition whether it's your first or your tenth or in the case of a couple who stopped to chat on their way down who described it as a tough climb rather than the "one of Scotland's easiest" as seems to be the popular description.
All the signs from the Ben Lawers nature reserve car park point the way to Scotland's tenth highest mountain, with little or no mention made of the fact that you have a tough nut to crack first before you even glimpse BL properly.
Setting off, the WH route description was followed to a tee, albeit at a slow pace. But you can't go wrong. From the car park, up through the nature reserve and through the gate at the top onto the southern flank of Ghlas. Following the path zigzagging higher and higher, with only a couple of rocky steps to contend with. Stunning views south to Loch Tay, Killin, Ben Vorlich, Stuc a Chroin, Stob Binnien and Ben More. Summit reached and the views really are breath-taking; Glencoe to the west as well as Ben Cruachan pointing up to the sky on the horizon; and Ben Nevis looming to the NW. Looking N, the Cairngorms and immediately E beyond the north flank of Lawers - An Stuc looking like a really stiff climb.
There's no doubt Lawers dominates everything. But to dismiss Beinn Ghlas does an injustice to a challenging mountain. Yes, the ascent from the car park feels a little bit like a slog in places. But seen from lower down on the bypass path reached from the pass between Ghlas and Lawers, the former really does take on a whole new dimension. A decision to leave Lawers for another day, meant it was the bypass path for the walk out. Slipping along the northern slopes of Ghlas, the view up Glen Lyon (?) and up to Meall Coire a Leith and Meall Corronaich were again stunning. The path down to the car park felt like a long way back. One of the day's highlights was the helicopter that appeared from the South East, banked just below us and flew North between Lawers and Meall Corranaich and Meal a Choire Leith.
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