Jim was leading a group onto Ben Lui and its neighbour Beinn a'Chleibh. Here's his take on the day.
The weather forecast predicted that Sunday, 21st April would begin with high winds and precipitation, but would improve as the day went on, so Jim met Valerie, Lynn, John, and Fiona at the Glen Lochy car park on the A85 to Oban at 10 a.m. for a later start. The walk got off to an interesting start, with a river crossing followed by a railway crossing. Jim tried out bin bags as waders, but failed miserably, and got wet feet! (Note to self… just have to man-up, and wear crocs to cross river, then put boots and socks on!) That was just the start of it, recent wind had brought down a lot of trees, so the weaving, obstacle course through the trees and a second river crossing would have daunted Indiana Jones!
Eventually, we got out the tree line, and headed directly up Ben Lui (to avoid covering the same ground twice). The ground was quite steep with a thin layer of snow, so ice axes were at the ready. The final summit ridge had some large cornices, and visibility was generally poor with the occasional break in the cloud. It was windy on Ben Lui (1130m), “Hill of the Calf”, so we set a bearing for the bealach, where we had a brew in more sheltered conditions. Valerie impressed us all with her piece making,… slice one bread roll, add one complete hard boiled egg, then devour!
Then we headed up Beinn Chleibh (916m), “Hill of the Chest”, and got there in record time. With conditions being still pretty poor, we went back to the beallach, and negotiated a couple of deep snow banks to get back down into Fionn Choirein. Rather than struggle through the trees again, we followed a new (very boggy) path that follows the Eas Daimh burn all the way back to our rail and river crossing start point. Just to taunt us, as we looked back, both summits were looking splendid under clear blue skies!