A magical day on snowy Ben Challum

Route: Ben Challum, near Tyndrum

Munros: Ben Challum

Date walked: 20/01/2019

Time taken: 5.25 hours

Distance: 11.5km

Ascent: 984m

What a day.

I was originally supposed to be going up to Glen Coe today but our plans changed and we ended up heading to Ben Challum, the hill I had planned to do last Thursday, instead. I ended up doing Ben Ledi ion Thursday as I didn't have a walking buddy and did not feel confident going alone given the recent snowfall.

We set off from Glasgow around half 7, stopping on the way to take some pictures of the beautiful sunrise over Loch Lomond.

ImageIMG_20190120_085134 by Laila Hudson, on Flickr

We arrived at the layby at about half 9 and set off in good spirits. I was feeling a little apprehensive and was not sure what to expect as I have very little experience hill walking in snowy conditions. My pal assured me we would be grand. Though easy for him to say, he'd gone up a very snowy Ben Alligin in the middle of the night mere days before. The first part of the walk was uneventful. Luckily the bog was minimal thanks to the cold temperature so did not have to worry too much about boggy feet....FOR ONCE.

As we descended the cloud around us thickened and there was not much to see other than white cloud and white snow all around us. A man and a young boy scampered up past us; both me and my friend in awe at the wee boy's speed!! Good on ye!

ImageIMG_20190120_120922 by Laila Hudson, on Flickr

Once we hit the ridge the wind hit us full force. All around us the clouds swirled and we could see patches of blue sky teasing us above. Would the clouds clear and allow us to have a glimpse of the surrounding landscape?

We teetered along the ridge and soon hit the final leg of the walk, up to the summit. As we arrived, the strong wind pushed the clouds past and we could finally see the beautiful hills blanketed in snow all around us.

ImageIMG_20190120_123818 by Laila Hudson, on Flickr
ImageIMG_20190120_123915 by Laila Hudson, on Flickr
ImageIMG_20190120_123927 by Laila Hudson, on Flickr
ImageIMG_20190120_124945 by Laila Hudson, on Flickr

Time for some lunch....DISASTER. I had managed to forget my cheese and Marmite roll! I scarfed down some coffee instead as the clouds came and go. We did not hang along for long at the top. The icy wind was brutal - I had icicles dangling from my hat and chilly toes so we set off back down. The wind at the top was quite something. I had a new phone without a case so had been using a sock to protect it in my pocket. Unfortunately the vicious wind whipped it out my hand and my phone-sock disappeared into the hills. :'(

As we begun our descent the clouds finally lifted and cleared and laid bare the landscape before us. This is going to sound so cliche but it really was breathtaking. I was in absolute awe. The sun shining down on the stark white snow, the hills crowding together, fighting for space on the horizon. Brooding grey clouds scuttling over peaks far away. I felt so completely happy. Deliriously so. A 'Hiker's High' perhaps? I felt like I had never seen anything so beautiful and the descent was an absolute joy for this very reason. I think my pal started to get sick of my constant it's-so-beautifuls and can-you-believe-its. But seriously. I LOVE YOU SCOTLAND.

ImageIMG_20190120_130211 by Laila Hudson, on Flickr
ImageIMG_20190120_131542 by Laila Hudson, on Flickr
ImageIMG_20190120_131621 by Laila Hudson, on Flickr
ImageIMG_20190120_133157 by Laila Hudson, on Flickr
ImageIMG_20190120_141152 by Laila Hudson, on Flickr

We made it to the bottom relatively unscathed though I had a good faceplant in the snow and my friend managed to have the most spectacular fall into what must have been the only bit of bog on the entire walk. We enjoyed a wee nosey in the graveyard on the way back. What an amazing place to be buried. Grave with a view, sign me right up!

All in all, the most wonderful day. I can now appreciate why people love going up the hills in the snow so much. I think this must rank as one of my favourite walks yet. What an experience.

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Activity: Mountain Walker

Munros: 17
Corbetts: 2
Grahams: 3
Sub 2000: 1

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Trips: 1
Distance: 11.5 km
Ascent: 984m
Munros: 1


Trips: 9
Distance: 85.28 km
Ascent: 6366m
Munros: 12

Joined: Apr 30, 2018
Last visited: Feb 19, 2019
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