Hands up here, I had so much fun on this walk, that I forgot to take a lot of photos. Throughout the entire walk, I took a grand total of two photos. Apologies that there are not hundreds of beautiful pictures and panoramas of the Scottish countryside to go with this walk report. The weather was also pants, so even if I had, you wouldn’t have seen anything anyway, just a lot of clag.
We set off early from the central belt, Max and I, and headed north up to the small town of Killin, nestled nicely next to the River Dochart, at the western end of Loch Tay. It was quite a pleasant drive, without too much traffic or anything of note to get in the way. Heading along the north shore of the Loch, we eventually reached the junction for out destination, the Ben Lawers National Nature Reserve.
We parked up and paid for the carpark before getting booted up, checking the kit for the last time and setting out roughly westwards onto the well made hill path towards our target for the day. This was to be Max’s first Munro, so I had tried to think of anything that he might need during the walk. I needn’t have worried, he was off like a shot, exploring all of the new smells and plants along the side of the path. He even had time for a quick dip in the river to cool off. He certainly put me to shame, continually coming back to check on me, to make sure I was alright. Similarly, it was also my first Munro in quite a while, so it was not much of a shock to have lost my hill legs and quite a bit of fitness – although it didn’t help my pride much.
After a few hundred meters of relatively flat, is undulating path, the way head got progressively steeper and more consistent. We headed on up into the clouds, which were hanging relatively low at around 700m.
This part of the walk was a bit of a slog, if I am honest. It was hard enough going, the views over Loch Tay were no more and we still had a fair bit of climbing to do. Eventually, the path meandered more northwards as we crested onto the shoulder of the ridge. I imagine that in good weather, this would be a great viewpoint looking westwards along the loch towards Killin, you could probably also see more of the tarmachan ridge from here – I shall have to go back…
We met another couple at this point, with their dogs, it was nice to see some others on the hill, even if we had caught them up. Thinking back , the car park was packed, so I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I had assumed that most people would be heading towards the Ben Lawers massif and the variety of climbing on that side of the nature reserve.
We made short walk of this slope, encountering our first patch of snow, which Max thought was great. He certainly enjoyed watching me struggle up it anyway. We made our way to where the ground slightly flattens off and had a quick breather, before tackling the final steep ascent to the summit. The wind really started to pick up here, gusting quite strongly at times. We hung around for a couple of photos (THE couple of photos) and then headed back down the way we had come back to the car.
Overall, it took us about 2 hours to get back to the car, which is not too bad at all. I will definitely be back to tackle the whole ridge in future, hopefully on a nice day so I can enjoy some of the views. I also still have a couple more of the Munros in this area to complete, so I will be back to Loch Tay before long.
This was the first outing at this height for a few new bits of equipment, you can read the reviews of them here: