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Ben Lawers five and what not to do

Ben Lawers five and what not to do

Postby The_Greenman2000 » Wed Oct 10, 2018 8:53 am

Munros included on this walk: An Stùc, Beinn Ghlas, Ben Lawers, Meall Garbh (Ben Lawers), Meall Greigh

Date walked: 05/10/2018

Time taken: 8.5 hours

Distance: 21.6 km

Ascent: 1664m

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What not to do? Use the Cicerone walking Munros guide that what.

Start at the Ben Lawers visitors centre, which we could not find. Turns out it was demolished. Anyway cant blame the book for that, everything becomes out of date given enough time......but theres so much more!

After a nice ascent up through the tree regeneration enclosure and up the well maintained paths to Beinn Ghlas the main top of Ben Lawers shows itself fully, a great shape.
Ben Glas summit.JPG
Ben Glas summit glory

Ben Glas to Ben Lawers.JPG
Ben Glas to Ben Lawers ridge line

Then good easy walking upto the summit top (which surely wont last much longer given its damaged and eroded state). Nice and cool, with a light dusting of snow :).
View up to Ben Lawers top.JPG
View up to Ben Lawers

Ben Lawers summit.JPG
Ben Lawers summit

Again a nice path leads off to An Stuc, which is impressive in its own right. A couple of chaps warned us about a 'bit of a dicey' scramble down from An Stuc to Meall Garbh (which we were unaware of), and sure enough on the way down we met a guy coming up who had lost the path and was scrambling his own route. It was probably easier coming up than down but no real challenge ideally.
An Stuc summit.JPG
The An Stuc summit power stance

Then onto Meall Garbh which afforded great views back along the ridge to Lawers and also onto the less impressive (and annoyingly distant) Meall Greigh.
Maell Garbh.JPG
Maell Garbh summit

View back to Ben Lawers and beyond from Maell Garbh.JPG
View back to Ben Glas and Ben Lawers from Maell Garbh

Maell Garbh Pano.JPG
Maell Garbh 180 panorama

A dilapidate fence line lead us most of the way to Meall Greigh which was summited without issue.

Maell Greigh I.JPG
Meall Greigh I

Maell Greigh II.JPG
Maell Greigh II

Then that when the trouble started. The Cicedrone guide says pick your way back to the Dam then follow the track around the main massif and one the track drops away just 'contour' around and back to the car park. We knew it was quite a hike but sounded simple enough. Well there was no path back to the dam but it was obvious and easy enough. The track was a bit of a ball ache but again straight forward. But once the track falls away we were faced with a deep gully, second dam and no obvious route around. It was like the folks a Cicerone had not bothered to walk it and just lazily traced the contour lines back on their paper copy. Steeply sloping, thick tussocky, occasionally boggy, occasionally boulder strewn terrain lay in front of us for several km. It was not easy going and if there was a path they had meant us to follow we couldn't see it. Several old, over grown drovers type tracks leading up and do the slope were discernible but not what was needed. Anyhoo, we made it back with tired ankels but I wouldn't recommend the route we took to anyone without forewarning them about the last section. Thanks Cicerone

All that said, Maell Greigh was my 50th top. Not really bagging as we only come up for a week every now and then but I'm fairly pleased with that
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Re: Ben Lawers five and what not to do

Postby Sgurr » Wed Oct 10, 2018 10:32 am

I find Cicerone Guides very variable in quality and usefulness. The Harris one was excellent, but the Jura and Islay one less so. He assumed that all walkers were like him i.e. capable of doing multi day back packs. In Islay, the route over the main hill was excellent for such a person, including the bothy, but to people like me who just wanted a day walk up it, was less than helpful. On Jura, he stuck to the west coast mostly, and I wanted to dart in and out off the only road to bag the Marilyns without carrying all my worldly goods.

Anyway, you did them all in one go, which is more than I ever did. Congrats. Hope you have recovered.
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