On Sunday morning we drove down to Inverarnan just north of Loch Lomond. We had intended to park in Glen Falloch as near as possible to the start of a hydro track, but couldn’t find anywhere to stick three cars. Some hasty route revision followed, and we hit upon the idea of following the Allt Arnan uphill. The going wasn’t particularly easy – more frogs attested to the generally bogginess, and where the stream flowed under the railway we had to scramble in the streambed on very greasy rocks, but the stream did add some interest to the climb. Frequent drizzly showers tested the functionality of my new waterproofs. When we hit the track which we had originally intended to climb, the sun briefly appeared. Uncle Fester took an unscheduled detour towards the Lairig Arnan and when he realised and headed back to join us, announced that he and his dodgy knees would be heading back to the warm and dry pub in Inverarnan. From this point the climb steepened considerably and route finding became a puzzle as we picked our way through the crags.
Despite the gradient, I found a nice snail’s pace plod and was able to make steady progress uphill. I lost the others as I contoured westward looking for easier angles and they stopped for some lunch (I was still weighed down with another full breakfast).
Showers still threatened, but occasionally there were even patches of blue sky…
…and partial views of Loch Lomond…
Everything went well until, nearing the summit of Troisgeach, I crested the slope onto a more exposed part of the ridge and was instantly buffeted by very powerful winds. It had been windy in the night, and breezy at times as we climbed, but nothing had prepared me for this. I was finding forward progress difficult. I couldn’t find the others. The terrain was such that they could have been nearby, or turned back without seeing me. Then again, they might have already gone on to our agreed aim of the Corbett Meall an Fhudair. I carried on a little further by dropping slightly back down the hillside out of the wind and contouring, but eventually decided that this was no fun and that I would turn back. Almost immediately I saw two figures below me on the ridge. They looked like Mogs and the Shandy Sherpa – it seemed logical to assume that they had indeed turned back and missed me, whilst the Adopted Yorkshire Man and Geordie Munro – ardent peak baggers – had somehow struggled on. I didn’t have to descend far to be back out of the wind and I enjoyed the craggy hillside again on the way down, although finding a route through the crags was more difficult going down than it had been on the way up.
I followed the track, occasionally stopping to watch the amorous frogs in the track side ditches or to admire rainbows up the valley.
I was saved the long walk down the track and then the main road to Inverarnan by an engineer who was working on a pipeline project in Gleann nan Caorann and who stopped to pick me up.
The Adopted Yorkshire Man and Geordie Munro were already in the car, having hitched a lift from the head of the valley after succesfully ticking-off Meall an Fhudair.
Back in Inverarnan the weather felt pleasantly spring like – it was hard to believe just how ferocious the wind had been up on the hill.