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Boring Ben Chonzie - A Highland Gathering

Boring Ben Chonzie - A Highland Gathering


Postby houdi » Tue May 10, 2011 7:19 pm

Munros included on this walk: Ben Chonzie

Date walked: 01/05/2011

Time taken: 5 hours

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I tried to count the number of times I’d driven past Ben Chonzie on my way from Fife to the Highlands. It had to be close to a hundred. And that’s the thing about Ben Chonzie – it’s one of those hills you keep on driving past because there are much better ones further along the road. Further along any road. However, I was due to drive back to Devon this very evening so I fancied a nicer short leg stretch after six pretty gruelling days in the hills. I would drive past Ben Chonzie no more.

I chose to do it from Loch Turret as I couldn’t see the point of driving from Crief over to Comrie to tackle a much duller ascent route. Pleased I did as the Highland Cattle roaming around on the road and everywhere else on the approach to the car park was the undoubted highlight of the day. I got out of the car and walked about amongst them snapping at will. The missus (a Devon lass) loves ‘Curly Coos’ as she calls them (coincidentally, there’s a bar in Crief called The Curly Coo) and I got enough good photos for a decent 2112 calendar.

Ben Chonzie is boring, there’s no getting away from it. A big uninteresting lump of a hill with barely any redeeming features at all, save for one – it’s nowhere near as boring as Carn a’ Choire Bhoidheach. In saying that, it’s a scenic walk in over the full length of Loch Turret and I really enjoyed this part of it. The gravel path continues on past the loch but gets a bit boggy in places before winding its way up the rocks (following an old fence line if you can find it) to the col between Chonzie and Biorach a’ Mheannain. I took a right turn up onto the latter hill first which is smaller but significantly more interesting. I was quite surprised at just how close the Lawers range is from here. It takes an age to drive there through Comrie, past Loch Earn and up through Glen Ogle and Killin, but it looks only a couple of miles away as the crow flies. Sh*t, I’ve got the camera on zoom!

It was blowing a gale on Chonzie. It’s a never ending plod up and over the huge plateau, following a fence line until you eventually reach the summit shelter and a small cairn. With my lightweight frame I could barely stand against the wind and the shelter was useless as the opening faced the wind direction. I stayed for ten seconds, enough to take a couple of photos, and headed down. I was doing the full horseshoe route over the hills on the opposite side of the loch. It’s a good route with a fine path, providing you don’t try taking a shortcut from Chonzie’s summit. It’s not recommended as there is a lot of boggy peat hag waiting to catch you out. Simply carry on over the top following the fence line until you come to another fence line heading south following the apex of the ridge which is your route down. The path sticks to the fence all the way over Meall na Seide (a pointed hill with a cairn) and then to the summit of Carn Chois. This hill has an excellent rock summit and a trig point and would have made a better Munro than Chonzie had it been a couple of hundred metres higher. At Bein Liath the path drops down to join the Landrover track back to the dam.

I enjoyed both walks in and out, if not Chonzie itself, and an even better route would have been to take to the hills on the right at the start instead of walking along the lochside and going over Auchnafree Hill (a Corbett) and then round to Chonzie, returning by my descent route, making an excellent high level walk. One thing though – Ben Chonzie is a hill and makes no pretensions whatsoever towards being a mountain. It does have a small rock face which is seen from the descent route, but it is a hill nevertheless and walking here was a bit like walking in the Ochils or the Pentlands, although marginally less exciting. Loved the Highland Cattle though. They manage to be hilarious without actually trying. Ugly yet cute ate the same time. Another Munro ticked off. I’ll make a Munro bagger yet.

bc1.JPG
The Gruesome Twosome


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Should have went to Specsavers


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As Arnie would say – you’re one ugly mutha*****


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Boring Ben Chonzie from Loch Turret


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From the path beyond the Loch


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Heading up to Bealach Chonzie (not on OS maps as I made this name up)


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Looking back from the bealach


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The Lawers Range on zoom


bc9.JPG
Loch Turret from Biorach a’ Mheannain


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Ben Chonzie from Biorach a’ Mheannain summit cairn


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Ben Chonzie summit shelter


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Lawers Range from Chonzie summit


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Ben Chonzie’s only rock face – at least it’s got one!


