Ben Lomond

photo Ben Lomond

Ben Lomond

It really doesn’t matter that this is one of the most popular hills in Scotland and that thousands of people make their way to its summit each year; it really is a very fine hill.

We had arranged to meet up with a couple of friends who were staying in one of the lodges at the side of Loch Lomond at Rowardennan.  We arrived at nine o’clock on a beautiful spring morning to find a ‘second’ breakfast of coffee and croissants waiting for us.  The loch was like a mirror and Ben Lomond and the Ptarmigan rose steeply behind, the higher slopes speckled with patches of snow….the remnants of the heavy snow we’d struggled through on Beinn Damhain a few miles to the north west just ten days previously.  From the shore though it was difficult to tell quite how much snow there might be on the steeper upper sections of the Ptarmigan ridge.  We decided to head up to the top of the Ptarmigan and then if the steeper section leading up to Ben Lomond looked clear, head on up, descending by the larger and easy angled ‘tourist’ path.

Ben Lomond, walkers approaching the summit

Ben Lomond, walkers approaching the summit

This really is a great route.  The path up the Ptarmigan starts amidst the oak woodland that skirts the loch-side and then winds its way steeply upwards giving fine views out over the loch.  These views get bigger every time you stop for a breather and on this calm morning the Luss hills on the opposite side of the loch were beautifully reflected in the water.

Despite the beautiful weather we saw very few people, one couple passed us on their way up and three or four more came down past us, but it’s hard to believe that Glasgow is just a forty minute drive from here.  We came across the first of the snow patches near the top of the Ptarmigan and it was deep and slushy and slippery but as far as we could see (well…Anita and my two friends could see that is) …there were only a few patches on the steep ground ahead ….and these could be avoided.  The final clamber up the ridge to the summit of Ben Lomond is wonderful.  The views become vast.   The final little section involves using your hands to clamber through and up a short rocky section that ends quite suddenly, a few metres from the summit trig point.

Ben Lomond, on the Ptarmigan ridge

Ben Lomond, on the Ptarmigan ridge

 

Ben Lomond, near the summit

Ben Lomond, near the summit

We’ve done this route a good few times over the last ten years and never before have we found the top so quiet and so calm.  There was hardly a breath of wind and we could sit around taking in the spectacular views without feeling cold.  It was a perfect day and one that has left me looking forward to our trip to Assynt in a few weeks time.

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