Saturday 10th January 2015
Weather/Conditions: Wild but not as bad as expected. Clear skies, some heavy hail/snow showers moving through (snow to ground level, especially big dump at the end of the day - driving home on white roads). Winds probably about 40mph on summit (forecast 80-90mph!).
Distance/Ascent/Time: 7.6km / 750m / 6h 10m
It was hardly warm either, and in previous times I would have severely cooled down beyond safe limits. But dealing with temperature is something I've learned to deal with in the last year or two, and I found the hill absolutely fine, even with a low cardiovascular output. The solution? Thermals, thick trousers and salopettes.
When we reached the summit ridge, it really hit home that the weather forecast wasn't as bad as expected. The wind was hard work and blotted out all sound, but we could deal with it. We just had to lean into it, phase it out and keep walking. Hardly the crawling antics I had expected! If we'd been crawling we would never made it anyway.
Despite problems with his knee, Tom put in a good shift too and we reached the summit mid-afternoon in some wild weather. The pictures look relatively serene, but you don't get an indication. It's amazing the effect the wind has on the experience, because despite the sun, it was a weak light, a brief nod to the day before it sunk again to the horizon. The wind was in command and turned the world wild and bare. It's good to be up the hills on days like these, but it never fails to amaze me how harsh it can be.
Descent was made in the evening light. Really quite nice, except for making the descent each on our own terms. But in the last shreds of light, we met back at the forestry tracks as a snow shower blew in. The world went white with fresh snowfall and we did the drive home with the snow line a few hundred feet above the roads.
A good day and my second time up Ben Ledi.
(0.00) 10.25am Parking
(3.40) 2.05pm Ben Ledi
(6.10) 4.35pm Parking