Apr 30th, 2017
I’ve been told there are several types of fun:-
Type 1 fun – you enjoy it at the time and it seems as though it was fun afterwards (e.g. Orient Express)
Type 2 fun – it doesn’t seem so great at the time, but after it has finished you remember it as fun (e.g. BSides Edinburgh)
Type 3 fun – it wasn’t good at the time and you don’t remember it with any fondness afterwards (I’m coming to the example on this one)
Type 4 fun – it seemed like fun at the time, but afterwards you don’t like to remember it at all (almost anything you do after having too much to drink)
I am afraid that after wanting to climb Ben Lui for years – it turned into a good dose of type 3.
For a start off, the weather that had been forecast as great on goodness knows how many sites turned out to be mediocre as we left home, and deteriorated rapidly later on. Secondly, the walk-in to the climb is not enjoyable at all – not for the reasons I had thought (crossing the river is quite easy, as is walking under the railway bridge) but because it is through a break in some very ill-tended forestry. Because this is a popular mountain and lots of people are forced along this very small gap – it is not a path but an utter morass (I am not exaggerating here because I do lots of hiking on bad terrain) – far worse than anything you would get on open hillside.
Then we got on to the main climb itself – with the idea being to loop up the side of Ben Lui, and then over the bealach to Beinn a’Chleibh. This wasn’t the normal route, but it was ok (if rather pathless in places) until we got to about 800m. Then the cloud closed in, the wind got up something fierce and it started hailing. We staggered up to the summit over an unexpected scrambly bit, and I took a selfy of us which is definitely not for public consumption.
Then we went down in the face of driving wind and hail. It was not pleasant at all and we unanimously decided not to do the second peak. Near the bealach we met a group coming up; one of their members had been persuaded to come on the hills when he was obviously suffering from flu and we walked with him back to the car. By a weird set of coincidences he was a) a security consultant b) worked for a company I used to work for and c) was staying in Lochgoilhead. This was his lucky, lucky day because we took him back to his door.
We were home by 2pm – not at all our best day ever. R says we have now “done” Ben Lui and it is off the list but I am not so sure…. The views are supposed to be magnificent on a good day – but even so the path through the forestry would be a poor start to the walk.