A winter expedition on Ben More

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Attachment(s) Munros: Ben More, Stob Binnein
Date walked: 26/11/2017
Distance: 10km
Ascent: 1050m
Views: 691

Ben lui - find the car park and your half way there

Route: Ben Lui and Beinn a'Chleibh

Munros: Beinn a' Chleibh, Ben Lui

Date walked: 22/06/2017

Time taken: 6 hours

Distance: 10km

Ascent: 1078m

Dad and I decided to do Ben Lui. it was a very last minute decision.
I floated the idea to dad the day before but he was feeling a bit lazy so made up some cobblers about the weather forecast being terrible. At 11pm he had a change of heart......so we were on! :clap: We didn't know much about it but chose simply as it was one of the shorter walks and Dad was already driving from Aberdeen.

We met up at the Green Welly for a strong coffee before heading off in the same car - thought this would be easier than trying to find each other at a random car park. This was an extremely fortunate and wise move, as in the end we went up and down the same stretch of the A85 three times trying to find the car park.
We almost settled for a large lay-by that had a few cars in it, and what Dad thought was Ben Lui behind..... as a result were almost off up the completely wrong hill. :shock: On the final drive along the road I had to use the bends of the river on the map to work out where on earth we were. We just hadn't gone far enough the first times, the car park is actually a big picnic area.

Started to wonder how this walk was going to go when we had already spent half an hour just finding the carpark!
Needless to say Dad wont live that one down easily and I am now dubious about which hills he has actually been climbing on his solo trips out! :lol:

Alistair who was staying at home on this occasion, read a few reports and gave me a quick briefing before I left about the river crossing, the railway line and the blue string! I took a picture of the walkhighlands map too (which was invaluable) as getting through the forest seemed a little complex to say the least and this part of the route is not on the ordanance maps.


Still on speaking terms.......... just, we set off for the next challenge of the river. We had no idea how deep it would be. I had warned dad to bring a spare pair of shoes and a plastic bag, but he turned up in his wellys, which was actually a very sensible idea. In the end it was only half way up the lower leg however so nothing extreme. Crossing it was good fun.

River lochy

Next came the railway line. Luckily i'd read that it was illegal to cross it, backed up by a big sign confirming a £2000 fine. Dad thought this was a load of rubbish and was half way up the bank and ready to jump the line by the time I found the underpass, he reluctantly retreated to join me. Cheeky smile says it all, it is naturally very annoying when your daughter is telling you what to do!


After the railway we left our wellies and spare shoes in a plastic bag tucked behind a tree stump and pulled on nice dry boots! The area after the underpass has been felled but an obvious track lead straight on towards the forests ahead with the burn on the right.
We followed this track until we came to where the 'blue string' has been strung up over the burn, a nice sight to see as knew we were on the right track. After this we went through the wooden swing gate, it had to be negotiated by not putting our feet on the ground as there was a very deep pond of mud below! Good fun too.


Through the gate we consulted the photographed map and took the right path which lead up and round to the gravel forestry track. Just over a small bridge the path turned off right and upwards into the forrest - it is marked by a cairn.
We were glad to have got through this first bit without too much hassle. We would probably have been totally lost without a bit of prep before hand but once on this track the way forward was obvious.

The track looks good here, but got progressively more muddy and death trappy as we went higher. Dad has developed an intense dislike of mud in his old age which is surprising as he is a sheep crofter and doesn't mind spending days in the mud trimming sheep hooves by hand. I actually thought it was good fun, I liked the challenge of walking on roots above cauldrons of mud whist hanging on to branches above! It was a bit like an obstacle course.
No midges was a bonus too despite we both felt with all the lying water, muggy air and no wind they would have been in party mode.

IMG_0480 (Edited).JPG

There were some nice wild flowers in this part - loads of these Louse Worts. They are not very flower shaped flowers and look a bit like a magnified parasites I think, so its quite an easy name to remember.

