We’ve entered the third month of the exceptional summer of 2018, and it only seemed right to continue working on the T-shirt tan, and put a few more munros in the bag at the same time. After a few minutes of looking at the munro map I decided that the four munros near Tyndrum looked like a good target. With the plans made, I caught the train after work with Andrew and headed up to Tyndrum, where we met Shona at the camp site. Within 20 minutes I had my tent up, and we made as quickly as possible for the Tyndrum Inn to avoid the swarms of midges which were also calling Tyndrum home for the evening. Appropriately refreshed, we all turned-in early, ready for a fresh start on Saturday morning.
After a quick breakfast from the Green Wellie Stop it was time to head into the hills. Our walk-in was along 6km of landrover track through Cononish Farm, to the Eastern face of Ben Lui. Around half-way along the track the full view of Lui and the enormous Coire Gaothaich which dominates the eastern side of the mountain, forming the enormous ampitheatre which we’d be climbing up through. The walk up into the coire was straight-forward, and there’s a good path most of the way in, followed by a short distance over some boggier terrain to the buttress which lead up to the summit ridge. Approaching as we did from the northern edge of the coire, we encountered a cruel trick cairn on the lower of the mountain’s two summits; the munro summit was a short walk away! Just over two hours into the walk we’d reached our first summit (1130m), and completed the steepest of the day’s climbs.
Looking across to our next summit, Beinn a’ Chleibh, it was hard to believe it was a munro at all; it barely seemed to rise above its surroundings at all! A steep descent to the bealach made it look a little more impressive, but we still made it to the top (916m) just 40 minutes after our last summit. The day was well on track, and the conditions had stayed dry with a bit of cloud; perfect walking conditions. We descended to the bealach once more, and re-ascended part of Ben Lui, so that we could contour around to the bealach which joins Ben Lui and Ben Oss. We took advantage of the wind just above the bealach to stop for a midge-free lunch, and noticed that low cloud, and rain seemed to be rolling in from the horizon.
We soon pressed-on to start the second half of the day. The climb up Ben Oss wasn’t steep, but what looked like a fairly gentle slope on the map was in fact made up of undulating terrain, which just never quite managed to undulate as much as 10 metres to show up in the contours. After a string of false summits and a twisting ascent up the grass slope, we bagged our third peak (1029m) of the day; the first time Andrew and Shona had tackled more than two in a day. The threat of rain was looking pretty serious by now, but I tried to remain upbeat about our chances of completing the walk in the sunshine. After all, I’d yet to be rained-on on a mountain this year.
The descent to our final bealach of the day was fairly unremarkable, though a fairly large lochan had survived here. Our final ascent went by quite fast, though we’d all agreed to take things fairly easy by this stage, as we were starting to become aware of how long the day had been. On our right as we climbed I was amused to spot another lochan which was shaped like Northern Ireland. We’d soon climbed to a summit and the rain had finally caught us up, reducing the visibility considerably. So it was an unfortunate surprise when we spotted that the true summit was another 40 metres higher up, and about 200m away! Annoyed, but with just enough motivation to finish, we reached the summit of Beinn Dubhchraig (978m), where the wind seemed keen to blow us straight back down to the car park.
The descent from Dubhchraig was fairly gentle, but long, making up almost 6km of horizontal distance back to the car, but we made it back in time for me to catch my 2138 train to return to Glasgow.
Our total ascent for the day was just shy of 2000 metres, making this my biggest day yet in the hills in terms of ascent.