Friday, 16 March 2012

Ben Venue and the bus tour.

I headed for the hills on Tuesday.... just to clear my head of pooch painting practise and to tire my own pooch out. Both Holly and myself were getting a bit restless walking round the streets of our hometown and longed for a day in the countryside.

I chose Ben Venue for our destination, as its not too far from home and is a reasonable walk of around 6 miles to a summit height of 2386 feet. Not too demanding on a pooch with legs not much longer than 9 inches.

It was Tuesday and I set off from home a little later than normal as I didn't expect there to be many people about during the week. I parked at Loch Achray and started to walk in, taking my time and enjoying the dry but overcast weather. I noted that there was a feeling of new growth starting to appear in the ground. The birds were also happily singing in the trees.

At the bridge which crosses the Achray water, I stopped to take some photos of the waterfalls and the bridge. That is when I heard another "choir" above the bird songs. It sounded like a whole bus load of folks coming down the path towards me.

Yup..about a hundred yards away I saw a crowd of around 25 people all kitted up with hiking gear headed my way. I didnt fancy following behind that many folks so put my camera away and started to walk quite fast to keep well ahead of the crowd. They also walked at a good pace so I constantly hear them chattering on my tail. No matter how fast I seemed to go..they kept up. I only stopped for one photo the whole way to the summit. I was very determined to stay in front but I was tiring.

Holly managed the rocky bits near the summits very well. I put her on the leash in case she slipped while scrambling but she managed better than myself. We also managed to pull away from the following crowd on the steeper sections. Eventually we arrived at the top between the twin summits of Ben Venue.

I headed for the highest summit to the west and the views were as good as I remembered them. I have been at the top of Ben Venue two or three times but always in winter and under snow conditions. It seemed a little strange to see no snow as I looked the length of Loch Katrine

Across the other side of the loch, the sun managed to break through the blanket of cloud and illuminated distant parts of the hills.

I looked back along the path we had just come and took a photo of the crowds who were following us. They were now heading for the other summit where the cairn sits. I counted 25 hikers of all ages. They were fit as fiddles too as they didnt hang about.

I waited on the western summit and shared a sandwich with Holly before heading for the slightly lower eastern summit with the cairn and the crowd.

The view over Loch Achray and Venachar is stunning, even on a cloudy day.

As is the view straight down the hillside to Loch Katrine.

Even the view of the cairn was ok although it was now surrounded by the bus load of hikers. I didnt want to hang around but Holly was the star of the party. She didn't want to leave as she got extra helpings of sandwiches from the hiker's lunch boxes. In truth, everyone had a great time :-D

On the way back I headed straight down the south side of Ben Venue. There is no path this way until I crossed the original path we came up but much further down. There was no following crowd either.

The remainder of our walk was in peace and quite. Next time I think I will go on a Saturday when its not so busy :-D

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