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Happy Benvane 2019!

Happy Benvane 2019!

Postby Emmanuelle » Wed Jan 02, 2019 5:06 pm

Route description: Benvane, from Glen Buckie

Corbetts included on this walk: Benvane

Date walked: 01/01/2019

Time taken: 3.3 hours

Distance: 13 km

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Here I am again, new year and new resolution to post to Walkhighlands more often than I did in 2018!

My boyfriend being laid low by this coughing ailment that seems to have spread like wildfire and caused us to cancel our Hogmanay celebrations, I decided to console myself with a wee hillwalk to get that ageing body moving again and challenge the tendons in my knees :lol: The forecast was good too, and having missed all the nice weather windows this Autumn and winter so far, this was an occasion not to be missed.

I’ve been to Balqhuidder often but I had never turned off the ‘main’ road to drive up Glen Buckie. The Glen was in shade and looked quite eerie, so I was pleased to see a wee group of deer hinds silently and smoothly emerge from the woodlands, bound soundlessly across the tarmac and disappear into the mossy woods on the other side of the road.

I parked by the stone bridge, at the Ballimore Farm, just after 9.30am and got my stuff together. There was a sign on a post warning us of stalking in operation and to ring a phone number but I figured no-one in their right mind would go out with a rifle on the first day of 2019, so I ignored it. The route says to climb up the steep bank, just on the other side of the bridge, so I did and headed for the farm gate. As I started the ascent in earnest, I could hear an owl hooting, an unexpected surprise at 10am.

The route is easy to follow in clear weather although the stream mentioned in the route description mostly runs underground. I aimed for Lianach keeping the knobbly ridge that’s in its alignment well to my right. To orientate myself I kept looking back into Gleann Dubh, until I gained enough height to begin to get some guid views. Ben More and Stob Binnein, with sparse snow bones, came into view and as I reached the broad ridge, the vista expanded to reveal the Crianlarich hills, then Ben Lomond and tucked away further west, the Cobbler and the Arrochar Alps!

ImageStob Binnein and Ben More by Emmanuelle Tulle, on Flickr

Looking left, Ben Vorlich, Stuc a Chroinn and Ben Each emerged too, but, whilst to the west and north the outlines were declensions of greys and blues, the hills to the east looked darker and broodier. Underfoot was a successions of puddles skimmed with a thin layer of ice and the going was fast and pleasant. At this time of year, with the sun still low in the sky even close to midday, I was walking blinded by the winter sun and a hat with a visor would’ve been welcome.
ImageBen Vorlich, Stuc a Chroin, Beinn Each by Emmanuelle Tulle, on Flickr
ImageThe Cobbler by Emmanuelle Tulle, on Flickr

I met a couple coming down and we exchanged the usual pleasantries, all of us self-satisfied with our decisions to bring in the new year with a hillwalk. But it’s nippy on the summit the chap said. I was walking gloveless and my belay jacket zipped down by then, and I knew such balmy conditions couldn't last.

As I started on the last and steeper section of the ascent, I could see cloud coming in and shrouding some tops, starting with Ben Vorlich and then gradually in a great arc, shielding many of the summits to the north and west. I only had a brief time to see the Ben Lawers group before it disappeared.

ImageArrochar Alps by Emmanuelle Tulle, on Flickr

A veil of snow also threatened but missed Benvane! I reached the top soon enough, fished out my flask, my gloves and my wind proof jacket from my ruckie and soaked in the views, which were extensive - the Campsies, the Gargunnock hills, Dumyat and of course Ben Ledi. I reckon that on a clearer day you could see as far as Edinburgh. Closer by, the Finglas reservoir overlooked by Ben A’an and Ben Venue looked inviting. The hills to the north and west had reappeared.
ImageFinglas Reservoir by Emmanuelle Tulle, on Flickr
ImageCampsies by Emmanuelle Tulle, on Flickr
ImageBen Ledi by Emmanuelle Tulle, on Flickr
ImageSmile they said. Best I can do! by Emmanuelle Tulle, on Flickr
I could see two folks coming up on the Brig o’Turk route and for some reason I decided to wait for them. They were making fast progress anyway and there was absolutely no rush. It was nippy but the cairn provided a wee bit of shelter from the north wind. As they approached we greeted each other and the new year and at that point I recognised the man’s face. He proffered his WH credentials, which I of course knew, but as Weaselmaster himself said in his own account, I recognised him as Alan’s brother-in-law. I think I last saw him at the Neil Young gig in Edinburgh - which must be a good 10 years ago! It was good to meet on the hills at last and Alison too. Two ravens appeared, perhaps checking us out for some food scrap potential, or perhaps to show off their acrobatics. Soon Weaselmaster and Alison were off to continue their round and I set off too via Benvane’s subsidiary top, affording me better views of Glen Finglas. I also lingered on the knobbly bits of the ridge past Lianach to gaze some more down Gleann Dubh and up at the Crianlarich hills.
ImageFifty shades of grey by Emmanuelle Tulle, on Flickr

ImageHanging rainbow by Emmanuelle Tulle, on Flickr

I became aware of sharp cracks of noise, like gun reports, as I got closer to the slopes above Glean Dubh. The shooting was rhythmic but sparse. However as I got further down it became more frequent - like fireworks - and frankly annoying. I understand the need for stalking to control deer but shooting for sport with abandon, I have little tolerance for. What on earth where they shooting at? I could see the 4x4 on the other side of the burn, behind the trees, but I have no idea what these men were aiming at. It was a disappointing end to a fab outing. As some compensation I saw a band of long tailed tits fluttering about the trees lining the track that leads to Immeroin, but by the time I fished out my wee binoculars, they’d flown off.
ImageImmeroin by Emmanuelle Tulle, on Flickr

It was a super drive back to Falkirk, although with more traffic than on the way out.
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Re: Happy Benvane 2019!

Postby weaselmaster » Wed Jan 02, 2019 11:54 pm

Good to see you on the hill, Emmanuelle. A great day for the hills indeed.
I heard the gunshots too, wondered if there might be a clay range about. Or maybe, as you say, just bloodthirsty humans.
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