Review to come later today. For now, here’s a teaser of what it’s like on the Scottish hills when the WX is really good.
A lovely shot of Ben Lui, the Central Gully looks as if it might be in good condition, a classic climb!
I waited for you on the lower bands but no show - or no propagation!
I had a terrible wind problem. Ooo-err, sounds rude!
50+km/h gusts and subzero wind-chill at the top plus about 3hrs to get to there. After 20/30m I was exhausted and cold and still had to descend into a strengthening gale plus 6km back to the car. Something had to give and that something was me. Sorry.
You made the right decision, the wind chill must have been horrendous.
Did you see if there was a picturesque icefall in the back of the rocky east coire? I had designs on that once but the chance never arose.
OK. The WX is just fabulous with not a cloud in the sky but cold in the mornings, lots of frost on the car. Certainly it suggested “go high young man” but what. Well I’ve been meaning to do this one for about 15 years. But it’s a bit of a hike and then they started redeveloping the Gold mine and there were some access issue. OK, Beinn Chuirn it was, you can loop in Meall Odhar GM/SS-091 if you have the legs, but I don’t. That will be bagged another time.
So up early, off to Dalrigh car park, lament at the average speed cameras from Lix Toll onwards. Plenty of cars parked up. The first challenge was how much snow and ice? Well it was meant to be cloudless but there were plenty here… the downside of the air suddenly finding 1000m mountains meant clouds from 500m so I couldn’t see how much snow etc. I put the ice axe in its strap and threw in the instep crampons. Walked about 10m, chatted to some blokes attempting Ben Lui and decided proper crampons were needed. Next challenge is finding the damned track from all the roads, there’s 4 or 5 to pick from. I cheated and used the GPS How sad needing a GPS to get out of the car park!
There’s a 5.7km walk to the start of the climb. To keep you happy the views have been turned up to 11. Oh sweet lordy lord is it pretty down in Glen Cononish.
20mins in our target is a long way off but looking good.
A zoom onto the Eas Anie waterfall, need to be closer for a better view.
Looking back you can see ancient Caledonian woodland, a lot of Scotland up to the tree line was like this a thousand years ago.
A long way on and you come to the Gold mine. Started in 1980 they reckon there are 200000oz of Gold and lots of Silver here. But the density is about 12g / 1000kg of rock. Gold has to be expensive enough to make it worth while to extract! An old mine vehicle from 40 years back.
Past Cononish Farm and the good surface track becomes rougher with grass up the middle. Another km or so to the start of the climb However, you can have a look at the waterfall now. These have been tweeked to make the water more visible.
The whole of Eas Annie waterfall.
Finally our target… when you get here after 5.7km and 220m of ascent you can start climbing.
The view back is dominated by Ben Callum GM/CS-021. You can’t really see the massive bog half way up the hill. But it’s there. You need hover boots or rocket shorts after a wet spell to get past it.
All the time it’s been obvious that all the mountains are a bit steep, this was the wee Corbett and it’s still a bit of a brute. Well how much of a brute?
Here’s the climb, try and follow the ATV track and climb 260m up a slope of about 40 to 45degrees. Do not pass go, do not collect £200, just keep grinding up.
To keep you amused and incentivised, there are some good views.
First Ben Lui GM/SS-003. The near grass is my hill and you can see the slope is like this and steeper for 260m of ascent.
Ben Lui’s mate is Ben Oss GM/SS-004. Another brute!
You will never get tired of looking at Ben Lui, meant to be the prettiest of the Southern Munros.
So once you get to the top of the climb you find about 500m of reasonably flat ground that’s squishy and you have to cross the Allt Eas Anie. Then more steep ground, not quite so bad as before. The river is not that bad but it was quite noisy and the water was so clear. I wandered about a bit, the gorge is deeper in places but it’s simple to cross to be honest. This is looking back, I came up from the right hand side of the picture.
Then there’s the final climb.On my ascent I went up towards the right most snow patches. I came down steep ground in the middle. Now that right most snow patch is damn near the edge of the big drop into Coire na Saobhaidhe (there’s a prize if you can pronounce that). So be careful Andy because I was flagging now, didn’t want to fall over the edge. The GPS said I was about 600m ASL. Oh noes! Still 280m to climb, will it never end.
I kept on and on and thought “this is too much, how much further now?” The GPS said 808m. Wow 200m ascent in no time. I was elated and made a dash to the top. I was surprised at how much “go” I had with only 70m to the top.
Then you get to see the prize with some impressive cornices. Well they’ve fallen away but there’s a huge amount of snow. I reckon 10m deep at the edge.
