Beinn Dubh ….or bust!

Near the starting point for Beinn Dubh

Near the starting point for Beinn Dubh

I had a wonderful time in Germany and the scenery around Speyer and the Pfalz was beautiful …the colours especially fine. But ……if there was one thing I missed (apart from my partner Anita of course) …it was the Scottish hills. When we got back to Irvine I was so busy that I couldn’t get out immediately. I’ve six paintings to complete for an exhibition at the Scotlandart.com gallery in Edinburgh at the end of October …so much to do.

I just had to get out though and so we decided that we’d go walking on Saturday. But you know what it’s like – you plan a walk and then the weather forecast is bad. The Friday of course was beautiful but Saturday looked like being grim indeed….very low cloud …albeit rising to between 300 and 500m as the day progressed, and patchy rain and drizzle. Not really a day for views and colours!

The first views of Loch Lomond

The first views of Loch Lomond

But of course, we just had to go. I’m really not very fit after almost five months without much in the way of steep ground and so we decided to head to the Luss hills ….a favourite short walk when we want to get the legs going again. It’s steep enough to know you’re on a hill and wild enough too …and if the weather is good …some great views….not that we expected to see them. This was going to be a chance to hone the navigation skills a little we thought.

We’re lucky living in Ayrshire as it’s only about an hours drive to the start of the Highlands and the southern end of Loch Lomond so we didn’t set out too early and arrived at Luss just after 11am. Amazingly, although there was thick low cloud and driving rain over some of the North Ayrshire hills, by the time we were north of the Clyde the cloud level had risen to around 800m and there were definite breaks with bits of blue sky. It was beautiful and as we followed the path up Beinn Dubh things improved further with patches of bright sun bringing out the early autumn colours and making it feel really quite warm. You quickly gain height and the views out over the southern end of Loch Lomond open out with every step…..giving you a great excuse when your legs are aching to stop and ‘admire the view’ ….which we did on a regular basis! By the time we were near the top even Ben Lomond was clearing spasmodically.

North from near Mid Hill

North from near Mid Hill

One of the things I love about the Scottish hills is just how quiet most of them are. Even on this beautiful Saturday, we only saw two other couples walking …hardly a crowd. It was so peaceful, just the sound of the breeze in the grass and the occasional bird. From the summit of Beinn Dubh the route follows around in a small horse shoe, dipping slightly to give great views down into Glen Douglas before rising again as the broad grassy ridge curves round to Mid Hill. The views NW towards the Arrochar hills are particularly good from here and on Saturday, particularly so with most of them in deep shadow by this time, illuminated occasionally by bright patches of sunlight. It looked fantastic as we started the steep descent into the glen and the wee road back to the start point. We ended our day with a celebratory ice cream back in Luss ….what a great little day!

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