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A stunning Loch Lomond cloud inversion Hogmanay up the Ben

A stunning Loch Lomond cloud inversion Hogmanay up the Ben


Postby Chris Mac » Tue Jan 14, 2020 3:21 pm

Route description: Ben Lomond

Munros included on this walk: Ben Lomond

Date walked: 31/12/2019

Time taken: 5.32 hours

Distance: 13.2 km

Ascent: 1127m

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I went up Ben Lomond for the first time in March 2018 during a group walk and with heads in the clouds for most of the climb, Ben Lomond joined my list of mountains that owe me a view. This debt has now been repaid with interest!

With no Hogmanay plans until later that evening and a dry, clear day forecast, all that was left was to decide where to go. I fancied something fairly nearby, high up and also relevant to mark the end of a year that had more downs than ups. It was an easy decision, my Mum only climbed one Munro and that was Ben Lomond. Almost 6 months earlier Iain and I had a great sunrise view of the Ben from our summit camp on Beinn a' Chliabhain and it would be the last time we were on Arran with Nellie.

I still had Ptarmigan to explore so the decision was made and off I went driving north through Glasgow. Past Mugdock I could see Ben Lomond and other hills were clear although it looked cloudy and slightly foggy around the loch. MWIS had mentioned a possible inversion and it looked like it was staying pretty low, this could get interesting!

I arrived at the car park to find it almost full just before 10am, it seems a lot of other people had the same idea today but before me! After squeezing the car into a bay that another was trying to hog, then having to double back to get my camera after 30 seconds of walking I was (eventually) making my way along the road:
ImageBen Lomond (1) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Across the Loch was Luss, or was it some mystical hidden land in the clouds, it was hard to tell:
ImageBen Lomond (2) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Even sticks were looking like swans and it was very chilly:
ImageBen Lomond (4) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

After walking along and passing a few vans and other walkers the ascent soon began and I was cursing wearing my winter lined trousers as I heated up. Visibility was poor:
ImageBen Lomond (5) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

A little higher up and the sun was trying to break through with no joy:
ImageBen Lomond (6) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Best if I break out of the clouds, the island of Beinn Bhreac across the loch:
ImageBen Lomond (7) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

This could be a special day:
ImageBen Lomond (8) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

We were now coming out of the clouds and it was nothing like it was further down:
ImageBen Lomond (11) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

It may only be a cloud inversion over Loch Lomond and at low level but they all count and I doubt you get one like this that often:
ImageBen Lomond (12) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

As I made my way up Ptarmigan Ben Arthur and the other Arrochar hills were coming into view:
ImageBen Lomond (13) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

The crags of Tom Fithich:
ImageBen Lomond (15) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

I was quite glad that I hadn't decided to do a bigger route elsewhere as I was stopping to take photos regularly, it was hard not to:
ImageBen Lomond (17) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Now getting above the clouds:
ImageBen Lomond (18) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Now just an easy ascent to Ptarmigan now and although still fairly busy with people it's still a much more enjoyable ascent route than the tourist path:
ImageBen Lomond (19) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Enjoying the view of our wee Alps improving as I went:
ImageBen Lomond (20) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

And of course the loch of clouds I had just emerged from!
ImageBen Lomond (23) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Much more interesting than the other route:
ImageBen Lomond (24) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Wow!
ImageBen Lomond (26) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Someone has stolen the islands from the loch!
ImageBen Lomond (28) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Ptarmigan summit dead centre:
ImageBen Lomond (31) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

One man and his dog sitting on a cracking lunch spot, well played: :clap:
ImageBen Lomond (34) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Not a bad view to enjoy! 8) Goatfell and Caisteal Abhail peeking through in the distance as well:
ImageBen Lomond (36) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

The final ascent route up the north face of Ben Lomond looks like fun:
ImageBen Lomond (37) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Everyone I chatted to as I passed was loving the day so far. That included a group of French people and one girl who when waiting for friends to catch up kept warning passers by about an icy section of path, cheers I said as I then had a slippy arm waving wobble straight away, she wasn't kidding! Thanks for the heads up, "maybe I need to stay here all day she joked." :D

Yes this really is Loch Lomond:
ImageBen Lomond (41) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Arrochar, I had been looking forward to this view as having been up all but one of them I love how they are all spaced out to give a good view of Ben Lomond and from here you can see why:
ImageBen Lomond (42) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

