I've reported on the equivalent 1985 trip here, and the 1986 trip here. There may be more reports in due course...
There follows the diary entry for the trip, written mostly by Ian and Laurie. I've added a couple of maps, and inserted the pictures roughly where appropriate.
29 to 31 January 1988 - Another Ardlui Amble
Friday (Diarist: Ian)
Everyone except JM assembled in Manchester at 4:30 to 5 pm to be picked up by
Martin. That's Dave, Ian and Laurie. Reached Carlisle
at 7:34, just as John walked out of the station.
After a swift Little Chef visit, we arrived at Ardlui just
after closing time. Shame. Pitched tents in the dry, on the soggy campsite -
it's very mild. Good drive by Martin.
Saturday (Still Ian)
Weather dry - left campsite about 9:15 and drove round to a
parking space beyond Tyndrum to attempt Ben Lui. The stepping stones mentioned
in the SMC guide failed to materialise so Martin Dave and John cross with boots
on, while Ian and Laurie paddled across in bare feet. (See above.) Dave and John got wet
feet but Martin's 2-day old Scarpa Manta
5 Speeds didn't leak or give blisters!
The path then led up the side of Eas Daimh, where
Ian misidentified the mountain we were aiming for.
path then headed up the hillside beyond a deer fence.
Everyone was getting hot, and started to remove clothing. After
protestations from the rest of the group, Laurie kept his trousers on but added
visual pollution to the noise pollution of his Walkman by removing his shirt.
The trail got fairly icy as we overtook another party (they
were psyched out by the sight of Laurie, who eventually put a shirt on after
complaining of icicles under the armpits!)
The white out on top was such that everyone - especially
John - was worried about inadvertently walking off the edge of the ridge. The
white out also gave extreme trouble in identifying the summit. Dave still
thinks we didn't reach it.
After a short rest we set off down to the col for lunch. Unfortunately
we set out in the wrong direction (SSE) and only realised after several
lunchtime cols had been passed - each lower than the last!
A long contour around the mountain solved the problem,
ending with Martin almost walking over the edge of the ridge we were aiming for.
We then descended to the col we had originally aimed for at lunchtime, during
which time the party inadvertently split up when Dave, John and Laurie failed
to keep up with Ian and Martin's slithering. So Ian and Martin slowly set off
up Beinn a' Chleibh, looking for the others (who had stopped to put crampons on
- so we wouldn't have seen them) and reach the top without a struggle.
The weather was getting unpleasant so we finished Martin's
coffee and descended fairly rapidly, Ian nearly going over the edge this time,
until we got back to the col. We then set off down to the Eas Daimh and saw the
others almost immediately. (They seemed not too pleased at not being able to
keep up!) An uneventful bum slide and walk back followed.
(Continued by Martin)
Dave and John adjourned to Martin's Vango Mark 4 in squalidity,
whilst Laurie, Ian and Martin adjourned to Martin's Vango Mark 5 with extended
flysheet in Lauridity.
At best the noxious vapours which jet propelled Dave up the
hill were not present in our tent. However, the ubiquitous snoring of our
neighbours which had given Ian a sleepless night on Friday was evident even at
this hour (6 o'clock).
We had in fact had a pleasant splosh back across the river,
this time Laurie being the only extreme person to remove shoes and socks to
By this time our view of the red sky was accompanied by a
tired Glaswegian who finished up in the boot of the Sierra, with all the
rucksacks, for a lift back to Tyndrum.
Lots of nosh, Earl Grey, etc, Laurie being the most
imaginative, and benefiting from Martin's condiments; Ian doing quite well
despite a lack of stove. The Mark 5 occupants miraculously avoid any major
spillage / disasters.
Also the Mark 5 is accompanied by resident, universal size
type, WELLIES, not courtesy of Tyndrum's Green Welly Shop, but it still works,
courtesy of Roger Freeman and British Rail, and not of wallies looking for
donations to their pool fund, (which Martin and Ian willingly give).
Quite a late start, with two brews and a truncated breakfast
consisting mostly of biscuits. It started to rain heavily when we thought about
de-camping - the pace picked up as the rain thinned. Ian pushed the packs into
the back of the car with effective enthusiasm (perhaps he was assisted in this
by the contents of a mystery package marked 'Produce of Colombia').
Once loaded, we decided on Beinn Narnain, the first Munro
that anyone mentioned. Laurie realised he was navigating about 100 yards before
Succoth, our starting point (just past Arrochar). There were a lot of cars
parked by Succoth already.
Ascent of the valley side was steep and direct, following
the remains of a mine-wagon hauling railway littered with interesting black glistening
stones. Then a contouring track led round into the Allt a' Bhalachain valley
which separates Beinn Narnain from The Cobbler.
Soon this became wet and boggy, so we ascended over soft
ground and soft wet snow into a coire leading to the middle of the summit ridge.
The snow thickened and the way got steep: progress was tiring with
unpredictably sinking steps. The sun made faint-hearted appearances as we came
on to the ridge. The final ascent twisted round blocks of rock and small crags,
interesting enough in parts to discourage Dave from going to the top.
Laurie hacked the trig point number free of ice and recorded
it in his filofax.
Careful descent to the col and Dave, then back along the
ridge. The way off involved a climb down of about 20 feet with extremely cold handholds
- which we put off a while by having our lunch first.
Back at the car much too late for John's Carlisle train
connection - hence a more interesting journey to Manchester
via Penrith and Darlington.