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Ben Lomond - My First

Ben Lomond - My First

Postby jymmae » Tue May 28, 2013 10:49 pm

Route description: Ben Lomond

Munros included on this walk: Ben Lomond

Date walked: 15/10/2012

Time taken: 4.5 hours

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I'm writing retrospectively, but this was my first Munro so I remember it step for step.

I've lived in nearby Balloch all of my days, so when it came to climbing my first Munro, I had to tackle Ben Lomond. It has always towered over me and as the southernmost Munro, it seemed like a logical starting point. I'm a young guy at 24, but I hadn't so much as climbed a steep staircase in years so I was slightly concerned about how I'd handle it. I'd been going to the gym at Cameron House, which looks onto Loch Lomond and the Ben, for a few weeks and it stood there taunting me.

Being inexperienced, I came overprepared. A friend kindly loaned me thermal gear which served him well in the Afgan mountains, so I thought they could prove useful... turned out it was the best October weather I'd ever seen and had whipped them off after 15 minutes. I had read the initial steep ascent is the hard part so tried not to over do it too soon, but being a nice day and all there were so many others making the climb, including a man who must have been in his 80s. Honestly, having an 80 year old out-pace you is more humbling than the views. There were also a few folks running it, so if you're easily demoralised by others, close your eyes.

The plateau half way up was most welcome, as I started to get a spot of lifelessness in my thighs, seeing as they hadn't been worked all that hard in so long. It also gives you an opportunity to take it easy and walk backwards (carefully) and admire the views. After the plateau, the ascent resumes. It's a very popular walk and as such, it's basically paved the entire way, the conditions underfoot couldn't be better.

At the top, there were about a dozen other people who were having soup and having a rest, so if you want that scenic photo, you have to kindly ask them to step out of shot briefly. The views are uniquely stunning. Being the southernmost Munro, the view north is every other Munro in Scotland, which was beautiful for me in that it was symbolic, as if to say "that's one down". The Arrochar Alps looked stunningly inviting in the patchy sun and the view south towards the Loch and Glasgow is surreal, it's like a billiard table. They call it the border between the Lowlands and the Highlands, you can even see the fault line running through the Loch itself in the shape of the islands. A must see.

Ben Lomond 1.jpg

We took the more difficult route down. Strangely, although it had been a beautifully sunny week, the North-East side of the Ben had patches of ice. The initial scramble down from the peak could be a bit sketchy for the weak-willed, but it didn;t pose us amatures any problems. The benefit of taking the alternative route down the ridge is that, for the entire descent, the view is out of this world. Few Munros I've done since offer the same satisfaction after reaching the peak, but if you can catch Ben Lomond on a nice day, take this route. We didn't encounter anyone else on this route either, so it does offer more of a feeling of isolation and adventure.

There's a reason Ben Lomond is so popular. The view towards the Loch is outstanding and unique in that your view is completely unobstructed. Look south, you are the highest point for miles and you can see modern Scotland in it's entirety on a clear day. Look north, you have over two hundred Munros ahead of you. Truly humbling.

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Re: Ben Lomond - My First

Postby ScottishLeaf » Wed May 29, 2013 11:39 pm

Another member of the "Ben Lomond Was My First" Club.
A grand fine club it is too :)

Nice to see the views from the top though!
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Re: Ben Lomond - My First

Postby GillC » Thu May 30, 2013 10:19 am

haha,,Lomond was my first Munro too,,a long time ago,,done it a few times since too! Always a good standby hill. :lol:
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