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Ben Lawers and Beinn Ghlas
Sunday 8th June 2008
Weather - low cloud early in day but clearing later, light breeze low down but wind increasing with altitude
Time - 3 hours up, 2.5 hours down with an hour at the top admiring the view
Start point - Ben Lawers Visitor Centre carpark
The weather didn't look great when I woke up at www.cruachanfarm.co.uk/ campsite, low cloud was hanging about and it was threatening to rain, but I went anyway. A chap with his wife held the gate from the car park to the path for me, and commented about seeing me on my way down as they were "very slow". We had a bit of a chat about the merits or otherwise of taking one's time, and I explained I'm more likely to be the slow one as I tend to keep stopping to look at the view. Besides this was only going to be Munro 2 and 3 so I'm hardly going to be hill-fit.
Anyway, I set off ahead of them. The map showed the path through the nature reserve might be more direct if I kept to the right hand side path, but there was a sign saying Ben Lawers up to the left which I duly followed. At the other end, i.e on decent there was a little sign board asking walkers to use the main path, and not take the minor path into the gorge.
I was soon out of the reserve and onto the hill side. At the fork I took the Ben Ghlas path so I could get two for the price of one. As it were. And up we climbed. It felt like we were climbing for ages, seemingly never ending
But there were some great views.
I hadn't looked at the map since setting out, and when I got onto Ben Ghlas I had forgotten it was there... a bunch of blokes having a break asked me if I was going to the next one. I said I wasn't, was only doing Ben Lawers. After a few chuckles I cottoned on and asked which top I was on. And which one they had pointed to. Oh well. They had a laugh. And I had a little further to go before my planned lunch break and turning round point.
From Ben Ghlas looking towards Ben Lawers:
It didn't take me the twenty minutes the lads reckoned it should take, more like 40 minutes, I didn't hurry. I spent an hour or so at the summit of Ben Lawers sheltered from the wind. Jake, my Border Collie, also wanted a rest and some biscuits.
What struck me was how few people actually stopped at the summit. The weather whilst windy had cleared and the views were getting better all the time. Quite a few just took a photo of each other in front of the trig point and headed back down.
So after faffing about a bit we headed back down too.
We took the 'bypass path' and looked at the scenery on the way.
It was a great hill walk, the weather was kind and although the wind threatened to knock me off my feet once it wasn't too bad. The couple I chatted to at the start just reached the top as I started back down. So it took them around 4 hours. Not bad I thought. I'd overheard one chap saying he had taken the just under two hours to the top. So I guess that makes me "slow". Shrug. I enjoyed it and I think Jakey did too.