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My Completion...Ladhar Bheinn from Corran
by Mountainlove » Fri Sep 22, 2017 12:55 pm
Route description: Ladhar Bheinn from Inverie, Knoydart
Munros included on this walk: Ladhar Bheinn
Date walked: 17/09/2017
Time taken: 12 hours
Distance: 19.7 km
Ascent: 1374m71 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).
The journey which had taken me deep into Knoydart started at some point 20 years ago, when I stood on my first Munro Beinn Ghlas. I still remember seeing Ben Lawers in the distance and saying that there is no way I could climb a second hill when I was asked My second Munro was Ben Nevis, I can’t say I enjoyed the pain of the 8 hour walk back in the days much. What followed in the next 10+ years were repeats of Goatfell and the Cobbler, but no more Munros.
It all started changing when together with an ex we planned to climb Beinn Dorain and he had to turn around in the first half an hour of setting off. Why don't you go alone? It was the sentence which changed all, as on the day when I climbed Beinn Dorain and its neighbour Beinn an Dothaidh solo, I realized two things.. Walking at my own pace was far better than having to follow someone much fitter and that I actually did not need anyone to climb mountains. My second solo walk followed a pattern which would soon become familiar...I somehow missed the path, got lost and had to find my own way to the top. My third solo hike was Buachaile Etive More in full winter conditions and no clue about anything.
In spring 2011 when I had returned from a trek in Nepal, my Munro obsession began when, still with less than 10 Munros under my belt I walked 15.5 hours solo and covered 8 Munros. The journeys which followed in the next 6 years, have been some of the best times in my life, but let me start with my final one…
As a final Munro Ladhar Bheinn is one of the more trickier ones, but I had wanted a grand finale and so Ladhar Bheinn was the one. Getting the right weather was quite a challenge, as I had not only wanted sunshine, but needed calm seas to manage the journey to Knoydart with my Kayak. The weekend from the 14-17th finally looked promising and having taken the Friday off work, gave me the option to climb my second last Munro. I was all set for Saturday until I checked the forecast and realized that the forecast of sunshine, had changed to rain . Sunday however looked more promising and so I spend Saturday morning visiting the Brochs and spending time in the great Coffee place inside the community center, before I made my way down to Arnisdale just after 2pm. The rain had stopped and I got my kayak and gear ready for the 5km paddle across to 'my' camp side.
Ready to paddle across to Knoydart
Pushing my kayak into the calm seas I paddled for a good half an hour, until I realized that I had taken quite a bit of water in the boat. I was still close to the shore and so I stopped at a lovely wee beach to check what the matter was . I soon realized that I had a large cut at the bottom of my boat. I must have scraped over a sharp shell or something like that when entering the water.
My misfortune in the Fisherfields (when I had hole in my Thermarest and spend 2 days blowing up the dam thing every few hours through the night ) was now my advantage, as I had some gaffa tape wrapped around my water bottle ever since. With the tape I managed to seal the cut and make my journey across Loch Hourn, with a wet bottom, but in perfect sea conditions. 2 hours after setting off, I arrived at my camp side from last year. I pulled my boat out of the water and started to unpack and set up my campsite. It was a perfect afternoon and a tiny breeze kept the midges at bay.
My idea of happiness
With my tent up I got changed out of my wet clothes and since I wanted to keep my walking trousers dry for the next day, I put my jammy bottoms on. Together with my green wellies and down jacket I made a fine sight Deciding to investigate the area, I grabbed a bottle of beer and set off. A year ago the John Muir Trust had planted some trees in a enclosure and I wanted to see how tall they got. The path I remembered was completely overgrown with huge ferns, but I found the entrance. To mark my Munro completion I had brought 2 small trees from my garden with me and in the enclosure I found a decent spade. Borrowing the spade I made my way up the hill side to find a suitable spot. With the trees in the ground I wished them luck and made my way back.
The trees in the ground at the foot of Ladhar Bheinn
Jammy bottoms and a beer...my Saturday evenings have changed dramatically since my 20s
Walking back to my tent the sun was getting low and set the countryside around me in amazing colors. Grabbing my camera I took lots of pictures, made my dinner and enjoyed the remoteness of the area. At 8:30 am I settled into my sleeping bag and fell asleep quite quickly.
My alarm woke me early during the next morning and by 7:10 I was on my way. Climbing over the gate at the deer fence, I walked through thick fern and heather along the tree plantation. It was steep and pathless and I was soon in my T-shirt sweating buckets. I had a look at the map the previous evening and had a rough idea where a path would start. Having spend so many years getting lost, had skilled me and I only tend to use the GPS in claggy conditions nowadays. The countryside around me was simply stunning and Loch Hourn looked magic during the early morning and I was happy when I found the path I had aimed for.
View towards Loch Hourn
The path was somewhere ahead
Ladhar Beinn was spreading out in front of me in its full glory and the sun lid up the tops. It was a wonderful peaceful morning, but all too soon the path stopped.
First view of the tops of Ladhar Bheinn
When the path stopped
Confused I looked around. Yes I had seen on the map that the path would stop, but I had imagined some kind of cairn etc to indicate a direction. In my head I had made my mind up that I wanted to do a horseshoe, but I still had to get up on the ridge. Studying the countryside in front of me, I decided to walk further up the hill and make a decision later on….after all there is always a way up. It was hard going and soon all thoughts of the remarkable day were exchanged with burning thighs and exhaustion. It was simply a hard walk up a hill like many times before. Further along the ground got steeper and steeper and boggier and boggier…Scotland must be the only country were gravity does not concern water . Knackered I reached the top and looked down the hill...yep that had been steep, but on a plus I was now back on a path.
