Hills: Stob Binnein and Ben More
Date: Saturday 11th October 2014
Company: Myself, Graeme, Penny (TWD), Sheena, Shona, Joe, Sheila, Rachel, Natacha, Ray, Malcolm, John, Dave, Colin, Jake, Donnie, Jane, Kat, Jennifer, Alan, Fiona, Evlyne, Dan, Ella and Drummond
Distance: 12.9km, Ascent: 1360m
Time: 7Hrs 05Mins

Yesterday I had the pleasure of accompanying twenty-three MMC members, and Penny (the Wonder Dog), up Stob Binnein and Ben More. This was to be a special walk in a number of ways. As well as walking in the company of a great bunch of friends this was to be Graeme's final Munro (3rd round) and Penny (the Wonder Dog)'s final Munro (1st round). Nine of the company are Munroists.

Also instead of a straight up and down from Ben More farm, cars were arranged to allow everyone to undertake a traverse from Inverlochlarig to Crianlarich. Many thanks to all the drivers who enabled this traverse.

If Carlsberg made Mountaineering Clubs, I reckon it would have made the MMC - "Probably the best Mountaineering Club in the world!".

Click here to see a map of the route undertaken

En-route to Inverlochlarig we were treated to beautiful autumnal reflections on Loch Voil.

Reflections on Loch Voil:

On arriving at the Inverlochlarig car park, after getting suited and booted we all proceeded over the stile to begin our ascent of Stob Invercarnaig.

MMC members at Inverlochlarig:

The initial c.500m of ascent was fairly steep. While the ascent was hard-going, it was a pleasant ascent compared with what we would have experienced had we set off from Ben More farm. Views were however disappointing owing to low cloud. Hopefully the cloud would lift as the day progressed.

Looking across to Stob Breac and initial ascent from Inverlochlarig:

Ascent of lower slopes of Stob Invercarnaig:

During the initial 500m of ascent, the group naturally split into several different speeds. It was nice to chat with numerous members on the way up.

Ascending Stob Invercarnaig:

Looking across to Stob Breac:

Despite having a cold, I somehow managed to progress up towards the front however there was no catching Natacha . Respect!

From Stob Invercarnaig to Stob Coire an Lochain I walked in the company of Rachel and Malcolm.

Looking back towards Stob Invercarnaig:

As we approached the summit of Stob Coire an Lochain, I could see the cloud was starting to dissipate in places.

Beinn Tulaichean in the mist:

Rachel and Malcolm at the summit of Stob Coire an Lochain (a Munro Top):

At the summit of Stob Coire an Lochain, I got the map out and pondered venturing over to also ascend Meall na Dige (another Munro Top). However, what I could see of the descent looked steep and it looked a bit of a trek out and back. As I didn't want to miss summit celebrations, I decided to leave it for another day (possibly in a circuit with The Stob).

Approaching the misty summit of Stob Binnein:

On reaching the summit of Stob Binnein we all stopped for a bite to eat and drink whilst allowing everyone to re-group. Despite putting on all my layers I still felt really cold. Winter is definitely on its way.

Jake and Colin arriving at the summit of Stob Binnein:

Lunch stop at the summit of Stob Binnein:

During the descent to Bealach-eadar-dha Bheinn we passed numerous walkers who were undertaking an out-and-back from Ben More farm. On reaching the bealach, we again stopped to allow everyone to re-group. It was much warmer waiting at the bealach. Whilst waiting both myself and Dan scrambled up the large boulder.

Dave at Bealach-eadar-dha Bheinn:

Looking back at Stob Binnein:

Dan atop a bealach boulder:

Having lost circa 300m descending Stob Binnein, we now all had 300m+ ascent ahead to attain the summit of Ben More.

Ben More from Bealach-eadar-dha Bheinn:

Looking back to Stob Binnein from ascent of Ben More:

Thanks to Dave for keeping me company during the ascent.

Ascending Ben More:

Re-grouping a short distance below the summit of Ben More:

On reaching the summit, I waited with Dan and Malcolm for the large group to arrive.

Malcolm and Dan at the summit of Ben More:

The MMC had a dog bowl specially engraved for Penny. "Penny (the Wonder Dog). Munroist. 11 October 2014."

Penny's engraved dog bowl and bottle of water on the summit trig point:

Looking down to Crianlarich from the summit of Ben More:

Looking back to Stob Binnein from the summit of Ben More:

Jennifer, Kat and Dan at the summit of Ben More:

On arriving at the summit everyone congratulated Graeme and Penny. A fantastic double-achievement - Graeme completing his third round of Munros and Penny (the Wonder Dog) completing her first round.

Well done pal!

Penny and Graeme at the summit of Ben More:

Gie's a kiss dad:

Champagne, Tablet and Millionaire's Shortbread were all well-appreciated at the summit.

MMC at the summit of Ben More:

We then all progressed over to the cairn for a summit group photo.

MMC group photo at the cairn next to the summit:

Looking down to Crianlarich (zoom):

The car drivers set off ahead making fast progress down the hillside in order to drive back round to Inverlochlarig to collect cars. The rest of us descended at a more leisurely pace.

Descent towards Ben More farm:

Looking towards Ben Lui hills:

The descent was as steep as I remembered from my previous ascent of these hills in August 2000. The underfoot terrain was much wetter and more eroded than in 2000.

Steep descent:

On reaching the road, we walked back to our base(s) - the Ochils Hut and Ben More Lodge in Crianlarich.

The hillwalk was only the start of what turned out to be a great day. The evening celebrations were also superb including sampling Sloe Gin, Sloe Vodka and 25 Year-old Cask Strength Whisky!

Post-walk celebrations at the Ochils Club hut:

Jake entertained the company performing a song he had written especially for "Zippy Morrison" and Rachel provided the most superb cake made by her very own hands. A club of many talents.

Congratulations Graeme and Penny:

Possibly my favourite walk this year. Well done Graeme and Penny .