The original dates we had booked were due to circumstances cancelled but we had shifted our booking a few weeks forward. In hindsight this was a godsend as the tail end of Hurricane Katia battered the west coast of Scotland and dropped almost half the Atlantic as rain, not camping weather I think.
The weekend chosen was the first one in October not known for its balmy weather but we arrived on Mull at Craignure on the Saturday.
We decided to recce our prospective route to More’s summit. We left our campsite and wended through the single track roads which are the norm on the island and arrived at the beach parking spot at Dhiseig (NM 494359). The hill strangely looked a bit less than its height, a quick run through the route and off we headed back to Craignure.
The weather forecast was not promising, there was possibly a weather window of no rain between 13.00 and 18.00 but this was to prove very wrong as the rain poured continuously from 1am until 6.30 am Sunday morning.
Equipment and scran were prepared and after a hearty brekkie, the Discovery was packed and off we set to our destination. The weather had dried but there was mist still showing on the tops as we headed towards our start point.
We arrived at Dhiseig and our summit was clear, time to get moving, I had called Neil 2MØNCM earlier to post an alert on the SOTA site as the internet connection had been a bit flaky so 14.00 UTC was the target.
Off we set and headed up a rough track and passed the keepers cottage and headed on to open hillside through a gate, the first part of the route kept us to the left of the Abhainn Dhiseig burn, the ground was boggy at times but slow progress was made and as I had badly sprained my right ankle four weeks earlier and was still not 100%, I had made a note if I felt any discomfort or pain I would just turn around and head back down.
The first mile was over rising grassy land and it soon changed after we crossed the burn and headed on to a much rockier and broken path. The pace was slowing down here as we picked our way up this path knowing the last steep push was looming near. Slowly but steadily we rose as there is not much respite as the climb is continuous. A scran break was had just below what was our last stage of the ascent, a steep scree filled area with a ridge leading to a steep final rise to the summit plateau.
As expected the views were getting better as we rose, a sunny day makes all the difference.
Off we trudged, slowly making up height with the usual encouraging words from those ascending, I had spoken to a lad heading down who said that a couple were drinking champagne to celebrate their completion of the Munro list. Ben More seems to be a popular last hill for many.
Plodding up and up the landscape turned from a grassy, boggy and rocky area into a rock strewn landscape with a path snaking its way upwards, I met the couple from Edinburgh who had boozed at the top and congratulated them on their feat, I still have 270 odd to do…after a quick chat and the promise of the summit within reach, I struck out for the top and within minutes, I arrived at the summit plateau and a few hundred yards away was the summit shelter in which the ruined Trig Point ( search and see the original Trig Point) still shows its base. Roddy had almost got his four contacts to activate the hill, Patsy soon arrived.
I had decided a 70s day, 4M FM and 70cm FM so the 4m JPole was set up but before I called out, I spoke with Iain, WJZ who was on Beinn Chaorach and Robin, PKT was on Beinn Lora. Two ‘summit to summit’ to start the day !
I called out on 4M and eventually raised three contacts, Angus BCA who was on South Uist, club member Brian HMZ who was in the Howwood area and finally using only a handie, Bill RBR on the Isle of Skye. I next nipped back on to 2m to speak with Neil, 2MØNCM who had driven to Ballantrae to try to catch us, it was good to return the points as it is generally us ‘chasing’ Neil. Jack COX was next to call in from near Law in Lanarkshire whilst my last 2m contact was Graeme 2MØGIL who was portable in the Mugdock area in the north-west area of Glasgow.
I was speaking to a couple who taken the ridge scramble from a’Chioch and they had mentioned the ‘airyness’ of the drop just next to us. I had a quick look and approx 1,100 ft below was the next stop after where we stood…I resisted the temptation to ask them to step back as I took some photos of them.
Sadly the weather over the rest of the country was wet and windy, there had been only a handful of activations down south so hopes of G and GW contacts disappeared but our weather was as if we had hand-picked it. After the usual round of photographs, we decided to head off the hill.
Heading slowly back down, it was more concentration on foot falls for me but after only one little slip on level ground, I eventually reached the set off point as darkness fell, I was in contact with Roddy and Patsy who arrived 10 mins later and yes, the weather window then closed, it started to drizzle first then rain lightly.
We drove back to Craignure, tired but elated.
One statistic I must mention, Ben More is the 7th highest hill in the UK as its prominence is exactly the same as it’s height – see table HERE
Please feel free to click on the images below for better size and quality pictures, the panorama photo was taken from near the junction of the A849 and B8035 (OS ref NM 544292).
My own take on it..
A cracking hill to do plus also to enjoy the delights of Mull, one hill not to be forgotten, it was busy as expected on such a glorious day, the sunny day had been the icing on the cake.
I had badly sprained an ankle trying to get some legwork and fitness up for the original trip and over the following four weeks, the ankle wasn’t healing as fast as I hoped. I guess in my advancing years things take longer to heal but after a lot of rest and a total last week of rest, my ankle held up although it still aches on occasion. It can rest now… GM/SI 003 is in the bag…
I’ll do another piece on the other things we done on Mull and the diversions on our trip back home from Oban…soon
Ben More is the highest point on the Isle of Mull.
In Gaelic it means ‘ Big mountain’
It is 966m (3,169) ASL
Geohack Info HERE