Having done Lomond on 2 previous occasions, in very different weather conditions, using the tourist path, we decided to ascend by the Ptarmigan ridge. We chose Lomond again as we were heading for an activity weekend in the Trossachs and it was close enough to kill a few hours before checking in.
On a wonderful sunny morning, with little prospect of rain, we headed off to Rowardennan, arriving at a little after 10am, plenty of time for a leisurely day out. We had done some research into this ascent, but, it was hard to come by and the description was, to be honest, not the best, so, bullet points for finding the path to the Ptarmigan path are as follows:
- Head for the Rowardennan Youth Hostel from the visitors centre.
- As you approach the gate, the path veers right and there is also a right hand fork up to a house, dont take that,,carry on the path as it passes the SYH gate.
- Continue on the path, past the Ardess Lodge Rangers Centre, which is off on a path to the right and has a mobile trailer display of the surrounding areas.
- As you reach and enter the cover of trees, on the right you will find a large cottage with high gates and fences. Theres a treehouse in the garden to the left and various outbuildings etc.
- Literally just past the fence, there is a burn,,cross and turn immediately right on to the path.
Thats it,,youre on your way.....(oh and excuse the matching outfits,,honest,,we didnt plan it that way )
The easily defined path path climbs up through thick bracken,,well, its thick at this time of year. Very few muddy or boggy bits despite having some seriously heavy rain in the past few days. You gain height very quickly and get tremendous views down the Loch and over to the Arrochar Alps. Stick just below the shoulder of the hill, off to the west then zig zags up to the ridge around 730mtrs. With no one on the path behind us, and the only 2 in front about an hour ahead,,we had the place to ourselves right up to the ridge. Took our time, enjoyed the views over to The Cobbler, the changing light/sunshine between the clouds meant every time we looked, a different hill was picked out in full sunshine or shade. Can honestly say, I always thought the Cobbler was black,, but saw it in its glorious green cover today.
From Loch level right up to the Ridge, its a constant climb of varyng degrees with no flat sections. When you reach the Ridge it levels out and we had a chance to sit back, enjoy the views, bit of a snack and a really different view of Ben L. The route is clearly visible across the Ridge and up the rocky North/West face.
We headed off from our stop and by this time, were passing several parties who left the carpark at Rowardennan around the same time but had come over via the tourist path. A great, easy scramble up the rocks to the summit and my 3rd touch of the trig point.
Very little wind up there today, a good crowd of all ages enjoying being able to sit back and relax a bit. We spent some time having lunch, taking pics, and had a wander down to the North face cliffs. Great so see them against such a clear backdrop of the surrounding lochs and hills and an optimistic blue sky, punctuated by non threatening clouds.
Descending by the tourist route we passed some single walkers, one of which looked on his last legs,,think we gave him some hope when we informed him he was only 15 mins from the top
The route down is deservedly called the the Tourist route, dress codes ranged from Denim shorts over black leggings with flat pumps, another with a handbag and golfing umbrella and even a young girl in bare feet, carrying her trainers. We were lucky with the weather though, so they got away with it.
Back down to Rowardennan in a bit over 5 hours. Coffee in the Rowardennan Hotel where we had a few big sploshes of rain which didnt even merit the name rain
Back to the car then off to Gartmore for a FANTASTIC weekend of activities at Easterhill Farm, Mountain biking, off road driving, archery, mountain boarding... .back to work on Monday for a well earned rest
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Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.