Monros and Midges
After Easter’s foray ‘up north’ and the typical Scottish weather.
It was a shock to to have temperatures around 20oc. In a half term holiday?
Despite having countless family holidays in Scotland as a child, a week wandering round Shetland rooting out wildlife and even a skiing holiday when I managed to trash a knee,
I’d never before climbed a Munro.
Three in one day was a bit of a baptism of fire.
I’d picked the Southern Highlands, just because it wasn’t quite so far to go, as Braemar.
Tyndrum village is parked on the West Highland Way and well supplied with campsites, shops and B & B’s for the more discerning walker. I camped.
And remembered quite quickly those pests of Scottish summers: midges. They really can dampen a very good day. I’ve never before seen, or worn mesh head cover! I’d post a photo but they really are beyond ridiculous. As I looked.
Waterfall on Ben Lui
Thankfully midges don’t climb mountains. Even the 5km trek to the bottom of the first hill was thankfully devoid of them. Yes, 5km before the hill even started. Having read a few books on Monros the trail in to hills was a noticeable difference in the access to those of the more compact Lake District and I could well understandwhy a few sensible souls covered those first few kilometres by bike.
From Ben Lui
Ben Lui is, apparently, the ‘hill to climb’ from Tyndrum, so we did. First on the list, after the 5km. Snow still lurked in sheltered crevasses on the steep sides of the corrie. It’s not quite a scramble up the north side of Coire Gaothach, but a sudden contrast from the long track in.
Summit Ben Lui
At over 1000m the wind picked up and I went from wearing the ridiculous, obligatory sun hat to my more usual woolly hat, almost pulled out a few hours before. The 1.5 ish k to Beinn a Chleibh was diminished by the splendid conditions.
From Ben Lui
Seasoned Monro baggers met en-route gave us no illusions that the spectacular views of mountains rolling away in every directions was not something usually experienced.
Waves of ridges made the compactness of Cumbria all the more apparent. Stand on the Central Fells on a good day and you can pretty much see the edge. From Ben Lui even when the sea was reached the mountains roll on into the isles.
Next on the list was Ben Oss. Ben Lui was in the way so we skirted round the contours to reach the top of Coire Laoigh at which point I thought the top of Ben Oss really looked rather a long way. But hey, we were there and I wasn’t sure I would be again so up.
Summit Ben Oss
Monro number three.
There was an option, and a vague plan, of Monro number four, Beinn Dubhchraig, but… It had been a long, hot day. I’d run out of water, three hills and heat. I’d managed to comfortably drink 3 litres. Despite a few measly tarns and stream heads marked on the top of Dubhchraig, it wasn’t the weather to take a hike to dehydration so we veered off north and battled with the steep sides of Coire Buidh towards the valley, water and a 5km track back.