Walk up Beinn Ghlas (1103 metres), Scottish Munro in southern Highlands, north of Loch Tay, near Ben Lawers and the town of Killin· Next post in category »
This really is a rewarding Munro to climb. A straightforward path heads straight for the summit, which is always in sight, over broad grassy ridges. Mild scrambling higher up. The carpark is already elevated, and the climb is quite short at around 3 hours return. The mountain topography and surrounding area make for outstanding views. Optional extra hike onwards to Ben Lawers.
Winding up the single lane road from near mountain-nestling Killin, we arrive at Ben Lawyers car park already 460 metres above sea level, in the middle of a hazy h0t summers day. Even though the visitor centre has been closed (as of 2010 anyway), the car park is almost completely full of expensive cars! Looking ahead we can see Beinn Ghlas rising to a triple camel-humped crest in the distance, with Ben Lawyers (we now know) somewhere hidden behind. Daywalkers arriving here to climb Ben Lawyers must frequently mistake the climb to the top of Beinn Ghlas for Ben Lawyers, before wondering why the path continues over the top and on to an even bigger hill on the other side.
A well maintained timber walkway leaves the carpark for, the fenced enclosure of Ben Lawyers nature reserve which is protected from deer and sheep, allowing the alpine flora of the area to naturally regenerate. A nature trail branches off from the main path, and numbered places on the nature trail must mark out interesting features, though with the visitor centre closed, we do not know what.
Up through the nature reserve, split by a small river with a few flourishing trees and a sprinkling of wild flowers. Below us we see the bright blue of Loch Tay with some hazy mountain silhouettes behind.
The path forks, one heading up the valley and round the back of Beinn Ghlas to the watershed between Ben Lawers and Beinn Ghlas on the other side of the mountain; the other zig-zagging straight up the slopes of Beinn Ghlas. After a fairly steep climb, the path flattens out on the shoulder of the mountain with 180 degree views of Loch Tay. The ridge walk to the top is easy going in places and a bit of a scramble on the steeper sections, but this really is an easy hill to climb – you can see the summit for most of the journey.
We arrive at the summit in the late afternoon sun, with a cold breeze a relief from the overly hot sun on the lower slopes. A couple of other hikers have a heated debate as to whether they have reached the summit of Ben Lawyers or not! – we imagine this is a hot topic of conversation here as most walkers would not expect to be directed up another Munro before reaching the one they set out to climb.
Ben Lawyers now comes into view, higher than the Munro we are on, and only about 0.5Km further on, albeit with a considerable drop, then a climb of several hundred feet; alas we do not have the time to continue on and spend what time we do have admiring the view. An alternative route down presents itself – by continuing onto the col between us and Ben Lawyers, we can take it back down the valley offering a less steep return route, however we decide to stick to the route we came up on as the views are spectacular.