walkhighlands

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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.

Ben Venue, deserted

Ben Venue, deserted


Postby allansmitchell » Wed Jan 27, 2010 2:25 am

Route description: Ben Venue from Ledard Farm

Grahams included on this walk: Ben Venue

Date walked: 23/01/2010

Time taken: 6 hours

Distance: 10 km

Ascent: 700m

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We were looking for an easy winter walk so we chose Ben Venue, the route looked easy, ascent only 820m. Perfect, we set off to arrive before 10am; got the last parking space at the Lay bay/start point, found out later all the other cars were the fishermen on the shore.
We got kitted up, just above freezing, clear sky and no wind, off we set (a quick dash back to the car as Susan forgot her poles). The goings is easy, down the farm road and across the Ledard burn by bridge, and then follow the path all the way up until you leave the forest and cross the burn again. The bog factor hadn’t read the walking highlands key, from 100m ascent it got slowly worse, until you were walking in ankle deep mud, which was not a problem as there are plenty of streams to keep cleaning your boots.
CIMG1335.jpg
Boggy path

After crossing the stream on a makeshift gang plank affair, we had a coffee stop at the style, we had been making good time, so enjoyed the views, wild goats, over a hundred deer grazing nearby. Spent too long, hind sight is great.
CIMG1364.jpg
Metal poles to cross the burn

Once over the style, we followed the well defined path, which now was a stream, at least out of the bog factor. Around 350m patches of snow appeared, another 50m ascent it was then all snow, solid or turned to ice. We followed the path for another 500m until it wasn’t visible.
CIMG1371.jpg
The snow started to appear
CIMG1376.jpg
Beinn Bhreac

Let the fun begin, the snow had drifted, with a solid crust for a few steps then the game of how many steps until I sink. Tried to climb higher to see if it was more stable but it was just the same. So headed for the fence and style at the base of Beinn Bhreac.
From there we could make out the outline of the path, by now we had realised no one was in front of us, and probably had not been this way for days. The path route descends slightly, didn’t make it any easier, legs and knees were starting to feel the effort. We came off the path and headed straight up to the Bealach, kicking in steps all the way up. Getting our first view of what we still had to climb, quick few pictures and off we headed to the cairn.
CIMG1418.jpg
Going up the Bealach
CIMG1420.jpg
Top of ridge
CIMG1421.jpg
Me on ridge

On reaching the cairn we were faced with a very steep and icy ascent, ice axes out and off we went, still able to kick steps didn’t bother with crampons, and this was to be an easy walk. It took so long to reach halfway up we rested on a crag and checked our time, we were now at our safe turn round time, we could see snow clouds in the distance, 1km walk another 80m ascent, so close but we decided to descend to the cairn and call it a day. I had been kicking steps for 2km, and was now concerned about being able to stand if we continued.
CIMG1452.jpg
climbing

So quick descent, had lunch, and then took Susan on Self arrest practice, for someone who says she’s scared she had the biggest smiles on her face when she was able to stop quicker and quicker.
CIMG1453.jpg
self arrest
CIMG1460.jpg
lunch

We packed up and decided to follow the path back rather than descend the gully we climbed up. 20m later and a cry from Susan, she had broken through the snow and was sinking in a bog! She crawled out and we quickly changed her into dry clothes. Me trying not to laugh as the smell was horrendous. After jumping around (hope now one saw us) she soon warmed up and off we headed.
Another wrong move, the path was worse than anything, we climbed down and after 400m the drifts were so steep I had to start cutting steps to continue, for 80m I cut at the ice and snow until we were able to just kick steps again. It was now getting darker with the clouds and we had an hour to get off before dark, back on our trail we made good time with only a few falls.
A very long day and more effort than climbing Ben Ime weeks before, but by now we were back to our happy self’s with the end in sight. My knee still hasn’t recovered so this week we are not going above 300m, as usual great time had by all.
Attachments
CIMG1394.jpg
Ben Venue
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allansmitchell
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Re: Ben Venue, deserted

Postby David.Ferguson » Wed Jan 27, 2010 2:55 pm

Amazing the difference that snow and ice makes to many hills.So much harder than you expect.
Nice pics and report,hope you got the smell out of Susans bog drenched clothes. :)

Cheers

David.
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Re: Ben Venue, deserted

Postby Shona » Wed Jan 27, 2010 6:19 pm

Great report, Thanks!

Tell Susan I feel her pain I did the exact same thing on Beinn Ime on Sunday and now have bog-juice crusted on the insides of my brand new boots!! :(
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Re: Ben Venue, deserted

Postby allansmitchell » Thu Jan 28, 2010 1:22 am

Shona wrote:Tell Susan I feel her pain I did the exact same thing on Beinn Ime on Sunday and now have bog-juice crusted on the insides of my brand new boots!! :(


Her boots werent so bad, just gave them a wipe round the top, must have been some vacum stopping the ingress of water

David.Ferguson wrote:Amazing the difference that snow and ice makes to many hills.So much harder than you expect.
Nice pics and report,hope you got the smell out of Susans bog drenched clothes. :)


Yeah had enough of snow now, dont mind sinking for a bit but after a few km it gets on your nerves. Gave all the clothes a good scrub now so should be ok thanks
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allansmitchell
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Re: Ben Venue, deserted

Postby bootsandpaddles » Thu Jan 28, 2010 10:36 am

Rather than kicking steps for miles perhaps it would have been easier to put crampons on? :?
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Re: Ben Venue, deserted

Postby allansmitchell » Thu Jan 28, 2010 2:00 pm

Only had to kick into the snow realy on ascents, the rest of the time I was kickiing into the snow not for the security of grip as the boots were gripping the hard crusted snow easily, but more to break the surface were it wasnt strong enough to take my bulk, trying to avoid the jarring sudden slumps. We had the crampons with us and the part where we had to cut steps with the ice ave was at a 70 to 80 degree angle so even with crampons going along the side of this slope I would have cut steps for the ease of mind.
What would have been easier was doing it in the summer 8)
But it was worth it, a great workout, and perfect views
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allansmitchell
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Location: Cardross

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