Showing posts with label Stuc a Chroin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Stuc a Chroin. Show all posts

18 June 2013

Bens, beasties and breath-taking views….08.06.13

Here in Gods country when the sun shines you make the most of it and making the most of it we did.  Up early after a good nights sleep we were soon parked by the shores of Loch Earn and could see Ben Vorlich behind us.  It did look impressive and the walk in was lovely by the burn and then a fairly good path up the lower flanks of the mountain.
The weather was perfect.  Warm sun and not a breeze to be felt and it wasn’t long before layers were coming off.  Views opening up, as usual behind us took our eye further and further as the higher we got the more peaks that became visible.  Little silly moment as I remarked that the clouds seemed to be in 3D, d'oh!

As with all walks where you are consuming water in great amounts you do get caught short and on an exposed hillside it isn’t really the best environment to have a quick pit stop.  The only thing I’ll say about this incident is that having bits of dried grass where it doesn’t belong isn’t very comfortable  at all but after the initial shock it provided a good giggle which lasted well into the day.

We met 2 other walkers on the hillside that day from Fife who were, like us, taking advantage of the brilliant weather and getting out and about.   Like us their plan was to get to the top of Ben Vorlich then tackle the beastie that is Stuc a Chroin.

The path was reasonable, rocks winding in a zig zag fashion up the side of the Ben and with several false summits to tempt us.  Nothing prepared me for the final path up to the summit.   It was long, steep and looked incredibly inviting (actually it doesn't look that steep on the picture, but it was lol).  At the top was the trig point but there was still 30 mins + of hard work before that was reached.  Heads down and onwards and upwards.  This was turning out to be one of the most enjoyable days ever.

The summit was a surprise in many ways.  Firstly the views were tremendous, breath-taking.  Secondly we could see our next target for the day Stuc a Chroin and it looked amazing and thirdly there were millions of midges, swarms of the little blighters all over the place.  I’m sure as we stopped for first lunch a few were consumed with my sandwiches.  Horrid little bity things invading our space…….welcome to Scotland! 

Lunch had, including a wee bit of tablet bought in Callendar this morning we headed off down Ben Vorlich in the direction of Stuc a Chroin.  The closer we got to this impressive piece of rock the more exciting the prospect became.  I really do enjoy being amongst the rocks and having a bit of a scramble in my day.  I would scramble all day long if it was available but with this bad boy there was the challenge of potentially choosing our own route up.  This reminded me of the day on Tryfan in Wales where there wasn’t really a recognised path but boulder after boulder to pick your way through.  This seemed similar and that was indeed an exciting prospect.
We followed the path round the base and even contemplated leaving our bags at the bottom to collect on the way up but we’d gone past the point where that would have been an option.  Skirting our way around the hill we continued to follow a path, eyes focussed upwards to see if we could see somewhere that would lead us up the hill.  It looked both daunting and thrilling at the same time and one of the reasons why I love this pastime so very much.  Your mind is saying no you cant do that and then in the next second its silently giggling with glee knowing you can and you have before and you will again.
The path continued round the boulders and took us round to the south face of the mountain.  Here we could see a gully carved out of the side of the hill which was steep but filled with lovely lovely rocks and that seemed to be the way upwards.  There were others on the path and a crag rat who’d passed us not 10 mins ago we could see was more than half way up.  Oh to have the fitness of youth!
Making our way through the boulders I was in my element, enjoying every moment and not giving a hoot about steepness or the way ahead.  Just picking our way through the rocks and moving upwards.  Behind us was Ben Vorlich looking very impressive indeed and it was funny to think that only an hour ago we were up there.  Amazing!
It was a great walk up through the gully in between the boulders and through the rocks and it seemed like no time at all we were up on the ridge.   Over to the left was the summit and it was a nice walk across the rocky plateau to the summit cairn.  No flies on this summit, probably because it was less grassy and there was a nice wee breeze forming.   One of my most memorable moments on the side of a hill was here, as we stopped for second lunch, on the side of Stuc a Chroin with Ben Vorlich towering in front of us.  2 Bens, 2 beautiful Bens and as I lay there on the grass, eating the rest of our sandwiches, grapes and tablet I felt incredibly content.   What an amazing day.

All good things must come to an end the saying goes and we had to get up and start our descent off the mountain.  It was mid afternoon by this point and the sky was clouding over and the strong sun of the day was weakening.  A cool breeze was refreshing and we made our way down the path that skirted round the base of Ben Vorlich that would lead us back to the initial path of the morning.  The first part of the path was fine and then suddenly we were on a horrid shaley descent.  Ankle turning stuff and I got the poles out to steady myself on the slippy scree.  Not a nice descent at all and I just took my time and made my way down the zig zaggy path.  Thankfully it didn’t last for long and we were down on the valley floor with only a slight incline back up and round to meet the path from this morning.
This path was filled with people coming down off the hill and it seemed to have been a day out for many, young, old, some with dogs, some walking in groups and some walking alone.  The wander down the hill was lovely until a slip caused me to fall forwards and bang my knee on the rocks.  I thought my camera was damaged, I thought I was damaged and for a moment I went into “woe is me mode”……that didn’t last long as Chris, concerned that I was hurt, snapped me right back into reality.   He’s good at that J.
The path continued downwards and my legs were starting to feel it.  A slight distraction was the black clouds looming to the left and we wondered, if after such a glorious day, we were in for a spot of rain.   True enough, as we entered the last few 100mtrs of the walk the heavens opened.  Running back to the car with legs that felt like lead we didn’t get too wet and had a moment to sit back and reflect on what was another truly amazing day.

Can’t wait to get back to Scotland ……..lets make it soon x