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Descent path follows the fence line


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Looking back to Ben Chonzie


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Carn Chois trig point


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Loch Turret from Ben Liath


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Loch Turret & Ben Chonzie from on top of the dam


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Brings a whole new meaning to the term ‘dogging’!
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Re: Boring Ben Chonzie - A Highland Gathering

Postby pollyh33 » Tue May 10, 2011 8:20 pm

Thanks for posting such a smashing informative report. I'm climbing this one on Sunday, so your report is extremely timely! Cheers!

Loved the photos, especially the 'curly coos'. I'll give them your best! :lol:
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Re: Boring Ben Chonzie - A Highland Gathering

Postby ChrisW » Tue May 10, 2011 8:26 pm

Great stuff houdi, some cracking pics too, looking at them I don't think I share your dislike of this hill, in fact I quite like the look of it :shock: have you made it look better than it actually is :think: :lol:
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Re: Boring Ben Chonzie - A Highland Gathering

Postby Klaasloopt » Tue May 10, 2011 8:44 pm

Houdi!

(to no-one in particular)

There's a very very simple remedy to boring hills. :idea: :idea: :idea:
1) The best. Quit the waiting for good weather, and climb it when wild clouds are out, and the light is low, scattered or reflected (it'll give you more interesting/aesthetic pictures too)
2) Climb it in winter, even some spring snow will do a lot to make the walk more interesting and demanding
3) Climb it at night (moonlight) or very early in the morning (wildlife)
4) Ditch the car and make a trek. Sleeping on a hill will cure any boredom.
5) On horseback, ski's, bike, backwards, naked, drunk, with a lot of friends ... etc
6) Leave the boring hill where it is, and drive past forever.

Try it out and have fun.
If you go for option 5, do post some pics. :lol:

Or maybe you don't mind boring hills.
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Re: Boring Ben Chonzie - A Highland Gathering

Postby houdi » Tue May 10, 2011 10:17 pm

Thanks Polly. Hope you have a good day with fine weather. Yeah, and do give my regards to the coos. They're funny old things.

Chris, I think even your potographic skills would stuggle to make Chonzie look interetsing.

Klaasloopt. The walk itself is anything but boring and dull. It's only Chonzie itself which is pretty featureless. I think most people who've been up there would agree. Can't fault the rest of the walk though. I really enjoyed it and would actually do it again although I would inlcude Auchnafree Hill next time.
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Re: Boring Ben Chonzie - A Highland Gathering

Postby Left Behind » Wed May 11, 2011 7:40 am

I honestly don't think there's such a thing as a boring hill, I think it was your report I saw a few weeks ago calling the southern cairngorm hills boring also. For me a hillwalk is more than seeing rock faces but each to their own.
Love the view over Loch Turret though. :)
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Re: Boring Ben Chonzie - A Highland Gathering

Postby Frogwell » Wed May 11, 2011 1:34 pm

I live at the bottom of Ben Chonzie and I've got to admit it's a bloody dull lump. I've been up a couple of times in the past 13 years, whereas I grew up at the foot of Ben Lawers and ambled up it at least 20 times.
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Re: Boring Ben Chonzie - A Highland Gathering

Postby kinley » Wed May 11, 2011 5:42 pm

Boring hill?

Spose it depends on what you mean by "hill"

A hill to me is the amalgam of the views/geology/flora/fauna/weather/company.

Chonzie is a phenomenal hill in terms of wildlife and the views can be good too.

