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Ben Lawers ridge - five Munros from NTS car park

Ben Lawers ridge - five Munros from NTS car park


Postby joenorris » Wed Apr 20, 2011 4:59 pm

Route description: Ben Lawers and Beinn Ghlas

Munros included on this walk: An Stuc, Beinn Ghlas, Ben Lawers, Meall Garbh (Ben Lawers), Meall Greigh

Date walked: 19/04/2011

Time taken: 6.5 hours

Distance: 21.5 km

Ascent: 1700m

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Having only these five Munros left to complete in the Tay-Rannoch area and fancying something of a challenge for my first solo walk, I went ahead with the plan of doing all five Munros (Beinn Ghlas, Ben Lawers, An Stuc, Meall Garbh and Meall Greigh) in the one go. I have to admit I was hesitant in going for the entire ridge, because of the reportedly difficult descent of the NE face of An Stuc and because of the length of the walk. The length was, in fact much shorter than my originally planned route, as I will explain later, much to the relief of my feet and general morale.

The obvious path (or perhaps 'road' would be a more appropriate term) from the NTS visitor carpark prevents any navigation problems over Beinn Ghlas (1h15m) and Ben Lawers (1h45m) until, at least, the summit of An Stuc (2h30m), and it is obviously easy walking.

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Ben Lawers from Beinn Ghlas

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Looking SE from Beinn Ghlas

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Meall Garbh and Meall Greigh from Ben Lawers

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Looking SE from Ben Lawers

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Beinn Ghlas and Meall Corranaich from Ben Lawers

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Ben Lawers from Creag an Fhithich

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Meall Corranaich from Creag an Fhithich

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Lochan nan Cat and a concealed Meall Greigh from Creag an Fhithich

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Meall Garbh from An Stuc

The first difficulty comes on the descent of the NE face of An Stuc. Although there is a relatively clear path negotiating its way through the rocks, there is a very steep gradient at points and the path, at times, is not particularly stable (occassionally it consists of gravel underfoot). The face is manageable with care, but only in good conditions.

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Looking back at An Stuc NE face with Ben Lawers in background

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An Stuc NW ridge

From the col, the path leads easily up to the summit of Meall Garbh (3h15m).

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Flowers on Meall Garbh

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Lochan nan Cat from Meall Garbh

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An Stuc and Ben Lawers from Meall Garbh

Following this, the path then leads fairly clearly down the ridge towards Meall Greigh. There is a small bog to negotiate at the low point of the ridge, but nothing difficult. The path is less clear on the ascent of Meall Greigh (3h50m).

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Ben Lawers, An Stuc and Meall Garbh from Meall Greigh

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Ben Lawers, An Stuc and Meall Garbh from Meall Greigh

From here, my plan was to descend the S ridge of Meall Greigh and then walk along the A827 alongside Loch Tay and up the road back to the car park. However, with good visibility, I saw a track (not marked on my old OS map) leading South West from a small dam below Lochan nan Cat around the side of Ben Lawers at approx. 550-600m altitude. The descent to the dam was fairly easy, over grassy and, at times, boggy terrain, but took only 15 minutes.

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SW towards Ben More + Stob Binnein

From the dam, the track leads a long way around the side of the Lawers Massif, maintaining and even gaining altitude. Eventually it veers sharply off to the left, towards the A827, but a smaller track continues straight ahead for a short distance. From the end of this smaller track, there is no path and there is a steep descent into, and ascent out of, a gorge containing another small dam.

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Looking up Allt an Tuim Bhric towards Ben Lawers

A moderately steep grassy bank leads up to a flatter area at approx. 625m altitude. From here, the contour leads back to the Beinn Ghlas S ridge. Grassy slopes lead back down to the Nature Reserve and the car park.

Overall, a great walk with some fantastic views (SW to Ben More and Stob Binnien, W to Meall nan Tarmachan, as well as a N to the Glen Lyon hills and Schiehallion). An easy route, in good conditions, and a decent length of walk. Great for anyone looking to bag a fair few Munros within reach of the Central Belt.
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Last edited by joenorris on Tue Aug 09, 2011 8:34 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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joenorris
 
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Re: Ben Lawers ridge - five Munros from NTS car park

Postby monty » Wed Apr 20, 2011 8:12 pm

Thats a good walk Jo,
Certainly a fair distance to walk the return. I used a bike and car :D Well done.
monty
 

Re: Ben Lawers ridge - five Munros from NTS car park

Postby Klaasloopt » Wed Apr 20, 2011 8:28 pm

joenorris wrote:However, with good visibility, I saw a track (not marked on my old OS map) leading South West from a small dam below Lochan nan Cat ...From here, the contour leads back to the Beinn Ghlas S ridge. Grassy slopes lead back down to the Nature Reserve and the car park.


Very useful, tips like these. You might know, I prefer the northern approach :D
From the header I suspect you have ticked the wrong Munro: Meall Garbh (Cairn Mairg) is situated north of Glen Lyon.

By the way: solo walking is a good idea. Intense!
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Re: Ben Lawers ridge - five Munros from NTS car park

Postby joenorris » Wed Apr 20, 2011 10:05 pm

You're absolutely right, if I'd included the Glen Lyon Meall Garbh it certainly would have been a decent sized walk! Thanks.
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Re: Ben Lawers ridge - five Munros from NTS car park

Postby baggervance » Thu Apr 21, 2011 12:18 pm

Nice report Joe.

Me and David F done these 5 in a row about 3 weeks ago (still not posted my report and pics) An Stuc descent was fun, sometimes on all fours and the all important 5th point of contact ~ ma erse :lol:

We parked a car at the Hotel and started from the NTS car park which reduced the need for the long walk back

cheers
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Re: Ben Lawers ridge - five Munros from NTS car park

Postby blueyed » Fri Apr 22, 2011 8:18 am

well done! i was actually thinking of the same route.. still waiting for days to be longer as i assume it would take me ages to walk that.
:?
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