Showing posts with label Ben more. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ben more. Show all posts

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 !

23 April 2014

Ben More (Isle of Mull) the long route with the tasty ridge !

It was billed as probably the most difficult walk I'd ever done and it didn't disappoint on that score.  Before we even got near the flanks of Ben More we'd done a days walk and been up and down 2 peaks but never the less it was a hill that tested and challenged as only those beautiful mountains can........

Up early we left Tobermory and headed down to Grulin where we'd start the walk up to Ben More.  We could see the summit, as we could for most of the day, but knew that we wouldn't be anywhere near its top until later in the afternoon.
 Car parked and bags packed we headed up the path from Dhisaig that would take in Ben More via A'Chioch and Beinn Fhada.

The first part of the walk took us through some boggy ground as we rose higher and higher up the side of the first peak (nothing tickable just a vehicle for getting you closer to the ridge of Ben More)
There were more false summits on this hill than I've ever known and it was a hard and steep slog up but the views made up for all that.  Clear blue skies, a bit of haze but full sun.  Perfect.

It was almost lunchtime when we reached what seemed to be the top so we stopped for a snack break.

The next section would take us up the Graham of Beinn Fhada before heading right towards the steep and rocky slope that we would have to get up and over before we even got to the tasty ridgy bit.  By this point I really didnt think I had the fitness in me to get up and over this beastie and it was messing with my head.  Of course I could do it, only the previous weekend I'd been up and over Tryfan and the Glyders in Wales and they were just as steep in parts.  I'll put it down to having an off day but kept putting one foot in front of the other and made steady progress.
We did infact make quite good progress.  There was a fear that this long walk would take longer and we'd be out as the sun went down but we were motoring on and up and over the last peak before Ben More we were presented with a glorious sight.  A rocky precipitous ridge that looked brilliant.  Scrambly bits and ledgy bits and it all seemed incredibly tempting.  There were several bypass routes below the top ridge and we opted for one of those as after feeling a bit dizzy earlier (probably from the sun) I didnt want to risk it.  I'll be back though.

Like all good ridges it was over all too quick and the final "very" steep bit was the last bit of ascent for the day.  This was airy, rocky and very exposed and a delight to climb through.
This route took us right to the summit and some suprised faces from people (with handbags !!!) who'd come up the "tourist" route and wondered where on earth we'd appeared from.
The summit was flat and rocky and we enjoyed a cadbury's cream egg at the top as it was Easter Sunday. A nice man from Staffordshire took our picture and we made our way over the plateau to the route down.
 After an hour or so of boring shale zig zags we followed a stream as it flowed down the side of the hill remarking at its little pretty waterfalls and having a bit of a splash in the water as the afternoon sun bore down.

It was a right turn then, off the path to take us round the base of the mountain taking us back closer to where the car was parked.  It was a slow and laborious tramp through bog and grass but before long we'd reached the road and was on the final march back to the car.

Faces sunburned and extra water taken on board we had had a great day.  As usual it was full of challenges, scardy bits, funny bits, good bits, bad bits but most of all another munro was conquered!