25 July 2015

Ben More, more and more........the slog of all slogs!

Has it really been so long since I updated my blog, June 7th since our last venture out on the hills, goodness me that's not right, surely!  In between then and now has been Silverstone weekend and bad weather stops play but hopefully now that we're in the midst of Summer we can rectify any further time delays between walks.  Yes I said the S word, summer.  Hot and sunny weather, long light days, t shirts and shorts.......oh how I long for those days, perhaps August will bring our summer!

So back to the walk.  We had planned a weekend in Scotland, visiting family and bagging a Munro or 2 along the way.  Ben More and Stob Binnein were our targets so early on Saturday we ventured north from the B & B of Mum and Dad to Crianlarich and the foot of our first target of the day.  Armed with our staple Scottish hillwalking fodder - Tablet and Tunnochs Caramel Wafers the day was sure to be epic, right?

I'd read a walk report the previous evening in the car and it did mention the steepness and the bogginess but oh my goodness what true slog it turned out to be.  Literally straight up from the roadside with no room for a breather on a nice wee plateau anywhere.  It was tough going and I struggled quite a bit.  Mentally I was all over the place and announced on several occasions I was heading back down to the car which doesn't happen often but somehow I kept putting one foot in front of the other and kept moving forward.

There were a few other peeps on the mountain side that day and it seemed to be a popular route.  The weather on the way up was not as forecast and was quite pleasant by all accounts.  Big billowing fluffy white clouds, patches of blue sky but about 3/4 of the way up we could see some dark clouds looming and streaks of rain falling on nearby hills.  Sure enough the rain made its way over to us so it was cameras away and waterproofs on but these were only showers so it wasn't too bad.
The summit finally (after what seemed like a lifetime) came into view.  First was the large cairn which by all accounts is the true summit and then the trig point and standing proudly behind was Stob Binnein.  All of the reports I'd read said this was the prettier of the 2 summits and from where I was standing it certainly seemed that way.  We stopped on the summit of Ben More for a bite to eat before tackling the down, the very steep and rocky down and now with the added rain, the very steep, rocky and wet down.  The views around however made this bearable and again my breath was taken away by the sheer majesty of the peaks around us.
Getting down off Ben More and onto the plateau area was a little bit trickier than I had hoped, there was a bad step area that needed a longer leg than mine but thankfully there was a bypass route which circumvented it easily.  I hate not being able to do stuff but I cant magically extend my legs by 5" so just had to deal with it.
The rest of the way down was zig zaggy and steep and I just took my time.  At this point I'd decided that I wasn't going to venture up Stob Binnein and that Ben More was more than enough for me that day.  Chris decided to head on up and I would wait for him at the flat area between the 2 mountains.

Whilst waiting I tucked into another caramel wafer, more tablet and some cheese and was quite happy sitting on a nice big rock with my boots off with my binoculars watching Chris's progress up the steep path in front.  That was until the hailstones started and the sleet.  Welcome to Scotland !!!

30 mins up and 20 mins down was all that it took Chris which was quite brilliant.  We then headed off the path downwards and it was a slog.  There wasn't much of a path in some areas and you just had to pick your way through the boggy bits and hope that your next step wasn't going to land you in a deep hole up to your knee or worse in bog.  Challenging to say the least and with the recent hail and sleet it was just a wee bit slippy.

I kept looking at the path below and thinking, soon, very soon you'll be there and sure enough after an hour or so plodding sideyways down we were on the path that would take us back through the valley to the stick of the lollipop and down back to the car.

The sun came out for this last part of the walk and made it really pleasant indeed.  As with all walks you do get an immense sense of satisfaction at the end and all the unpleasant thoughts you had earlier in the day just disappear and you remember what you've achieved and why you do what you do.

So that's another Munro ticked off my list taking my tally to 11 I think.  I'll never do them all and I'm not sad about missing Stob Binnein but looking forward to a nicer one next time we head north of the border as Ben More was a bad ass beastie !