Ben Lomond a Munro Classic 2011/08/17
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
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.
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
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. -Sunny