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Beinn Ghlas and Ben Lawers - my first solo Munros!

Beinn Ghlas and Ben Lawers - my first solo Munros!


Postby anxious-ambler » Sun Sep 09, 2012 4:44 pm

Route description: Ben Lawers and Beinn Ghlas

Munros included on this walk: Beinn Ghlas, Ben Lawers

Date walked: 09/09/2012

Time taken: 4 hours

Distance: 10.5 km

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My first solo Munros - but also my first ever Walkhighlands report!

I've been a member for a year and have been using this fabulous resource for route descriptions, maps and also advice from other member's posts. I have been admiring the Walkhighlands community from afar and now have finally got round to submitting a report!

Today brought my 8th and 9th Munros - I started last year with Ben Lomond (couldn't see a thing) and this year has brought Schiehallion (fabulous day in the snow), Meall nan Tarmachan (on the 2nd attempt - the snow didn't work in my favour on the 1st), Mayar and Driesh 2 weeks ago (fabulous day with my mum & dad - loved Glen Clova), Ben Vorlich and Stuc A'Chroin last weekend (a real struggle for me scrambling up Stuc A'Chronic Pain and the 3 hour descent was a killer) and TODAY - Beinn Ghlas and Ben Lawers!

I've really got the bug having now bagged 6 in 2 weeks. Today was a new challenge for me - I decided to strike out on my own. (To be honest I'm not sure my boyfriend has forgiven me for the pain of last weekend). I wasn't sure I was ready or experienced enough (definitely not experienced enough!) but I was itching to get back out there again and I thought I saw a window of opportunity for views up at Ben Lawers today.

So I got on the road from Edinburgh at 6.40am and was ready to begin the walk at 8.30am. It had been a nice easy drive up, with a wee bathroom break in Lochearnhead :) I was the fifth car in the car park and was excited to get going. It was pretty cloudy but it did seem like it would shift...

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It was a joy to walk up into the Nature Reserve amongst the purple heather and the trickling stream (thank goodness I'd already stopped elsewhere for a bathroom break :) ). A wee hop and a leap and then I was across the stream, onwards through the gate and I came to the fork in the path. One went up and one went along...I knew I had a steep climb up to Beinn Ghlas so I went up...phew. The zigzags were intense and up and up I went. I could then see I was about to go into the cloud so I took my last pics of what I could see and then made for the clouds...

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I plodded along and it was only when the cloud cleared for a brief second that I saw how high I'd got. I got a wee fright actually - didn't think I was scared of heights until this moment :) I also got a small glimpse of what was ahead...and that frightened me too! (My boyfriend tells me often I am a cushy!).

upload 09-09-12 021.JPG
the glimpse that gave me a gliff!


But worse was to come. I kept going up, and the cloud kept getting thicker. The wind was really strong, in fact you could say it was blowing an absolute hoolie :) So many times I thought I heard rushing water only to realise it was the wind. At one moment I sat down on a small cairn - I knew I wasn't at the top yet but I couldn't see much ahead of me. I knew I was high up. I knew there were 2 people coming up who had been about 10-15 mins behind me. I felt so alone and scared! I could've been anywhere and even though I was on the path I felt lost and I got the major heebie jeebies! But I decided it was time to get moving (I was freezing!) and turns out I was on the plateau and had about 50 yards to the top of Beinn Ghlas :)

SAM_9298.JPG
Best I could do in the wind on my own :)


Woo my 8th Munro!

At this moment the couple behind me reached the top, I have never been so pleased to see other human beings! They reassured me I was at the summit and told me Ben Lawers wasn't too far. I asked to follow them for a bit, and there began a most rewarding mountain bonding experience...for me anyway!

They turned out to be Neil and Jenny from near Aberdeen and I have SO much to thank them for. I had considered going down (I'm not the anxious ambler for nothing you know) and they gave me the encouragement I needed to just get on with it. Mind you they set a hell of a pace up Ben Lawers :) I would've taken much longer but I was so desperate to keep them in sight it pushed me up quicker.

It meant that at 10.50am I was at the top of Ben Lawers - and about to get blown off!

SAM_9301.JPG
numero 9 :)


Yay my 9th Munro!

There were absolutely no views whatsoever but it was great to be out and about - the air was certainly fresh!

We didn't stay long before descending back down to the bealach. I had planned to go back the way I'd come (maybe Beinn Ghlas views on the way back?!) but Neil showed me the bypass path and recommended it - I'd be sheltered from the wind and out of the cloud faster. I'm so glad he did because I couldn't have faced that scary feeling of being lost again :) I also learned that Neil and Jenny are on Munro number 105 - of their second round !! So taking their advice was definitely the right thing to do...another thing I'm grateful to them for.

