Lomond, you beauty....

Route: Ben Lomond

Munros: Ben Lomond

Date walked: 28/06/2021

Time taken: 4 hours

Distance: 13km

Ascent: 990m

It started with a phone call, midway through a long hot afternoon at work.

"Do you fancy Ben Lomond tonight....? Could you get away by 5pm?"

This is the way a summer goes when everyone else in the house is a teacher, student or pupil. Our eldest was the instigator, keen to get his bike out in the hills after another 4on, 4off, 12 hour shift at the Cv19 test location in Stirling.

This precipitated a rush to get work done (sorry boss!), a mad dash home by bike, and hurriedly packed bags. All our kit packing was fine despite only 5 minutes of thought, the petrol level in the car was not considered however - more of that later.

We arrived along the east shore of Loch Lomond just as a stream of traffic came the other direction. This continued as we set off up the freshly wooded path from Rowardennan, but this was the last of the days hillwalkers.

It seemed most walkers were taken aback by our son lugging his bike up. Comment of the evening when he was asked where he was going, to which the reply was 'The top' - was "SHUT UP!" in broad Glaswegian :D

The evening was incredibly hot, humid and sunny. Scotland is currently in the midst of a mini heatwave, and 24*c at 6pm is enough to have us sweating away and hoping for a breeze higher up. The views however quickly open up on Lomond to distract us from the heat.

ImageBen Lomond by Matt Robinson, on Flickr

Before we left the trees the dreaded midge found us. Before we doused in Smidge, we turned to natures solution and all wore crushed Bog Myrtle sprigs around our rucksacks and collars. Much better than sweaty Smide running through your eyes for the next couple of hours.

Bursting out of the treeline revealed the 'steep, flat, steep, flat, steep' climb all the way to the summit. The views south and east to the cities of the Central Belt is at odds here with the steep, mountainous terrain to the west. Arran was clearly visible, as well as the low bulk of the Kintyre peninsula.

ImageBen Lomond Walk by Matt Robinson, on Flickr

ImageBen Lomond in the evening by Matt Robinson, on Flickr

ImageBen Lomond in the evening by Matt Robinson, on Flickr

Westwards across Argyll Ben Arthur, Vorlich, Ime and Narnain were all front and centre, but as we climbed the lesser known peaks just to the south west jostled for attention. Names such as Cnoc Coinnich, Ben Bheula, Bheinn Mhor and Cruach nan Capull were tongue wrestled over and map consulted.

ImageBen Lomond in the evening by Matt Robinson, on Flickr

As we headed over the last steep pull, the Paps of Jura peeked over the sea Har that made them and the Arran peaks float visually off the coast.

ImageBen Lomond in the evening by Matt Robinson, on Flickr

Finally at the summit the view North opened up, from local lochs that are familiar to us as a family of paddlers, local peaks that are all on the 'done' list, through to more distant peaks. On the far horizon the peaks of the Black Mount, Glencoe and even the lumpen shape of Ben Nevis.

ImageBen Lomond in the evening by Matt Robinson, on Flickr

ImageBen Lomond in the evening by Matt Robinson, on Flickr

In computer game parlance the digital rays of the sun are referred to as 'God rays'. And we were treated to some fantastic God rays for about half an hour. The breeze dropped quite quickly and equally quickly the midges emerged to feast.

ImageBen Lomond in the evening by Matt Robinson, on Flickr

At this point the story takes on two paces.

One is mounted on a bike and achieves summit to car park in 15 minutes(!). For those familiar with the path there is one 5m section of a scramble, but other than that our son enjoyed an uninterrupted ride, no foot down, empty path and 'prime' trail conditions with only the last few walkers heading off the hill.

ImageBen Lomond in the evening by Matt Robinson, on Flickr

ImageBen Lomond in the evening by Matt Robinson, on Flickr

My wife and I meanwhile strolled off the hill at a much slower pace, reluctant to leave to early as the sunset was gathering in intensity. The steep pulls of the path now became knee straining efforts, the effort of a days work, a bike commute home and a Munro now taking toll.

ImageBen Lomond in the evening by Matt Robinson, on Flickr

ImageBen Lomond in the evening by Matt Robinson, on Flickr

As we arrived at the car we were treated to the most spectacular sunset over the Loch and Ben Vorlich on the opposite bank, just before 10pm.

ImageBen Lomond Walk by Matt Robinson, on Flickr

The relief was short lived though. The car now showed 20 miles left to petrol empty (see the rush to get away from work earlier) and the nearest 24hour garage was 20 miles away, in the wrong direction....A nail biting, slow and gentle drive back down the Loch saw us heading to Balloch. Oncoming cars had now idea of the hilarity in our car as we were forced to brake on sections to give way- but pleading with them to let us through without too much impediment. But we made it. Just. On fumes and a dashboard beeping '0 Miles' as we left the last roundabout....

Somehow a post midnight into bed (still with a light horizon of course) just added to the lovely experience.

My only regret of the whole evening was I didn't borrow a 'big camera' from my other son, the phone images above barely do it justice.

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Occupation: Outdoor Learning Officer
Interests: Walking, canoeing, mountain biking.
Activity: Wanderer
Mountain: The next one.
Place: Loch Rannoch

Munros: 63
Corbetts: 23
Grahams: 21
Donalds: 26
Wainwrights: 151
Hewitts: 158
Sub 2000: 24
Islands: 18

Filter reports



Trips: 6
Distance: 41.5 km
Ascent: 1490m
Munros: 1
Corbetts: 2
Donalds: 1


Trips: 8
Distance: 57.5 km
Ascent: 1316m
Munros: 3
Corbetts: 1
Grahams: 1
Donalds: 2


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Distance: 14 km
Munros: 4


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Munros: 5


Trips: 3
Distance: 13 km
Ascent: 180m
Munros: 2


Trips: 1
Distance: 14 km
Munros: 2

Joined: Nov 03, 2013
Last visited: Jan 23, 2022
Total posts: 273 | Search posts