Ben Lomond, also known as the Beacon Mountain, is the most southerly Munro, (that being Scottish mountains that are over 3000 feet). Due to its location, Ben Lomond is often the first one climbed by those seeking to bag all 282 Munros. Like so many of these climbers, Ben Lomond would turn out to be not only to be my first Munro, but also my first solo mountain climb.
To set the scene, this was during my week of volunteering with the Scottish National Trust, my Dad and I had already been in Scotland for a couple of days, during which we visited the Steall Falls and climb the nearby Cobbler. But now it was time to part ways with my Dad, he needed to get back to work and I was set to start my week at Loch Lomond; I’d take a plane home. However my fellow volunteers weren’t due to arrive until later in the afternoon, so with plenty of time to kill, I bid my Dad goodbye and set off on my way to the summit of Ben Lomond.
It was a beautiful sunny day, perfect for walking. As this was my first solo climb, all the other mountains before this I’d done with my Dad, I didn’t want to risk getting lost so I set out along the well marked tourist path, a wide and easy path which is paved in certain areas. As a walk, the climb was pretty easy as you simply needed to follow this tourist path all the way to the summit, it was a long and rather unadventurous route.
The higher I climbed the more of Loch Lomond I was able to see, soon the Inch Islands came into view, looking absolutely stunning set between the clear blue sky and water.
It was busy at the summit, which only took me some two hours to reach. From there my view encompassed the very beginnings of the Scottish Highlands and the gorgeous Loch Lomond and The Trossach National Park. In the opposing valley, rain was falling, leaving a stunning rainbow. It really was as if I were looking into some mystical fantasy land.
The route back was equally unremarkable as the way up, but that’s just how I wanted it to be for my first climb, the views were reward enough. I stopped off at the nearby hotel for some much needed lunch and then headed down to the shores of Loch Lomond to take some photos and admire the scenery some more.
Finally on my way to the National Trust Lodge, I came across the Loch Lomond War Memorial, a rather striking, yet simple granite structure which offers visitors a view of the loch through its centre. In all this walk was a perfect way to end my holiday before transitioning to the hard work that the next day promised to present.
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