A plan was hatched a few months ago whilst taking a lunch break, Alex, a pal and workmate mentioned that he had never been atop ‘the Ben’, I myself had never been there so it was decided to attempt to get to the summit. Originally planned for May, which is the best month in Alba for doing anything before the ‘holy terror’, the midge makes its grand appearance.
I had kept an eye on the weather forecast and Thursday had been chosen for the ascent, plans were made, the usual radio equipment was packed, an ‘alert’ was posted on the SOTA website.
Rucksacks on then off we started, a steady climb through a wooded area until we reached open countryside, the top of the ‘Ben’ was shrouded in mist, we steadily climbed the ‘Tourist’ path stopping occasionally to take in the views which were getting better as we got higher.
We eventually reached the final steepish ascent to join the ridge which finally would take us to the summit at the NE corrie. Soon we were standing at the top of the ‘Ben’, the view in all directions were stunning, the An t-arar Alps, Beinn Mhor and its sister peaks, the other ‘Ben’, Nibheis was hiding under cloud, although we did spy her later.
I then left Alex to take photographs whilst I set up the radio gear, I set up the mast with the 4m JPole but after a few CQ calls , nothing was heard. Time to go to 2M FM, first back to my call was Terry, a GM3 station was visiting Sallochy Bay on the loch side, Alan, a MM0 station from Laverock was next and we then set up a 4m FM sked and as it was line of sight, I used the handie with only the rubber duck antenna , the contact was made with no problems then came a call from Chris, a MM1 station locally from Cathair Alastair which now meant two 4m FM contacts were in the log. I went back to 2m FM and Roddy 2M0IOB, a regular on this blog also a SOTA activator and chaser, Roddy had activated the ‘Ben’ in the first weekend of May, called in, Roddy was in the higher parts of Grainaig.
Next were regulars, 2M0 Scott from Cille Bhrighde an Ear and husband and wife from Dun Eideann, Ken, GM0 and Christine, GM4. The next station to answer my call was Dave in EI land, Dave was mobile in Muineachan in the NE part of Eire, he asked if he could try contact me with his 2m Handie and sure enough, I heard him with no signal but audio. Raymond a MM6 from Barassie was another mobile station who called in.
There was a pleasant breeze at the summit but it was now time to head home, we had decided on the way up to return by the way of the Tarmachan ridge.
The intial descent is very steep and is more of a light scramble in places, as we reached the bottom of this particular section, we met a Chinese lad who looked as if he knew he was in the wrong place and was poorly dressed for the vagaries of the Scottish climate and also had a lack of ‘sensible’ footwear. I asked if he was ‘okay’, I got the thumbs up from him and as we descended we kept looking back and although he was literally no further forward , he kept giving us the ‘thumbs up’.
We then descended down the ridge, pausing for more photos and uisce breaks, until we reached the halfway stage when the breeze suddenly stopped and the rest of the steep descent was done in uncomfortable heat, I looked at Loch Laomainn and thought of a quick skinny dip but oh! for to have brought a towel.
Alex nipped along the road to pick up the car whilst the local midge population found and started to devour me then it was back to the Ranger Centre for a quick break. We left Rubha Aird Eonain, headed to Balle MoThatha to the ‘village shop’ who chill their juices/ Irn Bru to the perfect temperature. Baile An Loch for a ‘chippy’ then headed home.
My grading of this walk is:
Two things learned…
Pick a cooler day for this type of walk, height and length
Carry a towel LOL
AS you will have noticed I have added the place names in Gaelic as I think such a wonderful part of our heritage should not disappear, I regrettably have very little of the Gaelic tongue.
Tha mo bhàta-foluaimein loma-làn easgannan !!!!!!
Found this poem whilst’ Googling’ it was originally found on a window in the Tarbet inn.
“Stranger, if o’er this pane of glass, perchance
Thy roving eye should cast a casual glance,
If taste for grandeur or the dread sublime
Prompt thee Ben Lomond’s fearful height to climb,
Here gaze attentive, nor with scorn refuse,
The friendly rhymings of a tavern muse.
For thee that muse this rude inscription plann’d,
Prompted for thee her humble poet’s hand.
Heed thou the Poet, he thy steps shall lead
Safe o’er yon towering hill’s aspiring head;
Attentive then to this informing lay,
Read how he dictates, as he points the way.
Trust not at first a quick adventurous pace,
Six miles its top points gradual from the base.
Up the high rise with panting haste I pass’d
And gained the long laborious steep at last.
More prudent thou, when once you pass the deep,
With measured pace, and slow, ascend the lengthened steep;
Oft stay thy steps, oft taste the cordial drop,
And rest, O rest, long, long upon the top.
There hail the breezes, nor with toilsome haste
Down the rough slope thy precious vigour waste.
So shall thy wandering sight at once survey
Vales, lakes, woods, mountains, islands, rocks, and sea,
Huge hills that heaped in crowded order stand,
Stretched o’er the northern and the western land;
Vast lumpy groups, while Ben, who often shrouds
His loftier summits in a veil of clouds,
High o’er the rest displays superior state,
In proud pre-eminence sublimely great.
One side all awful to the gazing eye,
Presents a steep three hundred fathoms high;
The scene tremendous shocks the startled sense,
With all the pomp of dread magnificence:
All these, and more, shalt thou transported see,
And own a faithful monitor in me.”
The original page is <HERE>
Beinn Laomainn is ’the Beacon Hill’ 974m ASL (3.195 ft)
Munro Number 184
Round Trip of approx 15 km
Total Ascent : approx 974 m (3,195 ft)
Wikipedia article <HERE>
Ben Lomond Flickr Photo Set <HERE>
Wikipedia Gaelic article <HERE>
My grading of this walk is:
For the context of how I grade these walks <HERE>