That’s my feet sticking out the tent there, happily camped in the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park. Other folk were planning the same thing but had mixed results.
In the Rowardennan car park a French hiker came up and asked about camping, the ranger had said that he and his misses couldn’t camp where they’d just come from and told them to move a bit further on, so the hikers wondered if the area near the car park was where the ranger had meant. The long used camp areas around there are now taped off with police incident tape to try and keep folk moving as it’s in the camping ban area, so I explained to the hiker that they had to pack back up and head on another few km’s (I had to metricise the conversation) where they could camp where they liked. A little crestfallen he headed back to his misses with the news. This was around 7pm by the way.
My biggest fear for the camping ban was that overseas hikers would get caught out on their first day on the West Highland Way and not know what to do, where to go and would get no help. So, well done the National Park, exactlywhat I said would happen happened right in front of me.
In contrast to that, the next morning on my way out a big beer drinkers tent with accompanying shite and fat blokes around it was happily camped by the lochside in the ban area.
An outstanding day’s work by the Park there then eh?
As we walked on from talking to the hiker John new exactly what I was going to say about this incident, anger vented, we got on with the task in hand. John from Ardblair Sports had said that he could do a night on the hill inbetween meetings next time he was up, so with a few texts that morning we sorted out a quickie on Ben Lomond.
Now where the hell is all my camping gear…
The midges did their best to destroy by the lochside, but the climb up left them behind, where I just sweated buckets so I doubt the midges could have got any purchase on me to sink their teeth in anyway.
It was humid and dull, but the cloud was high so visibility was excellent. Climbing up Ptramigan gets you up there quick, quick and brteathless in my case, although some of that might be due to being “nordiced-up” at the car park, I was wearing clip-in gloves and swinging fancy poles with purpose all the way.
The sun started to set though a gap between the clouds and the horizon, oh how I’ve missed this and what a skyline to see darken under those colours, the Arrochar Alps, the jagged black hills of home against the orange of the departing day.
The spot I had in mind was perfect, the camel-hump in the ridge just before you descend to the lochan. Plenty space, water nearby and magic views to the north a west with Ben Lomond leering at you from across the coire.
I hadn’t forgotten how to pitch an old favourite, I had brought everything with me and I sat cross legged under a budle of down and sighed a happy wee sigh to myself.
The cloud was quite thick, no moon or stars, just the twinkling lights of Tarbet and the lazy glow of Glasgow. It was cold though, we stood outside and talked for a good while but summer insulation reached its limit before too long and the only option was a hot drink and bed.
Damn I was comfy, a soft matress, a warm quilt and a pillow shaped like my head. Honey, I’m home.
I opened one eye and it was bright, it was before 0600 but I thought I would have a little look outside anyway. The sun had been rising on the other side of the Ben and was spattering a little colour on the high clouds as all the tops in sight fought with wisps of low cloud as they flowed speedily around and over the high ground.
As lovely as this new day was, I was chattering my teeth almost instantly and got back into bed pretty sharpish where my alarm sounded all too bloody soon.
A quick breakfast, an efficient breaking of camp and we were making haste back down the ridge again, work loomed for both of us.
I needed that, a run around the block to see if the machinery is in good condition. Good banter too, amongst many other things the world of outdoor footwear was most definitely put to rights by the time we were back at the carpark.