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Ben Lomond - 04/01/13 (Super-Chase)

Ben Lomond - 04/01/13 (Super-Chase)


Postby MG1976 » Sun Jan 06, 2013 4:56 am

Route description: Ben Lomond

Munros included on this walk: Ben Lomond

Date walked: 04/01/2013

Time taken: 6 hours

Distance: 11 km

Ascent: 990m

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"Super-Chase" finally bags his first Winter Climb!

11 Months had passed since my last trip to the hills; and 2013 is to be a better year.
An early hill would be a nice way to start things off

After Christmas in York, we decided to head north on New Years Day; to surprise my mum and to spend a few days in Glasgow before going back to work next week. There was also the chance that, weather permitting, I might manage to sneak a hill in as well.
My eldest son, Chase (Super-Chase when climbing hills) also said he'd like to go walking with Daddy again.

A Munro would be good for me, but this obviously means greater risks with the potential weather conditions at this time of year. Especially when you're considering taking children into such situations.

A lot of thought, a lot of consideration and a lot of weather report checking later, Ben Lomond was the choice.

We (Myself, Jessica, Chase & Hunter) left the house at 0830 and were at Rowardennan just before 1000.
The boys (Chase 6 & Hunter 2) ran about in the trees as I sorted out the backpack. We were ready to start by 1015.

01. Getting ready to set off from Rowardennan.JPG
01. Getting ready to set off from Rowardennan.

There isn't much I can add to what has already been said countless times before, so we headed off up the forrest (tourist) path. The weather forecast was fairly positive - 20% chance of rain, almost certain low clouds further up hill and temps of (at best) 10 degress, dropping to 5 (and to feel like -5 in the predicted 40mph winds near the summit).

The path is straighforward (although not straight), and Chase was off like a mountain goat form the start. We were through the forrest and onto he open hill pretty quickly, giving Chase only a partial view of his latest target.

02. Chase, just above the forrest; his target hiding in the clouds behind.JPG
02. Chase, just above the forrest; his target hiding in the clouds behind.

There weren't many people on the hill, but we for a short while we were walking with Vince (from Falkirk) who was kind enough to take a couple of pictures of the pair of us when we stopped for our first brief rest.

03. Ben Lomond, not many tourists on the 4th January.JPG
03. Ben Lomond, not many tourists on the 4th January.

04. Our first of a few rests on our way to the summit.JPG
04. Our first of a few rests on our way to the summit.

A little further up the hills, we could see the cloud rolling down to meet us; so we took our last picture of the loch before we were swallowed up by the grey stuff.

05. The last view of the loch before the clouds descended.JPG
05. The last view of the loch before the clouds descended.

While we were taking on the hill, Jessica & Hunter were spending the day at Balloch Shores. This was their view from across the loch.

06. The view Jessica & Hunter had from Balloch Shores.JPG
06. The view Jessica & Hunter had from Balloch Shores.

Chase & I didn't have such favourable views at this point. We were shrouded in cloud and we decided that the reason was because the mountain was scared. :) Chase was out to get it , and all it could do was sit there and try and hide in the cloud. Nice try Lomond; you can hide, but you certainly can't run.

07. You can hide, but you can't run.JPG
07. You can hide, but you can't run.

We took our time and, to distract Chase from the ever increasing windy conditions, a game of "I-Spy" was had.
With visibility being pretty low, we opted for the "I-Spy someone wearing silly or funny clothes" version.

* We spotted a couple in jeans and sweatshirts, with no backpack or any visibe additional supplies :crazy: :crazy: :crazy:
* We spotted one guy wearing a pair of shorts & trainers. :crazy: :crazy: :crazy:
He was wearing a jacket, so I guess that counts as being well prepared. :?:

Anyway, after a bit of a trudge across the hillside, the sun made a good effort to break through the cloud. It didn'y quite manage it, but it was nice to see some brightness in the sky. About the same time, Chase spotted something that quickened his pace.
"Can I run, Dad?" he said, as he handed me his walking pole.

08. A brief effort by the sun helped lift our spirits.JPG
08. A brief effort by the sun helped lift our spirits.

09. The first patch of snow = Happy Boy.JPG
09. The first patch of snow = Happy Boy.

We were now climbing the last section of the hill and the wind had picked up considerably. We slowed down, Chase staying close by; a little apprehension understandably showing. I reassured him that we would just take our time, stop as often as we needed to and, if he really didn't want to carry on (or of if I felt it too dangerous to do so), we'd turn around and head home.

