Climbing Ben More

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View of Lock na Keal from the top of Ben More

Ben More is the highest mountain in Mull and with an elevation of 966 m it is almost as high as Scafell Pike (England’s highest mountain). In fact, the climb is tougher as, unlike Scafell Pike, you start your Ben More ascent from sea level!

Ben More is classed as a munro, which is a Scottish mountain with a height of at least 3000 feet (914 m). Munro’s are named after Hugo Munro, who back in 1891, produced a list of Scottish munro’s.

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There is more than one route to the summit of Ben More. The easier route begins and ends at Loch na Keal where you can park your car and set off up the steady incline. It takes around 4 hours to reach the summit.

We did the more difficult route which starts and ends from the B8035 road and includes two steep ridges and some scrambling at the top! This route takes around 6 hours to reach the summit and another 2 or 3 back down again. This is not recommended unless you are reasonably fit and experienced in climbing mountains and particularly not in the winter or in poor weather conditions. Please don’t under estimate the level of difficulty of this climb!

We were fortunate to have perfect weather conditions for early May with clear blue sky and practically no wind. Also, at this time of the year, darkness doesn’t fall in Mull until around 10 pm which gives you a full day to ascend the mountain. We didn’t start our trek until after 11:00 am so we had plenty of daylight hours left.

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The lower boggy slopes of Ben More

We began by parking along the B8035 and walking through the boggy lower slopes. This is the point, 10 minutes into the trek, where Laura managed to accidentally dunk her leg in a hole where the water went over the top of her right knee and into her walking boot… So not a great start!

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Crystal clear streams

We continued to climb the boggy uneven slopes and had a refuelling stop next to the pretty stream above.

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Climbing the ridge of the first peak

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After more climbing (its quite a slog) and lunch we ascended the first of the two steep ridges. As we climbed higher, the stunning views opened up around us.

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The easier scrambling

We had to do some scrambling on both of the two peaks, i.e. climbing the mountain using your hands to steady yourself and lift yourself up. This was quite scary in places as we were literally hanging onto the edge of the mountain with a drop of hundreds of meters below…

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Not there yet…

Thankfully all 9 of us made it safely to the top and were rewarded with spectacular views of Mull.

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View from the top of Ben More

We followed the easier route down which began with slippery scree which thankfully soon became steep grass and rocks. Towards the bottom we encountered more uneven boggy ground, where again, Laura managed to over-balance and topple over…

Summary

As mentioned, this is a tough and demanding climb for the unfit or inexperienced trekking person and requires a reasonable level of fitness. The route we took lasted for over 8 hours… (although others in our group did it faster).

 

3 comments

  1. Beautiful! We’ve been watching the series “Outlander” which is filmed in Scotland and have been curious of visiting for the castles and hikes. Love the landscapes!

    Frank (bbqboy)

    Like

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