Author Topic: TR - Ben More from Glen Dochart - the steepest mile?  (Read 1040 times)

richardh1905

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TR - Ben More from Glen Dochart - the steepest mile?

Trying to salvage something of the summer holidays, we booked a small hut on the Pine Trees campsite at Tyndrum (pronounced Tyne-drum), a 5 hour drive up from South Cumbria (including a stop for the dog).


'Skye' hikers hut - pretty basic, but clean, and it had a toilet! Red squirrels were our neighbours.

We had our eyes on Ben Cruachan at this stage, but an evening glimpse of Ben More down the valley changed our minds.


Ben More, Stob Binnein, Stob Garbh, Cruach Ardrain in the evening sunlight - gorgeous!

17th August 2020

A few minutes drive back down the glen and through Crianlarich bought us to the foot on Ben More, where we parked by the side of the road just past Benmore Farm (ample parking).



Viewranger route HERE

We hopped over a handy stile just east of the farm, and quickly joined a farm track that zig-zagged up the hillside, a relatively gentle start before the real work began. I was taking my time with my troublesome knee well strapped up, and was using both walking poles for once. I must admit that initially I had my doubts about being able to complete this walk, but all went well. The view of Ben More was much foreshortened, and did little to suggest how vast the slope ahead is, a 1000m climb up from Glen Dochart.

At a junction in the farm track, the stone staircase began, gently at first, but quickly steepening. I normally don't like these stone staircases, but this one was well constructed, and absolutely necessary given the boggy nature of the ground.


The start of the stone staircase, the climb ahead much foreshortened

Up and up we went, me trailing further and further behind, my wife and son having to wait a few times for me to catch up. But the views unfolding behind us were fantastic, despite the weather not being perfect.


On and on we climbed, the stone steps seemed to go on forever. I was the 'Lanterne Rouge' today!

Looking back towards Crianlarich. Ben Lui is the prominent peak to the left - maybe some other time.

We passed a work party constructing the path around half way up - I complimented them on their work.

The stone staircase eventually ran out, and the rough path picked its way up the slopes, with the occasional rocky section. The ground was drier now, though, and the going improved. The route took us along the north eastern edge of a shallow corrie above some steep ground - a dangerous place to be in winter conditions, apparently.


Near the top now - Loch Tay in sight beyond the North East ridge. The slopes to the left of the ridge looked safe enough to descend.

There was a final steepening of the slope as the path wound its way between some small crags, but above, the gradient started to ease. After another break, we climbed the final slopes, the summit cairn and trig point appearing quite suddenly. The top at last!


The summit at last, with Stob Binnein beyond


Mountaineering dog - Tess summits first!

We lingered on the summit for a while, admiring the views all around from such a lofty viewpoint, at 1174m, the highest mountain for miles around. The east wind was keen so we found a sheltered spot looking westwards for our lunch.


We admired the rugged mountains to the west whilst taking lunch


Stob Binnein to the south - a hill for another day

Stob Binnein looked tempting to the south, but we decided that it was a peak for another day. Rather than plod back down the stone staircase, we descended down the broad north east ridge for a while, easy going until the faint path took a sharp turn to the left to work its way around some small crags that straddle the ridge. Before the ridge steepened again, we took to the steep grassy slopes on its northern flank - I had identified this as a safe way down on our ascent.


Looking back up the North East ridge, just before we plunged down the endless grassy slopes to the north

And so they proved to be, although the steep grass seemed to go on forever! I took the lead, picking what I thought was the easiest ground. As we descended, the flowers started to appear - scabious, hawkweed, harebells - and my wife even spotted some Grass of Parnassus.

After crossing a stream we eventually reached the head of a bulldozed track, built as part of a micro hydro electric scheme (I spotted three small dams across the nearby burns). This track took us westwards back down to the junction at the start of the stone staircase, time to relax, reminisce and plan now that the going was easier. Only 5 miles covered on the map, but it felt like more!


18th August 2020

We decided to have a rest day, a few miles along the West Highland Way followed by a drive and a short walk out to Kilchurn Castle, at the head of Loch Awe.


