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A wee walk up West Lomond

A wee walk up West Lomond


Postby Redrock » Sun Feb 12, 2012 1:23 am

Sub 2000' hills included on this walk: West Lomond

Date walked: 06/02/2012

Time taken: 2.3 hours

Distance: 4.8 km

Ascent: 397m

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It was a glorious day. I should have been up in the Highlands climbing a Munro - but I had somehow missed the fact that the weather was turning out good for my day off on Monday and it was too late to head for the high hills. To tell the truth I had been tired. It had been a hard week - and despite the fact that most people believe us preacher types only work one day a week :) (not a joke I appreciate!) by the end of Sunday I was too bushed even to think about heading for the hills! :( But Monday came - the sun shone - and I could feel the call of the wild! By lunchtime I was desperate to get onto the hills - somewhere! I needed to stretch my legs and my local hills came to mind! West Lomond it would have to be. With a summit height of 522 metres it would give me a good climb of about 400 metres and it was near enough for me to get there after lunch and be up and down before dark! :D

P1090170.JPG
West Lomond Hill


So I had my lunch, packed some snacks and a drink and unpacked my crampons, ice axe, storm shelter and extra fleece so that my rucksack felt soooo much lighter! And I set off - heading off up the M90 - my usual access route to the hills. But this time, I turned off heading in the St Andrew's direction - then was soon turning right, at Gateside, and heading for the peaks of the Lomond Hills. I've always wanted to call these the Fife Alps (well, if Arrochar can have alps why can't Fife? :lol: ). Soon I was parking at the layby at the waterworks site just past Nether Urquart farm. There were a lot of vehicles there and I was glad to get a space. Then it was on with my boots and off I set just as the owners of all those cars arrived back from the hills - a walking group of some sort. It was just after 2:30pm. I could see my route ahead of me curving up to the left through the corrie-like indention that breaches the crags on NNW side of Lomond Hill.

P1090172.JPG
The route up West Lomond


The track I was following took a direct line towards the hill and as I made my way up I was intrigued by the great cloud of flies dancing away in the warming February sun. Does this mean winter is over! :lol:

P1090178.JPG
Flies galore!


I was approaching the Bonnet Stane and I suddenly heard breathing behind me. A cyclist I had passed at the gate had become a walker and was about to pass me. I though I had been making good time - but he had trail shoes on his feet and he had a very small pack. I was still in winter boots (my regular boots have a problem) and was carrying what now seemed to me a big load! I waved him by and wished him well. Then I stopped to admire the Bonnet Stane - with its unusual form - more reminiscent of desert rock formations - before moving on.

P1090182.JPG
The Bonnet Stane


From here the path went onwards and upwards towards the hill.

P1090183.JPG
Towards the hill


Looking back towards the Bonnet Stane views of the Highlands were opening up.

P1090185.JPG
The Bonnet Stane from above


The path then continued in an easterly direction climbing steadily up the hill round the corrie-like hollow.

P1090188.JPG
Heading steadily upward


It was cold in this hollow - sheltered from the sun - and the ground was quite icy.

P1090190.JPG
Looking back at the cold hillside


Soon I had to chose to go up the steep grassy gully to the right - or the slightly less steep path which curved round to the left.

P1090221.JPG
The fork in the ways


I'd been this way before and the gully give a quick route up. However, the grass was frozen and the steps in the earth were filled with hard ice. It proved to be a bit more of a challenge than I had anticipated. Nevertheless I was fairly quickly up and onto the path that sweeps round the north side of West Lomond before heading up to the summit. I met my cyclist friend there on his way back down and we chatted a bit. I took the chance to encourage him to check out Walkhighlands - so welcome friend if you see this! :D I took the path that cuts the corner a bit and headed on up towards the summit with Bishop Hill and Loch Leven coming into view.

P1090194.JPG
Bishop Hill and Loch Leven


The path turned uphill heading east and it wasn't long before the summit came in sight. There was the cairn and the trig pillar parched on its strangely eroded base (Was it sheep or wind that wore this base away? I haven't seen any others quite like it!)

