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Sair legs, feet dipping and an Osprey

PostPosted: Sat Jun 28, 2014 6:01 pm
by neilmckenzie
My Danish friend Marie is climbing Ben Nevis with me in 2 weeks - and despite trying for months this is the first time that work and hangover schedules have allowed us to go a climb. I know that she's pretty fit, she's a viking and we're doing i by public transport from Glasgow, so Ben Vane is nice and close and it's reportedly so relentless that I don't fancy doing it on my own.

So the day after doing Beinn Dorain and Beinn an Dothaidh, I set out on the 1310 from the Oran Mor to Inveruglas. The 1310 isn't marked on the bus stand timetable, but it arrives anyway. It's a familiar trek up to Lomond Shores to eventually arrive at Inveruglas and head into the cafe for a quick pee before we leave civilisation for a few hours.

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The path to Ben Vane is a wee walk along the side of the A82, until you can see a railway bridge and a path climbing through the trees. This path goes on for about 2 kilometres rising slightly as a nice wee warm up for relentless incline ahead. After a bridge there's a wee path up the burn and the walk starts for real. It's the usual mix of boggy sludge for the first part of the incline, but this one's different cos there's very quickly a chest bursting incline to deal with. I know from the map that there is a wee plateau at about 300m, but then after that it's a solid slog. we've been going for about an hour so we stop for some lunch and admire the views of Ben Lomond and Loch Lomond:

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After this it's heads down and just try and get up the steep path. Marie is like a Jack Russell with ADHD. At first I think she's going to seriously outrun me on this, but she moves fast and stops for breathers regularly. The mental challenge to keep going is unreal as no matter how many false peaks you get to the top of, you continually have to crane your neck to see where the path is going:

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The relentless slog requires several stops for breath, but the weather is improving constantly and some views are opening up:

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By the time we get up to a decent height, we can feel that we are at the 800 metre stage, but there just seems to be more and more mountain. The path turns from step thigh bursting moves to scrambling. Marie really enjoys this, so I'm spurred on by the fact that despite this being her first munro, I can start having a walking partner for some more interesting climbs.

On the final few humps, I'm pretty sure we're almost at the summit - but I don't want to be too optimistic as I feel like I don't have much more will power to keep on going over these rocks. There's just a last wee tough scramble and then it's onto the summit plateau - like some sort of scramblers wardrobe into a munro baggers narnia. The weather is lovely - so we can hang around on the summit for a wee while:

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The trek down is much easier than it was going up. My knees are feeling the effects of having done two munros the day before - Marie is more gazelle like. After traipsing through the bog of the last leg before the road - tarmac is a welcome prize - we've also arrived down mid evening and the sun is setting beautifully on the surrounding mountains:

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Once we're back to Inveruglas, we have an hour or so before the bus, so we go and sit on the pier - dip our tired feet in the water and chill with the views.

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I pointed at a bird hovering and said to Marie - "See that kestrel hawk buzzard thing hovering? It's about to dive for a mouse or something" while thinking - "it's amazing what distance can do to your eyesight - I could swear that was over the water" and then it dove and took a fish - the seagulls went mental and chased it.

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My conclusion is - Osprey….

Re: Sair legs, feet dipping and an Osprey

PostPosted: Sat Jun 28, 2014 6:09 pm
by neilmckenzie