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Ye'll Tak the Tourist Road an I'll Tak the Ptarmigan

Ye'll Tak the Tourist Road an I'll Tak the Ptarmigan


Postby laconic surf » Sun May 20, 2012 3:36 pm

Route description: Ben Lomond

Munros included on this walk: Ben Lomond

Date walked: 19/05/2012

Time taken: 4.2 hours

Distance: 12 km

Ascent: 1036m

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An I'll be at the summit afore ye :D


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Had been planning to do this hill for a while but didn't fancy going up and down the tourist route. WH has an optional return route going down the Ptarmigan ridge but after a bit of research I decided that ascending this way would be my best bet.
To access the path for the Ptarmigan ridge you have to walk to the opposite end of the car park to the visitor's centre. The path here follows the Loch and passes the war memorial.

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Path by the Loch


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War Memorial


The path joins on to the West Highland Way and passes by the Rangers cabin, the Rowardennan youth hostel and a house. The path then passes a house with high fences called Ben Lomond cottage, on the perimeter of the cottage fence is a burn with a path alongside it, turn right off the WHW and follow this path as it rises following the burn. Through a gate and that's it, a nice path all the way to the ridge. The path really is scenic as you gain height and views of the Loch open up.

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Tranquil Loch


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The Cobbler from the path


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Finally you hit a false summit and the top of Ben Lomond appears, the path is gentle and undulating as it bypasses a wee lochan before the ascent up the ridge begins.

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Ptarmigan ridge leading to the summit


Just as I was arrived at the Lochan, the clag rolled in covering the summit. As the wind was picking up I was hopeful this would blow over before I reached the top.

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Arrival of the clag


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As I started to climb the ridge I was using my walking poles but as I reached the snow line, the combination of sludge and rock was making them more a hindrance than a help, so I stowed them and felt much happier being able to use my hands. The path was often covered in snow so I deviated away from it and had fun on the more testing crags to the side. The ridge became a real scramble in places and time was taken to make sure the footholds were stable. The snow was melting fast, so the rocks were wet and dripping. Two people in front of me actually retreated off the ridge as they were unprepared for the need to scramble and nerves got the better of them. The clag was rolling past and a wee snow flurry began. I realised that I could have done with my gloves here due to trying to grip cold snow covered rocks. Too late now, they were in my pack and there was no room to be trying to take it off. Onwards and upwards. One or two moves were actually quite exposed and the footholds were on the small side. Great fun though, just don't look down :D

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Scramble route to the top


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Concentrating on the scramble, it actually comes as a real suprise when your head pops up and your at the trig point with folk having their lunch having come up the tourist route. I felt a real sense of elation reaching the top, more so for having scrambled up the final peak.

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Summit reached


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The impressive North face cliffs


After lunch I descended via the tourist path down. The view was nice but nothing as dramatic as from the other side of the hill. The amount of stone on the path was a real bone shaker, it was easy to see why other paths are forming on the grass beside it. I arrived back at car park just over 4 hours after starting. The Ptarmigan ridge route really is a lot of fun and the views are spectacular. A fantastic climb up the bonnie, bonnie slopes of Ben Lomond.
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laconic surf
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Re: Ye'll Tak the Tourist Road an I'll Tak the Ptarmigan

Postby Chrisabelle » Mon May 21, 2012 10:29 am

Thanks for this post. I had my lunch by the lochan when I went the same route although I took a little longer than yourself. I agree the tourist path is hard on the old legs, and a bit boring compared to ptarmigan ridge route.
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Re: Ye'll Tak the Tourist Road an I'll Tak the Ptarmigan

Postby DarrenJeffrey » Mon May 21, 2012 9:19 pm

Nice one fella pictures look very atmospheric. Good report
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Re: Ye'll Tak the Tourist Road an I'll Tak the Ptarmigan

Postby jaybee » Tue May 22, 2012 10:07 pm

Took the very same route a few weekends back and agree that the Ptarmigan is a great way to reach the summit. That last 100ft of scramble is quite exciting in the snow (and ice when we did it) and I completely agree with the delicious surprise of suddenly appearing in someone's lunch spot, unheard and unseen until that moment when your head pops up.
We found the return path very long and very busy!

This was our first Munro and very satisfying.
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Re: Ye'll Tak the Tourist Road an I'll Tak the Ptarmigan

Postby basscadet » Tue May 22, 2012 11:25 pm

Good work LC.. and good pics :thumbup:
I've seen this one fae afar often recently.. I will definately do it that way thanks :D
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Re: Ye'll Tak the Tourist Road an I'll Tak the Ptarmigan

Postby 2dalmatians » Fri May 25, 2012 8:38 pm

Well done LC - the oppostite route from my report last week...and in half the time :lol: I just love this hill. Cant wait to do my 2013 report!!!!
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