Ben Ledi - 879m
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
Accompanying: Tom

This one was great fun. Tom expressed interest in getting out again, and I suggest Ben Ledi as a good one, fairly close to hand and one of those hills that rise off the plains of the Central Belt. The weather forecast was to be utterly dreadful with whiteout, screaming winds (forecast somewhere up at 90mph) and basically no chance of shelter once we were out on the summit ridge. I made good talk of it though and convinced Tom that crawling to a wind blasted summit really would be fun. So I headed into Glasgow in the morning, picked him up and headed out to Callander. Even here I could sense the mayhem that was going to ensue above, the winds were high at road level and snow showers swept through the glen at the foot of the hill. Surprisingly, the summits were clear of mist though, so perhaps things wouldn't be as bad s MWIS had forecast.

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.

Times (Time relative to 0.00)
(0.00) 10.25am Parking
(3.40) 2.05pm Ben Ledi
(6.10) 4.35pm Parking

Written: 2015-06-06