Our blog - Lawers, 1 Aug'18

A blog of our mountain adventures in Scotland, hiking, biking, rock-scrambling and more !

Lawers Munros

1 August 2018
A guided day hiking the 7 Munros in the Lawers range above Loch Tay. Al Ewen was leading....

The Ben Lawers hills in highland Perthshire are a big draw for hillwalkers and are often among the first munros tackled by folk embarking on their munro-bagging odyssey. Being so accessible to Glasgow, Edinburgh and Perth; with a high starting point, great views and the prospect of bagging up to seven munros in one day, it's up there among Scotland's classic hill days.

I have made many trips to the Ben Lawers hills, in summer and winter, from different starting points and taking in different combinations of summits. Our planned hillwalk however was a point to point walk and perhaps the best and most efficient route for taking in all seven munros in one day.

The day began by leaving a car at the Ben Lawers hotel (£5 for a day) on the A827 by Loch Tay then driving on to the minor road that connects Loch Tay with Glen Lyon. We drove on up to a layby 500m north of Lochan na Lairige at an altitude of 550m. There I met with the rest of my group - six clients in all - ready to tackle the first of our seven munros - Meall a'Choire Leith.

The weather forecast for the day wasn't great: drizzle in the morning, then fog, then heavy rain from 3pm, with 30 mph winds. Hopefully, if we moved well, we'd have six of the seven hills done before the rain set. We started walking at 9am. At first we followed a fairly clear path but before long this became faint and indistinct and we followed the best line we could along sheep trods and deer tracks to Coire Gorm. We walked east up Coire Gorm and ascended to the ridge that connects Meall a'Choire Leith and Meall Corranaich. After only 1 hour 30 min we got to the top of Meall a'Choire Leith (926m) after only about 450m ascent from our starting point. From the summit we headed south and headed to the col for a short break, sheltering on the lee side of the ridge for a welcome break from the wind.

Our second Munro - Meall Corranaich - was reached after 30min of walking, then we headed east, down a steep path to the col below Beinn Ghlas. The 200m ascent of Beinn Ghlas can be taken straight on, following faint paths up steep grassy slopes. Instead I took my group along the by-pass path to the col just west of Ben Lawers. From there the ascent to Beinn Glas is very easy, along a gently-angled ridge and broad path. Back at the col just west of Ben Lawers we took another short break and lamented the long dry sunny weather we'd enjoyed in May and June. So far on our walk the visibility had been really poor. Thankfully though it hadn't been too wet.

The summit of Ben Lawers was reached in 20min. At an altitude of 1214m, Ben Lawers is the 10th heighest mountain in Scotland and just shy of 4000 feet. The fog was still thick at the summit so we pushed on north towards An Stuc. Delightfully, as we lost height, the cloud began to clear. It brightened up and we got some good views of An Stuc and Lochan na Cat to the east.

Having reached the summit of An Stuc - a fairly easy 20min ascent on a good path - we then had a choice of routes before us: we could follow the line of the ridge, and path, towards Meall Garbh down some steep, eroded ground; or, alternatively, for an easier line, aim down the north western slope of An Stuc. We decided we'd try the alternate line. After 200m, the ground levelled off and I looked for a sheep trod that traverses across to the col. Some Scottish Black faced sheep obligingly showed us the way and in a few minutes we were at the col and back on the main ridge. Everyone agreed it was straighforward and much easier looking than the normal line above us.

Our sixth hill of the day was Meall Garbh. Back in the fog we didn't linger long at the summit and descended down to an 840m col. Bang on 3pm the rain started, just as had been forecasted. The seventh and last munro of the day - Meall Greigh - was an easy 2km walk with only 160m ascent. At the top we congratulated with high fives and photos then began the 4km descent to the Ben Lawers hotel. The round of the seven Ben Lawers hills is about 20km with 1750m ascent. It took us 8 hours 30min and despite the poor vis everyone really enjoyed the day.

The photos are by Angela Scott and Peter Bradshaw.

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