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Ben Venue - Nice one too!

PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 11:14 am
by Oldman
Frustration! That is the story of this year's hillwalking activity for me. Last straw was last week when our Ben Lui walk had to be cancelled so I decided that I would do a solo walk up Ben Venue on Saturday as I didn't want to do a big one on my own as I'm just not as fit as I should be and besides I had never done a walk on my own before as I never really understood the attraction. In the event I found that Ben Venue is big enough and full of little interesting challenges.

The weather was perfect as I set off from a slightly misty Loch Achray.
Misty Loch Achray.jpg
Soon I got a great view of my target.
target.jpg
I was quite excited as I headed up the various tracks/paths through the woods towards the open hillside. About a mile or so into the walk I suddenly realised that I had left my walking poles in the car boot - big mistake. I now had a decision to make - to go back or not knowing only too well that without the poles I would definately get cramp. I decided 'not' - another mistake! Anyway I pressed on enjoying the solitude even though I am a naturally gregarious person. The autumn colours were resplendent and the woods eerily quiet except for my own puffing and panting as I tried to get some air into my old lungs. Eventually it was along the short boardwalk and onto a some proper boggy paths. There was another decision to make - Gaiters or not - I decided 'not' - yet another mistake! A few hundred metres along the path I met Malcolm the photographer with his expensive looking camera and large telephoto lense and big stand to hold the lot up. He was photographing a herd of deer on the other side of the glen - it's rutting season and there should be some splendid photographic opportunities - I hope he got some good pics. I had a go with my own hopelessly inadequate little toy camera without great success.
Top Man.jpg
Top Man's wives.jpg
Then I left him with his challenge and headed up towards the large cairn using the Walkhighlands route. The path is sometimes boggy, sometimes rocky, sometimes quite steep, sometimes a bit scrambly and always interesting.
path and target.jpg
Only when you climb steeply above the cairn are you rewarded with magnificent views of the western and northern mountains and the route is a bit up and down but never unpleasant.
Ben Venue 069.jpg
The Cobbler.jpg
On approaching the summits I decided to bear left and visit the true top first. This was a little bit scrambly but no difficulty even for an old unfit novice like myself. The visual rewards are breathtaking - Loch Katrine in all it's glory with the little Sir Walter Scott steaming towards Stronachlacher, Ben Lomond, the Arrocher Alps, Ben More and it's pal, all readily identifiable.
Sir Walter Scott.jpg
Loch Katrine.jpg
Ben Lomond.jpg
Stob Binnein  Ben More.jpg
Then accross to the SE summit at 727m to get inspiring views to Lochs achray, Venacher and Drunkie and further Affield to the Firth of Forth and away round to the Windfarm on Eaglesham Moor and the unmistakeable profile of Arran away to the SW. The Camera was clicking away so much that I almost forgot to eat.
Loch Achray  Loch Venacher.jpg
Hazy Firth of Forth.jpg
Arran to SW.jpg
And of course the real summit.
Venue's real top.JPG
and a wee panorama
Stitched_001.JPG
I then noticed someone with a huge great camera on the true summit clearly heading for my summit so I sat down and ate to await his arrival. It was Malcolm of course. Unfortunately I had disturbed the deer (oh dear!!) so his outing was in vain - well not really - he had climbed to the top of the hill with all his photographic paraphernalia so I'm sure he must have got a few great landscapes. As we chatted he mentioned that he had never been to the top of a mountain before and he seemed well impressed - it would be a dull soul that wasn't. Soon after another couple of chaps arrived from the south. We naturally got talking and they said they had come up a short-cut by turning right off the path just below the waterfall and ascending over grassy slopes, neither too steep nor boggy. They intended returning by the same route so Malcolm and I decided to follow them down. They were young and were going like the clappers but they were concerned about myself when the cramp kicked in big time. I assured them I was OK (I was when the salt took effect) but they seemed to slow down a lot and never got too far ahead of us until we were off the hill and into the woods. I thank them all for their company and wish them good and safe walking. To Malcolm in particular - I hope people stop scaring the deer away when he's trying to take their pics and that he gets excellent shots.

Anyway having stopped to chat, taken 150 pics, spent the best part of an hour at the top and having a cramp attack which slowed me considerably I still completed the walk in 6 hours exactly - it's not a race but not bad for a more mature guy. I only took to serious walking after I retired and returned to Scotland about 5 years ago. I have done over 20 Munros several of which I have done two or three times. I have also done a fair number of low level walks and I have to say that each and every walk has been brilliant. I enjoyed the solitude of my walk up Ben Venue but equally enjoyed the company on the way down after all "a pleasure shared is a pleasure doubled". However I now understand more fully the pleasures and challenges of solo walking..

The short-cut from the summit involved heading south off the summit for a short way to a point at about 680m (477059) then heading SW to intersect with the path at about 473056 - these positions being estimates. I should also say that the short cut would not be my choice on the way up as I think it robs you of some of the challenges and panoramas of the normal route. But it is a quick way down.

Good Walking Y'all

Re: Ben Venue - Nice one too!

PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 12:58 pm
by Fudgie
I really enjoyed reading that. I also went hillwalking myself on Saturday but ended up joining up with someone for a large part of the route and it did make the steep climb that bit more bearable. As you were at the top of Ben Venue taking pictures in the direction of the Cobbler, I was on the top of Ben Vane looking back at you :D

Re: Ben Venue - Nice one too!

PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 4:39 pm
by Penguin
Nice report and some good pictures from a'toy camera'. I enjoy walking on my own. I love the solitude, opportunity to relax and unwind, and the no hassle of having to keep up or slow down for other people. It's a good excuse to leave everything and everyone behind and get away from it all once in a while. Having said that, I'm equally happy walking with other people too. I went walking solo on Sunday and loved it. It was an opportunity for me to escape 'life' and all the hassles associated with it at the moment, with no pressure or influence from anyone else.

Anyway, interesting report and a great read.

Penguin
8)

Re: Ben Venue - Nice one too!

PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 8:51 pm
by anniemal
nice to see your photos oldman and the answer to you question is no I did not get any pic of the deer that day so I went up to meall mor to try my luck there as I came up on the deer there some more walkers came over the ridge and guess what sent them running in the oppiste direction of me once more so no luck yesterday as well but I have to admit I enjoyed my climb up Ben Venue and the little bleather we had
oh by the way I have regestered under the name of anniemal on this site

Re: Ben Venue - Nice one too!

PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 10:25 pm
by mountain coward
Some lovely light you got that day - warm and golden - my favourite kind :D It looks a great hill and I'd love to get round to doing it soon.

BTW, all you peeps getting cramp, have you tried Quinine Sulphate tablets? They're really good - I sometimes get cramp in my calves or my feet in the wee small hours in bed - those tablets sort it a treat. They also seem to prevent it recurring for a very long time :D

Re: Ben Venue - Nice one too!

PostPosted: Fri Oct 22, 2010 11:33 am
by Oldman
mountain coward wrote:Some lovely light you got that day - warm and golden - my favourite kind :D It looks a great hill and I'd love to get round to doing it soon.

BTW, all you peeps getting cramp, have you tried Quinine Sulphate tablets? They're really good - I sometimes get cramp in my calves or my feet in the wee small hours in bed - those tablets sort it a treat. They also seem to prevent it recurring for a very long time :D



Thanks Mountaincoward, I'm off to the Chemist now but on the way maybe I should call in at the Fitness Centre 'cause really I ought to be fitter than I am and I think it's the lack of fitness that brings on the cramp. Neverlheless - I shall get some of those tablets as long as the Doc says it's OK.

Oldman