Sunday 19 July 2015

Beinn Ghlas and Ben Lawers

Freddie and Jim on the track to the NTS Ben Lawers National Nature Reserve en route for Beinn Ghlas

We set off from the Ben Lawers National Nature Reserve, through the interpretation area with it's carvings and information, and on, over the road and up through the reserve. The path wound pleasingly through the trees and wildflowers, to a deer gate onto the hill.

NTS Ben Lawers National Nature Reserve with views to Beinn Ghlas

Rafe - NTS Ben Lawers National Nature Reserve

The path was wide and clear - no issues with navigation today.

Jim starting the ascent of Beinn Ghlas

There were a few other people about today, a popular hill Ben Lawers...

Loch Tay from ascent of Beinn Ghlas

Good views and the excellent path - we made good time and were soon high above the nature reserve.

Meall nan Tarmachan from the ascent of Beinn Ghlas

Freddie - Loch Tay from the ascent of Beinn Ghlas

Rafe - ascent of Beinn Ghlas

As we ascended, cloud and mist rolled in and over the summits ahead. It didn't look like we were going to get any views from the top.

Coire Odhar path (our descent route) from ascent of Beinn Ghlas

As we topped out on the summit's wide ridge, we walked into the cloud, the cold and the drizzle. Time for another layer.

Jim and Rafe - near the summit of Beinn Ghlas

We reached the summit of Beinn Ghlas (Munro 47, 1103m) to find several others there before us. A French family and a young couple were also doing the obligatory photo shoot - despite the lack of view. We chatted about the walk, the weather and how far it was to Ben Lawers - the others were not regular hill walkers and not confident to carry on (The young couple actually thought we were on Ben Lawers!).

We found we were leading a little group as we wound our way down towards the bealach...

Beinn Ghlas summit (Munro 47, 1103m)

As we descended the rain started in earnest. It was really chucking it down...

But we soon found ourselves below the worst of the cloud and our novice walkers got their confidence once again and happily trotted off in the general direction of Ben Lawers.

As the rain eased off we went off path and amongst the rocks of Creag Loisgte to find a sheltered spot for some lunch.

Bealach between Beinn Ghlas and Ben Lawers

Ben Lawers from bealach - lunch

After a short and slightly soggy lunch break, we continued on, up the final pull to the summit of Ben Lawers.

It was a busy climb - First we met up with a group who had about 10 dogs with them. All were friendly and Rafie was quite happy to take part in a sniffing fest.

Ascent of Ben Lawers - looking back to the bealach

Next we met a group descending who were raising money for Children in Need - several in sopping onesies.

Before meeting the young couple just starting on their way back down.

Starry Saxifrage

We yomped up into the cloud again as we neared the summit - a weathered trig point and a well made cairn adorned the top - along with the French family, having their lunch, and several other walkers and dogs.

Nearing Ben Lawers summit

And as we approached Ben Lawers (Munro 10, 1214m), the cloud blew away and the world appeared around our feet.

Ben Lawers summit (Munro 10, 1214m)


Views east over Loch Tay from Ben Lawers summit

Views west over Beinn Ghlas from Ben Lawers summit

Ben Lawers trig point

We wandered on from the summit a short way, taking in the views and identifying summits. There are quite a few more around here that we need to bag.

Schiehallion from Ben Lawers 

Before we went back to the summit and then descended back into the bealach between Ben Lawers and Beinn Ghlas.

Rafe - descent west from Ben Lawers

Rafe in the lochan in the bealach
between Ben Lawers and Creag Loisgte

We had a bit of a conflab at this point - do we go back over Beinn Ghlas, or head down into Coire Odhar to the north.

Descent from Ben Lawers

We decided on the coire - the path was good and we were soon in the glen, green hills all around.

Descent from Ben Lawers - views to Beinn Ghlas

The local farmer was putting his lovely collies through their paces with the local sheep - Rafe watched with interest and I'm sure he would have quite liked to join in. But...

Descent into Coire Odhar

Rafe and Freddie - Coire Odhar with views to Loch Tay

Descent back through the NTS Ben Lawers National Nature Reserve

We were soon back at the nature reserve and wandering through the gold and green, through the trees and the blanket bog, and back to the start.

Jim, Freddie and Rafe near the NTS Ben Lawers NNR car park at the end of the walk

Route:  NTS Car Park for Ben Lawers (NN608378), cross unclassified road and follow hill path NE through nature reserve, continue on path through gate at NN615392 and zig zag onto south shoulder of Beinn Ghlas, continue NE to Beinn Ghlas (Munro 47, 1103m), NE to bealach (NN630412), NE to Ben Lawers (Munro 10, 1214m), return SW to bealach, path WSW contouring around NW slopes of Beinn Ghlas, meeting outward route at NN615393, return to start through nature reserve.

Statistics:  Distance: 10.5km  Ascent: 900m  Time: 5 hours

Map:  OS Explorer 378 - Ben Lawers and Glen Lyon

Beinn Ghlas

Ben Lawers

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