Tag: munro (page 1 of 2)

Beinn Bhuidhe

The final, for me anyway, Arrochar Alp was Beinn Bhuidhe and yesterday seemed to be a fine day to tackle this munro. It was rated more difficult and required a four mile walk before beginning the climb but for me this was probably my hardest walk.

We started early from the head of Loch Fyne on our 4 mile walk. First mistake of the day was heading through the quarry. Think of the Doctor Who episodes from the 70’s and 80’s which were all set in quarries and you’ll get the idea – not exactly picturesque. We cracked on and it was pertty warm/muggy even though it was only 09:00. After 4 or so miles we were starting to wonder where the path was for Beinn Bhuidhe. We kept walking until we got to a sheep dip on the map, thinking that maybe this was the route up? After 10 mins of discussion we cracked on until we had walked 5 miles – we were then convinced we had missed the path but never mind – lets crack on up the hill and we’ll find it soon enough.

Beinn Bhuidhe Route Guidance

In case you’ve stumbled on this website looking for advice look at the map above. The path is halfway between the abandoned house and the stream, directly on your left after you pass through the safety gate. In winter/spring it might be obvious but at this time of year almost impossible to spot. We bumped into a couple of groups later on who had made the same mistake which made us feel a whole load better…one day we will learn.

Anyway, back to cracking on up the hill. We skirted around a small woodland and walked up some steep undergrowth – thick grass and bracken. It was warm and unpleasant and the midges were out in full force. Nice. This was much the same for a lot of the walk. We also got split up and were walking as individuals for much of the first 2/3rds of the walk. Around 600m I had to stop. Was feeling very ropey, sweating buckets and convinced I was going to be sick. Was also thinking Danny had dropped back quite a bit so I may as well wait. 5 minutes later and I was sick. First time on a hill walk that I’ve been that unwell. A few mins later and despite being that far up I was convinced that I should turn back. A couple of mins later I spotted Danny ahead of me – he had taken a slightly different route and was now looking for his lost sunglasses. A quick shout and he buddied up with me for the rest of the walk and I carried on. Big thanks to him – he will now be known as sherpa Dan.

View from Beinn Bhuidhe

The walk up was great after 800m. Some ridge walking and we also found a path! Finally! The views from the top were stunning. Photo’s really don’t do it justice – it was some of the best views from a munro yet. After a quick lunch (half lunch for me as I still felt ropey) we cracked on down following the path this time.

Squirrel

The path from around 500m follows the stream all the way down to the starting point and was steep and pretty awkward in places requiring a wee bit of scrambling and searching for hand holds. In some ways it felt no easier than the route we eventually took although with hindsight it was more straightforward. I’m sure taking the path is also more scenic as there are a few waterfalls to see on the route up. We couldn’t believe how obscure the path was when we reached the start point – no wonder we missed it!

Beinn Bhuidhe Runkeeper

We walked back to the car, this time avoiding the quarry which was a far better option. We also indulged on some ice cream at the car park. I’m sure Bounty ice cream isn’t recommended for an upset stomach but it helped me! As usual, full photo set is on Flickr but not as many as usual – didn’t feel up to it really which is a shame as some of the ridge views were great.

So a tough walk especially on a warm muggy day but the views are stunning. For me, that was the last Arrochar Alp and was actually the most rewarding after The Cobbler despite the heat, sickness, my burnt neck and arms or the extra midge bites I picked up. Well worth doing but start early and if you’ve got the option, take a bike and cycle the first three miles. Your legs will thank you later.

Ben Vane

A couple of months since the last walk but the weather was too good to ignore. This time it was to tackle Ben Vane, another one of the local munro’s. Setting off early on a glorious day we were surprised how quiet it was for a mid summers day.

Ben Vane

We were quickly rewarded with some great views back over Loch Lomond. It then turned quite boggy – wish I’d worn my gators as the boots were caked in mud on the way up and down. The boggy ground only lasted for 15-20 mins though and the rest of the way was on ok but steep paths. There’s plenty of false summits and also some scrambling near the top but it was worth it.

