Holidays on Ice

Like many people around the country, writesofway was out enjoying the snow this week. Being self-employed/freelance/work-shy, myself and Fiona opted to go for a mid-week walk. Living in Glasgow, we’re only an hour’s drive from a fair few lovely mountains. We set off for the Arrochar Alps above the head of Loch Long and walked the long route up between The Cobbler and Beinn Narnain to climb Beinn Ime. It’s a fairly knackering walk in at the best of times, but having to do the whole thing in crampons was hard work. Still, we had the mountain to ourselves that day and the weather was bright, sharp and clear. Another lad had Beinn Narnain to himself and there were just a handful of folk on the ever-popular Cobbler.

Arriving at the parking place below Ben Ledi in the Trossachs this morning at 9.30, however, we weren’t prepared for the mountain to be so busy. It was fairly teeming. Anyway we set off up the mountain and even before we were on the main ridge, a vicious, biting wind was whipping ice crystals at us. Brrrrrrrrr. Higher up on the main south ridge the wind was blowing folk – including ourselves – off their feet. If there hadn’t been so many other daft baskets doing the same stupid thing we would have packed it in and come off the hill. The mountains broad ridge precludes much risk of falling, but I wouldn’t have wanted to be up a more airy hill than Ben Ledi in those conditions. Most people on the hill were properly equipped and there were even a couple of folk optimistically carrying skis up (and then carrying them down – sadly). On our way down, however, we did see one party with a young girl in tracky bottoms and trainers among their number. They were below the ridge, but it’s a wonder they got as far as that on the ice-carapaced path. I hope they turned around. Anyway, hats off to the dude who came down the penultimate, very steep, very icy section of path on his mountain bike.

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