The Loch of the Lost Sword on the West Highland Way - Robert the Bruce's sword, reputedly!


Tess playing hide and seek in the heather - whatever she was seeking luckily lived to tell the tale!


This lovely section of the West Highland Way passes through the Tyndrum Community Woodland


The railway bridge crossing the River Orchy at the head of Loch Awe, the eastern slopes of Ben Cruachan beyond


Looking up Glen Strae from near Kilchurn Castle


Kilchurn Castle at the head of Loch Awe


Loch Awe


Driftwood on the beach at Loch Awe, the clouds just skimming the top of Beinn Eunaich beyond (989m)

In the afternoon we tried our hand at gold panning. I had low expectations, which is just as well, as we found absolutely nothing, but the river by the campsite is a lovely place to relax and while away an hour or two.


Day 3 - Stob a Choire Odhair, to follow......
« Last Edit: 16:06:28, 21/08/20 by richardh1905 »
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vizzavona

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Re: TR - Ben More from Glen Dochart - the steepest mile?
« Reply #1 on: 17:53:02, 21/08/20 »
Hello...you have set yourself up for getting at a number of the big hills from your base.
How things have altered on the hills with stone staircases and the rest. My first time getting to Ben More was in '63 from the same start as you had and later in '66 after walking in along the Balquidder road to get at Stob Binnean and then Ben More before dropping down, and  a bit of road walk, to the Hostel in Crianlarich. I returned to my starting area after reaching Cruach Ardrain and Beinn Tulaichean the following day for a hitch home to Edinburgh. Grand days out.

sparnel

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Re: TR - Ben More from Glen Dochart - the steepest mile?
« Reply #2 on: 20:07:10, 21/08/20 »
Great report on your Ben More day Richard. There was an air crash on that mountain in January 1973. It occurred very near the summit. Sadly the four crew were killed.
They were the two pilots and two engineers who were checking various things on the aircraft which was a Viscount passenger plane on a test flight from Glasgow.
Weather conditions were atrocious at the time and it was a couple of days before the wreckage was found after the plane was reported missing.
The wreckage was cleared from the hillside but some still remains in and around the glen More burn. Just wondered if you came across any bits & pieces of wreckage.
I remember ascending the hill from the same start point as yourself in the mid 1970s and there was still a lot of metal parts on the hillside.




 


richardh1905

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Re: TR - Ben More from Glen Dochart - the steepest mile?
« Reply #3 on: 21:05:38, 21/08/20 »
Hello...you have set yourself up for getting at a number of the big hills from your base.
How things have altered on the hills with stone staircases and the rest. My first time getting to Ben More was in '63 from the same start as you had and later in '66 after walking in along the Balquidder road to get at Stob Binnean and then Ben More before dropping down, and  a bit of road walk, to the Hostel in Crianlarich. I returned to my starting area after reaching Cruach Ardrain and Beinn Tulaichean the following day for a hitch home to Edinburgh. Grand days out.
I'm back in Cumbria now - we only stayed for 4 nights. So many hills - so little time!


The stone staircases are a necessary evil, unfortunately, given the increase in numbers on the hill, but at least this one is well constructed.
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richardh1905

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Re: TR - Ben More from Glen Dochart - the steepest mile?
« Reply #4 on: 21:07:39, 21/08/20 »
Great report on your Ben More day Richard. There was an air crash on that mountain in January 1973. It occurred very near the summit. Sadly the four crew were killed.
They were the two pilots and two engineers who were checking various things on the aircraft which was a Viscount passenger plane on a test flight from Glasgow.
Weather conditions were atrocious at the time and it was a couple of days before the wreckage was found after the plane was reported missing.
The wreckage was cleared from the hillside but some still remains in and around the glen More burn. Just wondered if you came across any bits & pieces of wreckage.
I remember ascending the hill from the same start point as yourself in the mid 1970s and there was still a lot of metal parts on the hillside.


