Anything but boring – Ben Chonzie

It is obvious that some mountains are more interesting and/or challenging than others and at times the write up they receive in guide books is less than complementary.  Ben Chonzie is one of the mountains which falls into this category. We decided to ignore the written cautions, believing that any mountain in full winter conditions has to be interesting.
As we drove up the narrow Glen Lednock a red kite flew up in from of us, surely a positive omen.  Other people had clearly had the same idea as the small car park was virtually full.  The initial route followed a well defined track which gradually disappeared under a covering of snow.  The snow was largely unconsolidated as we floundered our way uphill.  The thought of breaking a trail through the snow without the benefit of walking poles didn’t bear thinking about.
Ben Chonzie is the highest point in a large area of moorland and reputed to have a healthy population of mountain hares, although we didn’t see any on our day on the mountain.   Cameron McNeish, in his book on “The Munros”, states that it has “…. a reputation of being one of the dullest Munros in the land”.  It is easy to imagine that in the summer the long walk in along the land rover track wouldn’t be the most interesting way to spend a day in the mountains but on a bright winters day, with the snow down low, then Ben Chonzie (the 250th highest Munro)  is a hill well worth considering.
Beautiful walking conditions.
Cutting a track through the deeper snow, our route had followed the line of the valley , which is discernible behind Nicky.
Heading up the slopes, using previous footsteps was no guarantee that you wouldn’t fall through to your waist.
As we followed the broad ridge towards the summit, snow was blown across the slopes and at times stinging our faces.
On the summit.  It was bitterly cold in the wind so it was a case of a quick sandwich before heading for the shelter of the lower slopes.