My summer stroll on the Ochils last weekend was in sharp contrast to my previous weekend's walk.
Winter had arrived and from my position on the Central Belt of Scotland, I could see snow on the summits of the higher hills. My friend and I were keen to get our crampons out of summer mothballs and onto the snow bound hills. What higher hill could we choose near home than Ben Lawers ..at just short of the 4000ft mark.
We has an early start on a promising looking day. Ahead of us.. I could just make out a lone walker disappearing into the swirling mists of Beinn Ghlas... the summit before Ben Lawers
Blue sky and the clear atmosphere made the view over Killin and the western edge of Loch Tay a pleasure to behold.
While the early morning sun still gave Meall nan Tarmachan a golden hue to its snow plastered slopes
With our lungs filled with clear icy air.. the adrenalin of walking made it feel great to be out on the hills.. even though it was hard work.
Nope..the sun hasn't fallen out the sky in this photo..its an illusion caused by the suns reflection off loch Tay.. and the swirling mist blowing over the ridge
Unfortunately, the swirling mist soon engulfed us as we climbed higher up the steep slopes of Beinn Ghlas.
We saw no view from the summit of Beinn Ghlas..and the steep slope up Ben Lawers really sapped our energy. The first walk of winter was taking its toll on our stamina.
By taking one step at a time and not thinking about the steps still to come ... we finally saw the summit loom through the mist and quickened our pace to reach it.
At last.. we stood on the summit cairns. Its unfortunate that Ben Lawers was not just a tad over 4000ft high..as Im sure .. a few feet higher..and we would be in the sun again. However..it was not to be. After a quick lunch stop..the clag still had not dispearsed and it was too cold to wait any longer....so we headed back the way we had come.
On the way down..we caught the odd fleeting glimpse of the surrounding countryside..before it all closed in again.
I confess that I was glad when I reached the car again. Im also glad that we had not planned the whole Lawers horseshoe. Im not winter fit yet .....