The Brack, Glen Croe, Ben Arthur and Beinn an Lochain:
ImageBen Lomond (44) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

More of these later, i'm not even at the summit of Ptarmigan yet! :crazy:
ImageBen Lomond (46) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

The route ahead:
ImageBen Lomond (47) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

The Crianlarich giants are now coming into view to the north:
ImageBen Lomond (53) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Looking up at Ben Lomond's summit as the group of French people pass by on the path:
ImageBen Lomond (54) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

I decide to sit and have a break as i'm out of the wind a bit now. Although looking lovely and sunny there was still a bitey cold wind higher up:
ImageBen Lomond (57) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Conic Hill directly south, all the tourists will be getting a bonus view from there today!
ImageBen Lomond (58) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Looking north I attempt a Brocken spectre and fail miserably with no clouds on the other side: :( :lol:
ImageBen Lomond (59) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Ben Vorlich, hill of the bay and it is easy to see why from here. Ben Lui, Ben Oss and Beinn Dubhcraig also showing off:
ImageBen Lomond (60) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Still plenty of people climbing up and down:
ImageBen Lomond (63) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Behind Ben Vane and Loch Sloy dam Ben Cruachan and Beinn Bhuidhe can be seen:
ImageBen Lomond (64) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Way out west the Paps of Jura are playing hide and seek in the clouds:
ImageBen Lomond (67) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Ben Arthur. It wasn't surprising to see plenty of people on and around the tiny the summit today:
ImageBen Lomond (83) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Beinn Narnain and Beinn Ime, Roy will be raging to see them this clear compared to the end of last month when we were up both and saw nowt! :lol:
ImageBen Lomond (86) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Beinn Dorain:
ImageBen Lomond (92) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Crianlarich/Balquhidder Munros with An Caisteal dead centre:
ImageBen Lomond (93) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Ben More and Stob Binnein:
ImageBen Lomond (94) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Right, enough photos or you will run out of daylight, time to get moving! Leaving Ptarmigan behind:
ImageBen Lomond (96) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Galloway Hills slightly visible to the south:
ImageBen Lomond (98) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

The Tarmachan Ridge, Ben Lawers and co. were in view to the north east as I began the final ascent:
ImageBen Lomond (99) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

From Ben Lui to Beinn Dorain with Ben Nevis peeking out inbetween:
ImageBen Lomond (100) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

On the way up again:
ImageBen Lomond (101) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

It was tough going, not on the legs, deciding where to look! Loch Lomond with clouds instead of water or a 360 degree view from Ben Nevis, to Arran and beyond! :crazy:
ImageBen Lomond (102) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

The shadow of the Ben as I look north and north east:
ImageBen Lomond (104) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Final section, this is definitely the best way up Ben Lomond (until I try something crazier):
ImageBen Lomond (105) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

On the way up I passed a gentleman and his daughter and we got chatting. He was from the Borders and loves Skye and other areas so we blethered for ages about some of our trips as I pointed out some of the surrounding peaks which he appreciated. He promised to get to Arran as he hadn't visited yet and since he likes Skye I said it was an obvious follow up.

Getting a good view of home now:
ImageBen Lomond (106) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

The cloud inversion was only the southern section of the loch, it was clear from Tarbet north:
ImageBen Lomond (108) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Final rocky scramble section of path:
ImageBen Lomond (109) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

It's not often you see this:
ImageBen Lomond (110) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

I reached the summit, touched the trig point, dumped my bag and went to the wide angle lens, the only way to properly capture this scene:
ImageBen Lomond (112) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Loch Lowcloud:
ImageBen Lomond (114) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

The summit wasn't as busy as I expected but there were still a good few people kicking about:
ImageBen Lomond (117) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

The Southern Highlands:
ImageBen Lomond (118) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

With a chilly breeze at the top I was no longer cursing the winter-lined trousers: :)
ImageBen Lomond (119) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Trig point and loch:
ImageBen Lomond (122) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

South east over the summit ridge to the Ochils, Campsies and Stirlingshire:
ImageBen Lomond (124) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Looking east to the Lawers group and Strathyre mountains:
ImageBen Lomond (126) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

A couple of summit videos in 4k in case anyone wants to see more:
https://flic.kr/p/2ic91FZ
ImageBen Lomond (177) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

https://flic.kr/p/2ic6y5J
ImageBen Lomond (178) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

