Ben Lomond might not come with a reputation for being the toughest, biggest, longest, steepest, rockiest mountain ever but does have the tag of being one of the most popular, due to it being the most southerly munro and close enough to central belt to be a little more than an hours drive from the other side of Falkirk or for my company for the day Ruaridh coming from west side of Glasgow.
But it provides a bit of everything and judging by the collection of folk tackling it on a Saturday morning, there really is something for everyone. It provides a more than significant hike up it's well-trodden southern flanks, some flattish sections up high before a bit of a steep zig zag to the final short ridge to the summit; and if you take the Ptarmigan ridge route off, there's an enjoyable rocky scramble descent onto the ridge itself.
We met more people coming up the Ptarmigan route than came up the more usual route up the southern shoulder of the mountain; a mix of serious climbers no doubt relishing the ascent to the summit up the rocky section at the north-west corner of the summit with some families who looked like they were out for a leg-stretch (and who looked more than a bit dismayed when they heard how long they still had to go; we hoped they had warmer clothing in their packs than they were sporting lower down where we passed them).
The route is straightforward; Rowardennan car park (£3 for the day) at 8am, up the path at the rear of the white building and the way up is clearly marked. The path literally takes you all the way and for the most part stretches out ahead of you.
Our climb was in lovely mid-November sunshine; but the forecast winter shower for 11am seemed to loom a bit earlier than anticipated and as we made the final approach to the summit the snow came on and the views disappeared completely. We spent around 10 mins on the summit and as we moved off to the path onto the Ptarmigan, the clouds dramatically blew through and revealed a spectacular view over to Crianlarich's munros and over to Ben Vane and Ben Vorlich. The Cobbler, Ben Narnain and Beinn Ime would be our constant companions as the ridge took us down gradually to the lochside.
The Ptarmigan presented few problems but with a light dusting of snow covering some icy patches, care had to be taken coming off the summit and down the steep rocky steps to regain the ridge path. Again, the path literally can only really be followed and before we knew it, walking south into warm November sunshine (4 seasons, 1 day etc) we were at the shoreline and a short walk to the cars. Definitely a good, quick day out - I'll plan a return and tackle it the opposite way round.
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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.