They came down the path too for a bit, before heading off into the mist for some different hills. Lovely people :) I carried on the descent and couldn't keep the smile off my face! Finally some views of Loch Tay as I got under the cloud! Last night I said to my mum 'I much prefer the ascent to the descent' and this was certainly true after the struggle of Stuc A'Chronic Pain last weekend. Now I was loving the descent - I nearly cried for the 2nd time today, but this time from joy not fear :)

upload 09-09-12 029.JPG


I got a wee thrill passing people going up - it's always me going up after everyone else it seems, and now I was heading down. I am a long way away from being an experienced Munro bagger, but at that moment I felt on top of the world. I met a lovely lady heading up with the most gorgeous golden retriever - thank you for the nice chat - there were some fantastic people out there today!

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back at my car :)


I got back to the car just before 12.30pm which was just under 4 hours. I was absolutely elated! I planned to celebrate in the best way with a Steak and Haggis pie from Mhor Bread in Callander but the town was mobbed so I carried on, munching on the rolls I hadn't eaten on the hill. I was back in Edinburgh for 3pm, feeling thoroughly proud of my first solo Munros. I certainly got the fear up there and was so lucky to have the support of other walkers.

Right, what's Munro number 10 going to be?
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Re: Beinn Ghlas and Ben Lawers - my first solo Munros!

Postby McGuinness » Sun Sep 09, 2012 5:59 pm

congrats really nice up at Ben Lawers :D
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Re: Beinn Ghlas and Ben Lawers - my first solo Munros!

Postby Fudgie » Sun Sep 09, 2012 6:25 pm

I found my first solo walk a bit disconcerting to begin with but I now really enjoy going myself :D

Well done :thumbup:
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Re: Beinn Ghlas and Ben Lawers - my first solo Munros!

Postby MarilynMunro » Sun Sep 09, 2012 6:40 pm

Congrats :clap: on bagging a couple of lovely hills, not that either of us would know it :lol: , I was up there Thursday and it was an absolute hoolie as well, I was on my hands and knees :shock: heading for An Stuc when I called it a day. Like you, loved walking through the "walled garden".
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Re: Beinn Ghlas and Ben Lawers - my first solo Munros!

Postby simon-b » Sun Sep 09, 2012 6:52 pm

An excellent first report, AA. Well done on your first solo trip :thumbup:. You've certainly had a good couple of learning experiences recently, doing these on your own and that scramble up Stuc a' Chroin. If you stick with it you'll find you start enjoying the scrambly bits. I'm sure you know this anyway, but when you climb alone it's good to leave details of your route with someone else.
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Re: Beinn Ghlas and Ben Lawers - my first solo Munros!

Postby anxious-ambler » Sun Sep 09, 2012 9:53 pm

Thank you so much everyone for your lovely comments - that, as well as the friendliness I encountered today on the hills - really make me appreciate what a wonderful sense of community walking brings, and how lucky I feel to be a part of it!

Fudgie wrote:I found my first solo walk a bit disconcerting to begin with but I now really enjoy going myself :D

Well done :thumbup:


Cheers Fudgie, definitely want to get a few more under my belt before I go out solo again, but I did enjoy the freedom of it!

simon-b wrote:An excellent first report, AA. Well done on your first solo trip :thumbup:. You've certainly had a good couple of learning experiences recently, doing these on your own and that scramble up Stuc a' Chroin. If you stick with it you'll find you start enjoying the scrambly bits. I'm sure you know this anyway, but when you climb alone it's good to leave details of your route with someone else.


Thank you so much simon-b! Can't imagine enjoying the scrambly bits at this point, but I'll take your word for it! And yup, parents wouldn't let me get away with not updating them regularly!

MarilynMunro wrote:Congrats :clap: on bagging a couple of lovely hills, not that either of us would know it :lol: , I was up there Thursday and it was an absolute hoolie as well, I was on my hands and knees :shock: heading for An Stuc when I called it a day. Like you, loved walking through the "walled garden".


Hehe MarilynMunro, looks like we'll both have to give them another shot some time! Atmospheric for sure...but I could only imagine that the views would be tremendous on a clear day!

Thanks so much again and I look forward to writing my report for the big ten-o.
Helen x
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Re: Beinn Ghlas and Ben Lawers - my first solo Munros!

Postby Alan S » Sun Sep 09, 2012 10:05 pm

Well done 8) this was my 1st solo trip too, best of luck with your future trips :D
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Re: Beinn Ghlas and Ben Lawers - my first solo Munros!

