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A perfect day on Ben Cruachan, until the moonlit hobble

A perfect day on Ben Cruachan, until the moonlit hobble


Postby gsaboy » Mon Mar 05, 2012 11:57 pm

Route description: Ben Cruachan and Stob Daimh

Munros included on this walk: Ben Cruachan, Stob Daimh

Date walked: 04/03/2012

Time taken: 11 hours

Distance: 14 km

Ascent: 1376m

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Wow - what a day, as near to perfect as it gets. Apart from the end, but we shall come to that in due course.

The weather started cloudy with a light drizzle, but there was one small patch of blue sky that boded well.

I have been looking forward to Ben Cruachan since climbing Ben Lui, and staring at it all the way down, and it didn't disappoint. Arriving at the lay-by by the station at 9am I was surprised to be the only car.

The walk started through birch woods, water droplets sparkling off their branches, and soaking me, as I walked up to the deer fence. Approaching the Dam there was a mixture of sunlight, mist and light rain, the atmosphere was magical. Then up the ladder on the dam to a awesome view, and fresh snow.

IMG_2897.jpg
Amazing light through the mist


IMG_2911.jpg
Cruachan reservoir


Pressing on to the end of the loch I could see a nice big crampon friendly patch of snow toward the ridge, and the bluest sky you ever saw. Positively alpine.

IMG_2924.jpg
Look at that sky!


As always when I got there it was a lot steeper than it looked, enough to get the heart pumping. By the time I reached the scramble over snow covered rocks to the summit the weather was closing in, not unusual for me. But then as suddenly again it opened up, and there was the view, over ….. to loch awe, and as far as the sea. Layers of cloud seemed to chase each other, as you can see in the time lapse shot on the video.

Onto the summit which was stunning, views in all directions, and sharp shadow of me on the snow as the sun shone intensely.

IMG_2946.jpg
Quite a ridge


I met a nice chap from Dundee who had been coming up behind me. He wisely opted out of doing the ridge without crampons. He said there were three others, following, and that was it, the 5 of us had the Ben to ourselves on such a stunning day.

The first part of the snow covered ridge was pretty scary, after than it was easy going so you could just enjoy the views, a top then ……. It was just getting better and better.

IMG_2956.jpg
Looking back towards Loch Awe


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Loch Awe


The light show finished with a sun set just after the 2nd top of the day. I had no desire to head down.

IMG_3029.jpg
Sunset over the sea


That's where the fun started, with a long walk down to the loch, it was getting dark, and my knees decided that going down was not for them. So I was down to a snails pace, making maximum use of my walking poles, and feeling every step.

I was reassured that I had my light in my pack, but no need. Despite the pain I could enjoy an incredibly bright moon, that lit my way, and gave me a great moon shadow, something i don't think I have experienced before.

Exhausted I arrived back at the lay-by at 8pm, 11 hours after starting. All these photo and video stops take their time, but I hope that are worth it. So Cruachan gets 5 stars from me.
Last edited by gsaboy on Tue Mar 06, 2012 9:05 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: A perfect day on Ben Cruachan, until the moonlit hobble

Postby Alan S » Tue Mar 06, 2012 12:16 am

Good report and pics 8) Ben Cruachan is one of my favourites, I would love to have done it in conditions like that 8)
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Re: A perfect day on Ben Cruachan, until the moonlit hobble

Postby quoman » Tue Mar 06, 2012 8:03 pm

Hi Bruce.

Quality video again and nice picture's to go with the report hope the knee's get better sooner than later.
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Re: A perfect day on Ben Cruachan, until the moonlit hobble

Postby rockhopper » Tue Mar 06, 2012 8:17 pm

Lovely - makes me want to go up there again - could hardly see anything the day I was up - nice to see what I missed - cheers :D
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Re: A perfect day on Ben Cruachan, until the moonlit hobble

Postby Huck Finn » Tue Mar 06, 2012 10:41 pm

Great report, cracking photos & Video :thumbup:
This hill makes my number 1 spot, we did it in the winter as well, stunning time to do it :D
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Re: A perfect day on Ben Cruachan, until the moonlit hobble

Postby Klaasloopt » Wed Mar 07, 2012 5:43 pm

Wow, that's an excellent video!
Serious question: it looks to me the ridge is doable without crampons, would you agree? (even though one might feel more at ease with crampons); I see you doing it with crampons, but without axe. Would you agree 'without crampons, with axe' would do as well? Thanks for replying!

