walkhighlands

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.

Perfect Winter Walking on Ben Chonzie

Perfect Winter Walking on Ben Chonzie


Postby lindseym » Mon Dec 29, 2014 7:32 pm

Route description: Ben Chonzie via Glen Lednock

Munros included on this walk: Ben Chonzie

Date walked: 28/12/2014

Time taken: 4 hours

Distance: 12.5 km

10 people think this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).

I've bagged a bunch of Munros already but I had such a great day yesterday on Ben Chonzie and I really enjoy reading other users' reports so I thought I'd try writing my first report. Having mostly just done fine weather summer Munros so far, the promising forecast for the post-Christmas period seemed like a good time to starting working on my winter skills and the straightforward Ben Chonzie seemed like a good place to start.

Setting off from my parents' house (where I was staying for Christmas) in Ayrshire at 6.30am was a bit of a shock to the system after several days of festive laziness but allowed me a quiet drive to the starting point, via some rather icy country roads, arriving around 8.45am.

I was first to the car park but spent so long faffing around that by the time I set off at 9am, a few other walkers had already arrived and started walking.

The early sun was looking absolutely beautiful, casting a gorgeous red glow across the hills and I was really excited to get my first Munro bagged since September.

rsz_img_4015.jpg
About 5 minutes in to the walk, admiring the early sunlight.


The Walkhighlands route follows a great path which was a little icy in places but there were no real problems. It was a lovely gentle incline for the first few kilometres, helping to warm me up in the sub-zero temperatures. Further up the path, snow started to develop underfoot and by the time I reached the small cairn marking the departure from the main path over onto a river crossing, the snow cover was constant.

rsz_10815814_10152906197831071_1673114261_n.jpg
The sun beginning to peek over Creag Gharbh.


The going up to the main ridge was steepish but barely noticeable as I was enjoying the fantastic visibility and stunning views all round. Ben Chonzie has a bit of a reputation as a boring hill but the beautiful winter conditions and perfect air clarity brought out its hidden charms. Before long the big broad and almost flat ridge was reached.

rsz_img_4019.jpg
Looking back the way I'd come, from the broad flat ridge.


rsz_img_4022.jpg
Gorgeous views North West from around 910m.


A gentle walk North East alongside the fence posts and the summit was reached, marked by an unmissable cairn. I stopped for a quick bite to eat, a few photos and a chat with some fellow walkers, everyone in awe of the perfect day, but I didn't stay for long as, despite the sun and lack of wind, it was extremely chilly!

rsz_img_4025.jpg
Fellow walkers enjoy the fine views from the cairn.


rsz_panorama.jpg
Not a bad view to enjoy while having a quick bite to eat.


rsz_img_4028.jpg
Cold but happy on the summit.


I reversed the route back down which was easy going and took time to enjoy the views and take what seemed like a hundred more photos!

rsz_img_4041.jpg
Clear blue skies making me irrationally happy.


rsz_img_4044.jpg
Hare footprints seen all over the mountain in the fresh powder.


rsz_img_4048.jpg
The way the ice had formed on this fence post created a pretty lethal-looking ice sword...


The walk back down to the small car park, which was overflowing with walkers and snowboarders by the time I got back, was pleasant and, despite the cold temperature, the sun was lovely and warm. Back at the car park by 1pm, this really was a half day Munro and probably would've taken me 3 and a half hours had I not spent so long taking so many photos but this was ideal for my first Munro in months and after days of overindulging!

Overall a gorgeous day on Ben Chonzie, maybe a Munro best saved for a crisp winter's morning.

rsz_img_4061.jpg
Happy descent from Ben Chonzie.
User avatar
lindseym
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 43
Munros:171   Corbetts:10
Grahams:3   Donalds:1
Sub 2000:2   Hewitts:9
Islands:8
Joined: Dec 29, 2014
Location: Glasgow

Re: Perfect Winter Walking on Ben Chonzie

Postby Riverman » Tue Dec 30, 2014 4:53 pm

Awesome photos. Looks like you had a great day. This one is on my list for later in January. Did you see any traces of avalanche activity? Looking on the SAIS blog someone reported an avalanche crossing the ascent path to Chonzie earlier in the month.
User avatar
Riverman
Mountaineer
 
Posts: 283
Munros:60   Corbetts:5
Grahams:1   
Hewitts:87
Wainwrights:4   Islands:4
Joined: Dec 31, 2013
Location: Belgium

Re: Perfect Winter Walking on Ben Chonzie

Postby dickens96 » Tue Dec 30, 2014 5:08 pm

That was my first Munro back at the end of the summer and I thought while doing it that it would make a great Winter walk too. Great pictures - looks so different than in Summer.
User avatar
dickens96
Mountaineer
 
Posts: 51
Munros:2   Corbetts:2
Grahams:4   Donalds:12
Sub 2000:12   
Joined: Aug 28, 2011
Location: Dirleton, East Lothian

Re: Perfect Winter Walking on Ben Chonzie

Postby jepsonscotland » Tue Dec 30, 2014 5:34 pm

Nice one, well done. :clap:
A great hill in that weather. An absolute stunner of a day. Big smiles all round. :D
With those views, it's never boring.

I did it last year in the snow and could only see about an inch of those fence posts! :shock:
Plus I sat on the cairn at the top, as it was only 2 or 3 stones high!! Lol.

