Distance: 9 miles
Who with: Susie, the Patterdale Terrier!
The Land Rover was packed, and after saying my good-byes to my wife and son; Susie and I got into the old Landy and started the four-hour drive up to Rowardennan Lodge, on the shores of bonny Loch Lomond, where we would spend the next few days.
We were staying at Luss campsite for the next three nights – meeting JP, for a few days walking, but with a few hours to spare before he arrived, I decided to have a jaunt up BenLomond.
After managing to find a ‘spot’ (muddy patch of bog) in the car park, we set off up the ‘tourist’ path, and it felt like I was on a high street the number of people that were there. In my quick plan to ‘nip up’, I stupidly hadn’t factored in the fact that we were less than an hour from Glasgow and it was going to be a sunny Sunday…busy was not the word! But…. I was in the outdoors in a beautiful location, so wasn’t going to let the crowds ruin it.
Going against the traffic, I head up through the forest at Rowardennan, which soon began opening up to see the views down this stunning loch. The path snakes gently, climbing up along the tree line, before breaking out with views up to the Ben. Once you escape the trees and onto the open fell side, the views take over on a lovely day like this one.
Keeping climbing up towards Sron Aonaich, the number of walkers were increasing but it is not surprising that so many head to this hill, what with the stunning views. Whilst I had made the faux pas with this walk in terms of the crowds, I knew the next few days walking would not see anywhere near the numbers of people I had encountered today.
Following the very clear and accessible path, I eventually made it to the top at 974m, but unusually, didn’t stop for more than a few seconds on the top given the crowds, and instead continued on the circuit, dropping down towards the Ptarmigan at 731m. I could see instantly how much quieter the second half of the walk was going to be, which was far more my ‘cup of tea’! Most people must just walk up and down the same route, as I probably only saw four other people all the way back to the car.
This section of the walk had far more feature to it, and you are literally facing the loch whilst walking – absolutely stunning! I will probably head up and down this route next time I do the walk, and possibly choose a mid-week day to be on the safe side. Usually when I am near Loch Lomond, I am driving past it on my way to Glencoe or further North, and whilst we usually stop for a few minutes, perhaps don’t appreciate it as much as I will in future. You don’t get the same appreciation from the road-side, as opposed to from the stunning vantage point of the Patarmigan.
As we continued, Susie by this point must have already clocked up 15 miles running back and forth up and down the mountain – I just wish I had half as much energy as she does! The leisurely walk back down above Rowardennan led us eventually back into the forest (just further North) from which we had started the walk. It was a shame to lose the views, but once through a short stretch of forest we were right on the shores, which was nice. Susie headed straight into the loch for a cool down, which looked lovely, but lasted longer than I would have hoped….it’s difficult to get her out of water again to say the least! I did give some on-lookers a bit of a laugh though, so not all in vein.
So, back at the car park, and to the mud patch my Landy was perched on, which I quickly moved into one of the copious spaces that were now available, whilst we got ourselves sorted. I suppose that was one benefit of setting off mid-afternoon.
From here, we had around a 50 minute drive round to theWest side of the Loch to Luss, where the tent was getting pitched, after a quick beer, before getting ready for the next day’s less-crowded adventure.