Zoom onto the cornice.
I was talking to some other walkers later about this. “Oh Jim went to have a look at the edge.” I’m not sure how Jim has got to his late 60s if he goes exploring corniced edges, my view is the only places to stand there is on the green/brown stuff.
Then I was at the top. Now it was 4C in the car park and a little breeze blowing. It was just around freezing here and the wind had been blowing on my back all the way. I hadn’t noticed it was now howling. There’s a rocky torr at the top and went behind it to get out of the wind. Winner! Winner! Chicken Dinner! There was a line of old cast iron fence posts well anchored in the rock. Ideal for lashing the pole to.
The summit cairn, not too impressive. But hey, most people are struggling for breath after the climb and with the views.
Onto 20m first. I checked for North with my compass and made sure the inv-v dipole was aimed correctly. It’s not as omni as the 60/40m inv-v is, it has some directivity. Let’s see I ran the legs North-South and called CQ. What! I realised my error just as people answered the CQ. I jumped and moved the legs so the antenna was beaming North East/South West. It was only after I started taking it down I realised that was not the best way for Europe and North America OK, stations worked on 20m CW then 20m SSB. On SSB it was strange because I was working EA1DHB and when I stopped there was a loud US station apparently working me. He was a KI6 and was S8 and his audio said he was in Florida. Wow the band must be good. Shame I wasn’t working him. I called and got a call but he must have been using an internet connected station somewhere because he couldn’t hear me when I asked for a report. And I never heard him call. Not logged, it wasn’t valid. But K2GRG from Ohio called next and he was 55 of the end of the dipole.
I worked a few on 30m but it seemed rubbish. Then some loon came up on my frequency so I QSY’d and respotted and worked a few more. By now I’d been on air for 1hr. It took me 3hrs to walk in and climb. It would be a good 2hrs at least to get back. And I was tired from the wind buffeting and cold. Wind chill was below zero and the gusts were getting silly. This was in the shelter of the torr. I took some photos but it was silly in the wind and very, very cold. So after the photos, it was dismantle time and LF bands were skipped. I wasn’t happy as this summit was last on 8 years back. All I can say is sorry, it was too cold and too far back to get colder.
Looking West, Glen Etive Munros are snow capped in the centre distance.
Further round to the North. Beinn an’Dotaidh GM/CS-025, Beinn Dorain GM/CS-008 in the centre with the Auch Corbetts (Beinn an Caisteill, Beinn nam Fuaran etc.) Creag Mhor GM/CS-013 round to Ben Challum GM/CS-021.
Round to the East, Ben Challum GM/CS-021, Ben More GM/SS-001, Stob Binnein GM/SS-002, Cruarch Ardrain GM/SS-004 and finishing with Beinn Dubhcraig GM/SS-009 the Beinn Oss GM/SS-005
South to Beinn Oss GM/SS-005 and Ben Lui GM/SS-003
West again, Ben Cruachan GM/WS-013 group and Glen Etive Munros. There are a zillion Corbetts and Grahams in the mid distance, Bein Suidhe, Beinn Donnachain, Beinn na Sroine etc. Many, many SOTA summits.
Ben Lui GM/SS-003, never get tired of seeing him.
Beinn an Dotaidh GM/CS-025, Beinn Dorain GM/CS-008 Beinn a Chreachain GM/CS-006
Beinn Cruachan GM/WS-013 and friends
Beinn a’Chochuill GM/WS-071 and Beinn Eunaich GM/WS-065
Beinn Challum GM/CS-013
Back down in double time and my legs were wrecked at the bottom. Hmm, just a 5.7km back. I adjust clothes/layers, finished off my water well I wouldn’t run out the might Cononish River ran alongside the track and it was making an amazing sound. I started the trudge back. It was actually not that bad but the wind was strong at track level and properly cold.
Just when you get back to the car park you can see what a lovely elderly lady said are known as the “Crianlarich Himalayas”.
Ben More GM/SS-001, Stob Binnein GM/SS-002 and Cruach Ardrain GM/SS-004
The lady was driving up the private road and stopped and wound down her window to ask if I had had a good day. She lived in Dalrigh. It must be a nightmare with walkers and tourists but she was just so lovely to ask. That view is what she sees out of her lounge. “Maybe they will harvest some tress then I can see Ben Lui from the bedroom”. Yeah, don’t be greedy with the views We had a chat and that was the perfect finishing touch.
Total walked: 17km total ascent: 880m
©Crown copyright 2022 Ordnance Survey. Media 041/22
Fantastic report, makes me want to jump on the boat and dive into all that scenery! Thanks for sharing mate, really enjoyed that.
