Ben Challum - A webteam walk for charity

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By Chris Mac on 14/09/15 at 11:47pm

Date started:22/05/2015
Distance:11.9 km or 7.4 miles
Ascent:1004m or 3294ft
Time taken:5:00

Paul O'Gorman Leukaemia Research Centre - Munro Challenge

The University of Glasgow Web team climbed Ben Challum on 22 May 2015 in aid of Paul O'Gorman Leukaemia Research Centre and raised £285. A big thanks to everyone who sponsored us!

A fairly tough walk due to the lack of a decent path for most of the way up. We did the standard route from Kirkton Farm up the first grassy hill. Very boggy in places and a bit of a leg burner due to a few ascents and descents, especially before the final phase and no doubt due to my lack of hill fitness which was improving due to recent hillwalks.

So, on to the walk...

We parked at the lay by next to the main road between Crianlarich and Tynedrum and made our way across the bridge and along the road to Kirkton Farm:

Passing by the farm and just before we head up the hill towards the railway crossing a couple of old graveyards come into view:

We followed the path up and crossed the railway:

The first hill is a bit of a steep and boggy struggle with not much in the way of a path to find although we were maybe going a bit more direct than the standard route:

Looking back down the hill, time to get the map out and double check we're on target:

This way...

Eagle-eyed Craig spotted a tiny frog on the way up, careful where you put your feet!

Steve looking every bit like a Scottish shepherd!

Onwards to the mist...

Looking back down towards Crianlarich:

Time for another map check since the path is still nowhere to be seen and the landscape is a bit lunar!

Some rain hit us so a quick change into the waterproofs and we were on the way again:

We snaked our way around the small hillocks at the top of the first ascent and stopped for a wee break before continuing on. We found the path at last and headed through the old wooden gate, there's the summit of Ben Challum now, teasing us in the distance and to the left of the Munro top which we would be heading towards first:

We followed the fence along, dodging some more boggy ground:

A shot looking back towards Ben Lui which is covered in cloud:

At least during phase two we can see our destination which encourages us to push onwards along the path:

It's quite barren up here and the surrounding peaks and lochans provide some nice scenery:

The view south towards Ben More, also covered in clouds:

Hmm, what's this? Looks like we have a bit of a descent to do before a big, steep climb into the clouds! Starting to feel a bit like Jack and the beanstalk territory now! :D

I quickly check out the view to take my mind off what's ahead...

Right, let's do this!

Down we go... my legs are not going to enjoy this!

The disconcerting view from the bottom, time to head back up, jings it's another steep one, why did you guys choose this Munro?! :lol:

A small plateau allows us to catch our breath:

Our advanced scouting party begin to disappear into the clouds ahead of us, I should have got a bit more practice in before doing this haha! :roll:

Onwards and upwards we climb, at least we have a path and the remains of a fence to follow for this stage:

We're catching the guys ahead at last...

Bad weather doesn't seem to phase Rick at all while the rest of us are wrapped up!

The summit at last.... except it isn't, it's the secondary south Munro top of Ben Challum!

We bypass the Munro top which now annoys me having made all that effort to not bag the subsiduary summit, but in hindsight at least I have another reason to head up Ben Challum again in the future... :crazy:

To be honest by this point the old legs are a bit tired from all the ascending and descending to get to this point so i'm happy to head towards the snow covered ridge and the true summit cairn of Stob Glas to the north! :D

Follow the snow line and ye shall be rewarded!

I'm not sure why we all suddenly split like this but it made for a great photo!

Along the easy ridge we go and the weather is clearing up a little:

A panoramic shot looking north towards the southern tip of the Grampian Mountains:

A bit chiller up here now but we press on:

The view looking east down Glen Lochay:

Right then, let's get this done:

Up we go for the final ascent, some of us have tired legs by this point but already the thought of a few more ascents after our main descent is playing on my mind!

Looking back along the snow covered ridge towards the Munro top of Ben Challum:

Right, stop taking photo's and catch up!

We made it at last! Time for some cheesy posing photo's now we've reached the summit cairn! :D

Thanks Steve, one of me too for the record!

Perfect timing... our view is now obscured due to clouds having made it all this way, typical!! :roll:

Time for a few panoramic shots from the top of the cairn:

Don't head that way whatever you do, cliff ahoy!

The view down Glen Lochay again:


Another shot of Glen Lochay which is pretty big looking:

Time for a Gibson snow angel before we head off! :)

As we head back down the clouds clear and we get treated to a nice view of Crianlarich and the mountains beyond:

Ben Oss and Ben Lui in the distance to the right if i'm not mistaken, still getting used to knowing my hilly surroundings!

Heading back down is much easier than the trek to the top and with better weather it's quite an enjoyable view as well. We head to the fence in front and veer right to follow it down and get Steve's bag:

Hmm, I'm actually glad we didn't go up Ben Oss or Ben Lui, they look even trickier than Ben Challum!

Looking back up the hill as we descend next to the deer fence:

We are soon in lusher, green surroundings again and Steve the Shepherd has his bag again! :) You can see Kirkton Farm and the road back to the car on the left:

We cross the railway, have a final look at the mountains to the south and return to the car:

A fun but tiring walk and one involving quite a bit of navigation before you can find the proper path, not to mention very boggy conditions but it was worth it and the web team have completed a Munro which happens to be my second. Perhaps not the most common second Munro but i'm really starting to enjoy hill-bagging and can see me doing quite a bit more of this now! Although to be honest, it's less about the competitive element of the bagging and more about enjoying the scenery and visiting places i've not seen before along with seeing such spectacular views of Scotland. And if you can help a charity then all the better.

Well done web team, a great team effort, looking forward to doing it again next year, until then, I have some more walks to plan...! :D

By rockhopper on 18/09/15 at 7:04am

That looked good - but snow angels :roll: It's a good hill particularly for winter days when the boggy sections can be frozen over - cheers :)

By Chris Mac on 29/09/15 at 11:42pm

That looked good - but snow angels :roll: It's a good hill particularly for winter days when the boggy sections can be frozen over - cheers :)

It was and in the defence of my colleague the snow angel was only done to keep his 6 year old daughter happy! :D

I'd have preferred some less cloudy views but what I did see of the surrounding hills, Ben Lui and Ben More in particular, were great and both of those are high on my to-do list as they look like crackers from afar.

I wasn't too keen on the boggy hill climb to start with so I can imagine it would be much better in winter and also not too risky compared to some other winter climbs, perhaps good to go back to for some winter practice at some point and also bag the top which we managed to avoid! No more top missing for me from now on but it gives me the excuse to return when it's a clearer day.

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