New year, new plans didn’t get off to a brilliant start. I had formulated a scheme in my mind to climb a mountain each month but my first attempt was aborted in bad weather. It appeared on the blog here but I was a little coy at revealing my plans and it turned up as a post about winter skills.
Adjusting your day is an important part of being a year round hiker and I’m still going to count my first mountain of the month as a relative success.
However, February’s outing was the absolute definition of a successful mountain day for me; beautiful weather, just the right amount of difficulty and challenge and super company.
I love to get up to Scotland and whenever I go am surprised at the ease with which I can be in the hills. It does involve throwing a bit of money at the problem given that I live in the south but it’s always worth it when I land in Glasgow or Edinburgh (whichever has the cheaper flights) and get in a tiny hire car (the cheapest there is) and hit the road.
To maximise my choice of mountain days I headed for the Trossachs and based myself in Callander. This area was brand new to me but I will certainly visit again. Just over an hours drive from Glasgow airport it has munroes, corbetts and lochs a plenty – something for everyone no matter what the weather.
Ben Ledi (879m) stands out as an obvious and intriguing choice from Callander. It is tall enough to make a day out but not so tall or steep that it can’t be tackled in winter with a bit of sensible decision making. I used the circular route from Walk Highlands which absolutely made the day. The standard route up wasn’t busy by any stretch but the second half of the loop, north of the summit hadn’t been walked that day. Deep, crisp snow underfoot along the ridge and down the bealach was a delight. The clouds stayed away (probably as they were blown through at 50mph when the gusts of wind came) allowing appreciation of the size and beauty of the Trossachs area. The views from the ridge were some of the best I’ve seen in Scotland, across to Ben Lomond and the Arrochar Alps. The whole circuit took about 4 hours and involved approximately 700m of ascent and descent so felt like a good outing but at no point presented too many route finding or navigational difficulties.
A highly recommended route aided by a beautiful Scottish winter days weather. I’m already planning my next trip and of course, now I’ve started, next months #MOTM – all suggestions welcome!