A walk into winter

Looking towards Beinn Dubhchraig

Looking towards Beinn Dubhchraig

It doesn’t seem any time at all since we were hauling our way up the steep slopes above Cononish in bright very warm conditions with midges and flies buzzing all around and sweat running down our faces, heading on our way to Beinn Dubhchraig.  On Sunday we were walking up Beinn Chaorach instead and looking across the glen to Beinn Dubhchraig, Ben Oss and Ben Lui ….but in very different conditions.  Now, just a couple of months later, everything above about 400 m was white with fresh snow.

Towards Ben Challum

Towards Ben Challum

It wasn’t a complete transformation to winter though, as, with it still being only mid November, many of the trees in the glens below still had leaves …some showing the full array of autumnal colours and others still almost completely green.  Even the grass was still quite green making for a stunningly beautiful mix of colour as we drove up the side of Loch Lomond under an intensely blue sky.

Ben Challum from Beinn Chaorach

Ben Challum from Beinn Chaorach

Once away from the sound of the road, it was a very peaceful scene, (very appropriate, it being Remembrance Sunday) the only sounds, the crump of the snow under our boots and the occasional call of a circling Raven overhead.   With the daylight hours being somewhat short at this time of year and our starting out late due to the icy roads, we didn’t have that much time.  I reckoned we’d have to turn back at 14.00 at the latest and at about 13.40, still a good 15 minutes from the top, we decided to call it a day and sit and have our lunch.  The views really couldn’t have been better with the great snowy bulk of Ben Challum close by, and Ben More and the Glen Falloch hills to the south east.  A glance to the right as I sat eating my sandwich and I could see Ben Lui and it’s neighbours …..it really was very clear.

Towards Ben More

Towards Ben More

Our timing proved about right as the sun was setting behind the hills by the time we were back on the main track and as we descended back to the West Highland Way in the base of the glen, it was once again a very cold and quite dark scene with the white snow covered hills almost glowing against the darkening sky and a bank of low mist forming.  The final couple of kilometres back along the West Highland Way to the car was the most difficult for me …trying to follow Nita as she picked her way around patches of ice in the gloom.

It hadn’t been a long day but a very fine way to start the winter…..apparently they’re forecasting cold weather again next week.

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