After 10 months in Kazakhstan and not climbing any hills in that time, it was always going to be quite a hard day. With such high temperatures, I was to end the day very exhausted and dehydrated.
The plan was to climb the two hills, cycle up Glen Kinglas to Abyssinia and return to pick up logs and coal. In this respect, the day started very well. A SSE pickup arrived at the gate giving access to Glen Kinglas. I asked them to take up the logs, kindling and coal and leave it by the side of the track, near to the bothy. After initially saying that the vehicle was full of machinery and cement, they agreed.
I am not sure of the source of my information but I had the start of the route marked incorrectly on my map. There is a gate east of the bridge that gives access to a path running up the SW side of the burn. I did things the hard way, crossing the Kinglas Water crossing boggy ground, over a stile that I slipped on, banging my knee against the bottom rung. However, this route did take me through numerous spotted orchids, Dactylorhiza fuchsii.
I stopped off to photograph this waterfall, with the droplets glistening in the morning sunshine. This was my first trip with my new camera and I have yet to master the full capabilities of a DSLR. I must find out more about how to photograph waterfalls.
It was over 20 years since I last walked in this area. While I am usually good at picking out the hills, on this occasion, I was not too sure about the more distant hills that came into view as I ascended. Often, picking out one mountain means that others can be identified by their relative positions. Ben Lui is clearly much more distinctive from the north with its distinctive corrie. L to R Beinn a'Chleibh - Ben Lui - Ben Oss and Beinn Dubhcraig.
The path up had become increasingly indistinct and I eventually headed up the pathless terrain of the north ridge of Beinn Luibhean. I can connect my new camera to my phone via WiFi and use the phone as a remote. In fact, I can adjust the focus point and more!
L to R Beinn Ime - Beinn Narnain - The Cobbler - The Brack - Cnoc Coinnich - Ben Donich. The latter three were the plan for the next day so I took a particular interest in these as I surveyed the hills from the summit of Beinn Luibhean.
Throughout my time in the area, my eyes were often drawn to Beinn an Lochan. This was on Munro's original list and remained there until the 1981 revision. It is a fine walk which I did in May 1993. It has a drop of 417 metres between itself and the next listed peak, the Graham Stob an Eas. This prominence and its steep slope of broken crags above Loch Restil make it a very striking and impressive sight.
The main peaks below: Ben Lomond, Beinn Narnain, The Cobbler and The Brack. Taken on the approach to the summit of Beinn Ime.
I will often adjust my pace to meet people at the summit. While I was carrying a tripod and can control my camera from my phone, using other human beings generally involves less faffing around, though the results are not always better. Some people insist on aiming a camera at the head, cutting off the legs and including too much sky. By the time I had finished my sandwiches, four Czech lads arrived, one by one, the first of which was very obliging and took the photo below.
I like wearing a Buff but this was an occasion that a cap with a cowl would have been better. One, a Japanese soldier style cap with a cowl is definitely cooler and two, there would not have been such a marked line between my sunburnt face and my paler scalp! I also wish that I had worn a long sleeve top.
Certainly, the sun took it's toll. I arrived back at the car on the verge of heat exhaustion. I usually keep some Capri Sun sachets in the car and having consumed both litres of water, I consumed two while assembling my bike and sorting out my kit for two nights at Abyssinia. The track out to the bothy is fairly level but I frequently found myself pushing my bike as the incline steepened a little. I was certainly glad that I would not be making the return trip to pick up the wood and coal!
On arrival at the bothy, there was little water in the nearby small burn and I had to pop down to the Allt Uaine. I could not face food, but instead made up a litre of Hot Chocolate. I was using a new cooking set-up. I had owned the Trangia gas burner (180g) for many years, but here it is being used with a Trangia Triangle (115g) and an Evernew 1.3L pan (132g). This adds up to 425g which is similar to a Jetboil Flash system, though working out a little cheaper, slightly higher capacity and definitely not so top heavy. I do have a lighter micro-stove that attaches to the top of the gas canister, combined with a smaller titanium pot, but it is not as stable or wind-resistant as this set-up. In a bothy, it makes little difference, but I think this set-up may be a better option for summit camps.
Abyssinia bothy was not opened until 2017 and the stove was only recently fitted. Inside, there is a picnic table, a typical assortment of chairs, a cooking area protected with aluminium sheeting and sleeping platforms. The nice SSE men had taken the fuel into the bothy and left it for me right next to the stove. I only used about a third of the fuel, so hopefully some cold and wet walkers will benefit from it when more typical Scottish weather arrives.
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