Ben Lomond from Ben Vane

For a summers day when temperatures at ground level were nearly 20C, it was a wee bit chilly at the top with temps nearer 5 or 6C. Still, it was nice to cool off, grab lunch and take in the views which were stunning. Usually in summer you get a lot more haze but not today.

Alistair, Danny, Ian and Allan on Ben Vane

A very helpful fellow walker took the above photo. More telling is that while the camera was in her hands it seemed to perform so much better. I need to spend time revisiting many of the 550D’s features!

Ben Vane Runkeeper

Considering the stops and the 30 mins for lunch we made really good time on Saturday. Even on the way back down I was surprised by the lack of fellow walkers. Also surprising is the impact on my thighs this week – it’s 5 days since the walk and they are still a bit tender. I must look into improving strength/recovery as it seems to impact me more than others. As usual, all photo’s can be found on Flickr and also Facebook and Google+. Trying other ways of getting photo’s out to friends as not everyone likes or uses Flickr.

So that’s five out of the six munro’s that make up the Arrochar Alps ticked off, leaving just Beinn Bhuidhe which will hopefully be this weekend as the weather is looking good if not a tad hotter. Early start required.

Beinn Ime

In August last year I tried to walk up Beinn Ime via Beinn Luibhean but admitted defeat due to the wind. Roll forward 6 months and it was time to finally climb Ime. We set off early on Friday (cheers to Wills and Kate as we had the day off) and started from Succouth this time which meant walking between The Cobbler and Beinn Narnain before finally getting to Beinn Ime.

Beinn Ime

The weather was glorious although quite breezy at ground level and the forecast higher up was winds touching gales in places and to be a lot colder than the 16-18C at the car park. The first 3 miles was a gradual ascent on a well crafted path that took us to the back of the Cobbler. We then veered right and started climbing Ime. The ground at this point was quite boggy and to be honest there was no well defined path, probably because Ime isn’t as popular as the other two peaks in the vicinity.

After 20-30 mins we picked up on a path as the climb became more strenuous. This took us up the majority of Beinn Ime. At this point the wind really picked up and it was pretty cold. Until now it had been shorts and t-shirt weather but a warmer top was required to get us up the final peaks.

View from Beinn Ime

There were great views from the top but the sun started to hide between clouds and it became pretty hazy in places. At this point it was bloody cold – despite the great ground temp’s we were glad of hat s and gloves and some shelter behind a rock so we could grab some lunch. We didn’t hang around at the summit – just too cold but coming down off the main peak there was a great photo opportunity and the sun had popped out again – still really windy though.

Ian on Beinn Ime

In the background to the photo above you can see the seaplane that takes off from Loch Lomond and the Clyde. I’ll need to try that one day when the weather is good – the views from it will be amazing. After taking some shots we made our way back down – we really covered ground pretty quickly on Friday as can be seen from the RunKeeper stats below.

Beinn Ime Runkeeper

Even better – no midges to report which was a surprise. I just need to remember that my legs need sun tan lotion or they burn. Not clever. Next up is probably Ben Vane which leaves the more isolated Beinn Bhuidhe to complete the five munro’s that make up the Arrochar Alp’s. Hopefully we’ll get them both done by the middle of summer.

As usual, full set of Flickr photo’s can be found here.

Beinn Ghlas and Ben Lawers

It’s been a funny year for walking. The first few months was difficult due to the severe winter we had. So much so that we couldn’t do much walking at all without crampons and an ice axe – something I’ll be picking up before the winter season kicks in this time. The last walk was The Cobbler, which was excellent but a few feet short of a munro. So 2/3rds of the year gone and no munro’s…until now. Beinn Ghlas and Ben Lawers are two adjacent munro’s that can be tackled in the same day. Another benefit is that the starting point of the walk is 400 metres so your almost half way just by getting out of the car – excellent!

