Work took me from the west over to the east, so in the spirit of optimising my time spent, I decided to add in a wee stopover in Perthshire. Drawing a line from my home to my work location took my closest to Ben Chonzie at the halfway point, so decision made. Of such things are lives decided.
The weather matched the muted feel of the walkhighlands description of the walk, so I parked the car on the grass and started with exuberance. The walk begins by some houses and up a landrover track, which isn't the most inspiring beginning, but the views of the moors quickly come and the gentle upwards walk alongside a burn is nae a bad start to the afternoon.
I was the only soul for quite a way around, so I took my time, enjoying the fact it was currently dry if somewhat moody. I did make the critical error (not for the first, and inevitably not the last time) of reading the walk description and thinking that I could see the summit I am heading for. Beware: you can indeed see Ben Chonzie, but most certainly not the summit. Unfortunately, the seemingly simple task ahead buoyed my spirits but not my legs .
The weather stayed relatively mediocre, and the vast majority of the walk is following a track through the moorland landscape. There, meadow pipits and skylarks kept me company as it wound very slowly upwards, although when I turned to admire the growing view I see the clouds were starting to join me too . I was hoping to stay ahead of the weather, so even thought the forecast wasn't for rain until the evening, I picked up the pace .
The place for crossing over on to the flank of the hill from the track was obvious when you saw it, and marked with a cairn. The path wound up the hill and was clear, with increasingly good views across the moorland behind me. However, just as I reached the line of fenceposts at the ridge, the clouds completely covered the top of the hill . Fortunately it was simple to follow the fenceposts along the ridge and round to the right, to the back of the hill and the actual summit.
As always, the slog upwards was completely worth it for the stunning views from the summit
Coming back down involved turning into the wind, and what at that point became pelting rain. I ran into some other intrepid adventurers on heir way up as I headed down the slope, with the normal exchange of wry smiles that accompanies this kind of mad situation
I missed the turn off from the fence posts to the right path while the rain was washing my eyeballs, so had to do a bit more navigating than anticipated to find the right way down the slope, but ran back into the track without too much problem. Obviously just as I found the path the cloud cleared, allowing a view across the valley for the journey back, and making me look ridiculous to the people heading up the hill in the sunshine as I squelched towards home
All in all, not the most inspiring day on the hills, but a bit of a leg stretch and a good test for the new waterproof: consider it broken in. And definitely worth the reward later
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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.