Fantastic sunny day out in winter conditions with many people taking advantage of the beautiful weather (Munros Completed : Beinn Ghlas (73), Ben Lawers (74)).
Forecast for today was the best of the three days, and the previous two had already been very good. The snow is in excellent condition, deep, firm and easy to walk on. Today I wanted to try out a couple of Munros in the Lawers Group, an area I had visited several times but never managed to actually climb there due to bad weather. Additionally, the road to this area isin’t maintained or cleared in Winter so is often impassable. Currently I knew the road to be open up to the Southern end of the reservoir and so it was exciting to wake to clear blue skies, no wind and a tiny bit of frost. I had a quick breakfast & left at 09:00 and drove the 45 mins to the Lawers area.
As I turned off the main road, there was a sign saying the road ahead was closed which I took to be further on to the Bridge of Balgie. Fortunately, this turned out to be the case as the road was clear and dry and when I drove the few km’s to the Lawers National Car Park I found it was almost full!.
Such was the clarity of the skies and the fact this is a busy route I actually didn’t need a map and compass or GPS and could just follow the trail. The trail starts directly from the car park & takes you to the fence area which was the start of the snowline. Here, I stopped to put my crampons on as there is a moderate rise in slope which was covered in snow though I kept only my poles out to use. It was unusual to see so many people around having seen so few in the past couple of days.
You can actually see Beinn Ghlas summit from this point and it’s a fairly moderate approach. Strangely, higher up the path was devoid of snow in patches so I had to move carefully on the crampons before further up it was full snow cover again. I was soon at the summit at 12:15 only 2 hours later.
From here it’s an easy broad ridge descent to a col and then a moderate ascent which I found quite easy up to Ben Lawers. I only had one base layer on the whole day, and at times had to rub snow into the back of my neck and head in order to stay cool! I reached Ben Lawers summit at 1:15 and took the opportunity with the good weather to enjoy a summit for a while, staying for at least 15 mins.
It is possible to do AnStuc but I wanted a shorter route today after two long days previously. It would have added a good 2 hours to the route so I just retraced steps to return as I was feeling tired for the 6th Munro in 3 days.
I did manage again some great glissading on my return, going at least a couple of hundred metres on one. There’s no finer place that Scotlands mountains for me on days like this and because they can be quite rare when you have no wind at all and clear blue skies it makes it even more special.