Ben Lawers - The Easy Munro
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How can the 10th highest mountain in Britain be described as easy?
Well, the path is in good condition, well drained and so relatively free from boggy ground. It is mostly even terrain with just a hint of a kick upwards near the summit. The most significant factor however is that someone was kind enough to build a road and car park nearby that gives us a 500m head start on the 1214m peak, meaning that we 'only' need to climb 700m to reach the top!
Ok, so 'easy' might be a stretch but this is certainly a straightforward ascent and one of the easier Munros. This makes it ideal for anyone wishing to get back into hill walking or wishing to conquer their first Munro, plus it will be one of the highest.
For that reason we will be marking it as suitable for beginners but please bear in mind that this means beginners to Munro-ing and not beginners to any kind of outdoor walking.
Please note that we will be undertaking this walk in the late autumn, meaning that weather may be unpredictable. The leader will pay close attention to the weather as the event approaches and issue further guidance but please pay attention to the suggested clothing in the What to Bring section below. Boots, walking trousers, full waterproofs, hat and gloves are essentials, jeans and trainers are just not suitable.
What to bring
Please pack according to the weather. The route may be muddy in places, hiking boots, waterproofs, warm clothing, a small rucksack, food and drink are recommended.
Boots: Hiking boots are arguably the most essential piece of kit when hiking just about anywhere. Walkers should make sure that their boots are both waterproof and breathable, and provide good ankle support. Boots should also be in good condition.
Socks: A good comfy pair of walking socks is essential really; they keep your feet warm and drier than normal socks.
Gaiters: Gaiters attach to the bottom of walking boots and extend to just under the knee. They provide waterproofing for the bottom half of the leg. They are not essential to have but you will feel the difference if you have them when walking through muddy or boggy ground - which is almost guaranteed in Scotland.
Walking Trousers: You should have a suitable pair of trousers for walking in, jeans are not suitable as they take on water when wet and will make you cold. The same goes for jogging pants/tracksuit clothing.
Waterproof Trousers: Waterproof trousers are essential in case of wet weather. They are also good to be worn as a second layer as they can act as a windproof barrier, keeping the legs warm.
Base Layer: A breathable base layer should be chosen in order to let sweat escape from the body. This could be a cheaper sports top or you could go top of the range with a merino wool top. Avoid cotton T-Shirts as these will become damp and uncomfortable when climbing a mountain.
Other Layers: On top of your base layer, you can have a variety of options such as a micro fleece, a fleece jacket or a rugby/sports top can sometimes be good. Having one or two additional layers gives you flexibility when the weather is changeable - the more layers, the more flexible you can be in adapting to the weather.
Waterproof Jacket: A good waterproof jacket is one of the most important pieces of kit you will require when hiking. Walkers should look for a jacket that is both waterproof and breathable in order for them to be protected from sweat. Materials such as Gore-tex are often the best choices but they can be expensive unless you shop sensibly, don't forget your OutdoorLads discount for Full Members at Cotswold outlets.
Hat: As most heat is lost through the head a good hat is essential. Consider carrying a second one in case your first blows away (it happens).
Gloves: Gloves are essential in the colder months, windproof or better still waterproof gloves are the best choice. Consider carrying a second pair in case your first ones get wet or blow away.
Rucksack: A good Rucksack that is comfortable to wear is essential, and required to carry both food and equipment. Day sacks should have a capacity of around 30 litres. As an option you could store your items in waterproof bags inside just in-case or ensure the bag has a waterproof bag to pull over the top.
Emergency Equipment: The leader of the group will normally carry some emergency items, but you are welcome to bring your own such as spare energy food, survival bag, personal first aid kit, head torch and a whistle. It is not essential that you bring all or any of these items but it will do no harm if you do bring.
Map & Compass: If you want to learn to be a leader or you just like to know where you are, then you can bring a map that covers the area. If you are not sure which map to bring, just message the leader. It is best to bring your map either in a map case or purchase maps which are waterproof.
Mobile Phone: If you choose to bring your phone, then you are well advised to buy a waterproof bag or if that is not possible a simple food/freezer bag will suffice.
Food & drink
Bring a packed lunch to replace the calories you will be expending and ensure you also have plenty of water and spare food in your rucksack. Complex carbohydrates will serve you better than sugary snacks, save those for emergency energy in the latter stages. A hot drink in a flask may be welcome too.