Thanks Sparnel - yes, the mountains have claimed many lives. I didn't see any wreckage.
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karl h

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Re: TR - Ben More from Glen Dochart - the steepest mile?
« Reply #5 on: 23:08:09, 21/08/20 »
Lovely pics Richard O0
I've not been to Scotland very often but when i have I found that there is always something new to explore, mountains obviously but if you want an easier day plenty of old castles and ruins and the coast is never very far away ( by car at least )
show your love for Lady Nature. And she will come back again.
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richardh1905

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Re: TR - Ben More from Glen Dochart - the steepest mile?
« Reply #6 on: 07:14:13, 22/08/20 »
Lovely pics Richard O0
I've not been to Scotland very often but when i have I found that there is always something new to explore, mountains obviously but if you want an easier day plenty of old castles and ruins and the coast is never very far away ( by car at least )


Thanks Karl - what I like about the Highlands in particular is the vastness of them, you get a view and it seems like there are mountains without end, and so many wild glens to lose yourself in. So much potential.


I really want to go back more, as the Lakeland fells, lovely as they are, do seem a bit limiting at times. 10 hours in the car a bit much for an overnight wild camp though!
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Ridge

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Re: TR - Ben More from Glen Dochart - the steepest mile?
« Reply #7 on: 07:39:41, 22/08/20 »
Great report and pictures Richard, especially the 2 of Tess of course.
Good to hear that your knee is holding up.

richardh1905

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Re: TR - Ben More from Glen Dochart - the steepest mile?
« Reply #8 on: 12:34:47, 22/08/20 »
Great report and pictures Richard, especially the 2 of Tess of course.
Good to hear that your knee is holding up.


Thanks - knee held up better than expected, I am glad to say - two walking poles and a sweaty neoprene compression bandage seemed to do the trick!
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Brandywell

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Re: TR - Ben More from Glen Dochart - the steepest mile?
« Reply #9 on: 15:34:41, 23/08/20 »
Great TR and pics Richard really like the one of Tess on the summit. O0   Ben More was my first Scottish hill climb, and it certainly lives up to its name.  I've climbed it three times, twice from Benmore Farm,  and the other time from Inverlochlarig taking in Stob Binnein on the way.
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April

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Re: TR - Ben More from Glen Dochart - the steepest mile?
« Reply #10 on: 17:19:58, 23/08/20 »
Wonderful photos Richard  O0 Love the pics of Tess  :)


That is a big climb and descent, 1000m each way, pleased your knee survived it  :)


Great scenery up there, we remember seeing bits of it coming back on the train from Fort William  :)
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richardh1905

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Re: TR - Ben More from Glen Dochart - the steepest mile?
« Reply #11 on: 17:27:32, 23/08/20 »
[/size]Great TR and pics Richard really like the one of Tess on the summit. O0   Ben More was my first Scottish hill climb, and it certainly lives up to its name.  I've climbed it three times, twice from Benmore Farm,  and the other time from Inverlochlarig taking in Stob Binnein on the way.


Thanks Brandywell

We didn't have the energy for Stob Binnein, and I didn't want to push my luck with my knee too far - 1000m of ascent is quite enough for now thank you!
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richardh1905

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Re: TR - Ben More from Glen Dochart - the steepest mile?
« Reply #12 on: 17:32:35, 23/08/20 »
Wonderful photos Richard  O0 Love the pics of Tess  :)
That is a big climb and descent, 1000m each way, pleased your knee survived it  :)
Great scenery up there, we remember seeing bits of it coming back on the train from Fort William  :)

Thanks April - my knee seems to have survived our Highlands mini break - now wondering where to go next.

Ben More is a very shapely peak, but the hills to the west of Rannoch Moor feel more rugged and wild somehow, and I find myself drawn to them.


Been north of the border this weekend?
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April

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Re: TR - Ben More from Glen Dochart - the steepest mile?
« Reply #13 on: 18:31:43, 23/08/20 »
Been north of the border this weekend?


We went to Langhom today, only 30 minutes drive away from home. We got soaked  ;D
"Who would've thought...... you are light and darkness coming through" words by Tim Armstrong