Hill: Ben Lomond
Date: Sunday 15th May 2016
Company: Myself, Becky and Cuillin
Distance: 12.6km, Ascent: 990m
Time: 5Hrs 30Mins
Having ascended Meall Corranaich and Meall a' Choire Leith on Saturday, I suspected my daughter Becky would like to do an easy hill on Sunday. However, on given the choice of several hills, Becky opted for the hardest
hill on offer i.e. Ben Lomond.
The MetOffice forecast suggested sun until 10am with cloud thereafter. This forecast turned out to be incorrect as we had sun throughout the day.
On arrival at Rowardennan, we parked in the car park (£3 parking charge). The car park was already very busy and there were lots of people preparing to ascend the hill.
I first ascended Ben Lomond in 1997 and last ascended Ben Lomond in 2011. On my 2011 ascent, I combined Ben Lomond with neighbouring Cruinn a' Bheinn.
From the car park, we followed the tourist route up Ben Lomond.
Becky at the start of the Ben Lomond Hill Path:
A few minutes after setting off, we passed a friendly Robin which was happy to have its photo taken.
Becky ascending the hill path:
Within ten to fifteen minutes of setting off, I was already starting to get frustrated at getting stuck behind groups
of extremely slow walkers. Cuillin was not used to so many people and was pulling
on his extending leash more than usual.
Looking back towards Loch Lomond:
During the initial ascent, we passed a section of path currently undergoing maintenance.
It didn't take long however to get ahead of the groups. Despite only being nine, Becky was fitter
and faster than many ascending the hill.
As the weather was much warmer than expected, my rucksack was filled with far too much clothing and potentially not enough water. I was carrying three litres but that was between myself, Becky and Cuillin. I therefore stopped at every burn on the way up and down to allow Cuillin to drink. I also soaked him several times to keep him cool.
Onto a good section of track:
Becky at the Ben Lomond National Trust sign:
I could tell Becky was a bit tired having ascended two Munros the day
previous. She was however determined to get to the top.
Increasingly good views looking back to Loch Lomond:
Looking back to Loch Lomond:
During the ascent, numerous walkers spoke to Becky and Cuillin. There were suprisingly few other children ascending the hill.
Becky and Loch Lomond:
As it was so warm, it was nice to get onto the level section of track beyond Sron Aonaich and
catch a bit of a breeze.
Onto the track beyond Sron Aonaich:
As we walked along, we spoke about the various surrounding hills including the Cobbler and Beinn Narnain.
The Cobbler, Beinn Narnain and Beinn Ime from Ben Lomond:
Looking back along the level mid-section of Ben Lomond hill path:
On reaching the zig-zagging path up the final couple of hundred metres, we took our time and I held Becky's hand at any sections where there was a sizeable drop below.
Onto the final stretch leading to the summit:
Ben Lomond cliffs:
It was great to reach the summit.
Becky at the summit of Ben Lomond:
After taking a few pictures of Loch Lomond, we returned to the car via the same route. The Ben Lomond summit provides great views down to Loch Lomond.
Loch Lomond from the summit of Ben Lomond:
On getting back down to a height of 650m, we passed the very slow groups that we had met at the start. I would estimate they were at least 1.5 hours behind us and we were not going particularly fast.
Becky and Cuillin, descent back to Rowardennan:
I thought Ben Lomond was busy on the way up but as we made our way down we passed more and more people.
It was a bit of a relief to get back to the car and get our boots off. A stop at a nearby shop for some ice lollies was in order before the 4.5 hour drive home.