Monday, 18 February 2013

Ben Lui Munros, 17 February 2013

Over the River Cononish, it's directly uphill
After the unsettled weather of late, forecasts were predicting some calm, clear conditions for a few days. We organised this trip, heading for the Munros from east to west, so as we had the mucky path and wet river crossing at the end of the day. Richard was leading the group with myself helping out - here's a short tale of the day.

Deer on the skyline ahead
Arriving at Tyndrum, the group met, blethered and got gear together. A lovely walk through a forest loosened the legs and put us into a fine stride. Onto Cononish, over the river via a wooden bridge, it was then directly up the steep hillside ahead - the cloud above us moving briskly. Over 200m of ascent tested thigh muscles, before the ground slope eased. Deer ahead on the skyline caught sight of us and quickly galloped away - if only man could move this fast and elegantly ! At around 850m, we entered mist and substantial snow cover and shortly thereafter met a chap who looked slightly disorientated - our presence seemed to re-assure him and off he headed in the direction of Ben Oss. Ice-axes out, the group continued on, reaching the summit of Beinn Dubhchraig a few minutes later. As expected, the wind blowing around the cairn, so after several high-fives, we trotted towards Ben Oss, searching for some shelter on the way. Shelter was found at the eastern end of the col between the Munros - we tucked in behind a crag and munched our lunch.

Descending to the col between the Munros
Occasional breaks in the mist gave brief but tantilising views to Loch Lomond to the south and the Orchy Corbetts to the north. Re-fueled, we cheerfully packed our tupperware away and headed on. We kept to the crest of the hillside and lightly ice-covered ground was hinting to get crampons out. We resisted and fairly quickly everyone was on the second Munro of the day - Ben Oss. More high-fives and photos, we then had a decision to make - continue or return ?

Duncan bum-sliding downhill
I'd guess-timated we'd get to this cairn by 1pm, it was now after 1:30pm. Although Richard and myself's hearts wanted to us to continue, both our gut feelings were telling us to return. The snow and ice covered slopes were slowing us down, and we predicted there would be even more of this on Ben Lui, so, reluctantly, the decision was made to return !

Crampons on for the descent - the first time for a couple of group members ! Back to the col, one of the gang, Duncan, moaned a bit about the re-ascent ahead. Once up, his spirits were lifted by bum-sliding on a couple of long snow runs. Back down the grass covered slopes and through the forest to Tyndrum. We all converged on the Real Food Cafe for some excellent grub - I enjoyed a real hearty bowl of soup with home-made bread. A fine way to end an excellent day on the hills !

More photos of the day are on our Flickr site .