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Not one for your trail shoes.

Not one for your trail shoes.


Postby johnscot55 » Mon Jun 24, 2019 7:11 pm

Route description: Ben Lui and Beinn a'Chleibh

Munros included on this walk: Beinn a'Chleibh, Ben Lui

Date walked: 23/06/2019

Time taken: 7.75 hours

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As my opportunities to get out on the hills are few and far between (In a moment of hill wishfulness, I recently calculated that if I were to ascend and descend the stairs in my house 347 times I will have done a new Munro, Beinn Anderson) and usually only on a Monday or Tuesday, I was grateful to my wife for giving me a "free pass" on Sunday.

Due to family commitments, realistically, I am unlikely to get the chance to do hills in the west that are north of Fort William and as a late starter age wise completion is a pipedream, so I am left picking of the hills that I can "daytrip" from the central belt, and hope one day I can at least get to fifty, which will be my "completion".

Ben Lui and Beinn a'Chleibh obviously fall into the "daytrip" category and despite being a bit wary of the river Lochy crossing at the beginning, they were today's target.

I arrived in the carpark off the A85 around 8.45am and another car pulled in just after me. I readied myself, and as I prepared to set off, two guys from the other car passed before me and I joked that they could go first so I could follow them. As I got to the river I saw that one of the lads (Eddie) had crossed the river near the tunnel that is used to pass under the train track, but his companion (Steven/Stephen?) was coming back along the river looking for another point to cross and together we crossed at a point just beyond the carpark. It transpired that the three of us would be companions, more or less, for the rest of the day.

We passed under the track and began the journey up through the wooded section. Eventually a track is reach and at a bridge crossing over the Fionn Choire another cut is made into the woods. This section was almost impossibly boggy in places and time was lost finding the best route past or through them, which often involved getting scraped by tree branches etc. This was not particularly enjoyable. Yes I know there are other routes to "do" these hills, but this was the one I had chosen. Just didn't expect it to be quite as bad. At last we made it out of the woods passed through a gate and as per the WH route left the route from the bealach for the descent and headed up the grassy path.
20190623_101900.jpg
Steve slogs up Ben Lui.


At this point, Eddie was like a dog of a leash and he soon shot ahead. I was some where in the middle with Steven/Stephen slightly behind me. This section turned into quite the unremitting slog. At one point I spotted Eddie ahead of me and I tried to make my way directly to his position, but somehow I think we had left the best route and were taking a more direct, but arduous, angle up the hillside.
Across Glen Lochy to the Cruachan Range.jpg
Across Glen Lochy to the Cruachan Range.
The going was tough, and I rested enough for (let's call him Steve) to catch up. He also needed a rest. Eddie, meanwhile, was nowhere to be seen. We ate some, then set off on a slow slog punctuated by frequent stops, until rockier ground was reached and then we intercepted a path, which I believe we should have been on in the first place. After a few minutes on this path, Eddie was spotted ahead resting on some rocks some way beneath the summit. We met up, then E and S proceeded on while I had another rest. As I sat down a muscle in my upper right leg (I think it was the adductor) went into spasm and I immediately shot up again. A little bit of panic swept over me as I realised I could not walk, never mind get myself off a mountain, unless the pain subsided. I tried massage the muscle and slowly tried to move a round. Eventually it settled down a bit. I was still aware of it, but was able to walk again.
Gingerly, I set of, and was immediately confronted by some scrambling which was required to approach the summit. Not what I needed! However I managed, and I passed by the first cairn and over to the true summit where Eddie and Steve were already enjoying their food. I touched the cairn took in the views (hazy but generally good) and sat down and stretched out my leg, concerned that it would spasm again.
Summit Ben Lui..jpg
Summit Ben Lui.
We chatted, and then the two guys were ready to move on while I wanted to, eat, rest a little more and take in the views.
Summit of Ben Lui across to Cruachan Range and Loch Awe.jpg
Summit of Ben Lui across to Cruachan Range and Loch Awe
View from Ben Lui (1).jpg
View from Ben Lui (1)
View from Ben Lui (2).jpg
View from Ben Lui (2)
View from Ben Lui (3).jpg
View from Ben Lui (3)
View from Ben Lui (4).jpg
View from Ben Lui (4)


About five to ten minutes later I set off down the path that leads off the summit towards the bealach between BL and B'aC. Straight away I could see that Eddie had again shot off ahead of Steve. My leg seemed to be holding up and I began to catch Steve up. On the descent a young guy and his dog caught up with me, and after exchanging pleasantries, he hared off. It was quite dispiriting to see him reach the bealach and then shoot up the path towards Ba'C as I slowly made my way down :roll: . I could see Eddie was waiting at the bealach and that where I caught up with Steve. Together again.