One we'll go back to ourselves :) - still searching for one of these "boring hills" :lol:
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Re: Boring Ben Chonzie - A Highland Gathering

Postby Holly » Wed May 11, 2011 7:01 pm

I liked Ben Chonzie. I cant honestly say Ive done a hill that I havent liked bar the mess you find I guess on Ben Lomond but not when you look up and over.
Ive hopefully uploaded a pic I took when I was on Chonzie a week or so ago and I had a lovely day. It wasnt difficult, it wasnt long and I bet newbies would be motivated Im sure!
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Re: Boring Ben Chonzie - A Highland Gathering

Postby Del246 » Wed May 11, 2011 7:08 pm

Good stuff. I enjoyed your report.
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Re: Boring Ben Chonzie - A Highland Gathering

Postby rockhopper » Wed May 11, 2011 8:22 pm

Hmmm.....don't know how you can find a hill with such views and wildlife boring ? :? Have to say that from a few of the hills I've been up recently, I had no view whatsoever and still enjoyed them even in bad weather. :D

Haven't found a boring hill yet as I take into account all the planning, the views (when I get them), the whole journey, the overall experience, the achievement and the fact that I set out to enjoy it from the start. :thumbup: :lol:
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Re: Boring Ben Chonzie - A Highland Gathering

Postby houdi » Wed May 11, 2011 10:08 pm

I think this whole boring issue is kind of getting out of hand folks. Boring Ben Chonzie is not a term I came up - many others used it before me including those 'enthusiasts' who do hillwalking guides. I never once said that I didn't enjoy the walk. I enjoyed it immensely, but did not think Chonzie itself was the highlight of the walk (purely a personal opinion). If I had done this walk from Glen Lednock I would probably have been disappointed. It was the other surrounding hills which made it enjoyable. As for the views, yes they were very good but they are just as good if not better from the other hills on this walk. As for wildlife - the best wildlife I saw was on the road up to the dam. Didn't see anything outstanding in the hills themselves, so I cannot comment on that aspect. I still live in hope of seeng an eagle someday!

Yes, I prefer scrambling to pure hillwalking, but don't mind a stroll out over the hills providing they have some genuine character about them. Sorry, but I really am a fair weather walker. I have never fully enjoyed any hill in the clag as I don't prescribe to the view of doing it merely to tick the hill off some list which I don't follow anyway. I always redo those hills on a better day if and when I can. I have done Stob Ghabar three times, twice in the clag and once on a glorious sunny day. I know which one I preferrred. And that's because a good deal of my enjoyment comes from taking pictures as a record of my day out. I did the Nantle Ridge in Snowdonia in total clag and I could have been absolutely anywhere. I have no decent pics from that day and will definitely redo it sometime.

Finally, I can't comment about the Southern Cairngorms as I haven't a clue what that refers to unless you mean those hills around Carn Bhac and An Sgarsoch? I've never actually been there. If you mean the Glen Shee hills then I've always known them as the Grampians. When I lived in Perth they were referred to as the Grampians. If that's another term for the Southern Cairngorms then I apologise.
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Re: Boring Ben Chonzie - A Highland Gathering

Postby kinley » Thu May 12, 2011 6:27 pm

houdi wrote:I have never fully enjoyed any hill in the clag as I don't prescribe to the view of doing it merely to tick the hill off some list which I don't follow anyway


:lol: you do have to watch out if your prejudices are showing on sites like these. :lol:

I genuinely can't remember a day I didn't enjoy being out - and that includes lots of bad weather days. There are usually weather gaps or changes, the plants and animals are always there - even if it's the little ones that you may pass by.

Attributing walking in less the perfect conditions as list-ticking obsessionalism is likely to get similar feedback to going on about boring hills.

Quite understand that some folk select narrower criteria for enjoyable hills and conditions, but no justification is required (and may be counter-productive). :)
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Re: Boring Ben Chonzie - A Highland Gathering

Postby Paul Webster » Thu May 12, 2011 7:17 pm

Good report. :D

And you are perfectly entitled to find a hill boring in my book.... I suspect you are really talking about different things, as I read it you mean you find the topography / shape of the hill boring, whereas others are counting wildlife etc. as being part of the hill. It's a bit of an esoteric debate! :lol:
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Re: Boring Ben Chonzie - A Highland Gathering

Postby kinley » Thu May 12, 2011 7:30 pm

Paul Webster wrote:And you are perfectly entitled to find a hill boring in my book....


Remind me not to buy your book Paul. :lol:

When is it published? ;)
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