P1090197.JPG
The summit of West Lomond


I was at the high point of Fife and there were great views all round. I enjoyed some time at the summit - munching a snack and enjoying the warm sunshine. Unbeknown to me Johnny Corbett had been here earlier and was by this time making his way back to Bishop Hill, having visited the East Lomond in between. His report seems to have a lot more sunshine and warmth in it! It's a pity I didn't meet him - or find your car keys, eh, Johnny! :(

P1090199.JPG
West Lomond summit with east Lomond in the background


From the summit there were great views towards Glenrothes and the Forth.

P1090206.JPG
Glenrothes and the Forth


Towards the Ochil Hills.

P1090207.JPG
The Ochil Hills


And especially towards the Highlands which were wonderfully clear (Grrr! :mrgreen: ). Shame I wasn't up there somewhere - but at least I was up a hill! :D

P1090204.JPG
Towards the Highlands


I decided to head down a different way and followed a steep path down the north-east of the summit. It was quite snowy still here in the shade and I had to be quite careful not to slip. A lone figure seemed to be taking photos down below - but they were gone before I reached their position.

P1090212.JPG
Heading down


In the shadow of the hill it suddenly seemed quite cold now the sun was going down. The hill itself had an very icy look from this perspective, too.

P1090216.JPG
West Lomond from the North


I took a bit of a detour along the crags - having headed too far north. But soon I found the top of the path and made my way down.

P1090218.JPG
The path down


The ice and snow still persisted on the northern slope - so a little care was needed. But it was a straightforward descent.

P1090219.JPG
And icy path in the hollow


Once off the hill the walk back to the car was along a good track and I made good time. Looking back, West Lomond was catching the warm rays of the setting sun.

P1090223.JPG
West Lomond at sunset


I enjoyed my wee walk up West Lomond. It's a great wee hill. I've always been amazed how the twin peaks of the Lomond Hills can be seen from so many parts of the eastern Highlands.

It's really good to have your local hills for the days you don't manage to get further (for whatever reason). I've climbed this hill quite a few times now and it's always been different. And I'm sure I will be up there again before long. I reached the height of 522 metres whilst still in Fife! :D Not bad for a couple of hours walk! 8)
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Redrock
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Re: A wee walk up West Lomond

Postby SusieThePensioner » Sun Feb 12, 2012 11:29 am

I always enjoy reading people's reports on walks that I know and this was no exception! Some great photos as well :thumbup:

There are usually fantastic views of the Highlands from there when its crisp and cold :D
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Re: A wee walk up West Lomond

Postby Johnny Corbett » Sun Feb 12, 2012 11:37 am

Great report Redrock, it was a cracking day that day. I was a bit like you, thought i should be up a Munro but apart from losing the keys i had no regrets choosing these hills over a Munro. I'd go as far to say the next day we get like this you should head back up there and search for my keys :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: A wee walk up West Lomond

Postby dogplodder » Sun Feb 12, 2012 11:45 am

Every time we drive down this way I look at this hill and think some day I must climb it. So it's good to have your report for when I do! :D
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Re: A wee walk up West Lomond

Postby Redrock » Sun Feb 12, 2012 3:31 pm

SusieThePensioner wrote:I always enjoy reading people's reports on walks that I know and this was no exception! Some great photos as well :thumbup:


My pleasure, Susie! :D

Johnny Corbett wrote: I'd go as far to say the next day we get like this you should head back up there and search for my keys :lol: :lol: :lol:


We could have a Walkhighlands treasure hunt - with the treasure being your keys! :lol: :lol: :lol: I'll leave you to sort out the prize! :lol:

dogplodder wrote:Every time we drive down this way I look at this hill and think some day I must climb it. So it's good to have your report for when I do!


