Wednesday 6 April 2016

Ben Lomond

Mountain runners tend to become quite attached to their nearest high mountain. When we lived in Inverness, Ben Wyvis was it, and I probably ran up there 20 or 30 times in 2 years. Now that we are in Glasgow, Ben Lomond has assumed the role. As Ben Wyvis does from Inverness, Ben Lomond frequently dominates the view to the north when the skies are clear, inticing the runner to get out there and go up it.

View to Ben Lomond on a cylcle home from work one winter's day in 2015. Greylag geese taking flight in the foreground.
Ben Lomond above a cloud inversion from Earl's Seat, December 2015
I'm currently training for the 53 mile Highland Fling race. The trouble with deciding to do such long races is that you have to go for long training runs to prepare. The good thing about that is that it encourages to do do adventurous things that you normally wouldn't consider. Looking at Ben Lomond one day a couple of week's ago I suggested to Grant MacDonald that we run up it from home. And that's what we did last Sunday (from his home, not mine, which is 3 miles closer to Ben Lomond). We set off at 10am, planning to run along the West Highland Way to Rowardennan, go up Ben Lomond and return via the Ptarmigan Ridge to Rowardennan in time to catch the 1645 Cruise Loch Lomond passenger boat to Tarbet, from where we could catch a train back to Glasgow.

The weather wasn't great to start with, but things brightened up. 3 hours into the run as we approached Rowardennan we got our first view of the mountain.

After 24 miles of running in 3 hours 40 minutes we set off up the Munro. The great thing about this is that next time we reach Rowardennan on the West Highland Way in the Highland Fling race it will seem like we've been let off lightly, not having to climb a 3000 foot mountain (just a 27 mile run to Tyndrum, easy!)

Summit selfie
Loch Lomond
After 5 hours 43 minutes, 32.3 miles, and 4491 feet of climbing, we arrived back at Rowardennan, both of us feeling quite heavy legged on the descent off Ptarmigan ridge. We dutifully waited for the 1645 Cruise Loch Lomond boat to Tarbet, but it never made an appearence. At 5pm we gave up and I went over to ask an elderly couple who were just back from a walk if they would kindly give us a lift back home. They did, which was very gracious considering how badly we probably smelt.

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