Just before the last turn in the path, before you head directly to the summit, we sat for few minutes to get some shelter from the now considerable winds.

10. Sheltering from the wind before the final push to the top.JPG
10. Sheltering from the wind before the final push to the top.

As we made our way along the last line to the top, we were walking directly into the wind and I wasn't sure if Chase was going to be happy to keep going. Sure enough, he had a little moment where he thought he had had enough and wanted to turn around, but we just sat dow out the wind and had another rest. The cloud wasn't helping, he couldn't see the summit, even though I knew it was literally 2 minutes away. A brief lull in the wind speed was enough to let Chase go that little bit further, where he could finally see the summit cairn.
At 1345, 3.5 hours after setting off, Chase was huddled behind the summit cairn.

11. Another Munro bagged and his first Winter Climb under his belt.JPG
11. Another Munro bagged and his first Winter Climb under his belt.

There was one other guy on the summit at the same time we were, so I was hoping for a nice summit picture of the two of us, courtesy of a fellow walker.
On asking if he would mind taking a quite picture of myself & Chase, I was a little miffed by the response I received.
"Sorry, I can't. It's too cold, I just want to head back down" was the reply he gave. :o
This is the first time I have had such a response...

We still got our summit picture together; I just had to hold he camera at arms length and hope for the best.

12. Daddy & Chase summit shot.JPG
12. Daddy & Chase summit shot.

We didn't hang around; we made our way back down as quickly and carefully as we could. It was nice to pass 4 or 5 different couples still heading to the top. It's good to know that you're not the last one's to be heading back down the hill, just in case something should happen.

I'm happy to say that no such issues occurred, and neither crampons, ice axe or harnesess were needed. They may have added to the weight of my pack, but a small price to pay.

Once we were off the top of the hill, Chase spent 15 minutes playing in the snow on the lower slopes. He'd worked really hard in some pretty tough conditions, so it was some well deserved play time.

13. Chase enjoying the snow, safely off the summit.JPG
13. Chase enjoying the snow, safely off the summit.

14. Chase enjoying the snow, safely off the summit.JPG
14. Chase enjoying the snow, safely off the summit.

15. Chase enjoying the snow, safely off the summit.JPG
15. Chase enjoying the snow, safely off the summit.

The walk back down was pretty unspectacular; just the one picture of the views to the East.

16. The views East as we heading off the hill.JPG
16. The views East as we were heading off the hill.

We were back at the carpark just after 1600, to be greated by Mummy & Hunter, patienly waiting to drive us home.

Ascent Walk Time: 3 Hours - 10 Minutes
Ascent Rest Time: 20 Minutes
Total Ascent Time: 3.5 Hours
Total Descent Time: 2.5 Hours


Total Time: 6 Hours. Well done Chase, 3 Munros and counting..... :D
Last edited by MG1976 on Wed May 25, 2016 10:18 pm, edited 6 times in total.
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MG1976
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Re: Ben Lomond - 04/01/13 (Super Chase)

Postby Steven001 » Sun Jan 06, 2013 6:32 am

What a great father-son day! Looks like you both had a cracking time. Well done to the wee man for going all that way, especially in the windy conditions,
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Re: Ben Lomond - 04/01/13 (Super Chase)

Postby Tomsie » Sun Jan 06, 2013 12:26 pm

Yeah well done Chase not easy in those conditions. Cool name too 8)

Pity walker wouldnt take the photo, strange one, looked like ye a had a good day anyway well done again :clap: :clap:
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Re: Ben Lomond - 04/01/13 (Super Chase)

Postby MG1976 » Mon Jan 07, 2013 1:18 am

Steven001,
Yes, it's was a proper father & son day. No better motivation that watching your young one running up a hill quicker than you.

Tomsie,
We liked the name Chase after reading it in a few name books. Nothing else came close after that, no matter how much we looked at other options. Took some of the family a while to come round to it, but it must have been one of those "meant to be" things; all we seem to do is chase him; he just doesn't do slow.

I think his little brother, Hunter, is really gonna enjoy the deer season when he grows up a bit. :D

Cheers to you both,
Martin
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