Jim on Beinn Ghlas

There is also an excellent path leading from the car park and now that I’ve done it, I can say it’s an excellent first munro for anyone looking to get into walking. As for the views, I’m sure on a clear day they are spectacular, but for us what looked like a promising day turned into one lacking any view at all. Low cloud rolled in as we climbed meaning we got zero view from either munro. In fact it got pretty cold at the summits so it wasn’t a day for hanging around. Just a quick mention on weather – we originally planned this walk for the first weekend in July but had to postpone due to 90mph winds. I’m glad we did as we got talking to a couple of other walkers who were trying Bheinn Ghlas for a second time as they had attempted it that weekend but had to literally crawl down the hill as they got near the summit – it was that bad. Despite it being summer, the hills can be still unpredictable so you do need to carry waterproof just in case and it’s also worth checking the mountain forecast rather than the MET office site as they give very different results.

Ian and Ben Lawers Trig Point

Bheinn Ghlas is reached first and if your not careful it’s easy to walk by as it’s a tiny cairn that marks the summit. It’s then about a half hour to 40 minute walk to Ben Lawers summit. This is more substantial, marked with a cairn and trig point but as mentioned, zero views for us. Despite the easy walk you are now just 17 feet short of 4000 feet so quite a height. We decided to take the same route back to the car park although you can descend and go around the base of Bheinn Ghlas, but it did brighten up a bit so we wanted to keep some height…and it also meant that climbing back over Bheinn Ghlas counts as another munro climb, no?

Runkeeper Summary

As ever I used RunKeeper to track the walk and I’m pretty pleased with the pace we kept up throughout. I don’t really bother stopping the clock when I start taking pictures or we take pauses for breath so actual time walked is probably about a half hour less. I almost forgot to mention one thing. Fucking midges. The car park was swarming with them – I covered myself with jungle insect repellant and ended up with around 6-8 bites which is a lot better than on Ben Lomond last year. If you do go out walking around now make sure you take some sort of repellant. Can’t wait until it gets a bit cooler and they will be gone for the year.

So thats munro 5 and 6 done. Hopefully get another 2 or 3 done before the end of the year – weather permitting!

Schiehallion

After getting back in the swing with a walk up Tinto Hill it was time to tackle another munro. We had planned to do Schiehallion back in July but illness, holidays and finding a suitable weekend meant it never happened. So last Saturday we got up early and headed up to Perthshire. It was a two and a bit hour drive but empty country roads were fantastic. We were also pretty lucky with the weather and the day was dry with some clear spells. One very lucky find was Loch Lubnaig just to the north of Callandar.

Loch Lubnaig

Mirror like surface and some great photo’s. I don’t often think about a DSLR but this was one of those times that I knew a better camera would have been very handy. Onwards to Schiehallion which is 3547ft/1083m high and thanks to a well maintained car park and excellent path is fairly popular. As we climbed up the sun started coming out and it was getting pretty warm. The climb up is fairly steep but as I mentioned previously it’s helped by a great path. However the path doesn’t take you to the summit. You think your at the top but you’ve got around another mile of rocks and boulders to navigate before you get to the cairn. This was the trickiest bit of the walk and I can only imagine it’s fairly treacherous on a wet day. However it only took a couple of hours to get to the summit from the car park.

Me at Schiehallion Summit

Not long after these photo’s were taken the cloud rolled in and it got very cold -fleece and gloves required while we ate lunch and got going again. We were now on the north side of the hill and it was very slippy – I managed to cut my shin in four places as it slipped down a rock and you had to tread carefully to avoid a sprained ankle. We could have taken the old path back down but it had badly eroded the hill hence the newly constructed oath so we were respectful and retraced our steps back to the car park.

Schiehallion Runkeeper

This was a great walk and one that anyone could do as long as you’ve got the right footwear for the rocks on top and also remember that at this time of year it can be very cold and windy at the top of a munro compared to conditions on the ground. A full set of photo’s can be found on Flickr.

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