Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Ben Lui Munros, Apr'15

April the first and weather had other ideas from what we had hoped for. Only fools would have ventured out in the forecast, so a few emails later and we managed to postpone the trip by one day. This was the perfect choice - weather was forecast to be quiet, no wind and possibly some sunshine into the mix.

We (Lynne, Gregor, Colm and myself) met at Tyndrum Lower Station and shuffled a couple of vehicles to the proposed walk end and returned to Tyndrum for our walk in. Initially on a fine track through forestry rising gently, we got into a fine rhythm. Along to Cononish Farm, we crossed the river via a simple rickity bridge then aimed directly up the hillside ahead. It's steep, the amount of perspiration a testament to this ! Up to a line of fenceposts at around the 600m contour, we took our first break of the day, getting some food in and admiring the via of Ben Lui dominating the landscape to the west.

Onward and upward, now on a more level surface, we heading south. At around 650m it was on with the crampons, there was lots of snow around, and pretty firm and icy it was too. Up to the little lochans on the north-west shoulder of Beinn Dubhchraig (tho these were not obvious due to being frozen and covered in snow), we dropped our packs and flew up the remaining 100m or so to the summit. Wow, what views ! Ben Lomond looking very fine indeed !

An about-turn, we picked up our sacks and headed west. By this time we had decided to bag 'only' two Munros - the snow and ice were making for slower progress than would normally be expected at this time of year. The pressure was off, so we enjoyed our winter hike, not having to keep an eye on the time. Talk went to what we were having for tea - The Real Food Cafe was mentioned and thoughts went to 'Steak Pie Super', 'Chips and Beans' and 'Chips with Curry Sauce' (I was the last option). We had been passed by one guy who had decided to keep to the crest ahead - this makes for an extra 30m climb - we went anound and up - no extra climb ! We met up with him at the coire between Ben Oss and its '941' minor top and had a wee chat - he was grateful for the footprints to follow. Ben Oss had its unusual cornice along its northern shoulder - the wind appears to sculpt it up rather than blow it over. Up to the summit, a 'hi-five' and some time to admire the views. 

We about-turned and retraced our steps towards the frozen lochans on Beinn Dubhchraig. Heading north, crampons were removed at last and we dropped back into Glen Cononish where two dippers skimmed close to the surface of the river before disappearing at speed. We headed through the forest to Tyndrum, all of us remarking on the seemingly longer amount of time needed for the return journey compared with going up. I guess we were tiring ! We ended up in the Real Food Cafe, all enjoying the food we'd longed all day for !

More photos of the day are up on this Flickr Album !