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3 posts • Page 1 of 1
Ben Vane - My first munro
by teaandpies » Tue Apr 21, 2015 11:19 pm
Munros included on this walk: Ben Vane
Date walked: 29/08/2009
Time taken: 7 hours
Distance: 12 km
Ascent: 915m1 person thinks this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
A friend of mine was doing his second round of the Munros not for love of sore knees and long wet days but because he had been acting as a guide for his father who was a very late starter to bagging hills. This walk was their last walk at this part of Trossachs and this small clutch of Munros would be done for them.
My friend invited me along to join them, I wasn't sure what I was letting myself in for but I figured if an old man can do it so could I. Climbing mountains was something I had never given any thought to doing, which may sound odd considering I grew up in what is now the Cairngorms National Park!
I rushed out and bought myself a cheap pair of boots from Mountain Warehouse, they cost me £20. I already had a jacket and trousers and I had a backpack to carry my lunch in. What else would I need?
We set off early in the morning from Greenock and get to the Inveruglas car park in good time, still plenty of spaces. This was my first ever visit to Loch Lomond and all I wanted to do was take a boat trip after seeing the ferry at the pier, still not done that yet.
Getting ready for the walk someone asked me if I was going to be using gaiters to which I replied 'what's gaiters?' I was handed a spare pair and I managed to work out how to use them with no real difficulty, at this point I started to feel like an anchor and that could be a total liability to their walk.
This is me ready for the walk, no gear and no idea!
We started along the road not knowing where I was going, I was following like a sheep tagged on at the back of the 3 man train. We passed the Hydro power station, I was rather taken by it actually. After a short walk along the path by the road we got to the access road and we jumped the gate. I had a laugh and made a joke about the speed limit sign and how there was no chance of me breaking it.
Continued up the road for and got to another power station thing, with a scary hum coming from it, I was so impressed by it, ugly thing. I wasn't loving the walk so far, it was a road with structures, it was raining and some guy on a bike came up behind us and was rather rude about getting passed us, we didn't hear him coming so how were we meant to know? I seen that he had 2 bottles of blue Powerade on either side of his back pack, just a couple of minutes later I found one of these bottles on the road up opened so I kept it and thought up yours idiot!
I kept taking pictures of this mountain because I thought this was the one we were going to be walking and I was thinking to myself how are we going to get up that?
To my surprise my friend left the road and was walking the wrong way, there was no distinctive path just some flattened grass. After a short burst up a steep grassy hill we were on a flat area which was boggy as hell and there was plenty of standing water it was at this point my cheap boots got soaked and within a few minutes of starting the walk proper my feet were wet and I also realised that we were on the hill we were going to be climbing because my friends dad was asking him if this was the way he done Ben Vane years ago to which he replied I don't remember. We made our way through the bog and found a path or mountain stream, I wasn't actually sure but it was working. We were gaining height fast. At some point we found what seemed to be a proper path and we followed that for the duration of our walk.
There were so many really great photo opportunities now we were higher, the rain was now just a drizzle so I didn't mind getting my phone out.
I was really impressed by what I could see. The lochs, the dam, the other mountains (at this point I didn't know what they were called) however it felt like we had been walking for ages but we couldn't get away from that nasty tangle of grey steel and wires down on the road.
This was favourite part of the walk. My friend wouldn't let me stand on the rock in case I fell. I don't know how other people feel about being up high but I get a total buzz from it.
Parts of this walk were really steep, a few a wee scrambles. I used my hands a lot on this walk! To give you an idea of how steep the hill could get I've included this picture below.
The closer we got to the top the more the wind picked up turning the rain drops into stingy wee missiles and the cloud cover created poor visibility which was a shame. My friend told me to climb up a small scramble because it was manly, I duly accepted his challenge and done it no problem. It turns out we were at the summit and he was just messing with me.
What a great feeling to make the top, my first Munro completed. My joy was tinged with a degree of sadness because the summit was covered in cloud and the wind was making us very uncomfortable.
We managed to set up a self-timer on a camera but we had to built a small wall from rocks to stop the wind blowing the camera over. See the resulting image below.
We weren't on the top for long but it felt like ages and as we were about to start heading down the hill a walker came steaming out of the cloud and flew passed us over the summit without breaking his stride and disappeared again into the cloud, he was on a mission for sure!
As a newbie to high summits I couldn't believe the difference dropping a few feet made to the wind strength, enough for us to stop for lunch and we spoke about our next walk. My friend pointed out a peak in the distance, that one he said, Ben Lomond.
After our wee break I was freezing, my cotton clothing was soaking in sweat and my feet were soaking so I was keen to get off the hill and I didn't hold back on the way down I just went for it. I know my feet were being blistered as my feet were sliding in my boots and my toes were killing me. Near the bottom we didn't recognise the path we took up and now we found ourselves in another bog which was deeper. Several times I was up to my knees in murky water. All I wanted now was to be back at the car putting on my dry gear and getting a tea in the wee cafe at the car park.
(Walked with Martin and his father Bill)
by Mal Grey » Wed Apr 22, 2015 10:35 am
Congratulations on your first Munro, and on an entertaining report.
by teaandpies » Wed Apr 22, 2015 12:46 pm
Mal Grey wrote:Congratulations on your first Munro, and on an entertaining report.
Thanks. This was my first Munro but it was many years ago
I actually try not to make the reports entertaining. I'd like to be make my reports more practical and informative so if anybody is reading the report as research it can benefit them. I'm not interested in winning best report prizes. I couldn't remember all the details because it was so long ago I done this walk I can't remember the ins and outs of it I'm afraid but I'm glad you enjoyed it for what it was.
This is also the first writing I've done since I was in school so I'm very rusty. I've been out of school for 14/15 years now
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3 posts • Page 1 of 1
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