Another very early start saw me driving north in the dark on a Saturday morning. My target was a couple of the lawers hills. I knew there was due to be some sort of race on these hills today so I wanted to be up and down before getting caught up in any of the shenanigans. I'd also recently discovered the joys of being on a summit for sunrise which almost made walking during the day seem a bit mundane.
Turning off at loch tay onto the hill road in the dark was interesting. The road was dotted with shapes which turned out to be sheep that looked none too pleased to have been rudely awoken and made to move. They wouldn't budge until I was almost on top of them with the car. The grudging slow walk away they did was hilarious and there was no mistaking the dirty looks they were giving me. If sheep could shake their head and tut I'm pretty certain they would have....
I arrived at the main car park and felt a bit like I was cheating. I hadn't realised I would be starting from so high up and it was bothering me slightly, although admittedly not enough to make me drive back down to loch tay and start from there....The car park was busy with motorhomes and campervans. I tried to get my stuff out the boot without waking anyone. One of the vans seemed to be rocking slightly. I really didn't want to know why so I walked away quickly....
The path starts off through a fenced off area that is being restored to native woodland. Pretty crazy to think that this is what most lower mountain slopes should look like if it wasn't for deforestation and the out of control deer population munching everything!
I reached the Beinn Ghlas summit easily and quickly for quarter to 5. As munro summits go, this must be right up there for most anti climatic. A mound of stones at the top of a bit of grass essentially, although the views aren't too shabby
The path continues relatively flatly for a while before the pull up to the second summit. I passed a tent up here and crept past silently. A nice spot for it. I was glad to note that it was not rocking....
Path up to Ben Lawers.
Ben Lawers is a well known alpine plant hotspot and is worth visiting for that alone. Surprisingly I didn't get too distracted and just had a look at what was growing on the pathside.
Lawers summit just ahead
Got to the summit not long after 5. Perfectly timed to see the sun just starting to burn through.
I spent a good while enjoying the views and the solitude, at least until I noticed two shapes approaching from below. Two exhausted girls eventually made it up and collapsed on the ground for a while struggling for breath. Turned out they had pretty much ran the entire way up. I don't know what annoyed them more, the fact that they had got to the summit for 6am and still got beaten to it or that I was trying to talk to them as they were gasping for air We had some banter for five minutes before they headed back to run down.
At this point I got caught up in their enthusiasm. I took the alternative path off the summit to the west and decided this had all been so easy that I was going to make it interesting and run back as well I probably ran about 70% of the way back before I realised it actually really hurts running in hiking boots
Back into the rewilding section.
I was back at the car for half 6 with sore ankles. Cars were just starting to arrive and people waking from their campers. I tried to avoid eye contact with the elderly couple who had appeared from the rocking van......Felt good to have done two munros and got home before the loch lomond road was snagged up with the weekend masses.
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