I mentioned that I had had a little problem with my leg and Steve suggested maybe I should return from there, but it was feeling not too bad now, and I certainly didn't fancy a trip up through the wooded area just for Ba'C. So we set off for the second, lower summit, and this time, oddly I was off in front with Eddie. It was a straightforward path and the summit was reached a little easier than expected. Munro no.2 done.
123.jpg
Beinn a'Chleibh Summit.
Steve then arrived and more food was eaten while we chatted and took in the views.
234.jpg
Looking back at Ben Lui.
235.jpg
Ben Lui and lochan.
Then it was time to return to the bealach, at which point Eddie again flew on down the coire and waited at the gate entering the wooded area, as Steve and I slowly picked our way down towards him.
444.jpg
Looking down between the hills to the A85.
Then it was the descent through the dreaded boggy woods, brightened by some nice views of the Fionn Choire burn. Past the bridge over Fionn Choire and down through some felled trees, over a stream and we were almost home (the carpark).
555.jpg
Looking back at Ben Lui. Nearly finished.
Under the train track and through the river, this time with a little less effort to keep dry. After all, the climb was finished. And my leg had held out :roll: .

It had taken around 7.75 hours, but we weren't rushing (apart from Eddie :lol: ), the boggy ground had cost time, and I think we made a navigational error on the Ben Lui ascent. So, not too bad. We shook hands and I told them I had enjoyed the company. I hope it was reciprocal! A great end to a tough but enjoyable day.
User avatar
johnscot55
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 101
Munros:63   Corbetts:5
Grahams:3   Donalds:4
Sub 2000:7   
Joined: Aug 15, 2017

Re: Not one for your trail shoes.

Postby Chris Mac » Mon Jun 24, 2019 7:58 pm

Nice one John I enjoyed that. :clap: At the rate you are going don't rule out compleation!

johnscot55 wrote:This section was almost impossibly boggy in places and time was lost finding the best route past or through them, which often involved getting scraped by tree branches etc. This was not particularly enjoyable. Yes I know there are other routes to "do" these hills, but this was the one I had chosen. Just didn't expect it to be quite as bad.

That brings back memories of branch-hugging! Yeah it's still one of the boggiest paths i've encountered, does this photo give you nightmares? :lol:

Image

Next time I climb Ben Lui (owes me a view) i'll definitely do it from Cononish!
User avatar
Chris Mac
 
Posts: 821
Munros:40   Corbetts:22
Grahams:10   Donalds:10
Sub 2000:50   Hewitts:3
Wainwrights:10   
Joined: Sep 11, 2014

Re: Not one for your trail shoes.

Postby johnscot55 » Mon Jun 24, 2019 8:09 pm

Chris Mac wrote:Nice one John I enjoyed that. :clap: At the rate you are going don't rule out compleation!

johnscot55 wrote:This section was almost impossibly boggy in places and time was lost finding the best route past or through them, which often involved getting scraped by tree branches etc. This was not particularly enjoyable. Yes I know there are other routes to "do" these hills, but this was the one I had chosen. Just didn't expect it to be quite as bad.

That brings back memories of branch-hugging! Yeah it's still one of the boggiest paths i've encountered, does this photo give you nightmares? :lol:

Image

Next time I climb Ben Lui (owes me a view) i'll definitely do it from Cononish!

Yes, your picture brings it all back as if it was yesterday. Oh wait, it was yesterday!
User avatar
johnscot55
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 101
Munros:63   Corbetts:5
Grahams:3   Donalds:4
Sub 2000:7   
Joined: Aug 15, 2017

Re: Not one for your trail shoes.

Postby dogplodder » Mon Jun 24, 2019 10:23 pm

That brought back memories of the deadly forest of gloop, reminiscent of a jungle tucker trial in one of those reality shows. It seemed inappropriate for such an iconic mountain to have such an undignified approach. You get none of that in the Highlands! :lol:
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dogplodder
 
Posts: 3676
Munros:231   Corbetts:57
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Sub 2000:25   Hewitts:5
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Joined: Jul 16, 2011

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