(See, I plan doing this hill next week, but would like to leave the crampons out of the backpack...)

Cheers!
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Re: A perfect day on Ben Cruachan, until the moonlit hobble

Postby jonny616 » Wed Mar 07, 2012 6:27 pm

Great report. How were the slabs just after Cruachan , under snow.
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Re: A perfect day on Ben Cruachan, until the moonlit hobble

Postby gsaboy » Wed Mar 07, 2012 10:57 pm

Klaasloopt wrote:Wow, that's an excellent video!
Serious question: it looks to me the ridge is doable without crampons, would you agree? (even though one might feel more at ease with crampons); I see you doing it with crampons, but without axe. Would you agree 'without crampons, with axe' would do as well? Thanks for replying!

(See, I plan doing this hill next week, but would like to leave the crampons out of the backpack...)

Cheers!


Yes it would have been doable without crampons. There was about 5-10cm of soft snow on top of ice. In some places such as the slabs, jonny616 mentioned, it was just a light dusting of snow, so you really wanted to take the crampons off. However by all accounts its snowing up there all this week, so there could be a lot more. But I don't see it getting to the solid ice stage.

I wasn't using an axe as I don't have one, or at least I didn't, until this mornings delivery. So I'm keen to try it out.

I'm quite new to this game, and I must admit predicting the conditions from sea level is pretty impossible.
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Re: A perfect day on Ben Cruachan, until the moonlit hobble

Postby adamarchie » Thu Mar 08, 2012 8:01 am

Wow.

Great to see there's still falling up north. This winter ain't done for yet!
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Re: A perfect day on Ben Cruachan, until the moonlit hobble

Postby Klaasloopt » Thu Mar 08, 2012 8:51 am

gsaboy wrote:I'm quite new to this game, and I must admit predicting the conditions from sea level is pretty impossible.


Thanks for your info!
... predicting conditions from below sea-level is even worse :D
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Re: A perfect day on Ben Cruachan, until the moonlit hobble

Postby lomondwalkers » Thu Mar 08, 2012 12:06 pm

Superb yet again :thumbup: I do love your videos 8) I've done both these Munros as singles due to crappy weather, I must make a point of getting back up on a good day and do the horseshoe!! Cheers for showing me what I've missed twice :lol:
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Re: A perfect day on Ben Cruachan, until the moonlit hobble

Postby BoyVertiginous » Thu Mar 08, 2012 3:10 pm

Cracking account, gsaboy. Can you tell us what the pieces of music used in your video are, please?
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Re: A perfect day on Ben Cruachan, until the moonlit hobble

Postby ChrisW » Thu Mar 08, 2012 3:23 pm

wow- excellent stuff gsaboy, the hike looked spectacular and the photography and videography captured it brilliantly (underwater bit too I see......very fancy :lol: ) Great report really enjoyed it, hope the knees recover quickly so we can get some more like this :D
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Re: A perfect day on Ben Cruachan, until the moonlit hobble

Postby gsaboy » Thu Mar 08, 2012 10:33 pm

BoyVertiginous wrote:Cracking account, gsaboy. Can you tell us what the pieces of music used in your video are, please?


Music is creative commons stuff, so that I can use it on vimeo.

I got them from: http://ccmixter.org/find-music

The ones used are:
DLDN Instrumental (ft. Onlymeith, Mellotroniac)
Echo (ft. Infaredhaze)
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Re: A perfect day on Ben Cruachan, until the moonlit hobble

Postby BoyVertiginous » Fri Mar 09, 2012 12:50 am

gsaboy wrote:
BoyVertiginous wrote:Cracking account, gsaboy. Can you tell us what the pieces of music used in your video are, please?


Music is creative commons stuff, so that I can use it on vimeo.

I got them from: http://ccmixter.org/find-music

The ones used are:
DLDN Instrumental (ft. Onlymeith, Mellotroniac)
Echo (ft. Infaredhaze)

Thanks, I've bookmarked it for a look later. :)
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