Ben Vane from Butterbridge (and Ben Ime)
by mrssanta » Sun Jul 14, 2019 10:11 pm
Date walked: 21/06/2019
Time taken: 1550 hours
Distance: 13 km5 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
This was not our original plan, I hasten to add!
on Thursday 20th we had spent a fruitful day bog-trotting and looking at Scotlands Favourite View on the Fersit Munros, then hot-footing it down the A82 to Tyndrum to the Real Food Café for tea, and thence to Inveruglas. The plan was to walk in from there and camp at a nice little place we know of near Coiregrogan at the foot of Ben Vane. From there we would walk up the glen to the Bealach a'Mhaim and Ben Ime and thence to Ben Vane and back to the tent. These were the two Arrochar Alps we had not yet climbed after bailing in may 2016 because of horrible weather and illness. We'd then have a nice drive to the Travelodge at Dumbarton for a clean-up and rest before picking our friend from Germany up from Glasgow airport for a week in Islay.
Mostly it went according to plan. But not entirely. However a successful day was had.
We expected to pay to park at Inveruglas. What we didn't expect was not being allowed to leave the car overnight. There was a sign up that gave the web address to get a permit for a motorhome or camper, so we thought perhaps we could pretend the car was a motorhome and buy a permit. Although there was masses of space, the website told us there was no availability and to come back on Monday. On the same page it suggested that we might find it nice to go well away from the Lochside and wild camp somewhere. Just exactly how are we expected to do that if we cannot leave the car anywhere? We left the car park and had a look up and down a mile or so to see if there were any other possible parking places. Nothing. Zilch, Nada, etc etc. We considered just leaving the car and risking it, but thought this might be unwise and expensive, risk being clamped and missing the Islay ferry - not a good thought. The midges were bad and we were getting very frustrated and grumpy and the night was starting to draw in.
In the end we decided to go and camp at Butterbridge and decide in the morning how to tackle the hills and which ones to go for. Fortunately there was nobody else there and we camped just beside the old bridge getting the tent up quickly because of the midges and pretty much going straight to bed.
In the morning it was still and the cloud was down. We heard voices outside the tent. Rudolph stuck his head out to be greeted by the Police! They were looking for someone who had been reported walking down the A83 in a state of inebriation and nearly been run over by a timber lorry. We were pleased they had not come to arrest us, but were unable to help with their search.
Shortly after that, as we were eating our breakfast (walking around a bit to avoid the midges) we chatted to three lads who were setting off on a recce of Ben Ime from this side for a charity walk. Sorry chaps, I had read that you go up the forestry track and generously passed on this advice, it was not the best route! Presumably you found that out for yourselves!
We set off with the tops firmly in cloud, but it looked like it could clear up and there were patches of blue sky here and there. We decided we would climb to the Glas Bhealach at 750m and at that point would decide which hill to climb first. We set off on the track through the forestry which was lovely at first but then degenerated into bog, felled trees and midges. After all the rain of the last few days we took some care finding a crossing point for the burn. We passed the ruins of an old sheiling. Lovely place to live in fine weather but it must have been a really hard life carrying your stuff and your children up there in the olden days.
When we reached the bealach, it was starting to turn into a lovely day, but the top of Ben Ime remaining firmly in cloud we decided to tackle Ben Vane first.
It has been reported that this is very rough ground between these two hills. We had a good view of the terrain and although there were rocks and steepness, it was possible to see that the whole route could be done on grass and to be honest it did not look nearly as bad as we had expected. To be fair, it is steep and the bealach is pretty low at about 490metres, but you just have to think about it as two separate hills, or divide it up into chunks and count them off.
We could see a couple of rocky outcrops below us and headed to the left of these to avoid a gorge, then descended steep grass to the bealach. From there we set off uphill on a rising traverse to the left (north easterly direction) until we crossed the burn at about 600metres, where we clocked a picnic spot for a brew on the way back down. From here we just picked the easiest line uphill until we reached the summit.
It was beautiful on the top but cold, so we didn't hang about, but set off back downhill roughly the way we had come, stopping for a brew at the wee waterfall we had clocked on the way up, where it was just a little bit steep to sit comfortably but the brew was welcome all the same.
Once back at the bealach at 490m we had to climb back up that long grassy slope which did go on a bit! but included the excitement of Rudolph putting his foot down a hole between two boulders. Fortunately no harm was done but it was a reminder to be careful on this bouldery terrain where sometimes the grass can give an illusion of terra firma!
When we reached the Glas Bealach we were tired after all this steepness and three nights of camping and weather, and briefly considered leaving Ben Ime for another day - but only briefly, despite the prospect of 940m straight down! So continuing uphill we were delighted to find the top at last was in sunshine and the wind had dropped enough for us to sit and drink it all in for a while.
The descent was as expected pretty brutal but this time we came down the side of the burn where there is a path. Boggy in places but I think it was better than thrashing through the forest.
Back at the car we were pleased to have added seven more munros to our tally for these three days.
by Alteknacker » Tue Jul 16, 2019 9:56 pm
I bet you were secretly a bit disappointed that Rudolph's leg disappearance didn't turn into your own 127 Hours
by mrssanta » Tue Jul 16, 2019 10:11 pm
Alteknacker wrote:I bet you were secretly a bit disappointed that Rudolph's leg disappearance didn't turn into your own 127 Hours
ha ha better his leg than mine! or is that a bit harsh? I once went thigh deep into a bog with just one leg - the bog was literally six inches across with solid ground all the way round. I was with the entire extended family and how they laughed!!
by dogplodder » Wed Jul 17, 2019 5:08 pm
by Raynor » Thu Jul 18, 2019 12:40 pm
by mrssanta » Sun Jul 21, 2019 10:26 pm
dogplodder wrote:Met your double on Blencathra yesterday but the husband was wrong! Partly thanks to your recommendation Moira and I had perfect post hill fish n chips at Real Food Cafe a few weeks back - so thanks for that.
My goodness I have a double!!
hope you enjoyed your F&C! I always have soup and chips and himself has haggis and chips.
Raynor wrote:I think nearly all of the car parks will say no overnight parking. I very much doubt anyone bothers to enforce it. I often set off at 3/4am in the summer so who is to say what is overnight parking or just getting an early start.
We weren't so much worried about the overnight bit it was leaving the car in the morning with no ticket. They lock the gate at night and open it in the morning so someone would be bound to notice.
by aaquater » Mon Jul 22, 2019 3:01 pm
by gammy leg walker » Mon Jul 22, 2019 4:00 pm
Walkhighlands community forum is advert free
Can you help support Walkhighlands and the online community by donating by direct debit?