This was a re-visit for me, as I had climbed this mountain over 30 years ago when I was at school.
Drove up from Glasgow with Susan and dog, Bo. Arrived in car park around 9:45. We got the last 'official space and after paying at the ticket machine, saw a woman in hi-viz going around the car park checking cars after the people had set out to the mountain, to see if they had tickets for parking! I didn't actually think they did that! Will need to make sure I always pay for a ticket in future!
We set out about 10:00 and walked on the gentle path up to the 'shieling', which seems to be the point where everyone finalises what clothing they are going to wear for the climb. the weather was good with a mist hanging over the whole area, but you could already feel some heat from a sun trying to burn through. it was beginning to heat up, even so early and i stripped off just to a tee shirt, as did Susan.
The views on the initial bit of the climb were misty and a little eerie, but beautiful nonetheless.
The path was well worn, but well maintained and further up the path we met three men working on the maintenance of the path. The climb, whilst bracketed as 'medium' in many of the descriptions, is still a climb and I was soon sweating heavily as always. At this point the hill was pretty quiet, with only a couple of small groups up ahead.
I dragged along behind Susan and Bo as always. Susan likes to set a good pace and i try my best to hang onto her coat-tails. The mist was clearing all the time and it was turning into a lovely day.
We overtook a few people and had the usual chats on the way up, which was uneventful and not too hard.
Nearing, what we thought was the top, we came upon the boulder field, which is the last obstacle before the summit. I had absolutely no memory of the rocks from my previous visit, which had been in snow. Perhaps the snow had covered and smoothed out the boulders? This is when you are thankful for decent boots, and the walk up the boulder field was hard on the feet and ankles. We were a bit concerned whether Bo would be able to cross the boulder field as she had been stopped from summiting at Ben Narnain a few weeks ago, due to a ring of boulders at the summit, however she managed very well and made light work of it.
We got to the summit, to join the 4/5 people already there having their lunch. I tend not to hang about at the summit, unless it is a very calm warm day, as I am usually soaked with sweat by the time I summit and cool down very quickly. We usually, retreat back down the mountain a little before sheltering and eating. The views from the summit were poor as the mist and cloud had not cleared, so even less reason to hang about. After a brief chat with the guys already there we started back down the mountain.
Our descent, back the way we came, was good and speedy, passing many people on their way up. We were beginning to wonder where they had all parked, as the car park was close to full when we left!
The bottom two thirds of the path down was bathed in sunshine and we enjoyed the swift descent down the path.
When we got to the car park again, just over 3 hours after we had set out, there were cars parked in every available space and in the road approaching the car park. Makes the relatively early start worthwhile.
In conclusion, not the hardest of climbs, but a good stretch all the same and another lovely day spent on Scotland's hills. We skooted back down to Killin and instead of our sandwiches, sat in a nice restaurant in the Indian summer sun and enjoyed a nice burger and chips. Does it come any better?
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