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My first solo Munro with a beautiful journey there

My first solo Munro with a beautiful journey there


Postby kirstyfc » Mon Apr 13, 2020 5:34 pm

Route description: Ben Vane, from Inveruglas

Munros included on this walk: Ben Vane

Date walked: 04/05/2019

Distance: 11 km

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I had been speaking to a lady in work about Munros, and she was saying how she loves to go by herself and appreciate the total isolation. I was unsure on the idea, but she strongly encouraged it, so when it came to a sunny Saturday a few days later and my usual walking buddy was working, I decided to give it a go. I picked out Ben Vane.

I don’t drive so it was all aboard the West Highland line which I had been on to Ardlui once before and loved it. The start of Ben Vane isn’t walking distance from a train station however I thought it would be nice to cycle there. Ardlui train station would really mean going further north than the start to then cycle back, however it was a shorter cycle than it would have been from Arrochar & Tarbet.

It was a lovely sunny day so there were great views from the 8:20am train. The three mile cycle was then wonderful – I was so used to cycling on the streets of Glasgow it was amazing to have Loch Lomond next to me. I have been on this road a number of times however it made such a difference being on a bike, and I could stop and take pictures like I wouldn’t be able to do in a car.

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View across Loch Lomond from the side of the road

As I was heading south, most of the cars on the road seemed to be heading north, away from me so it wasn’t too busy either. I got to Inveruglas visitor centre and parked my bike there.

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I then headed further along the main road by foot to get to the beginning of the trail to Ben Vane. There was a tarmac track to begin with, and I began to think I would have got along quicker if I still had my bike, however I may have struggled with somewhere to tie it to when I had to ditch it eventually.

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Totally cyclable, right?

I was enjoying the difference of being able to listen to music as I walked and it was good motivation. I hadn’t quite got a grasp of getting offline maps on my phone, and had been using the directions set out on the Walk Highlands webpage. In true ‘me’ fashion I managed to spectacularly miss the path turning to the right which would lead me the ‘correct’ way up the mountain, and this made a big impact on my later journey. Unknown to me at this at the time, I kept going up the main road, wondering where I was supposed to turn right, until I came to a tiny little cairn and what may resemble a path. With no other options I went for it. After a while, there was no path at all, and I was soon following footprints that could have only been made by sheep. By this point, I was too high to really turn back so I kept at it.

It was exhausting. Without a path, it was a really steep struggle up the left side of the mountain, and I was going against all mountain rules of sticking to the path to avoid eroding the natural environment. However, I had come this far and it would have been dangerous to go back down this steep way, and I still would have no idea what the ‘right’ way was. Difficult as it was, I was helped along by the views that were opening up over Loch Lomond.

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I then was elated to reach the top, and as I sat with something to eat admiring the views (and happy to finally see other humans who had come the right way again), what I had just endured was quickly forgotten. Being myself, I was glad to take it in and then start moving again at my own pace.

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The route for Ben Vane is an up one way and back that way as opposed to a loop, so it was time to discover the correct path on the way back down! It was a very clear stony path, nothing like the mossy grassy way I had come. There are a few false peaks on Ben Vane which were now becoming clear as I headed down – I had completely avoided them on my way up! As I reached the bottom I spotted these clearly marking the way in:

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Oh well!!

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The false peaks on the right and 'my way' on the left

It was then back down the main road to reach the bottom, and I stopped at the café at Inveruglas for a cup of tea. The problem with taking the train to mountains – you’re either running for a train or far too early for the next! However it wasn’t the worst place to wait. It was then back on the bike to Ardlui station – and by this point the traffic was heading south so it was quiet on my side of the road once again!

Apart from my awful diversion it was a great experience climbing myself. I would say company is nicer, but doing it alone is better than not doing it at all.
kirstyfc
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 25
Munros:37   Corbetts:3
Grahams:2   
Sub 2000:3   
Islands:9
Joined: May 7, 2019
Location: Glasgow

Re: My first solo Munro with a beautiful journey there

Postby Raynor » Sun Apr 19, 2020 1:28 pm

Had the same experience first time I did Vane. Missed the path and basically spent the day scrambling up wet grass. Was literally on my hands and knees just before the summit, where I crawled onto the actual path right in front of a group of bemused walkers.

A bike would be amazing for the downhill back to inveruglas. Not sure I would fancy the uphills on the way there though :lol:
Raynor
Wanderer
 
Posts: 144
Munros:36   Corbetts:5
Grahams:5   Donalds:1
Sub 2000:12   
Islands:4
Joined: Jun 11, 2017
Location: Paisley

Re: My first solo Munro with a beautiful journey there

Postby kirstyfc » Thu Apr 23, 2020 5:11 pm

Raynor wrote:Had the same experience first time I did Vane. Missed the path and basically spent the day scrambling up wet grass. Was literally on my hands and knees just before the summit, where I crawled onto the actual path right in front of a group of bemused walkers.

A bike would be amazing for the downhill back to inveruglas. Not sure I would fancy the uphills on the way there though :lol:


Glad it's not just me! I was afraid of stumbling upon some walkers too!
They didn't feel too bad - maybe it was too pretty for me to notice :) but the downhill on the way back was indeed very good :) recommended!
kirstyfc
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 25
Munros:37   Corbetts:3
Grahams:2   
Sub 2000:3   
Islands:9
Joined: May 7, 2019
Location: Glasgow

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