Ben Lomond - 974m
Thursday 5th July 2007
Thursday 5th July 2007
Weather/Conditions: Overcast all the way up, although calm. and no rain! The visibility was about 10 meters above 2800 feet, with some gaps around.
Distance/Ascent/Time: 11km / 1000m / 6h
Accompanying: Alex Williams
We were driven out to Rowardennan by kind parents of mine and after searching for the start of the path we began at about 11.30am. Many of the trees that were on the slopes around the path had now been felled and it was mostly just open space with stumps everywhere - back in 2001 it was thick with forestry. I found the initial stages to be tiring, but we worked on upwards and to be honest there isn't a lot to say about taking the track upwards.
By midday we were making fair progress and continued to fire on up the mountain. I didn't take many pictures on the way up: a result of low camera battery and desire for a summit picture. By the time we reached 2000 feet, things stopped being so dull when the clouds closed in and the ridge began narrowing. We passed two eccentric Canadian women who did not hesitate to have a good chat with us, although we eventually went on ahead of them - we held a strong pace upwards. We ascended into the cloud and although such an occurrence is unwelcome to many hill walkers it seems, I'd enjoyed walking through the cloud - it was something a bit unusual to many days walking in sunshine.
By the time we reached summit ridge we saw the north side of the mountain through a gap in the clouds. I have to say, it looked pretty damn impressive. Moving on, we walked up the last section and reached the summit a few minutes later (1.55pm). When we arrived there was almost no one there so we took photos and had some lunch, although people soon arrived and the two Canadians came by again. I finished the rest of my food and sometimes the summit partially cleared itself of cloud. Only briefly though.
Alex wanted to descend by Ptarmigan ridge and although I knew there was a path on it, it looked pretty steep so I was unsure. It turned out the Canadian and a German woman we're going that way so we decided we'd tag along and ended up chatting to them. We left the summit at 2.45pm and the walk down was great. It was very relaxed, and I stopped thinking about our progress. As a result we went at a snail's pace and headed over the path downwards. It took us four hours to get down and at about 500 feet up, I phoned mum and said we'd nearly be down.
Eventually Alex and I arrived back at the car park and said goodbye to the others. We got back to the car and left shortly afterwards. It was a boring day weather-wise, but it was probably the most social hillwalk I've had and I got many of the pictures that I wanted.
Edit 2008-09-23 - I'd climb it yet again soon enough. On the subsequent visits I got the mountain in some brilliant sunshine and had two very special days up there. And got many, many photos.
Written: October 2007