Ben Vane – WALK REPORT – Sep 2012

The Good the Bad and the Ugly

The weekend started off with the bad and the ugly in quick succession (an evening on Buckfast – the bad; and the resulting hangover – the ugly) and was followed by the good, a cheeky trip out to Loch Lomond for some exercise on Ben Vane 

After a morning of housework (I had to earn my time out…) I drove up to Inveruglas and parked up at the visitor centre. I was out solo today, so I was kitted up and on the track for 12.45. After the first half a mile next to the road, it was time to get the heart pumping and I made mince meat of the tarmaced track up to the bridge. The views opened up pretty quickly.
IMG_3708.JPGFirst views
IMG_3709.JPGA’ Chrois

It was here that I saw a guy on his own that was navigating using his phone. Now I might not be the most experienced hill waker out there, but if anyone can shed some light on how this is possible/if it safe… I would have thought that if you lost your phone signal you’d be pretty stuffed. Give me a map and compass any day.

Broke track and headed through a bog and up onto the ridge. Looking up at what is to come, I found myself thinking, how the hell am I going to get up that. Usually the closer you get, the more obvious the route becomes, but in this case it was pretty hard to spot.

IMG_3713.JPGFirst of the crags

Now, as I was out to log another experience day for my ML, I was working on my pace and foot placement. What a test! The path seemed to get steeper and steeper and when you thought it could not get any steeper it would throw some more at you and even then there were places that you needed to get your hands on the rock and pull yourself up. It was nice to not have to think about anyone else and concentrate on the goal – if I felt comfortable with it I went for it and there was not much I didn’t go for.

Finally, the views started to open up, with views down to loch Sloy and Ben Vorlich on the right, and A’Chrois and Ben Narnain on the left.
IMG_3714.JPGLoch Sloy and Dam
IMG_3715.JPGOver my left shoulder

A quick stop for a drink and to get some calories in me – a new one for me, yogurt and fruit/nut mix. A bit strange, but it did the trick. 

 Onwards and upwards and I was undone by the same thought that gets me every time. “Not far now, its just there.” Its never there. Ever. Not once when I have been out have I got it right. It was my own fault, it quite clearly shows on the map that there are a couple of false summits to go over before the real summit. And with a small scramble off the main path I was there.

IMG_3725.JPGTwo summit cairns with Ben Lomond between
IMG_3718.JPGBen Ime
IMG_3720.JPGBeinn Dubh and northwards
IMG_3723.JPGLoch Sloy and Ben Vorlich
IMG_3724.JPG3 lochs

After a quick text to the Mrs and some more of the yoghurt mix, I was off back the way I had come. I am not sure about anyone else, but I find it easier to run down the slopes rather than walk. Less painful on the knees too. You should have seen some of the faces of the people that I went past – quite a picture. I made sure I said hi to them all though.

I was back to the tarmac in under an hour and then began the picturesque but slightly slog-ish walk back to the main road and the car. Overall, a great hill for beginners, not too tough, but a good challenge. To take a look at some other routes for beginners, click this link.
IMG_3726.JPGLast look back…conquered!

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