Postby pollyh33 » Sun Sep 09, 2012 10:18 pm

Yippee well done A-A, not only your first solo munro but a double two :clap:

Nothing wrong with tagging along with other walkers, I've done it loads of times and unless they run ahead and shout abuse at me, I always assume I'm welcome :lol: :lol:
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Re: Beinn Ghlas and Ben Lawers - my first solo Munros!

Postby anxious-ambler » Mon Sep 10, 2012 9:23 pm

pollyh33 wrote:Yippee well done A-A, not only your first solo munro but a double two :clap:

Nothing wrong with tagging along with other walkers, I've done it loads of times and unless they run ahead and shout abuse at me, I always assume I'm welcome :lol: :lol:


Thanks Polly! Much appreciated. I can definitely see me tagging along with others again - does that make me a Munro tagger instead of a Munro bagger? :)

Alan S wrote:Well done 8) this was my 1st solo trip too, best of luck with your future trips :D


Thanks Alan! One day later and I'm itching to get back out there... :)
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Re: Beinn Ghlas and Ben Lawers - my first solo Munros!

Postby Mountainlove » Tue Sep 11, 2012 2:53 pm

Great for doing your first solo Munros...it can be great fun!! And you will meet a lot of lovely other people as well :D
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Re: Beinn Ghlas and Ben Lawers - my first solo Munros!

Postby davedanson28 » Tue Sep 11, 2012 10:16 pm

Great effort, well done! :clap:
There's no stopping you now! :crazy:
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Re: Beinn Ghlas and Ben Lawers - my first solo Munros!

Postby madrock289 » Wed Sep 12, 2012 5:49 pm

Congrats on the great walk report and more so on your first solo day!! It's the way to go in my opinion! Where will number 10 be then?
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Re: Beinn Ghlas and Ben Lawers - my first solo Munros!

Postby dogplodder » Wed Sep 12, 2012 10:46 pm

Good on you getting out on your own and sticking at it when you lost the views! :clap: I'm sure the couple you met were delighted to have you tag along. Generally the folk you meet on the hill are friendly and helpful and before you know it you'll be the one encouraging someone else! :D

If you're wanting a single one from Edinburgh.... Ben Chonzie near Comrie is an easy one - with a good track up so difficult to get lost on! :wink:
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Re: Beinn Ghlas and Ben Lawers - my first solo Munros!

Postby anxious-ambler » Fri Sep 14, 2012 2:17 pm

Mountainlove wrote:Great for doing your first solo Munros...it can be great fun!! And you will meet a lot of lovely other people as well :D


Thanks Mountainlove (love your name!) - the support on the hills that day really gave me such a boost!

davedanson28 wrote:Great effort, well done! :clap:
There's no stopping you now! :crazy:


Thanks Dave! Yay! I've been stopped this weekend...but only by this: http://3-peaks-challenge.com/ :)

madrock289 wrote:Congrats on the great walk report and more so on your first solo day!! It's the way to go in my opinion! Where will number 10 be then?


Thank you so much!! Yeh it was great fun although a little scary at times, so I think I'll wait til I get a few more under my belt before I head out solo again! Number 10.....I'm still not sure...

dogplodder wrote:Good on you getting out on your own and sticking at it when you lost the views! :clap: I'm sure the couple you met were delighted to have you tag along. Generally the folk you meet on the hill are friendly and helpful and before you know it you'll be the one encouraging someone else! :D

If you're wanting a single one from Edinburgh.... Ben Chonzie near Comrie is an easy one - with a good track up so difficult to get lost on! :wink:


Cheers dogplodder! There was a defining moment when I almost turned for home...and something pushed me on despite the fact I was a big scaredy cat up there! I'm so glad now I pushed on, it was so worth it despite the lack of views.

Ben Chonzie is certainly in consideration for number 10...I've heard mixed reviews about it (someone on Ben Vorlich the other week said it was 'dull as dishwater' although I'm sure 'dull' and 'Munro' is a bit of an oxymoron! A straightforward one is just what I need after the past few weeks!

Cheers for all the lovely comments!

Helen x
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Re: Beinn Ghlas and Ben Lawers - my first solo Munros!

Postby chickadee » Sat Sep 15, 2012 12:34 am

Well done! I am still to do a Munro, let alone one alone, but I think about it a lot and I totally understand why you'd be worried, I would be too! I do solo low-level walking but going up high still scares me a little. That's definitely an inspiring report, I need to get out there and finally do one or two myself. :D
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