Great first report. :wink:
Chris
User avatar
jepsonscotland
Walker
 
Posts: 331
Munros:282   Corbetts:8
Grahams:1   Donalds:2
Sub 2000:1   Hewitts:1
Wainwrights:1   
Joined: Jan 2, 2014
Location: Broughty Ferry

Re: Perfect Winter Walking on Ben Chonzie

Postby The Rodmiester » Tue Dec 30, 2014 6:03 pm

Hi there lindsey, your spot on, Ben Chonzie under those condiotions ticks all the boxes, nice one. Fantastic vows from the top, did you see the Paps of Fife from the summit. Perfect walking conditions :D
User avatar
The Rodmiester
Walker
 
Posts: 3390
Munros:107   Corbetts:196
Grahams:45   Donalds:13
Sub 2000:76   Hewitts:3
Wainwrights:1   Islands:16
Joined: Aug 15, 2012
Location: Carnoustie

Re: Perfect Winter Walking on Ben Chonzie

Postby dogplodder » Tue Dec 30, 2014 6:19 pm

What a perfect day. Would love to see it like that. 8)
User avatar
dogplodder
 
Posts: 3650
Munros:228   Corbetts:57
Grahams:17   
Sub 2000:25   Hewitts:5
Wainwrights:9   Islands:23
Joined: Jul 16, 2011

Re: Perfect Winter Walking on Ben Chonzie

Postby lindseym » Tue Dec 30, 2014 11:04 pm

Riverman wrote:Awesome photos. Looks like you had a great day. This one is on my list for later in January. Did you see any traces of avalanche activity? Looking on the SAIS blog someone reported an avalanche crossing the ascent path to Chonzie earlier in the month.


Thank you! Didn't see anything obvious avalanche wise; the snow cover was consistent from perhaps around 600m upwards but was never particularly deep as I think there had been almost complete thaw in the preceding week.
User avatar
lindseym
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 43
Munros:171   Corbetts:10
Grahams:3   Donalds:1
Sub 2000:2   Hewitts:9
Islands:8
Joined: Dec 29, 2014
Location: Glasgow

Re: Perfect Winter Walking on Ben Chonzie

Postby lindseym » Tue Dec 30, 2014 11:07 pm

dickens96 wrote:That was my first Munro back at the end of the summer and I thought while doing it that it would make a great Winter walk too. Great pictures - looks so different than in Summer.


Thank you! I haven't done this one before but I can imagine that the snow really is transformative. I suppose that means that if you get all 282 done then you can do them all again in the opposite season and it won't get boring :lol:
User avatar
lindseym
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 43
Munros:171   Corbetts:10
Grahams:3   Donalds:1
Sub 2000:2   Hewitts:9
Islands:8
Joined: Dec 29, 2014
Location: Glasgow

Re: Perfect Winter Walking on Ben Chonzie

Postby lindseym » Tue Dec 30, 2014 11:10 pm

jepsonscotland wrote:Nice one, well done. :clap:
A great hill in that weather. An absolute stunner of a day. Big smiles all round. :D
With those views, it's never boring.

I did it last year in the snow and could only see about an inch of those fence posts! :shock:
Plus I sat on the cairn at the top, as it was only 2 or 3 stones high!! Lol.

Great first report. :wink:
Chris


Thank you for your kind words! You're right - an incredible day.

Yep I think I got pretty lucky with the snow cover because it was enough to feel like proper snow but it wasn't too arduous - sounds like your experience was a bit more extreme! Maybe I shouldn't describe the cairn as "unmissable"! :lol:
User avatar
lindseym
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 43
Munros:171   Corbetts:10
Grahams:3   Donalds:1
Sub 2000:2   Hewitts:9
Islands:8
Joined: Dec 29, 2014
Location: Glasgow

Re: Perfect Winter Walking on Ben Chonzie

Postby lindseym » Tue Dec 30, 2014 11:17 pm

The Rodmiester wrote:Hi there lindsey, your spot on, Ben Chonzie under those condiotions ticks all the boxes, nice one. Fantastic vows from the top, did you see the Paps of Fife from the summit. Perfect walking conditions :D


Yep, excellent day all round, the snow line really picks out the hills on the horizon. That said I forgot to look out for the Paps of Fife! :lol: Not the best at picking out mountains from afar yet but pretty sure I could make out the distinctive shape of Ben More and Stob Binnein and some of the more southerly Cairngorms.
User avatar
lindseym
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 43
Munros:171   Corbetts:10
Grahams:3   Donalds:1
Sub 2000:2   Hewitts:9
Islands:8
Joined: Dec 29, 2014
Location: Glasgow

Re: Perfect Winter Walking on Ben Chonzie

Postby lindseym » Tue Dec 30, 2014 11:18 pm

dogplodder wrote:What a perfect day. Would love to see it like that. 8)


I'd thoroughly recommend it, let's hope we get more days like that soon!
User avatar
lindseym
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 43
Munros:171   Corbetts:10
Grahams:3   Donalds:1
Sub 2000:2   Hewitts:9
Islands:8
Joined: Dec 29, 2014
Location: Glasgow

10 people think this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).



Walkhighlands community forum is advert free

We need help to keep the site online.
Can you help support Walkhighlands and the online community by setting up a monthly donation by direct debit?



Return to Walk reports - Scotland

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: grumblejesus and 68 guests