Hills: Beinn Ghlas, Ben Lawers, Creag an Fhithich and An Stuc
Date: Friday 4th September 2015
Company: Myself and Cuillin
Distance: 15.3km, Ascent: 1410m
Time: 5Hrs 30Mins

It was originally my intention to head for the Skye Cuillin this weekend. I have however spent far too many days wandering the Cuillin in rain and mist and didn't fancy yet another weekend there in poor weather there so I changed my plans. For yesterday, the weather forecast suggested the best of the weather would be to the South.

Having last ascended Ben Lawers ten years previous, I was keen to re-ascend this hill. As the Ben Lawers range is on National Trust land, this was a good choice in that I would have no encounters and potential altercations with stalkers.

This would be my fourth ascent of Beinn Ghlas and Ben Lawers. I last ascended these hills twice in 1997 and once in 2005.

Click here to see a map of the route undertaken

I set off walking from the National Trust car park a short distance from where the Visitor Centre used to be located. The early morning views were excellent and the weather was fairly good.

Looking towards Beinn Ghlas from Edramucky trail:

I initially followed the Edramucky trail; a low-level nature trail below Beinn Ghlas.

View towards Loch Tay:

Small hydro scheme on Burn of Edramucky:

The track up Beinn Ghlas seems to be very well-maintained. The £2 car parking charge goes towards the upkeep of the paths.

Beinn Ghlas:

It was nice to look across to Meall nan Tarmachan. I have ascended Meall nan Tarmachan twice previously but still have a couple of its Munro Tops to do. I am therefore looking forward to a third ascent at some point in the future.

Looking across to Meall nan Tarmachan:

As I gained height, I got increasingly good views down to Loch Tay. I would however soon be ascending up into the cloud with limited views thereafter.

Loch Tay:

Ascending Beinn Ghlas:

Loch Tay:

It was very windy at the summit of Beinn Ghlas, so after a quick photograph we continued on our way.

Cuillin at the summit of Beinn Ghlas:

Looking down to the Allt a' Chobhair:

Ben Lawers from col between Beinn Ghlas and Ben Lawers:

From the col between Beinn Ghlas and Ben Lawers I could see beautiful clear skies further South. We had made our way South in an effort to reach good weather however we hadn't ventured far enough South! On the plus side, it did remain dry throughout our walk.

Cloudless skies to the South:

It was very windy during the ascent of Ben Lawers and at its summit. Again we stopped to take a few photographs and continued on our way as there was little shelter at the summit.

Eroding trig point at the summit of Ben Lawers:

Cuillin at the summit of Ben Lawers:

Cuillin at the summit of Ben Lawers:

From the summit of Ben Lawers, I decided to head out to the Munro Top, Creag an Fhithich. I was 100% sure that I had walked from Ben Lawers to An Stuc previously but was not 100% sure if I previously went over the Munro Top or skirted round it. This time I would definitely ascend it.

During the the descent, we stopped for a bite to eat and a drink.

Approaching the summit of Creag an Fhithich:

The ascent to reach the summit of Creag an Fhithich is minimal; only 19m!.

At the summit of Creag an Fhithich:

From Creag an Fhithich, I decided to continue on and also ascend An Stuc. However that would likely be as far as we would go as we were getting further and further away from the car.

Lochan nan Cat:

Looking back to Creag an Fhithich:

The ascent of An Stuc is straight-forward from the Ben Lawers side. It is much steeper and trickier from the Meall Garbh side.

An Stuc:

Looking back to Creag an Fhithich from An Stuc:

An Stuc was our third Munro of the day. I had only ascended An Stuc once previously. It became a Munro in the 1997 list revision.

Cuillin at the summit of An Stuc:

From the summit of An Stuc, I decided to have a look at the steep descent towards Meall Garbh. However, due to the very strong wind, the wet/muddy track, the fact that Cuillin constantly pulls and a long walk back I decided to return from An Stuc back to the car.

I weighed up several return options. A descent to the South to reach the A827. I ruled this out as I didn't fancy walking along this busy road. A descent to the West into the Allt a' Chobhair glen or a return over Ben Lawers. I decided the ascent back over Ben Lawers was probably the simplest option. We therefore returned back the same way but skirted around Creag an Fhithich.

Low cloud capping the summits:

We again reached the summit of Ben Lawers before descending to the col between it and Beinn Ghlas. Instead of again ascending Beinn Ghlas, we took the excellent bypass track to get back to the car.

Descent track bypassing Beinn Ghlas:

During the descent, Meall Corranaich was temptingly close. I would like to come back and traverse all seven Munros at some point in the future (with a car at each end of the traverse).

Meall Corranaich:

Descent back towards car:

An excellent walk re-ascending hills done over a decade previously. I will definitely be back to do these again.

Postscript: I am glad my camera lens worked for this trip. When I was out last week on Ben Rinnes, circa half of my photos were no good due to dust and dirt that had accumulated inside my Canon DSLR zoom lens. As the lens was outwith guarantee, I decided to be brave/stupid (delete as appropriate) and take the lens to bits and clean out the inside. It seems to have worked. Thanks to YouTube for the know how .