Sub 2000s: West Lomond
Date walked: 06/02/2012
Time taken: 2.3 hours
It was a glorious day. I should have been up in the Highlands climbing a Munro - but I had somehow missed the fact that the weather was turning out good for my day off on Monday and it was too late to head for the high hills. To tell the truth I had been tired. It had been a hard week - and despite the fact that most people believe us preacher types only work one day a week (not a joke I appreciate!) by the end of Sunday I was too bushed even to think about heading for the hills! But Monday came - the sun shone - and I could feel the call of the wild! By lunchtime I was desperate to get onto the hills - somewhere! I needed to stretch my legs and my local hills came to mind! West Lomond it would have to be. With a summit height of 522 metres it would give me a good climb of about 400 metres and it was near enough for me to get there after lunch and be up and down before dark!
So I had my lunch, packed some snacks and a drink and unpacked my crampons, ice axe, storm shelter and extra fleece so that my rucksack felt soooo much lighter! And I set off - heading off up the M90 - my usual access route to the hills. But this time, I turned off heading in the St Andrew's direction - then was soon turning right, at Gateside, and heading for the peaks of the Lomond Hills. I've always wanted to call these the Fife Alps (well, if Arrochar can have alps why can't Fife? ). Soon I was parking at the layby at the waterworks site just past Nether Urquart farm. There were a lot of vehicles there and I was glad to get a space. Then it was on with my boots and off I set just as the owners of all those cars arrived back from the hills - a walking group of some sort. It was just after 2:30pm. I could see my route ahead of me curving up to the left through the corrie-like indention that breaches the crags on NNW side of Lomond Hill.
The track I was following took a direct line towards the hill and as I made my way up I was intrigued by the great cloud of flies dancing away in the warming February sun. Does this mean winter is over!
I was approaching the Bonnet Stane and I suddenly heard breathing behind me. A cyclist I had passed at the gate had become a walker and was about to pass me. I though I had been making good time - but he had trail shoes on his feet and he had a very small pack. I was still in winter boots (my regular boots have a problem) and was carrying what now seemed to me a big load! I waved him by and wished him well. Then I stopped to admire the Bonnet Stane - with its unusual form - more reminiscent of desert rock formations - before moving on.
From here the path went onwards and upwards towards the hill.
Looking back towards the Bonnet Stane views of the Highlands were opening up.
The path then continued in an easterly direction climbing steadily up the hill round the corrie-like hollow.
It was cold in this hollow - sheltered from the sun - and the ground was quite icy.
Soon I had to chose to go up the steep grassy gully to the right - or the slightly less steep path which curved round to the left.
I'd been this way before and the gully give a quick route up. However, the grass was frozen and the steps in the earth were filled with hard ice. It proved to be a bit more of a challenge than I had anticipated. Nevertheless I was fairly quickly up and onto the path that sweeps round the north side of West Lomond before heading up to the summit. I met my cyclist friend there on his way back down and we chatted a bit. I took the chance to encourage him to check out Walkhighlands - so welcome friend if you see this! I took the path that cuts the corner a bit and headed on up towards the summit with Bishop Hill and Loch Leven coming into view.
The path turned uphill heading east and it wasn't long before the summit came in sight. There was the cairn and the trig pillar parched on its strangely eroded base (Was it sheep or wind that wore this base away? I haven't seen any others quite like it!)
I was at the high point of Fife and there were great views all round. I enjoyed some time at the summit - munching a snack and enjoying the warm sunshine. Unbeknown to me Johnny Corbett had been here earlier and was by this time making his way back to Bishop Hill, having visited the East Lomond in between. His report seems to have a lot more sunshine and warmth in it! It's a pity I didn't meet him - or find your car keys, eh, Johnny!
From the summit there were great views towards Glenrothes and the Forth.
Towards the Ochil Hills.
And especially towards the Highlands which were wonderfully clear (Grrr! ). Shame I wasn't up there somewhere - but at least I was up a hill!
I decided to head down a different way and followed a steep path down the north-east of the summit. It was quite snowy still here in the shade and I had to be quite careful not to slip. A lone figure seemed to be taking photos down below - but they were gone before I reached their position.
In the shadow of the hill it suddenly seemed quite cold now the sun was going down. The hill itself had an very icy look from this perspective, too.
I took a bit of a detour along the crags - having headed too far north. But soon I found the top of the path and made my way down.
The ice and snow still persisted on the northern slope - so a little care was needed. But it was a straightforward descent.
Once off the hill the walk back to the car was along a good track and I made good time. Looking back, West Lomond was catching the warm rays of the setting sun.
I enjoyed my wee walk up West Lomond. It's a great wee hill. I've always been amazed how the twin peaks of the Lomond Hills can be seen from so many parts of the eastern Highlands.
It's really good to have your local hills for the days you don't manage to get further (for whatever reason). I've climbed this hill quite a few times now and it's always been different. And I'm sure I will be up there again before long. I reached the height of 522 metres whilst still in Fife! Not bad for a couple of hours walk!
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- Location: Cowdenbeath
- Occupation: Church minister
- Interests: The natural world
- Activity: Munro compleatist
- Pub: Lawers Inn
- Mountain: Ben Vorlich
- Place: Kincraig
- Gear: Balaclava
- Camera: Panasonic DMC-FX55
- Ideal day out: An epic ridge walk with several Munro Summits - but not too exposed!
- Ambition: 283 Munros!
- Munros: 128
- Corbetts: 11
- Grahams: 3
- Donalds: 5
- Sub 2000: 8
- Filter reports
- Trips: 4
- Distance: 52.9 km
- Ascent: 4003m
- Munros: 6
- Sub2000s: 1
- Trips: 20
- Distance: 283.4 km
- Ascent: 20782m
- Munros: 35
- Corbetts: 1
- Joined: Nov 30, 2010
- Last visited: Aug 20, 2020
- Total posts: 245 | Search posts