Stay at home
Scotland is under national lockdown. People are asked to stay at home except for essential purposes.
Click for details
Ben Vane - my first Munro!
by LaurenAlexandra » Thu Mar 29, 2012 10:59 pm
Munros included on this walk: Ben Vane
Date walked: 24/09/2011
Time taken: 8.5 hours
Ascent: 915m3 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
We started on a tarmac trail near Inveruglas, which joined up with a gravel trail which took us to the base of the mountain. The weather was reasonably good when we started, and the views of the surrounding mountains and back toward Loch Lomond were lovely. The first part of the trek up the mountain was over some rather boggy ground, which then gave way to a rocky pseudo-footpath which was quite steep in places, and occasionally required a bit of scrambling.
We were a little over halfway up when I started to have doubts about whether I could do this. I very foolishly did not eat breakfast before I left this morning, thinking I'd be able to eat on the bus (only to discover that there was no food allowed). So I set off on this climb with only a few handfuls of cereal and mixed nuts in my stomach. I was able to eat a few more nuts, as well as some candy that got passed around, but at around the halfway point the energy in my legs dwindled and they began to hurt. A lot. This pain traveled up to my arse and lower back as we got higher. In addition to all this, Ben Vane has a lot of false summits - from one's perspective as one climbs the mountain, it looks like the next rocky point is the top. But no. Always no. This played such havoc with my mental state that the mantra I tried to keep up, "I can do this, I can do this," soon gave way to sporadic bouts of mild hysteria - "I *sob* can't *sob* do *sob* this!!!"
I really don't know how I made it to the top. After a while I just able to compartmentalize the pain, and put one foot in front of the other until, somewhere between four and five hours after we set off, I got to the summit. The summit was a letdown on a few different counts. First of all, Scottish Weather being what it is, the clouds rolled in as soon as we got there and it started to mist. So we couldn't even see anything from the summit. Second of all, I only spent about fifteen minutes up there, because I had fallen pretty far to the back and we were on a bit of a timetable. Third of all, I wasn't able to eat my packed lunch. Not because of the time constraint, but because as soon as I got something down, I felt like throwing up. I guess my body just turned off my hunger mechanism. On the other hand, I drank about three liters of water today and didn't have to pee once.
Going back down the mountain was almost as hard as going up. I had to complete all those steep rocky bits over again in reverse, and the misting that began at the summit soon turned into genuine rain. Luckily it didn't rain the whole way down, but when I finally got to the marshy part near the bottom again, I discovered that it had rained enough to turn the marsh into soup. My boots certainly proved their worth today - I went ankle-deep (or in some cases deeper) in mud many, many times, but my feet and socks stayed bone-dry. And during all this, I was still dealing with the pain continuing to travel up my back, and legs with hardly any energy left. More "I *sob* can't *sob* do *sob* this" moments happened, but the knowledge that keeping on going was the only way to get off this mountain gave me the motivation to finish. The descent took about three hours, plus another 45 minutes on the gravel and tarmac trails. I was the last person from the Inveruglas detachment to get back to the bus, by a margin of at least 30 minutes, probably more. The hike leader, Claire, stayed within sight of me and even carried my backpack for the last stretch.
I am sore and will be even more sore tomorrow. But I am mega-proud of myself for bagging a Munro.
by weescotsman » Thu Mar 29, 2012 11:19 pm
by LaurenAlexandra » Thu Mar 29, 2012 11:44 pm
by gman » Fri Mar 30, 2012 8:29 am
Thanks! I've been a bit about attempting any more Munros, since the shortest one gave me such a hard time, so it's comforting to know that short doesn't necessarily mean easy!
This was one of my first, despite the height there's a bit of everything: bog, steep ascent, scree, scrambling so it's good for experience. Plus loads of false summits Since you missed out on summit views, here's one down Loch Lomond.
Walkhighlands community forum is advert free
Can you help support Walkhighlands and the online community by donating by direct debit?