Thanks for the summit and thanks for the summit-to-omff/wca QSO Andy:) Beautiful pics!
I was at an old castle ruin (WCA: OM-00010) and OMFF-0016.
Its changed a lot since my younger days, we used to walk in from Tyndrum on open moorland, sometimes stopping to explore the lead mine, then one year they had plowed everything in sight, the path had gone under huge furrows, and now its all a plantation making the best access from Dalrigh. In those days I found the best route up Beinn Chuirn was up to the col with Meall Odhar and then southwest to the summit but that may have been spoiled by the forestry.
Great activation report Andy; terrific photos. Well done
That was on my list for this winter (would be my 3rd time up there) however, never made it that far west. It’s the only way I’ve ever climber Ben Lui!
I seem to remember finding the remains of a crashed WW2 fighter on the way down the ridge on the left of Andy’s picture.
A well told activation. Love the reference pictures of all the summits.
I’m sure you have been out in the hills in plenty of good weather David so you know from the colours and the views that that was “one of those days”. They’re the kind of days that make you realise just how magnificent the countryside is here in Scotland. What’s the saying “On a fine day there’s no better place to be than in Scotland”. The shame is we don’t get enough of those fine days
My favourite is the 5th of the panorama shots, if you hover over it then is says “P1030571-copy” at the bottom. It shows not only the Cruachan, Chocuil, Eunaich and Glen Etive Munros but the huge (for Scotland) empty area between Glen Kinglass and Glen Orchy and An Monadh Dubh. The smaller summits in there, Beinn Donachain, Beinn Mhic Mhonaidh, Meall Tairbh, Beinn Suidhe, Meall Garbh and the similarly named Beinn a’Chuirn, are a long walk from anywhere and as they are 500-750m they have a ring of 950+m Munros around them. Everywhere you look from those lower summits is a marvellous view. It’s a shame they’re such a bugger to get to, both distance, ground and the odd river to ford means they are quite quiet. But certainly Sunday was one of those days
It’s a Lockheed Hudson light bomber Fraser. Wars are terrible but it always strikes me as even more tragic when people are killed in plane crashes when training rather than fighting. Seems to be an even worse waste of life.
Missed the Sunday’s ‘bun-fight’ Andy. Doing GB2RS then maintenance work at maw-in-laws!
And nae 13cms. Whit ur ye like! (but in saying that; a fairly long-ish walk-in and of course time was of the essence)
ABW - back to my remaining 6 SS’s beginning of April. (outstanding since April 2020 - Covid restrictions). the wx plays ball
I had the ice axe and crampons Jack, too much weight to carry with 13cms. I’ve got a lighter pole and been doing some tweaks to reduce the weight carried when adding in the 13cms gear. Still need to reduce the weight carried around my waist.
Hopefully, it will soon be warm enough for assembling SMA connectors on hills
It was a case of needs must. Corners were cut, trainees had too little air time, the trainers were survivers being rested from tours of operations and often mentally exhausted, and worst of all, the aircraft were clapped out, used up, all the good stuff was on operations. By all accounts they were falling out of the sky all over the place, yet for all that they were safer than on operations. IIRC 125,000 Bomber Command aircrew were trained during WWII, 55,000 were killed. Not good odds.
I keep going back to your pictures of Ben Lui, aka Beinn Laoigh, such an attractive mountain from that side but just a lump on the other side! That must have been a day of days, you don’t get many like that but they stay in your mind for the rest of your life.
My father was one of them, a rear gunner on Wellingtons. He got invalided out after a gun exploded on a training mission and was removed from flight duties to ground duties. Just as well or the odds of me being here would be somewhat reduced. He never liked Wellingtons, first injuries from an exploding gun then he was a passenger in one which crashed on take off. He was awarded the George Medal for rescuing crew members from the burning wreckage.
(London Gazette – 14 March 1944)
949144 Acting Corporal John Andrew Sinclair, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.
In July, 1943, Corporal Sinclair was a passenger in a Wellington bomber which caught fire whilst taking off. A forced landing was made with the aircraft in flames and it became a total wreck. Although the petrol tanks were exploding and all had been ordered to stand clear, Corporal Sinclair, displaying complete disregard for his personal .safety, re-entered the blazing aircraft and was instrumental in rescuing two passengers who were trapped in the rear turret. In effecting the rescue Corporal Sinclair sustained severe burns on the head and arms, and was subsequently in hospital for six weeks. He displayed great bravery in saving the lives of the two trapped passengers.