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Ben Lomond... from Tarbet by boat

PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2015 11:12 pm
by denfinella
Days and days of hot, sunny weather in Scotland... and days and days of work commitments prevented us from getting into the hills, even at the weekends. Fortunately, a couple of days off finally materialised, just before the weather was set to break at the end of the week. Midweek gave us an option to finally explore Ben Lomond, on a day when hopefully it wouldn't be at its busiest.


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Rather than drive to Rowardennan, we headed up the A82 to Tarbet and hopped on the 8.45am ferry - seemed a nice way to start a walk!

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All calm on the loch...

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The Cobbler and Narnain looking fine:

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After landing (unexpectedly) at the tiny jetty by the Youth Hostel, we headed north on the West Highland Way, soon turning onto the narrower path towards the Ptarmigan Ridge (doing the walkhighlands route in reverse). Good views back, and relatively cool in the morning sunshine, for now.

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Looking uphill, I think a waterfall (Sput Ban) can usually be seen in the trees, but after all the dry weather the stream had nearly dried up!

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The climb is steady, but never a slog. Views north along the loch:

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Across to Glen Douglas, the caravan park a bit of an eyesore:

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South towards the Boundary Fault islands:

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Finally Ben Lomond's summit came into view ahead:

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On the ascent we saw a few different lizards, out basking in the sunshine. One in particular seemed completely nonplussed, posing patiently before finally scampering off:

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On the more shapely part of the ridge at around 700m, Ben Lomond looked increasingly impressive:

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So did the Arrochar Alps:

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Only a short section of the ridge is steep - the last climb before the summit. Thankfully west-facing, the snow had all melted, making it an easy climb:

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Only at this point, on the steep section, did we pass the first other walkers of the day. The summit was a stark contrast, with several groups sitting around in the vicinity - although the trig point itself was quiet. What a view!

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The descent on the main, touristy path didn't quite match those on the ascent, with Ben Lomond a bit ungainly on this side:

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Huge numbers of people now heading up, and the temperature was still climbing steadily (it was only just after midday). There's no shade at all on this stretch - the Ptarmigan Ridge does at least have a few useful shady spots in the morning, before the sun gets around to the west.

Towards the bottom, Ben Lomond regains its good looks:

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In the trees close to Rowardennan, we were lucky to spot an adder moving slowly across a fallen tree branch - strikingly beautiful, and the first we've seen apart from a sadly dead one near Conachcraig. It was off into the dense undergrowth before the camera could come out! We did get a photo of the branch though :roll:

We reached the car park at Rowardennan at about 2pm - perfect timing for late lunch at the Rowardennan Hotel. The food was a bit disappointing, but it was still satisfying sitting in the scorching sunshine, having got down before the hottest part of the day. Afterwards we headed slowly back towards the jetty, stopping to test how cold the loch was (very!), lie on the beach etc.

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Back on the ferry at 4.45pm, before the easy drive home.

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Perfect tonic to a couple of weeks stuck in the city!

Re: Ben Lomond... from Tarbet by boat

PostPosted: Sat Apr 25, 2015 9:38 am
by KatTai
I must have been too early for the lizards (went u a couple of weeks ago). Lovely report, I did the same route and I think it is a much nicer way to go up :D

Re: Ben Lomond... from Tarbet by boat

PostPosted: Sat Apr 25, 2015 10:36 am
by scottishkennyg
Nice clear pictures there and an excellent variation on the drive hike routine.Cheers K

Re: Ben Lomond... from Tarbet by boat

PostPosted: Sat Apr 25, 2015 12:56 pm
by kev_russ
Cracking pics :) brings back memories of getting the ferry over maself with the bike. Up Ben Lomond then a wee cycle back around to Balloch & train home. Cheers

Re: Ben Lomond... from Tarbet by boat

PostPosted: Sat Apr 25, 2015 3:54 pm
by denfinella
KatTai wrote:I must have been too early for the lizards (went u a couple of weeks ago). Lovely report, I did the same route and I think it is a much nicer way to go up :D


Thanks! We did also see lizards in the Trossachs a few weeks ago - it must be an early start for them. Yes, the main path was really quite dull by comparison.

scottishkennyg wrote:Nice clear pictures there and an excellent variation on the drive hike routine.Cheers K


Thanks Kenny. Not many walks you can start with a ferry ride!

kev_russ wrote:Cracking pics :) brings back memories of getting the ferry over maself with the bike. Up Ben Lomond then a wee cycle back around to Balloch & train home. Cheers


Sounds like a nice day out - if I had a bike! Train to Arrochar first i guess?

Re: Ben Lomond... from Tarbet by boat

PostPosted: Sat Apr 25, 2015 5:45 pm
by kev_russ
Train to Balloch :wink: cycled up west side o the loch, camped out for a couple o nights with an ascent of Narnain & Ime then ferry across. Nice wee weekend