Had started out with a plan to climb Buachaille Etive Mor, but drove all the way up to find the mountain had not read the forecast. Could barely see the cottage at the foot of the hill, let alone the hill. Decided to detour back to Loch Lomond, which had been relatively clear on the way up.
A couple of years ago I had attempted to climb Ben Vane, however, due to a combination of feeling unwell and it being an overtime shift for the midges, I had failed to summit. On arriving back at Inveruglas, the weather looked a little better and although all the peaks were generally shrouded in cloud, I decided to re-visit Ben Vane.
Those of you who have climbed this mountain will know that the start of the climb can be very boggy and I remembered that on my last visit I had discovered an alternative route to avoid some of the bog. I walked up the road and headed off on the track towards Arrochar around the left of the mountain, looking for the path off up the hill. Managed to miss the start of the route and walked further up the path than I should have, however, thankfully, could see the route clearly and just eventually set of up the hill towards it, reaching it within 5 minutes.
The climb is hard and unrelenting, with no real flat sections to mention. I found the going hard and the weather had closed in a little providing few opportunities for views or pictures. The initial third of the climb, is quite wet and boggy in places and can be slippy. The middle third was just incessant uphill slog, but on a clear path, which is steep in places. The final third is a succession of false summits, with a fair amount of scrambling and quite steep again in sections.
I eventually reached the summit and although it had been drizzly on the climb, it had been quite calm, not so on the summit. Suddenly it was blowing a 'hoolie' and this was driving the rain and visibility was non-existent. I didn't even take the obligatory 'selfie' as it was too wet and blowy to take my phone out!
I quickly left the summit and started on my way down. As usual, it seems, the weather steadily improved on the decent and the best weather was there on the return to the car park! Indeed the could broke and the sun came out on the drive back to Glasgow.
The decent was tricky from the top having to reverse down the scrambles and close to the bottom where it was boggy, there was always the danger of a slip. Managed to get down without and major upset, although tired wet and exhausted.
I found this a hard unrelenting climb and having conquered this peak, cannot say I feel as though I will be quick to return. Tick it off the lst and march on!
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Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.