Is this thing on?

I finished early on Monday. A site visit got moved to the next day, and I couldn’t resist making a dash for some sun and snow.
The Kilpatricks were too easy, 900m was too much, Ben A’an was just nice.

The Road Closed sign at the David Marshall lodge both goads and annoys. It’s just laziness, the road is usually passable with care, and leaving the signs there from November until Easter is going to make folk take a chance on the road or divert them via Callander where they’ll drive too fast to make up time and both versions are unnecessary risks. Electric signs and proper road monitoring is what we need. Plus you can’t see the signs from the back very well, and placed as they are in the centre of the road means missing them at 60mph in the dark is a bit of a lottery.

The climb up is always steep, I don’t know why I expect it not to be, but it heaves you into the forest, which this time had frozen snow for a path. Definitely Microspikes terrain and I crunched by wobbly descenders with a mix of smugness and a distinct conspicuous feeling, being overdressed for such a bimble.
The sky was super blue, ultra blue even, and wispy feathers of cloud drifted over and away from me.

When I got to the top there was another like-minded soul waiting for the end of the day, and not long after another face bobbed into view through the heather covered snow.
We stood and waited for the sun to sink. Gloves were donned, jackets zipped up and although the warm alpenglow spread across the landscape behind us, the cold was biting deep already and we were only two before the sun hit the Arrochar Alps.

The cold pressed on as the sun dragged the last of the warmth the with it over the horizon and I was now alone waiting for something to happen. The clouds burned red for a moment and then all was dark.

The descent was through shades of indigo, silver and black. The forest was silent.
The Duke’s Pass with my full beam bouncing off of the snow cover was like a PlayStation game with consequences other than Play Again? But it was uneventful and short the homeward drive was occupied by visions of phantom food, ghostly sausages, poltergeist pies and undead donuts. I’d spent a lot longer up there that I’d planned.
I stuck the oven on when I got home and jumped over to the harbour where the moon was shrugging off the last of the cloud.

It’s now Wednesday as I re-write this from memory after the blog died, taking this wee story along with it, and was revived by skills well beyond my own. I was right with what I originally said, never play your ace on a Monday. The rest of the week is invariably the three of clubs and the Joker.

11 thoughts on “Is this thing on?”

  1. I’m taking the wee guy (Ryan) out on Sunday. He’s been on at me for weeks about going up the ‘moutins’! Just up Dumyat but he’ll think he’s on top of the world. There’s not much snow up there but just enough to give him a taste. :o)

  2. That’ll be fun, it’ll be a proper adventure for the wee man.

    The Ochils are another neglected area for me, for such a wee country there’s an awful lot of hills.

  3. Welcome back,

    Yjanks for some lovely photies again. The Kilpatricks looked absolutely gorgeous from the windows of work the last few nights. Suspect by the time I get a free evening the snow will have gone. Next time………

  4. Ben A’an. A wonderful wee hill. I keep going back there – was last there 2 weeks ago and had a great inversion in December – the girlfriend thinks I’m boring but for a short day on what feels like a proper mountain you can’t beat it.

    Ochils are good too.

    Monday / Tuesday were beautiful this week but unfortunately I was stuck in work. Ah well, need to earn a crust sometime.

  5. That was a cracking trip you had up Ben A’an, magic photies.

    Like you say, you can’t catch all the good days.

  6. Good to see you back and with some more cracking photies…

    Wis thinking about a wee walk into the Ochils to give me a chance to ease back into it and to see how the knee’s hold up. Plus i haven’t been there in a while.


  7. I hope it goes well if you head out.

    I think I’ll be stuck at base this weekend so I’m avoiding the weather forecast in case it’s really good!

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