IMG_0484 (Edited).JPG

After a bit of bog-factor 100 we were through the wood, ahead was a nice plain-sailing slope up to Ben Lui. There was a faint path to follow initially.

IMG_0488 (Edited).JPG

Here is a Compass plant or Moss Campion, I only know about this as I was reading the 'Living Mountain' by Nan Shepherd and she mentions this plant. The name caught my interest so I looked it up and its called that as the flowers bloom on the south side first. Not sure how helpful this would be in a white out but a good fact none the less!

Compass plant

We did the classic route round and in this picture you can see our descent path from the bealach, which we took after having come back down from Beinn a'Chleibh.


Pressing on up the slope, we didn't find it bad going. We cut up onto the ridge just after the first little hillock from the left in the picture below.


From here the path was easy to follow, just before the first north west summit there was a bit of a scramble up which was ok but I found a bit scary. We had to throw our poles in front and then climb up, it was just a little exposed. Apart from this the walk was fine even for a scary cat like me. I should have photographed it but always forget when having a wobble.


The ridge is very spectacular, lots of great views and some impressive drops to gulp at too.

IMG_0510 (Edited).JPG

Over the other side of the summit here you can see the path winding its way down to the belach and then upwards to Beinn a 'Chleibh. After the hard work of getting up high this was a really nice path to follow.

IMG_0513 (Edited).JPG

About 5 minutes after this was taken we encountered a patch of midges just under the summit. We walked through them for about 5 minutes and then they were gone again. Very odd.

We were overtaken by two walkers who looked quizzically at our dry feet and then enquired as to which way we had come up from the car park. Turns out they had noticed a foot bridge over the river Lochy on the map and taken a 2km detour to get to it........ only to find it closed. They had then crossed the river and had to fight their way through the forest which sounded like a complete nightmare. Be warned don't look for the foot bridge - just take wellies :shock:

IMG_0516 (Edited).JPG

On the second summit of the day with ever improving weather and views!


There is a really pretty little lochan up on the summit.


On our way back down to the bealach we passed a family with a young boy who were all doing their first munro, they choose a good one! Hopefully the first of many.

IMG_0523 (Edited).JPG

Getting down was easy enough we just took the diagonal path from the bealach. On the walk highlands walk description it says that this path is very steep. We did not really find it steep at all and I am a bit of a chicken in the hills.
Walk was finished off with another green welly stop, think we earned it! :D


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Comments: 8

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Attachment(s) Munros: Slioch
Date walked: 19/06/2017
Distance: 19km
Comments: 5
Views: 2681

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This post is not published on the Walkhighlands forum
Attachment(s) Munros: Ben Chonzie
Date walked: 02/04/2017
Views: 356

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Attachment(s) Munros: Beinn Tulaichean, Cruach Ardrain
Date walked: 17/12/2016
Distance: 11.7km
Ascent: 1050m
Comments: 4
Views: 2628

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Attachment(s) Munros: Beinn Ime, Beinn Narnain
Date walked: 15/08/2015
Distance: 8.5km
Ascent: 1325m
Views: 619

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Distance: 13.5km
Ascent: 1145m
Comments: 9
Views: 3721

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Distance: 13km
Comments: 7
Views: 3543

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Attachment(s) Corbetts: Ben Loyal
Date walked: 13/07/2015
Comments: 9
Views: 4641

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Date walked: 20/06/2015
Distance: 12km
Ascent: 725m
Comments: 4
Views: 2740


Activity: Wanderer
Mountain: Lochnagar
Place: Assynt and Wester Ross
Ideal day out: Out in the wild, whatever the weather, some nature, nice views and nothing too scary.

Munros: 68
Corbetts: 9
Grahams: 6
Donalds: 2
Wainwrights: 10
Hewitts: 7
Sub 2000: 8

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Ascent: 1050m
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Trips: 11
Distance: 117.5 km
Ascent: 7481m
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Joined: May 31, 2015
Last visited: Dec 30, 2020
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