The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Cruach an t-Sidhein, Doune Hill and Beinn Eich

Cruach an t-Sidhein (NS275975; 684m), Doune Hill (290971; 734m) and Beinn Eich (302947; 703m)

That was novel! We set out on a circuit to visit 3 Marilyns - and that’s exactly what we did, but with the twist that we only visited one of our intended hills. Here's how the day evolved:

Plan A: The original plan had been to visit four hills in this area by way of a linear walk. We would start out together, from the west of our first objective, then Mick would turn back after the second summit and drive around to meet me in Glen Douglas, to the north.

Plan B: I decided last night to do as almost everyone else seems to do and set out from Luss (to the east) instead. With the outing now being a lollipop, Mick could do the whole route, but due to the length of walk-in, and the lie of the land, only three summits would be visited (three of the four from Plan A).

Plan B, Version 1: A minor modification. To save us the long walk in/out along Glen Luss, I would cycle up to the end of the public road and Mick would walk. On the way back, Mick would cycle and I would walk (for the avoidance of doubt, we only have one bicycle).

Plan C: Another quite minor mod. For reasons I can't quite remember it seemed sensible to reverse the intended order of our route from clockwise to anti. Without this mod, our day would have been quite different.

Plan D: I had started waivering by the time we stopped for elevenses. The going up the Glen was a bit rougher/wetter/wiggly than I had anticipated, but the big factor was that I could see the lie of the land by this point and I wasn't sure I really felt like that hard a day. Various options were discussed and we decided to start as intended but potentially omit the final hill.

Plan E: when we finally reached the point where we were going to start climbing out of the glen (3 hours in!), we could see that by far the nicer looking outing was to do our first intended hill, then nip over to the lovely looking ridge above us, to return via Beinn Eich. A good compromise: an easier outing than intended, but a lovely looking walk.

Plan F: Atop Cruach an t-Sidhein, I looked at the map and confirmed what I thought I could see. If we were going to return via Beinn Eich then really would have been silly to omit a quick jaunt (180m extra ascent) up Doune Hill.

Plans finally stopped changing at that point - except for the return cycle ride. Mick insisted on walking and thus it was me who got to zoom down the glen (with just three sneaky uphills thrown in).

Except for our changing plans, other occurrences of the day included:
-A French man showing us through his neighbour's garden and over his back wall because he misunderstood where we were trying to go. I didn't have the heart to backtrack and tell him of the communication error, so we took a little detour to pick up the track further along.
- Mick slipping off a rock into a deep stream (fortunately remaining on his feet) only for us to have to backtrack and recross a few minutes later when we reached another, less easily crossed, ford. By then we could see the bridge a little way upstream (don't you just hate it when that happens?). To make matters worse, I had actually noted, before we forded, that the map said that the path didn't cross, yet we assumed that as the obvious track went that way, it was the way we should go. If only we had spotted the nearby waymark sooner...
- A woman being so surprised when I passed her on my bike that she staggered across the road ans fell in a ditch! I was oblivious to this, but as it happened right in front of Mick, and as he stopped to help her up, I learnt of it later. In my defence, I did ding my bell repeatedly before passing, but as she wasn't actually in my way, I didn't shout (lesson learnt - I will in future). Happily, she was uninjured.

In spite of everything, it was a fine outing, with superb views, on a pretty fine day, coming in at 10.5 miles (for me, nearer 15 for Mick). I've not calculated the ascent. Here are some snaps:

It was a long walk along this glen, with the constant quandary of whether to wiggle around following the burn, or follow a straighter but undulating line a distance away:

Atop Doune Hill - where our plan said we weren't to be:

Atop Beinn Eich, Loch Lomond behind:

Mick, somewhere in between the two photos above, with lots of pleasing lumps behind him:

1 comment:

  1. It's always nice to know that you've achieved something each day!