Date: Saturday 6th April 2013
Start: Start of Coishavachan track, Glen Lednock
Weather: Clear Skies
Time taken: 1 Hours 56 Minutes
Ascent: 715 metres
Accompanied by: No One
Munro: Ben Chonzie (931 metres)
he entry for Ben Chonzie in ‘The Ultimate Guide to the Munros’ states that Ben Chonzie is a dull mountain in dull country. Not a great endorsement for the closest Munro to my home and with over 150 down still unclimbed. I guess I have been putting this one off for a while although when we climbed Auchnafree Hill back in 2010, there was a decent view across to Ben Chonzie and it did not look that bad at all. It had been left in ‘my back pocket’ for a day like today when I only had a few hours available and was after a quick mountain fix. With snow still prevalent and blue skies it should be a decent outing. I would be tackling Ben Chonzie from Glen Lednock so without further ado, I loaded the car and set off.
I arrived just over an hour later and was surprised at the amount of cars parked up but it was a decent day and I was a little later than normal. The route up to the top seemed straightforward. On the Walk Highlands website it gave a time of between four and five hours. I intended to run it up and down so was hoping to complete it in sub two hours. An hour there and back in the car would give me a total time of about four hours from home to summit and back.
The ascent was about 710 metres and with a good layer of snow this would be pretty tough. I set off up the track towards the houses at Coishavachan and then onto a wide Land Rover track that ascended uphill. I kept the pace slow but steady and made fast progress up towards a small dam on the Invergeldie Burn before switching back and heading steeply uphill. According to the guide book the path turns boggy but I had now hit the snowline so progress was not hampered. I was running well and it did not take long to start passing walkers on their way up. As I gained height I made the call to put on my Microspikes. By this time I had ascended about 500 metres non-stop so it was good to take a breather.
With traction restored I made the ridge and picked a set of fence posts that led to the summit. It was a gentle run to the summit and it had took me one hour fifteen minutes. I took five minutes to admire the views down to Loch Turrent then retraced my steps and headed back down at full pelt arriving back at the car in little under two hours. Happy days!
I am not sure whether it was the endorphin rush but as I reached the car i put my camera on the roof thinking to myself that I better not drive off and leave it there. What did I do? Yes you guessed it, I promptly drove off only to remember 800 metres down the road. Oh crap! I quickly turned the car round and headed back to where I had parked. It was nowhere to seen. I walked back up the lane to where I had turned back. Surely it could not have stayed on the roof for more than a few metres? It was to no avail, I could not find it.
Oh well, time to phone Emma and inform her that I had lost camera number three on a mountain trip. I was not that bothered about the camera, it was more the fact that I had lost the pictures. Dejectedly I got back in the car and set off back home. How to ruin an amazing run! As I approached the point where I had turned around, something told me to stop and have another quick look. I walked back up the lane and in the corner of my eye I noticed something glistening in the sun. It was the metal contacts on the SD Card. Yippee!! A quick search nearby and I found a somewhat bashed camera and then the battery. It did not look in good shape but when I put it back together it worked just fine. Next time I am going to tie it around my neck with a piece of string!! 🙂