I sat down to enjoy my lunch, feed a few greedy dogs and soak in the surroundings. It was glorious:
ImageBen Lomond (128) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

The ridges of Arran to the south west:
ImageBen Lomond (131) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

I could just make out Ailsa Craig although the Firth of Clyde was bright orange:
ImageBen Lomond (132) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Ben Lui and co. with Ben Nevis:
ImageBen Lomond (134) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

The biggest Ben, proving in one photo that the earth is definitely not flat! :lol:
ImageBen Lomond (135) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Over to the Tarmachan ridge and Ben Lawers with Loch Katrine down below:
ImageBen Lomond (136) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Another that owes me a view:
ImageBen Lomond (137) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

East to Strathyre again:
ImageBen Lomond (138) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Ben Vorlich with Stuc a' Chroin and Beinn Each which Iain and I enjoyed traversing recently:
ImageBen Lomond (139) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Ben Ledi:
ImageBen Lomond (140) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Everyone was enjoying it up Ben Lomond today, people, dogs and the local Raven:
ImageBen Lomond (141) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Ben Ledi and Ben Venue, looking very rocky from here despite diminutive stature:
ImageBen Lomond (142) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Loch Ard, Aberfoyle, Ochils and beyond:
ImageBen Lomond (143) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Dumgoyne, Tinto and Glasgow inbetween with even Hart Fell visible behind Tinto, what a viewpoint!
ImageBen Lomond (145) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Another look over to Arrochar as I can now make out the mountains of Mull beyond them:
ImageBen Lomond (146) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Conscious of the time I decide to head back down and several others have the same idea, looking down Coire a' Bhathaich as I head off the summit:
ImageBen Lomond (148) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

I pop up and along the ridge to escape the main path for a bit, well worth it for the view back:
ImageBen Lomond (150) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

A guy was flying his drone on the summit, post the footage here if you are on WH please?! :D
ImageBen Lomond (152) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

I sat for a while looking over to Arran and having a moment or two. A final look south:
ImageBen Lomond (154) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

It was well worthwhile going clockwise today to get to enjoy the cloud loch during the descent although the path had some very icy sections so care was required:
ImageBen Lomond (155) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Still a fair bit of snow up here:
ImageBen Lomond (156) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

The evening light would make the descent even more enjoyable, everything was coming up Millhouse:
ImageBen Lomond (158) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Sithein, the fairy hill of Ben Lomond. Behind it are 6 or 7 Marilyns and a couple of Grahams, can you spot them all?
ImageBen Lomond (160) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Enjoying the loch of clouds on the way downhill:
ImageBen Lomond (163) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

On the flatter section of path heading along Sron Aonaich I wasn't going too fast, was looking where I was going and still using mainly the side of the path to avoid some icey sections, yet somehow I found myself going down in slow motion as a leg gave way on ice.

Luckily as soon as I realised I was a goner I think I resigned myself to the fall and did the drunken floppy thing and relaxed my whole body as when I dragged myself up off the ground, despite almost doing the splits, I was fine, no injury! I'll take that, I quickly move on before anyone has a chance to see my mishap!

Looking back at the Ben now glowing a bit more than usual:
ImageBen Lomond (165) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Progress down was fairly fast and done avoiding any more icey sections:
ImageBen Lomond (168) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

ImageBen Lomond (170) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

The view was still blowing me away as the sun began to set behind Beinn Dubh:
ImageBen Lomond (172) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Ptarmigan sunset:
ImageBen Lomond (173) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Last light on Ben Narnain and Ben Vane:
ImageBen Lomond (174) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

The only thing left to do now was escape the sunshine and head back down into the murky depths of Loch Cloudmond!
ImageBen Lomond (175) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

The temperature dropped so I put on another layer and descended into the mist:
ImageBen Lomond (176) by Chris Mac, on Flickr

The final section back to the car took no time and after I got sorted and set off it was crazy as driving alongside the loch with foglights on you couldn't even see it as the visibility was that bad! As I exited the loch of fog en route to Dryman it had got a lot darker but before long I was back home, enjoying dinner then heading off to visit friends for the night, enjoy some good food and drink and have a fun catch up while mixing some records.

Outwith most of my adventures up the hills this year, 2019 was not a good one to say the least, however I will never forget how it ended.

