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 2 May 2010

Day 41 - 450m up Ben Lomond to above Gleann nan Caorann

Sunday 2 May
Distance: 17.25 miles (Tot: 702 miles)
Number of times it started to rain/snow the moment we sat down for a break: 3 out of 4!

After yesterdays efforts, I slept well last night. I know that because this morning Mick told me that he had popped out to use the en-suite at about midnight, and I had no recollection of him getting up. In a tent as small as ours, it takes some sound sleeping not to notice the other person getting up, putting a jacket on, undoing two zips and then reversing the whole process a minute later!

By this morning, I felt like a new person, with no hint of how tired I had felt last night.

Eager for the day ahead, I stuck my head out of the tent only to find myself disappointed to see the top of Ben Lomond in the cloud - and also surprised to see a light dusting of snow on the upper slopes. It had been snow-free last night.

By the time we had packed away the summit was clear, but it didn't last long. Once we had gained the motorway of a path that heads up there, it was snowing quite convincingly on us. Better than rain though - at least we weren't getting wet, and there was no noticeable wind at all.

After yesterday, the walk up Ben Lomond was like a stroll up a street and we were on the summit an hour and a half after leaving our pitch (having chatted to a couple of sets of early-birds coming down on our way).

The cloud was breaking by the time we got up there, and after an hour and a half of snow on top of the overnight dusting, it was quite pretty.

Down a spur to the NW we descended, which put us in front of a not-insubstantial looking stand-alone lump called Cruinn a Bheinn. We had two options: we could climb up the 600ft or so to the top, or we could skirt around. Well, it was there, so up it we went.

Oh, the bliss of sensible underfoot conditions! It had been pathless most of the way down the spur and most of the way down from (the firm, grassy) Cruinn a Bheinn, and there were big boggy areas, but at no time was the going anywhere near as hideous as yesterday.

Having learnt our lesson yesterday that the Highland High Way route perhaps sticks too much to the principle of staying high, at the expense of taking a sensible route, we didn't go over the side of Cruachan to hit the road to the E of Inversnaid, but instead dropped down to the WHW about a mile and a half S of Inversnaid (involving an interesting deer fence crossing!).

Arriving at what should have been the end of our day, and having already decided to ditch the next bit of our intended route, over Ben Vorlich (which also meant that we didn't have to wait for a ferry), we decided that we may as well continue on to Inverarnan via the WHW.

We positively sped along, overtaking many others, through the mud and puddles (I guess the morning's snow had been rain down low). It's one of the more interesting early sections of the WHW along Loch Lomond from Inversnaid, with ups and downs and roots and boulders, although it did mean that our legs were tiring by the time we were approaching Inverarnan.

So, did we stop at the campsite there, which would have been the end of tomorrow's day? Nope, we decided that we would walk a little way into the day after tomorrow, so after filling up our drinking water and availing ourselves of the toilet facilities, on we went.

It was a hard yomp to finish the day with, and it didn't finish the day because we couldn't find anywhere to pitch, so having met the track we needed, we had no option but to continue a while more. If you've seen the photo in my last post, then you'll have seen that we've landed on our feet with a pitch (and just when it was looking like we were going to be pitchless for the night, and just before hunger led me to start gnawing on my own arm!). It was a long day at 11 hours.

So, tomorrow to Tyndrum, putting us two days ahead of schedule.

(Theo: assuming that you mean Tuesday 4th (the day after tomorrow), we'll be leaving Tyndrum in the morning and following the WHW up to Auch. From there we may go over Beinn Dorain (but I'll wager that we skip that one too), and then we'll follow the WHW a bit more to Victoria Bridge, where we'll swing off left to find a pitch somewhere up the Allt Toaig.
Ken: your comment did make us giggle! Thank you for your sympathy.
Martin: there were reasons for that route choice. In hindsight, they were misguided. If I was to ever want to achieve the same thing again, I'd definitely walk the WHW to Rowardenan.
Ken: just got your second comment in the nick of time! It'd be great to meet you. We'll look out for you and the fat dog (and hide our sandwiches as a precaution!). As for route, we're camped just by Troigeach Bheag at the moment. We'll leave here at about 7.30 in the morning and, as you correctly deduced, we're heading for Ben Oss. Plan was to go over to Beinn Dubhchraig, then backtrack to the little lochans before heading down to Dalrigh... I'd much rather get down to the track t'other side of the Cononish, but couldn't see an obvious way of doing it from Dubhchraig. Any suggestions welcomed! Failing which, hopefully good visibility will assist once we're there.)
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1 comment:

  1. Might be better following the north spur off Dubhchraig then drop down to the bridge at Cononish to the west of the crags