At last!

Beinn Eich from Beinn Dubh

Beinn Eich from Beinn Dubh

Back at the start of October, week took some friends for a walk up Beinn Dubh in the Luss Hills above the southern end of Loch Lomond.  If you read the blog that week, you’ll remember that we had a wet and very windy day on the hill …not at all the best way to see or experience it.

Since that day we’ve been so busy that we haven’t managed to get back out into the hills.  When we did have odd days when neither of us were busy …….the weather did its very worse ….there seems to have been just one great Atlantic front after another blasting its way through the west of Scotland recently.  So, needless to say, I’m not at all fit once again!  It’s amazing just how quickly you lose fitness ….especially once you’re over 50!

Wind blown snow, Beinn Dubh

Wind blown snow, Beinn Dubh

With Thursday and Friday this week being taken up with work, we kept looking at the weather forecasts, expecting the inevitable weather system to come splurging its way in from the west and ruining this fine cold snap.  But no, things seemed quite settled for today, (Saturday) and so we decided  to get ourselves out on a hill …and of course, catch a bit of snow.

On Beinn Dubh

On Beinn Dubh

Irvine, being right by the sea, tends to stay a degree or two warmer than inland and so we’ve missed the snow that other parts of Scotland have been getting recently…..it’s just been very wet here …very wet indeed.  In fact, everywhere is awash with water and what we just didn’t need last night was a good hard frost.  Guess what?!  We got up this morning to find everything covered in ice!  We had to put the spiders (little instep crampons) on, just to get from the front door to the car.  The little road outside the house was like a skating rink …not great when you have 40 odd miles to drive. Just hoped the main roads would be better.

With the prospect of bad roads we’d decided to head back to Beinn Dubh as it’s all on main roads and as I say, not to far.  We got away at about aquarter to nine (later than we’d planned) and thankfully found the main roads pretty reasonable.  A few miles inland, the fields were covered in snow and it stayed like this all the way to Balloch at the southern end of Loch Lomond.  Beyond there, it fizzled out, at least at low levels and by the time we could see Beinn Dubh, the snow level was probably about 250m!  Quite amazing but it made for a good mix of colours in the bright sun.  Luss, like Irvine, was well iced up and you could have had an ice hockey game on the main car park!  Back on with the spiders!

Towards Ben Lomond

Towards Ben Lomond

As I’ve said about this hill in the past, you get good views all the way and this morning was no exception.  All the hills around were caked in snow at higher levels and with the bright blue sky and the green and brown coloured lower slopes, it looked stunning.  It was a good job it did, for my legs were complaining about this sudden bit of activity …I think they thought they’d been retired!  No such luck chaps ….with this government in you’ll be working even longer!  This did of course mean that we took plenty of stops to look and snap photos.  Across the loch to the NE, Ben Lomond looked beautiful under the snow, as did all the smaller Luss Hills.  In fact, with the snow, deep shadows and bright sun, you had to make yourself remember these were only 650m …they looked much bigger under these conditions.  When we reached the snow it was soft and fluffy, marked by patterns blown into the surface by the strong winds.  Higher up, at around 550m, it became very cold as we lost the shelter of the hills and walked into the brisk north westerly wind.  It didn’t matter though, we just added a few more layers and carried on snapping photos and ooooohing and ahhhhing at this amazing country.  At last, we were back on the hill.

Beinn Dubh

Beinn Dubh

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