Aye, it's quite an impressive hill when seen from the motorway. And it certainly provides a good climb. Check out Johnny Corbett's report on the "Lomond Hills and Bishop Hill Circuit"
( http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=18418 ) which he did the same day - giving a more extensive walk round the area. :D
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Re: A wee walk up West Lomond

Postby morag1 » Sun Feb 12, 2012 8:57 pm

A really nice walk, lucky you having such nice weather at this time of year

Had my eye on the Lomond Hills for some time, hoping to do them soon so I was interested to read this report :D
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Re: A wee walk up West Lomond

Postby Redrock » Sun Feb 12, 2012 11:51 pm

morag1 wrote:A really nice walk, lucky you having such nice weather at this time of year

Had my eye on the Lomond Hills for some time, hoping to do them soon so I was interested to read this report :D


Aye Morag1, they are well worth a visit - and spring is coming! :D
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Re: A wee walk up West Lomond

Postby pollyh33 » Mon Feb 13, 2012 5:39 am

Nice one RR!

I definitely wasn't expecting anything as spectacular as your photos when I started reading this report- they are fantastic!! :D :D

Slap on the wrist for me for being so presumptuous :( :( :(
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Re: A wee walk up West Lomond

Postby Redrock » Mon Feb 13, 2012 7:25 pm

pollyh33 wrote:Nice one RR!

I definitely wasn't expecting anything as spectacular as your photos when I started reading this report- they are fantastic!! :D :D

Slap on the wrist for me for being so presumptuous :( :( :(


Gentle with your wrists, pollyh, :( and thanks for the compliments! :D This is a great wee practice hill when I've no time to get to the big ones! I wish I could have captured the distant mountains better - they looked amazing in then clear blue sky! :D
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Re: A wee walk up West Lomond

Postby soulminer » Mon Feb 13, 2012 9:52 pm

Looks like spring has definately sprung- boo hissssss :lol: That has been several reports with spring like connotations, bloody global warming :twisted:
Lovely pics, and looks a cracking walk as well. Have never been to the Lomond hills, had my chance with Paisley Hillwalking Club on several occasions, but had the Bagging Fever. Glad that is over, so will be looking at other hills to wander- may give them a go in the future.
Cheers.
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Re: A wee walk up West Lomond

Postby Bod » Tue Feb 14, 2012 12:32 am

Lovely picture of the bonnet stone... I've been planning that route up West Lomond for years now and never done it. The stone is lower down than I had realised. Another great report there Redrock...:)
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Re: A wee walk up West Lomond

Postby Redrock » Tue Feb 14, 2012 12:49 am

soulminer wrote:Looks like spring has definately sprung- boo hissssss :lol: That has been several reports with spring like connotations, bloody global warming :twisted:


I've a feeling winter's not finished with us yet, soulminer! Hope not! :D

Bod wrote:Lovely picture of the bonnet stone... I've been planning that route up West Lomond for years now and never done it. The stone is lower down than I had realised. Another great report there Redrock...:)


Aye, the bonnet stane - it's a strange bit of geology, Bod! It's even got a cave in it - complete with its own wee historical story! :wink: It's a good wee route this to stretch the legs and it's easy done in an afternoon (or evening once the clocks got forward!) from our neck of the woods. Cheers! 8)
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Re: A wee walk up West Lomond

Postby Sarah86 » Tue Feb 14, 2012 2:29 pm

I had wondered how to find the Bonnet Stane and now I know! I have only been up West Lomond once but from the car park between the two hills, I had a look around and couldn't see it. Will need to attempt it from this angle, it looks a little steeper but a good walk :)
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Re: A wee walk up West Lomond

Postby ChrisW » Tue Feb 14, 2012 4:10 pm

It may not be a munro Redrock but it is a beauty nonetheless, interesting to see the difference on the two sides of the hill, like summer and winter on the same day. Lovely pics :D
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Re: A wee walk up West Lomond

Postby Redrock » Wed Feb 15, 2012 12:57 pm

Yes, Sarah86, the Bonnet Stane is well worth a visit - and why not pop up West Lomond when you are there! :D It's a pity the Stane is not marked on OS maps (the grid reference is around NO 188072) but maybe that keeps it a wee bit secret! 8)

It really was quite a contrast in temperatures, Chris. I was sitting sunning myself on the summit and then descended through really cold air (definitely freezing) on the north side. But it was nothing like the fresh cold days you have been experiencing in Canada! :D
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