50th Munro – A Scottish Mountain day.

We were heading to Scotland to hopefully tick off a few more Munro’s.  A Munro is a mountain in Scotland over 3,000 feet or 914 metres and there are quite alot of them.  As usual when we head to Scotland there seemed to be a degree of uncertainty about the weather in the week ahead, apart from Monday, where there was a high degree of confidence for dreadful conditions.
Plans were changed and aspirations modified but we settled for an early start on Ben Challum (Beinn Challuim) a solitary Munro to the north of the Crianlarich to Tyndrum road.  By 08.40 we had parked the car and were heading up the mountain, in surprisingly dry conditions.  As we knew only too well, this wasn’t going to last.
Although we have always used paper maps and continue to carry a variety of superb maps produced by the Ordnance Survey and Harvey this was the first time that I had used the Viewranger App on my phone in the mountains, I had used it before in coastal environments so was aware of its potential.
The cloud base dropped and the rain increased as we made our way up the ridge, initially to Ben Challum South Top, a Munro top before continuing to the main summit.  Visibility was pretty restricted so we saw absolutely nothing from the top.
The descent was clearly quicker but quite entertaining.  The rocks were very greasy, requiring care but even with the extra stability of our walking poles we both hit the ground on a couple of occasions.  There was so much water running down the hillside that possibly our best preparation would have been a couple of hours on a stand up paddle board, to improve our balance on moving water.
On the mountain we didn’t see another person but amazingly in the couple of hundred metres back to the car with coincided with the West Highland Way we saw 18 other walkers.  We had completed our day but were aware that many of them still had some distance to go in what was becoming heavy and persistent rain.
Looking at the Viewranger app we were able to obtain the following statistics, amongst others:
Length: 7.35 miles
Total Ascent: 3202 feet
Maximum elevation: 3344 feet
It will be interesting to see how these compare to our future walks in the coming months.

Nicky
Nicky starting up the path on the northern side of Ben Challum. Clouds are starting to drop.
Deer Fence
Crossing the deer fence. I can’t remember seeing another sideways stile.
Fence
For quite a lot of the ascent the path follows the line of a fence. Making navigation fairly straightforward.
Mountain top
Me on the south summit of Ben Challum. The rain had really set in.
Ben Challum
Taken with ViewRanger app. The Skyline feature names the geographical features which are within the field of view. Unfortunately it doesn’t take weather conditions into account because we couldn’t see anything.
Stream
Nicky descending from the south summit of Ben Challum. On the way up this had just been a gentle stream The water was rising rapidly.
River
Crossing the bridge across the River Fillan on our return. On the way out shingle banks had been visible but the rising waters had covered them.