Saturday, 4 October 2014

Ben More & Stob Binnein

Walk Summary
On way up Ben More looking down on Loch Dochart and
River Fillan as it curves past Crianlarich into Strath Fillan
Again a late start due to the slow clearing overnight rain made this relatively short walk the days choice due to more rain forecast later in the day and associated shortened daylight hours. Although only 7½  miles, 1300m of ascent made up of 1000m continuous ascent from the A85 to Ben More summit  does not provide much of a respite to acquire your 2nd wind. Followed by a further 300m to Stob Binnein after a steep descent in to Bealach-eadar-dha Bheinn (Bealach between the mountains) will test physical stamina to the full.
There is a choice to walk anti-clockwise up Benmore Glen to Bealach-eadar-dha Bheinn but I am of the opinion it is better to get the majority of the ascent out of the way first, leaving the easier to navigate and less steep descent to Benmore Glen until the end. As it turned out cloud descended around the summits and the bealach before reaching Ben More summit, so descending into Benmore Glen from cloud was much more preferable to following the muddy and sometimes vague path to the bealachs before splitting off to either summit. We also had the benefit of enjoying the spectacular views during Ben More ascent, looking back down Strath Fillan to the left and Glen Dochart to the right. Not only would the descent from Ben More have been more difficult we would have missed out on the views due to cloud if we had left this to later in the day.
The late start and adverse conditions also put paid to any idea of including either of the Munro Top Stob Coire an Lochan and/or Meall na Dige from Stob Binnein. As always it will be there another day and can be approached from Inverlochlarig and Balquhidder when I do some touristy bits around Rob Roy's house and grave.

Walk Statistics
Walk Date - 04 October 2014
Walkers - Steve Smith, John Parkin
Accommodation - Maragowan Caravan Club Site
Start Point - First layby on A85 east bound immediately after Ben More Farm (GR - NN 42068 26343)
Start Time - 12:09
Finish Point 
First layby on A85 east bound immediately after Ben More Farm (GR - NN 42068 26343)
Finish Time - 18:22
Duration - 6hrs 13mins
Average pace - 1.20mph
Distance Walked - 7.43miles
Height Ascended - 1293.32metres

Other walks on this trip


30th Conic Hill & Gualann
01st Ptarmigan & Ben Lomond
03rd Meall Corranaich & Meall a' Choire Leith
04th Ben More & Stob Binnein
05th Not quite Meall Buide (Glen Lyon)
07th Cruach Ardrain & Beinn Tulaichean
08th Beinn Dorain & Beinn an Dothaidh hammerhead
10th Ben Challum [Beinn Challuim]
12th Beinn a' Chreachain & Beinn Achaladair
13th The Tyndrum Grandslam

Peaks visited
Munro (282)

Ben More (23)
Stob Binnein (24)
Murdo (443)

Ben More (31)
Stob Binnein (32)
Corbett (221)
Graham (224)
Marilyn (1218S - 1552E,W&S))
Ben More (23S - 95E,W&S)

Stob Binnein (24S - 96E,W&S)
Hump (2168S - 2976E,W&S)
More (32S - 151E,W&S)
Stob Binnein (33S - 152E,W&S)
S: Scotland. 
E,W&S:England,Wales & Scotland

GPX can be downloaded from www.shareyouradventure.com

Walk Description
Ben More
Looking west along Loch Lubhair
from fence line just before
main ascent up Ben More
Although the guide book said park at Benmore Farm, we could not find anywhere that looked public enough to leave the vehicle. It certainly did not look safe enoygh to leave the van on the road side near the path entrance on the A85, so we drove further towards Lillin and parked in the layby near the banks of the western end of Loch Lubhair.
Follow derelict wall towards
Cuidhe Chròm
Returning to the path through roadside bushes the view opens up in front of you exactly what lies ahead if the route option is to walk up Ben More first. A farm track weaves its way to the boundary fence and the ascent in earnest begins as soon as you leave the track up the path towards what you may think is the summit but in fact is Cuide Chròm. It took us about 2 hours to reach that skyline and once there expect about another 20 minutes of slightly easier ascent t reach the summit cairn and slightly higher trig point beyond. Because the cloud descended as we reached Cuide Chròm it was also 20 minutes before we saw the summit area.

Stob Binnein

Ben More descent below cloud
looking ahead and hoping for

a clear views on Stob Binnein
Following path over summit area taking care to stay on path. The route is a little craggy but soon becomes a well worn path on a steep descent to to  and avoid more difficult carefully descend down  towards to Bealach-eadar-dha Bheinn. As we descended the cloud started to clear giving site of the bealach as well as Stob Bennein with a promise of a cloud free summit. However, by the time we had reached the bealach the cloud had returned and this time with some heavy rain from the west.
Sheltering behind boulder on
Bealach-eadar-dha Bheinn before
ascent up Stob Binnein
A quick stop next to a large boulder in the bealach provided shelter to don waterproofs and grab a quick snack. It was then heads down and up Stob Bennein. The late start and slow ascent up Ben More had already put paid to any idea of picking up either of the Munro Tops beyond the summit, the deterioration in the weather simply stopped me feeling so bad about it.
In spite of the conditions I still made time to take a couple of photos to verify our presence on the summit before turning round and heading back the way we came.
At the bealach we rested behind the boulder for a more substantial snack before heading down towards Benmore Glen. We could not find an obvious path so simply headed straight down. Although steep there was wide swathes of grass were we could pick the safest route down. Eventually we did come across a path which sometimes deteriorated into mud and almost bog.
Looking up at Meall Daimh from
Benmore Glen on west side of Ben More
We could also see where it continued upwards. But if we ever had any doubts about coming up this way rather than straight up Ben More the condition and sometimes vagueness of the path confirmed we had made the right choice. By the time we reached the bottom the path was more obvious towards the track and large marker boulder were the ascent would have started, but even then the twist in the tale was the disappearance of the path requiring us to pick our way through waterlogged ground and slight bog to the track.
Once on the track all that remained was an easy walk down a gentle incline back to Benmore Farm and the path entrance on the A85 followed by the ½ mile walk back to the lay-by.

More Photographs
On way up Ben More looking down on Loch Dochart and River Fillan as it curves past Crianlarich into Strath Fillan
Click on photograph to view slide-show

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