Looking down the way I walked up Coire Dhorrcail
First views ahead
Following the track I climbed higher and higher and the views were simply amazing. I took photos, but my legs did not wanted to stop, they wanted to reach the summit. A cloud still covered the highest part of the mountain and I said out loud...please cloud could you move? 10 min later the cloud had disappeared. I have the power I thought, but was quickly brought back to reality when I did a bad step and felt a hot pain searing through the top of my foot. Hobbling along trying not to think about what could happen if this would not get better, the pain finally eased and I could walk normal again.
The cloud that dissapeared
The summit was now in close reach and I was racing up, only to discover it was a false summit . Looking ahead the real summit was in the middle, but for me the final summit would be the cairn at the end.
The summit ahead
The Cuillins, Loch Hourn, Knoydart and the glorious Atlantic stretched out in front of me and by the time I had passed the real summit and was only 10 meters away from the cairn it hit me. My journey, all the Munros I had climbed, the hard work, the nights camping in the mountains, the rain, the sunshine. It came rushing over me like a massive wave and I felt tears in my eyes and a gulp in my throat. Breathing in, a loud sob escaped my lips and once out, I could not stop myself. I was sobbing and walked, with tears streaming down my face, the last few steps towards my final cairn. Just as well no one else was around" Once I had reached it I hugged it and cried and smiled and laughed all at the same time.
Drying my tears away, I looked around me and could not quite grasp that I had done it. Using a mix of self-timers and time laps shots, I did a photo shooing session to mark the day.
Completion photo once I had wiped my tears away
I have lived longer in Scotland than I have lived in Germany, but the flag still had to be shown
My second part of marking the occasion was to tie a rope of prayer flags around the cairn, which I had come with me from Nepal many years ago. The tradition of prayer flags in high places is to bless the countryside and to promote compassion, strength, wisdom and good will to everyone. With the flags flapping in the wind, I sat down and had lunch.
The colors of the prayer flag represent the elements
I stayed for 45min at the top, but as all things have to come to an end, it was time to leave. Following the path down Stob a Choire Odhair, I continued back to Loch Hourn and my tent, to pack my gear, paddle across and drive home.
Back towards Loch Hourn
My way back down
The summit was the cover photo of my first Munro book from Cameron McNeish
Looking back down the ridge I had walked up
Arnisdale in the distance
My campsite and small tent ahead
The journey over 282 mountains has been more than amazing. A massive thanks to everyone who have joined me on my journey and those who I have met only briefly on hills and campsites. Another big thanks goes to everyone who have read my trip reports and left their comments. It was thanks to you why I was encouraged to continue writing and sharing my journeys and I hope to have encouraged some to take some off beaten tracks, or venture out alone.
My journey is far from complete, as I am pretty sure it will be impossible to stop doing my mad routes up hills. I am looking forward to visit all those Munros, I had planned to revisit, return to the Cuillins, finally camp on an island in the middle of Loch Maree and come up with mad ideas to made a walk into an adventure. In a weeks’ time I will return to Nepal for some more walking and I guess will have to buy some more prayer flags
Thinking about the next trip
by larry groo » Fri Sep 22, 2017 1:22 pm
- Posts: 525
- Joined: Apr 19, 2010
- Location: Angus
by rockhopper » Fri Sep 22, 2017 1:27 pm
by BoyVertiginous » Fri Sep 22, 2017 1:35 pm
Slightly disappointed, if there was ever a fitting occasion for a final outing of the lilo for the traverse of the loch, this was surely it!
by Phil the Hill » Fri Sep 22, 2017 1:44 pm
BTW if you think Scotland is the only country where water ignores gravity, you clearly haven't been hill bagging in Ireland!
by BlackPanther » Fri Sep 22, 2017 2:02 pm
I'm looking forward to Ladhar Bheinn - overnighting planned for next year...
by jmarkb » Fri Sep 22, 2017 2:04 pm
by iangpark » Fri Sep 22, 2017 3:13 pm
by Guinessman » Fri Sep 22, 2017 4:31 pm
by Dave Hewitt » Fri Sep 22, 2017 5:04 pm
Can I just check: did you take the prayer flags down with you? From your report it sounds suspiciously like you didn't, but you don't definitively say either way so I'm hoping that you did. Leaving litter - including prayer flags, which have become a bit of a trend in recent years - at summits is something which a lot of people, me included, have strong views about. Taking such things up the hill - however well-intentioned - and then photographing them on top is one thing (albeit not something I'd personally do), but they should definitely come back down in the rucksack. Leave nothing but footprints and all that. Anyway, here's hoping that's exactly what you did and they did come back down with you.
- Dave Hewitt
- Posts: 432
- Joined: Apr 29, 2010
by Backpacker » Fri Sep 22, 2017 5:15 pm
by Alteknacker » Fri Sep 22, 2017 5:46 pm
Like others, I've very much enjoyed your reports since I joined the site, so I do hope you continue with them. There are enough route permutations and combinations to keep you busy for another 20 years I would think!
Dass Sie aber Deutsche sind habe ich nicht geahnt!!!
by gman » Fri Sep 22, 2017 6:26 pm
by Owen b » Fri Sep 22, 2017 6:31 pm
by spiderwebb » Fri Sep 22, 2017 6:34 pm
I'm not sure I would have paddled over in the knowledge of a hole sealed with tape so kudos for that. I can remember that steep ascent after the path ends, it seems to never end but it does as does your journey. The tears are understandable too, as although not my last it had the same effect . But I know many folk including myself will be pleased this isn't the end, as I always look forward to your reports, and I am also thankful and proud that you thought it worth your time to let me accompany you on one of your munro days
Excellent report and photos, and I hope we can meet again soon. I wish you the very best x