Number 40 – Ben Vorlich (Loch Earn)

19 02 2015
The view on the decent opens up. Loch earn in the distance.

The view on the decent opens up. Loch earn in the distance.

I thought I’d take a walk today,

It’s a mistake i sometimes make,

My children lay asleep in bed,

My wife lay wide awake,

I kissed her softly on the brow,

I tried not to make a sound,

But with stony eyes she looked at me,

And gently squeezed my hand,

Call it a premonition, call it a crazy vision,

Call it intuiton, something learned from mother,

But when she looked up at me, I could clearly see,

The sword of Damocles hanging directly above her,

Oh Lord, Oh my Lord…..

Nick Cave sang to me all the way along the winding Loch Lomond road. The darkness of the early morning start began to clear and the steep slopes on the far end of Loch Lomond could now be picked out against the slowly lightning sky.

“Be early to get a parking space at the side of the road” the guide said. I was. Arriving at the start of the guide route for Ben Vorlich and Stuc a’Chroin, only two cars occupied spaces at the roadside. The day was bright enough, and Loch Earn was still, but looking up I couldn’t see my target for cloud. I packed, dressed and headed up along the track which meanders slowly above Ardvorlich House.

Today’s plan was to avoid two summits, but as each step took me closer to Vorlich, the chances of nailing the two diminished. By the time I had crossed the first decent snowfield and entered the clag, the visibility low and unrelenting, I had made my mind up that one tick would be the best I could hope for. The realisation that a return trip and a retracing of my steps would be required at a future date to enable me to tick Stuc a’Chroin was all too clear to me and took the shine off each upward footstep.

A break on the way up and a chance to weigh up my chances...

A break on the way up and a chance to weigh up my chances…

And then a thought occurred to me. Those fell running shoes I bought with every great intention, yes the ones which haven’t been outed in anger, this wee hill would be an ideal early test for them in summer conditions. The path and gradient were perfect for all terrain running. With that fixed as a plan for a return visit, I enjoyed the day more. Only one tick today, however on the bright side, it was a landmark tick, number 40.

The summit cairn. painfully close!

The summit cairn. painfully close!

I had made it to the top without crampons, however it was quite apparent that i would move faster on the way down without them. I detached them from my rucksack, sat down for a bite to eat about 10ft from the top and waited for 20 minutes to see if the clag would lift, it didn’t. Suitably spiked, I made my way down. As I got to a level where the clouds dispersed, I could see the winding trail of walkers below me on their way up the path.

“That “early start” advice in the guide seems justified” I thought as I headed down.

Be back here soon no doubt.

the summit view.

the summit view.

I’m doing this for

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