Thursday, 17 May 2012

Glen Lyon and Ben Lawers Munros, May'12

Mid-May and the unseasonally cold weather continues ! We'd organised a weekend of hillwalks with the intention of bagging the 4 Munros north of Glen Lyon on the Saturday and the Ben Lawers group of 7 Munros on the Sunday. Richard lead Satuday and Steven took Sunday.

It was a classic spring walk in Glen Lyon today with Jane, Jackie and John. The glen was filled with bright spring flowers, birdsong and some giant trees that must have come down in the winter storms. We traversed the Carn Mairg round of hills enjoying fantastic views with Ben Nevis to the west, the Cairngorms to the northeast, Lochnagar to the east, Beinn Lawers to the south and even the Lomond hills in Fife! There was a dusting of snow on the tops above 850m making the landscape leap out in the sunshine, but an icy wind meant there was no lingering too long on the summits. We did catch a couple of cold icy showers, but they lasted minutes allowing us to enjoy a cold crisp wind as we did the round anticlockwise, which helped limit our exposure to the sleet showers. It was a busy day on the hills and we passed several groups at the halfway mark near Meall a'Bharr. The weather seemed to be coming in as we approached our last summit, Carn Gorm, with some tired legs in time to shelter behind the cairn to refuel before enjoying a quick bumslide down off the summit to speed up our return to the sunshine in the glen!

Amazing how quickly the weather can change ! Sunday was forcast to be breezy, with winds picking up in the afternoon and clound down to around 800m, however the MWIS did give a reasonable chance of cloud free summits. So with all this in mind, a group of intrepid folk, including two from yesterday, gathered early at the Ben Lawers Hotel. We left cars at the hotel and bundled into Steven's land-rover and drove up the narrow road and to where the NTS visitor centre used to stand. The building has now been demolished, the ground has landscaped over with heather and the car-park moved - a bit sad really !

Wrapped up in our waterproofs, we set off up the hill. The wind gradually picked up as we progressed and we headed into mist at around 800m. At 900m gusts were now blowing some of the group over, so with a heavy heart, the decision was made to abandon and return another day. We ended up at the Taymount Courtyard for a cuppa and then enjoyed a relaxing walk up to the Falls of Acharn - well out of the wind !

We've rescheduled the Ben Lawers day for 17 June, details are
here. Some more photos are on our Flickr site.