We booked this long weekend as an "added extra" to our holidays this year, with me being made redundant at the end of June and Denise's rota working in our favour to give her 4 days on the trot, we thought a "catch up" trip would be ideal, well, why not, I've got a bit of time on my hands after all
We booked four nights in the Stirling Premier Inn, travelled up from West Yorkshire Wednesday t.time taking just 3.5 hrs which is pretty good going, got settled in and made ready for an early start Thursday morning.
I did Beinn Ghlas and Ben Lawers about 24 years ago with a couple of friends Allan and Doreen, Allan was an avid birdwatcher and really wanted to see a Ptarmigan, he was pretty chuffed that day because he spotted two
These two Munros were firsts for Denise and a chance for us both to remember Allan who died 3 years ago, he was one of the good guys in this world and every time we see a Ptarmigan now, we think of him
We set off from Stirling in good time to get a parking spot in the car park, when I did these two the visitor centre was still there, nowadays you can't tell there was a sizable building nearby at all.
We followed the Walkhighlands route because it served our purpose well and was a slight variation on the one I did with Allan and Doreen
The forecast was for early low cloud clearing, giving way to sunny intervals, a brisk wind but mild, when we set off walking at 08:40 the clouds were covering the tops but it was mild
DSC03571 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr
DSC03572 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr
The path is excellent, there's no problem keeping with it all the way, the views were a bit hazy but we could see Ben Vorlich and bits of the Tarmachan Ridge, Loch Tay was looking a brighter and so were the mountains around us.
DSC03573 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr
DSC03574 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr
At around 900m we walked into the cloud, it was being blown about by the strong wind and every now and again we could see what was ahead of us.
DSC03575 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr
Eventually we reached a large cairn, I'd read somewhere that there are two marking the summit of Beinn Ghlas one big, one small, the smaller one of the two is further along the path and is the true summit, I took a photo of Denise at each one, just in case
DSC03576 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr
DSC03578 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr
We were in the mist here unfortunately
DSC03577 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr
DSC03579 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr
The wind was blowing the cloud around so views were coming and going, we were hoping the forecast was going to be right by the time we reached the summit of Lawers, we still had a way to go so after a short food stop we carried on.
The path on this route is really good so navigation is not a problem even in the mist
DSC03580 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr
When we reached the bealach between the two mountains the return path was plain to see, we had a quick break then started up Ben Lawers.
It's a 200m climb from the bealach to the summit, the path is so good it just didn't feel like it, we arrived at the summit almost exactly two hours from the car park, a reasonable pace for a couple of oldies so much so we hadn't given the cloud a chance to lift
DSC03581 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr
DSC03582 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr
DSC03583 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr
DSC03584 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr
We waited for the wind to do its job, we kept getting the odd glimpse of Meall Corranaich,Meall a' Choire Leith,
Beinn Ghlas and Loch Tay but not for long
DSC03586 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr
DSC03587 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr
DSC03588 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr
The wind was quite strong and, unlike the rest of the U.K, we were feeling rather cold the longer we stood around we decided to get back down to the bealach to warm up a bit
Nearly at the bealach we met a couple of groups on their way up, they were asking if we'd had any views, not for us was the reply but you might by now Beinn Ghlas was clear of cloud so they were going to be lucky
DSC03589 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr
DSC03590 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr
DSC03591 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr
By the time we'd travelled a couple of hundred meters along the decent path Ben Lawers was clear
DSC03596 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr
DSC03592 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr
By now the sun was shining, the afternoon was shaping up to be a good one, Meall Corranaich looked good from this side, really green against the blue sky, in fact, all around was fantastic green.
DSC03594 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr
DSC03593 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr
DSC03597 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr
DSC03595 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr
DSC03602 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr
DSC03607 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr
When we reached the point the path crosses the stream we sat down and had lunch, it was suprisingly quiet with only a few people around. It was nice and warm now, so we took our time.
The car park was full by the time we got back to it, quite a contrast from when we arrived. We could see Beinn Ghlas now.
DSC03609 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr
So, two more munros taken off Denise's catch up list, four down, five to go
Share your personal walking route experiences in Scotland, and comment on other peoples' reports.
Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.