I find no point in what I consider a waste of time. My line of thought does not believe in the significance of climbing to tick boxes. Climbing Munros? Having said all that here is Ben Lomond a Munro Classic.
Loch Lomond and The Trossachs is a jewel in the Scottish landscape. Staying in a lodge for a week’s walking offered a degree of comfort I am not normally used to, as most of my trips take place under tarp or siliconised fly sheet. This was the equivalent of 5 star luxury in my mind.
Exploring the surrounding area in my own time was a lovely break from the rigours of wild camping. Once you have spent a night wild on the hills in a remote part of Great Britain, or anywhere in the world for that matter, it’s hard not to look for spots where you would like to pitch. It’s impossible not to wonder what that view would look like in the early morning as you peek your head out of the tent door. There plenty of those moments on my walk up Ben Lomond.
My climb up Ben Lomond the classic munro began on a hot and sticky day, leaving the lodge and heading towards the start of the track. I felt a sense of anticipation as this was indeed my first Munro.
Working up a sweat now with the steep stuff, luckily the path evens out and you get a section of relatively flat ground. Passing through the high wooden gate with ‘Ben Lomond Area’ written on, you once again start to climb upwards but not before stopping and admiring the view.
The weather was clear, the temperature hot and walkers out in force. Surrounded by stunning scenery and great visibility it was no wonder that so many people had come out to enjoy the day.
The last challenge presents itself as a flat easy scramble up a face to the summit, and then you are on the top. First thing is that you feel great. Then you look North to the Highlands, a panorama of peaks and valleys. I still have that view in my mind of a mysterious North not yet giving up its secrets to a simple climber of the most southern Munro. I must return and head further North.
The decent is even better. Working a different set up muscles and getting that brain thinking with a scramble right away. The first 15 minutes are tough going with steep drops each side and an intense wind adding to the atmosphere. A dramatic difference in scenery too, with the North staring down at you. Filling your vision with its peaks and the empty hill sides surrounding you strewn with erosion debris. It’s completely different to the southern approach as conditions are harder, colder and wetter.
Walking away from the summit towards Bealach Buidhe. Then onwards towards Ptarmigan with it’s amazing landscape. The views of the cold North changing to Loch Lomond, shimmering in the sun shine. Following the ridge back down you pass a few tiny tarns that due to the wind did not reflect the peaks from opposite the Loch. Shame as it would have made an amazing photograph.
The climb is slow back towards the tarmac, passing off the exposed land to a steep section of warm bracken lined hillside; the path gets very thin and delicate. The thought of countless ticks, hiding in the bracken. I kept foot and leg placement in the forefront of my mind.
The path continues in a very straight line parallel to the Loch eventually ending up back in the thin Birch forest that accompanies the start of the walk. Great to rest the legs, great to climb Ben Lomond and great memories to take away with you. Even though many people were climbing that day, it was you and your thoughts that went with you to the top (along with plenty of water!).
Getting a feeling of challenge is well worth the effort, well worth the ache (from doing it all over again, yes I climbed it again the next day). Ben Lomond a munro classic.