Thanks to all that sponsored me for the Meningitis Research Foundation Munro madness. While there's a big organised event every year, which I believe a few craggy's have taken part in, the beauty of this campaign is that it lets you pick any hill over a 4 week period.
So it was on the 27th of August that my wife Joanne and I took on the shorter route up Ben Lui. After an early start to drop of the still sleeping son to a very good friends at 7:00am, then the boring drive in heavy rain to Tyndrum; avoiding the hell that is the green welly. We were the only people in the car park and from the weather it was easy to see why. But about 9:00am a patch of blue sky led us on to get kitted up and take on the days first problem. The river Lochay (don't ever think about using the alleged stepping stones - they are long gone).
Being averse to starting the day with sodden boots, or risking drowning because the river was more than a bit high, we cheated and walked a mile down the river: crossed the railway access bridge and then nervously walked up the railway. (this is a very bad thing to do).
Then began a long slog up the boggy forest path to the approved crossing point for the next burn, but again way to much water. Plan B was a longer walk through even more boggy forest paths to a stile on the deer fence. Now the wind really picked up and the rain started to come sideways in traditional mountain style. It's a fairly good path - grass to the bealach at the back of Fionnn Choirein then a stony and steep 50m or so brought us up on to the main ridge to the summit. By the way vis was very limited as it had rained on and off in heavy showers up to now. But almost as reward for getting this far the cloud base lifted letting us have a short burst of the fabulous views. Then again back into the windy clag on to another easy to follow but very steep path all the way to the saddle between the 2 summit cairns. The fun bit of this is that the path goes right to the cliff edge before you notice that your there. Due to the increasing wind we decide to just do the cairns; take a picture and head down. Again as some reward the wind suddenly eased a lot and the cloud lifted right of the tops. So at 1130m we had more fabulous views in every direction except to the east as the big corrie we all see from Tyndrum was completely filled in with cloud. So a lot more photos were taken than really needed.
Eventually after lunch and enjoying the views it was time to get going only then did we see anyone else on the hill - just as we got back to the bealach 2 groups of people popped over the edge. My one regret of the day happened
here as a very seasoned gentleman asked if we were doing all 4 munros in one go and was that my landrover in the car park. So instead of promoting my hill Cred by saying yes to both questions and looking superior I stuck to the truth and admitted to the landrover. (to all landrover owners a warning I now believe that you can find a landrover geek anywhere).
Going back was easy until you get back into the forest onto the path we were originally following. After a long day wading in knee deep forest bog is not the best way to finish the day. However the sun was out and the rain had stopped so on we plodded to the rivers which were now easy to do - almost no wet feet at all except to wash the gunk off.
A very good and interesting day out and congratulations to Joanne on completing the first really big hill she's done since junior was born.
Another fact is: there's gold in these hills so take a plastic plate or bowl with you and have some fun panning for a fortune. Probably as much chance as the lottery but keeps you fit.