My friend Reuben, who is a very keen walker, climber and hiker has been showing me the a side of Mull that many people never see. “Off Piste” hiking I would call it. He is very experienced at walking on Mull, and all over the world really and he has been teaching me “the ways”.
He has taken me around the inland hills and some coastal walks including the Carsaig Arches and the walks have been wonderful. The Carsaig walk was an adventure in itself. Setting off early one December morning to first walk above the Arches on the cliffs, looking over 300m drops and then coming down to sea level to then walk back along the coast. We set off in the dark and got back in the dark. A real adventure.
He then decided that we should attempt a more challenging walk to the summit of Creach Beinn which we did in early January when the peak was covered in snow. This was very challenging for me but brilliant never the less.
Anyway, a weather window appeared in the forecasts on Monday (08/02/2021) for the following day and we decided to walk to the top of Ben More. There are several routes, one including a ridge and a bit of a scramble at the end (according to Reuben) or the easy and safe path straight to the top. I am very inexperienced and not as fit as I could be and the “more interesting” walk seemed a little beyond me especially with the snow and ice. Having now seen this more interesting route, I am quite sure I would not have been able to complete it in the conditions. Terrifying is the word I think.
The walk was hard, but not as difficult as the Creach Beinn summit and from sea level to the top took us just over 2 hours, which in the conditions, and bearing in mind the massive handicap I am – seems very reasonable. You can see the view(s) from the summit below.
Descending was actually much more difficult as I am sure you can imagine and some of the small ice fields we had to traverse were a little taxing on the nerves. We returned via a different route taking in a small river valley and gorge which Reuben assures me is a great walk in itself on a warm day to have a swim in some of the pools.
Having lived here for nearly 4 years I thought it about time that I was able to say that I had summited Ben More and now I have in the most extraordinary way.