Ben Ledi

Route: Ben Ledi

Corbetts: Ben Ledi

Date walked: 20/03/2015

Time taken: 5 hours

Distance: 14km

After my first hike of the year, up Ben Donich, the previous Friday, I took an afternoon off work and was keen to get back to the hills again on what was a sunny but cool and blustery day. With quite a lot of snow still on the peaks I decided another Corbett would be safer bet than a Munro, not having much winter mountaineering experience or crampons.

I parked up at the Forestry Commission car park at 2pm and set off with my four legged companion, Marley. The initial ascent up a gravel trail was steep and unforgiving and even Marley was pacing himself a wee bit more than the previous week. Before I had cleared the tree line I had broken into a light sweat and it was off with the fleece, soon to be replaced by my shell jacket as we moved out onto the more exposed open hill.

Ben Ledi 8.jpg
Dog in bog!

As the incline levelled out a bit I met my first fellow walker of the day and he advised me that there were some sheep just ahead, so it was on with Marley's lead as we made our way past four rams. About 20 minutes later I met a sprightly, elderly couple, the only others I would meet on the hill and gleaned from them that there were no more sheep higher up. Marley was pleased to be back off the lead and raced towards the summit and I was pleased to get the use of my arm back! Before the final ascent I stopped for a bite to eat and soak up some sun in the lea of the hill and enjoyed some fantastic views across the Carse of Stirling towards the Ochils and the Pentlands.

Ben Ledi 1.jpg
Marley races towards the summit.

The gloves and hat went on as we climbed above the snow line and the temperature dropped as I drove forward into the strong westerly wind. A rainbow to my right brightened the sky which had clouded over a bit. As we reached the iron cross, a memorial to a member of the Killin Mountain Rescue Team, killed in a helicopter crash on Ben More, I paused for a moment of reflection and took some photos. A short distance further on and we reached the summit cairn and trig point where I took a few more photos. We didn't hand about too long as the wind chill was quite severe and my fingers were going numb with the cold.

Ben Ledi 2.jpg
The memorial cross to a member of the Killin Mountain Rescue Team.

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Marley and me at the summit.

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Looking back at Ben Ledi from the bottom of Mullach Buidhe

I considered returning via the same route but decided to press on into the wind and down the Stank via the ridge of Mullach Buidhe. Keeping to the south side of the ridge to keep off the snow, we descended quickly. Probably too quickly as it happens, as I completely missed the turn off for the path down the Stank! I only realised my mistake when we were well past the lochan, about half way to Benvane and made my second mistake by continuing west in the hope of finding an alternative route down. With the village of Strathyre now in view, I realised I was way too far west and with no obvious path in sight, any way down blocked by snow cornices and thick forest, and with darkness beckoning, I made the decision to retrace our steps.

Ben Ledi 6.jpg
Looking towards Ben Lomond with Glen Finglas Reservoir down below.

After a 45 minute yomp and with light fading we approached the Ben again and the path down the stank came into view, its meandering trail cutting a dark line through the snow. It was as obvious from the west as it had been invisible from the east and a very welcome sight after my hour and a half detour. To reach the Stank path we took a short cut across a ravine and where we both got a bit of a fright as Marley fell through a snow hole into a burn. A heart stopping moment for me as I had to lie on my stomach across the snow and use my full reach to grab his collar and pull him out. Although Marley seemed fairly unphased by the experience, it was a salutary lesson for me and he went straight back on the lead for the rest of the descent.

As darkness was now upon us it gave me the opportunity the try out my new head torch which came into its own guiding us through the forest on the lower slopes. At about 7.30 pm we reached the chalet park at the side of Loch Lubnaig and that was us on the home straight with a 20 minute tarmac walk back to the car park. A slightly more eventful and longer afternoon than I had planned but enjoyable none the less!

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Comments: 3


Location: Glasgow
Occupation: Tour Guide
Activity: Mountain Walker
Pub: Am Praban Bar, Skye
Mountain: Ben Lui
Place: The Highlands
Gear: waterproofs!
Member: SMC
Ideal day out: Anything that gets me into the hills

Munros: 25
Corbetts: 8
Grahams: 3
Donalds: 1
Sub 2000: 4
Islands: 45

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Trips: 1
Distance: 14 km
Corbetts: 1

Joined: Jul 28, 2011
Last visited: Sep 20, 2020
Total posts: 2 | Search posts