Ben Lomond

Working up in Glasgow for the last year has been very interesting, sometimes hard, learning on the job at a building site for a large development.

One of the other hard things has been the travel up and down each week from home to work and back. Whereas most people might commute an hour or more each morning into a city like Glasgow, I’ve been spending a 4-5 hour train ride getting here each week. It actually works out about the same amount of time in total, but I’m doing it all in one go, and I can usually get some work done enroute. But this means I’m living up in Glasgow for a week, away from Aimi, Kayto and friends in Stoke.

Most of the time I’m working as its pretty full on up here, and then in the evenings there is Karol and Marc to chat with, but they are on holiday right now so I’m all on my own up here. 

I’ve always known I’m a social person, but it surprised me just how much being in one place on my own affected my mood. Coupled with a poor choice of Netflix series, After Life, sent my mood plummeting. Don’t get me wrong, After Life is exceptionally funny in places, but also really REALLY depressing in others. It’s very well written to draw out both extremes of your emotions, but I’d suggest having a Disney DVD on standby for afterwards… it really made me sad and miss my fiancé and fluff ball.

I was feeling quite down, but resolved today to get up “early” and get out for a walk. After all, I’m right next to Loch Lomond national park.

I vaguely checked out the route up Ben Lomond and it looked a good solid path. I didn’t fancy going off into the wilderness on my todd, even if it did mean following a popular path with some knuckle dragging, tracksuited, inbred window lickers.

At one point the feral hyenas had stopped while one had a banana and he was about to put the peel in the side pocket of his bag when his dipshit friend said to toss it in the grass because “the birds would have it”, so he did…

No. They wont. It will look disgusting, take years to decompose and smell like garbage. 

He was literally about to do the right thing and “leave no trace” and then felt pressure to conform to his peers lack of environmental respect.

Littering the landscape is one of my pet peeves, and after I said something (politely, I swear) they STILL left it on the grass, now united against the posh guy correcting their inadequate behaviour. Is there anything else I could have done to get a better response? Answers on a postcard…

The walk stretched on, a well trod, crushed rock path following the ridge up. It’s a very enjoyable walk and while I brought my headset with me to listen to an audio book, I found I preferred to just enjoy the crunch of gravel, the birds and the wind. There are some steep sections followed by some flatter sections giving you time to recover. These are deceptive false summits, and caused several people to turn around, which was a shame because the actual summit was a treat.

As you finish the last rocky accent, you reach an almost tow-path flat track. This leads along the edge of the ridge and affords you an amazing view across the national park. It was so clear today I could see miles and miles and most peaks still have patches of snow on them!

Finally the top comes into view and as the ground recedes, it reveals an incredible view of, what I can only assume is, the whole of Scotland. You certainly feel high enough to see it all, with steep slopes to all sides it’s a 360 view of gorgeous white capped wilderness.

But it’s freezing. The photos may look balmy, but there is snow up here and the wind is unrelenting. The short video I made nearly cost my right hand to frostbite. With my jeans and leather satchel, I was not perfectly prepared for this walk, but I was super glad of my Rab down jacket and long suffering Mountain Equipment hard shell. Those two items alone meant I could sit and enjoy the view for 20 mins while I had a Thermos of tea and a sandwich. I got chatting with a girl who had brought up a full on china mug, allowing her to warm up her hands on her tea. I took full advantage of her increased dexterity asking for my photo taken at the top. Of course, I returned the favour, very carefully operating her iPhone with my frozen stumps of fingers.

If the way up was good, it was the way down that made the walk so enjoyable. Normally this is my least favourite part. After 2 knee surgeries, going down hill is quite painful after a while, especially on popular paths where there are erosion reducing, stone steps helpful arranged. These force me to drop onto each leg as lowering thru my knee is too painful, which then hurts anyway from the impacts. Usually I walk with poles to reduce this, but not having thought of bringing walking trousers or a suitable bag, I forgot poles too.

The path has steep bits and shallow bits meaning I could recover my knee somewhat before the next onslaught. It still took me nearly as long to go up as to come down, but I made it.

The other reason for it being an amazing walk, is that you have an uninterrupted view across Loch Lomond all the way back down to the car park. And, because it’s basically following a ridge, the sky is massive as the earth bends away beneath you. Just incredible views all the way down to where I collected the abandoned banana peel.