The glimpse of a snow capped Ben Lomond on the way down the M77 each morning last week whetted my appetite for a early snowy trip, and with the weekend weather set for perfect who could resist.
After a 6.30 departure from Kilmarnock, I was on the hill at 8.30 and it was freezing. But luckily the frozen mud made for quick walking over what I guess the rest of the year is a seriously boggy mountain.
Watching the sun rise on the surrounding hills was just stunning, and on reaching Sron Gharbh it was breathtaking. At this point I decided to stop for a cupper, and realised that I had tea bags, sugar, hot water, and no cup. It seems to be my habit to always forget something (I've forgotten my jacket and my lunch on previous outings!) All was not lost though when I discovered that you can drink cupper soup out of it's own bag, albeit its a bit strong, then use it for strange tasting earl grey for the rest of the day. Does this exist as a genuine product, or are they too worried we will burn ourselves?
Many superb views followed, and a few encounters with other lucky walkers, enjoying the weather.
The visibility was first class all day, and the wall of icicles approaching Bealach Buidhe awesome.
The hardest part came on the way down where after the snow line, the frozen path was lethal, and the frozen farmers track further down even more so, as my bruises testify. If fact I had to resort to putting my crampons back on, with the added bonus of a few sparks flying as the light faded fast. Sunset at 3.30pm is a crazy thing.
All in an excellent start to the season.
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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.