Naked Munros
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Ben Lawers

(Written by Stuart)

Ben Lawers is a popular Munro, so we decided to camp by the road nearby, so we could set off first thing in the morning. We'd camped in the area previously and knew a good spot, so it was after a good night's sleep that we set off for Ben Lawers from the visitors centre just before 6am.

We were going to avoid Ben Ghlas, so at the large boulder just past the nature reserve, we took the left fork in the path that took us round towards Ben Ghlas's north face.

As we ascended round the north face, the cloud descended and the path in places became rockier and more interesting. The sheer majesty of the bowl we were in revealed itself through the clouds, providing us with some good photo opportunitites.

As we reached the Lawers/Ghlas col, we began the final push to the summit. It had changed since I was last here - it seems that some work on the path had been done in the last 15 years, and it was such a short and easy ascent to the summit that I was surprised when the trig point and cairn suddenly appeared out of the mist.

And to our surprise, given the early hour, we also saw the head and shoulders of a fellow hillwalker emerge from behind the cairn as well. I knew Ben Lawers was a busy mountain, but I wasn't expecting this! We exchanged pleasantries, but within a few minutes he was gone and we had the place to ourselves to get some photos.

Well, we had the place to ourselves for a short while. Just as I was getting into the spirit of running around naked another walker approached the summit, but fortunately he made enough noise for me to be dressed by the time he arrived. He lingered, making small talk but once he left we again had the summit to ourself, and we had a chance to really explore the photographic potential of this environment. The summit was covered in broken cloud, with glimpses of lochs below and the summits around us only occasionally visible through the dense cloud. It made for an eerie environment, with paths and ridges coming in and out of view. We felt almost entirely isolated from the rest of the world, both exposed and protected at the same time.

After lingering for some time on the summit we had thought of continuing on to An Stuc, but a view down the path revealed what resembled an ant trail coming up the hill below us and we knew this place was about to get very busy indeed!

We descended the way we came, an uneventful but delightful stroll, all the way back to the car park. By now it was full, with dozens of people, some getting ready to set off for the summit of Ben Lawers, some just here for the view. As we set off home, we made a mental note for future busy munros - get up even earlier!

Photographic details