Thanks Ben Lomond, that was a one of a kind walk, so good that i'm not sure if i'll be back as you will struggle to be able to top that one! 8)
Last edited by Chris Mac on Mon Feb 10, 2020 8:35 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: A stunning Loch Lomond cloud inversion Hogmanay up the B

Postby Raynor » Tue Jan 14, 2020 3:36 pm

Ooft that's some pretty unique cloud action you had going on there! And then the views at the top. Awesome :D Ptarmigan route is a belter. And that is one hell of a swanish stick. Had me fooled until I read the description :lol:
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Re: A stunning Loch Lomond cloud inversion Hogmanay up the B

Postby Mountainlove » Tue Jan 14, 2020 8:35 pm

What a cracking day you had. Great photos and report! :D
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Re: A stunning Loch Lomond cloud inversion Hogmanay up the B

Postby Chris Mac » Thu Jan 16, 2020 10:19 am

Raynor wrote:Ooft that's some pretty unique cloud action you had going on there! And then the views at the top. Awesome :D Ptarmigan route is a belter. And that is one hell of a swanish stick. Had me fooled until I read the description :lol:

Cheers Raynor, yeah it was a special day and the view was amazing, glad I went back for more after disappointment the first time I went up with heads in the clouds and it was more than worth it.

Haha the swan stick fooled me at first as I walked past it!

Mountainlove wrote:What a cracking day you had. Great photos and report! :D

Thanks Mountainlove, I couldn't have picked a better day for it. 8)
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Re: A stunning Loch Lomond cloud inversion Hogmanay up the B

Postby dogplodder » Thu Jan 16, 2020 12:33 pm

What a day you got - and it can't have been that cold with bare-headed folk at the summit. Fabulous conditions and a great way to end the decade! :clap:
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Re: A stunning Loch Lomond cloud inversion Hogmanay up the B

Postby Grisu » Sat Jan 18, 2020 10:47 pm

What a day! Lucky you!! :clap:
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Re: A stunning Loch Lomond cloud inversion Hogmanay up the B

Postby malky_c » Sat Jan 18, 2020 11:08 pm

Great day for it 8) . Didn’t occur to me to look that far south when picking our weather for Hogmanay!
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Re: A stunning Loch Lomond cloud inversion Hogmanay up the B

Postby Sunset tripper » Tue Jan 21, 2020 11:26 pm

Brilliant pics Chris. What a cracking inversion. :D
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Re: A stunning Loch Lomond cloud inversion Hogmanay up the B

Postby Chris Mac » Wed Jan 22, 2020 2:16 pm

dogplodder wrote:What a day you got - and it can't have been that cold with bare-headed folk at the summit. Fabulous conditions and a great way to end the decade! :clap:

Thanks very much, yes it was some way to end the year and decade, it certainly made up for the lack of view in March 2018 when I first climbed it!

Grisu wrote:What a day! Lucky you!! :clap:

Cheers, I still hope whoever had the drone on the summit sees this post and sends a link to his video, I would love to see it.

malky_c wrote:Great day for it 8) . Didn’t occur to me to look that far south when picking our weather for Hogmanay!

Haha compared to your recent summit camp up there it may have been a bit too busy for your liking Malky! It looks like you got some good walking in over the holidays anyway. :D

Sunset tripper wrote:Brilliant pics Chris. What a cracking inversion. :D

Cheers mate, yeah although not a proper high level one it was still quite spectacular seeing clouds instead of the loch. 8)
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Re: A stunning Loch Lomond cloud inversion Hogmanay up the B

Postby Mal Grey » Wed Jan 22, 2020 8:32 pm

Absolutely wonderful!

Not surprised you lingered all the way round taking more superb photos, more surprised that you came down at all!
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Re: A stunning Loch Lomond cloud inversion Hogmanay up the B

Postby Chris Mac » Tue Jan 28, 2020 9:53 pm

Mal Grey wrote:Absolutely wonderful!

Not surprised you lingered all the way round taking more superb photos, more surprised that you came down at all!

Thanks Mal I was lucky and doubt i'll see similar again. Ben Lomond is an amazing viewpoint, even better than I thought it might be but to see clouds in the shape of the loch was brilliant. If I wasn't driving to see friends for Hogmanay I would have stayed longer for sunset and a head torch descent. 8)
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Re: A stunning Loch Lomond cloud inversion Hogmanay up the B

Postby Huff_n_Puff » Sun Feb 02, 2020 10:58 pm

Stunning photos just brilliant - lucky you :clap: :clap: :mrgreen: :D
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