Despite the doctor advising I get plenty of rest rather than exercise, I couldn’t ignore the chance to bag my first island Monro during our holiday to the Isle of Mull last month.
I caught my first glimpse of Ben More on the bus journey from Craignure to Tobermory the day before, after arriving by ferry from Oban. The previous couple of days had seen the arrival of fresh snow, and on our journey up north through the Lake District everywhere was looking very white. Ben More was also still sporting the snow covered look.
Thursday morning we set off to drive to Ben More, spotting a couple of happy otters on the way. We climbed from Dhisig going by the relatively straightfoward up and down route. The weather was glorious. Such a contrast to my usual mountain experiences.
I was fearful of the bog factor on this walk however the ground was generally good at the start of the walk. I suspect it would be very squelchy after endless days of rain.
The going was steep however once past the boggy lower slopes, the path was a good rocky path. The only issue was snow and ice leading to deviations from the path, however we managed to weave our way upwards without trouble. I struggled with the conditions in places. My experience on snow and ice is very limited, so combined with the relentless steep climbing, it was a challenging walk.
After what felt like many hours, we made it to the sumit ridge, and then on through thick fresh snow to the top. Stunning views made it all worth it, although I always struggle to fully enjoy the top of a mountain when I’m feeling anxious about getting back down again. It was amazing being able to see out across to lots of islands in one direction and then over to the bigger mainlaind mountains in the other.
Getting back down was fine. A couple moments of shuffling on my bottom were required to navigate particularly icy sections but as always I need not have worried so much about how I would get down. I’m always better coming down than going up mountains!