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First Solo Trip

First Solo Trip

Postby Aldog8 » Mon Jul 22, 2013 3:54 pm

Route description: Ben Lomond

Munros included on this walk: Ben Lomond

Date walked: 21/07/2013

Time taken: 3 hours

Distance: 12 km

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I started my first solo trip to the summit of Ben Lomond in the usual fashion. I arrived at Rowardennan Car Park around 8.30am and began the ritualistic unpacking/repacking of my bag then changing from the comfortable trainers into the more robust walking boots. At this point it was a fine morning, a little overcast but, nice and cool without the need for more than a base layer t-shirt and shorts.

After ensuring I had everything packed - lunch, snacks, plenty of water, sports drink, camera, other layers and waterproofs - I proceeded through the information centre and off along the tourist route. The time was 8.39am and I was ready for the challenge of doing the ascent in 1 hour and 30 minutes, shaving a good half hour off my only other previous ascent when I was joined by my mate Colin a fortnight ago on my first EVER Munro attempt.

Early on, I had the bit between the teeth as I ploughed up through the trees towards the first gate. I reached that in a bit of a sweaty mess but by that time I was also in the zone and feeling good. The cool temperatures of the morning and cloud cover keeping me from melting completely.

After breezing past a few day-tourists I was able to eat up the open ground and get over the first challenge which I like to call "steps part 1". No idea what other folk refer to this part as but it looks like man-made steps to me and there is another section near the top which I refer to as , wait for it...."steps part 2".

After a little respite from the gentle walk up towards the 2nd gate, next came the dreaded zig-zags where I felt like I was using up a lot of energy and the legs were starting to get a little tired. In fact, the legs were screaming a bit. It probably didn't help that I had reached the bottom of the clouds and the temperature dropped quite considerably. The only time I stopped for longer than a few seconds was at this point where my thoughts were "gloves on and power through". The gloves (purchased only a few days prior, and recommended highly, even for summer use) were paying for themselves keeping me warm as I headed along the fastest part of the route, on which I was even able to break into a light jog at times.

After getting to the second lot of steps I slowed right down and passed another couple, I guessed from the accents that they were from Germany. I was to help take a picture of the same couple at the top just before my descent which confirmed that they were in fact, German.

Steps part 2 came into view and they were shrouded in misty cloud. I think that was a good thing because at that point, if I had seen how far I still had to go up this part I may have started to wilt a bit but thankfully I was able to drive onwards and upwards at a good pace.

Finally breaking out of the second steps, and now above the cloud-line which had disappear quite rapidly, I was able to put in a final push along the steeper, ridge part of the mountain. This felt great and other than stopping for the odd picture (it was too good a view to focus on time here, there was no way I wasn't getting these pictures) I powered North.

When the summit came into view I started clock watching, almost breaking into a jog and then into a bit of a run just at the foot of the last scramble to the top. Stopwatch in hand I lunged for the trig-point and hit stop, the clock read 1:31:07, not too shabby. I missed my target of one hour thirty but i knew in my head that I'd done a good job so rewarded myself with a few raisins and nuts and a good swig from the water bottle then sat down to enjoy my lunch. I actually didn't feel hungry at that point so I burst open the bag of wine gums instead of the nutritious sandwich. I thought I deserved a wee treat.

After chatting to some other guys who were already at the summit when I arrived I packed up and began my descent by the same route. On the way down I took it quite easy for the majority and even stopped to talk to a few groups along the way, including a family all the way from Canada who were worried that they wouldn't get much of a view at the top due to the clouds. I told them to persevere as the view that day was breathtaking and after showing them a couple of my pictures they went on tehir way. I hope they got to see it how I did a little earlier!

I have a few pictures that I will download from my camera this week but until then, thanks for reading.

Plan to do Ben Lui this Saturday.
Mountain Walker
Posts: 1
Munros:10   Corbetts:1
Joined: Jul 22, 2013

Re: First Solo Trip

Postby Sarah86 » Tue Jul 23, 2013 12:52 pm

On a clear day I see Ben Lomon as I drive to work. Sounds like you had a wonderful day and I look forward to seeing your photos. Hoping to finally get round to climing a few more munros when my sister gets back from her holiday, might need to add this one to the list.
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Posts: 572
Munros:13   Corbetts:3
Grahams:1   Donalds:3
Sub 2000:16   Hewitts:1
Joined: Aug 29, 2011

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