Ben Lomond - 974m
Monday 26th May 2008
Monday 26th May 2008
Weather/Conditions: Humid at the bottom - however with altitude a wind picked up and it became much colder. Yet there were few clouds in the sky, and visibility was about 50 miles. Sun cream was most definitely needed!
We left the house just past 10am, and arrived at Rowardennan 11.15am. I was a bit sick after the bumpy road north of Balmaha, but once I’d set off (11.30am) I felt great. The place was very scenic, and I took the West Highland Way, turning off at the path up Ptarmigan Ridge.
I followed the route upwards, (11.40am) steep initially but it soon levelled out. I realised that I wasn’t as alone as I thought I may be – there were many people also taking the same route as me, but no problem – there must be hundreds all going up the main route! Views to the Cobbler and Ben Vane were opening up NW, but not quite to Ben Vorlich and I kept on hoping I’d get a view around the next corner. I felt I was slacking but actually kept a strong pace and even overtook a fair amount of folk. I just worked on and on and after 40-50 minutes on the hill, I realised that I wasn’t at the bottom anymore and I’d actually just climbed a substantial part of the hill.
As I gained even more height, wind began to pick up – I passed a group of four men who followed on closely behind me. Despite their age they had a strong pace and I was pushed to keep ahead – just one of my own games! I had a bottle of water in hand the whole time and drank out of it in common intervals between walking (or while walking) so it kept me well hydrated, yet at the same time the cooling wind, now blasting from the east was keeping my temperate down. Although hot down at Loch Lomond, here it was a bit cooler, but I managed to keep going with just the t shirt.
The path levelled out and it was an easy walk along Ptarmigan Ridge – if not windy. Incredibly windy in fact, it knocked me off balance more than once. Taking a lot of pictures on the way, (keen to get photos I didn’t get last time) I made good progress, and before long I was on the final stretch to the summit. I had most stops there and I developed a blister on my left heel, so the final steps up to the summit were probably the hardest and certainly created the most pain – the blister was becoming a little too uncomfortable, but I was at the summit soon enough. (1.15pm)
The views were excellent and there were no less than 50 people there, sunbathing or sitting taking in views. It’s no surprise to find this on a sunny Bank Holiday though. I sat and sunbathed up there for the next 40 minutes. There was a bit of a chilling wind, but the sun had warmth and I sat eating, taking photos or making sketches of distant peaks I wanted to identify later. Eventually, an hour after I’d arrived (and after a summit picture) I left at 2.15pm.
First of all, I wanted to identify some locations from old photos from 2001 which was easy enough, but then it was the long descent down the boring main track. I didn’t bother taking Ptarmigan Ridge back. (Although it would probably have been a better idea)
In retrospect, Ptarmigan would the preferred route up and down and is so much more characteristic than the “tourist” route. Still, the normal route took a while to get down, and spirits weren't helped by an east-to-west wind blasting its way across the mountain. I took the track back to Rowardennan and was there by 3.45pm. I sat in the car eating and drinking the last of what I brought up, and it felt excellent – the last bits of the walk were a little wearing – although the sunlight filtering through the forest was very beautiful. Left to get back home soon afterwards.
Written: 2008-05-unrecorded exact