At that time of the year, the weather wasn’t that good, and, as always in Scotland, unpredictable. I was busy with college, and the trip had been organized last-minute. We didn’t have all of the necessary gear, and I wasn’t expecting to see the sun shining over the Highlands. To sum up, I wasn’t really motivated.
The afternoon before the trip, heavy snowfalls had plunged the city of Glasgow into a magical atmosphere that, I’m sure, the witnesses still remember. However, this pleasant event could have compromised our adventure, as the road to the Highlands could be closed due to the weather conditions.Fortunately, the bus was still scheduled, but Glasgow was in the mist. My two friends and I were worried to spend the day in a thick fog. The weather gradually changed, and, near Loch Lomond, the sun was rising in a clear blue sky. The driver was nice, and agreed to drop us somewhere, South of the small village of Crianlarich. The bus slowly disappeared far away, leaving us alone along the road.
We began our walk following an old track. Much of the country was covered by a fresh layer of snow. Soon , we decided to cut straight to the ridge of the mountain. The snow was covering the path, so that we had to make our own way to the top. I had the unpleasant honor to open it. The exercise was intense, and soon, my legs were very sore, but I was motivated by the anticipation of what we would see from the top of the mountain known as An Casteal. The view I actually had was beyond all my expectations. Around me, the valleys and mountains had become small and distant. Far away, Ben Lomond was rising through a sea of clouds.
The next stage of our trip was to go down to the valley that was separating An Casteal from Beinn Chabhair. We all sledged down very fast, and came across a wonderful frozen cascade. At the bottom of Beinn Chabhair, we realized we would have to achieve a strenuous walk, in a two feet deep snow, to reach the top. But at that time of the day, we had no time to waste no more, and I started climbing up the mountain as fast as I could.
Once at the top of Beinn Chabhair, we had a few minutes to admire the impressive landscape, because we only had two hours left to get to the valley of Glen Falloch (besides sharing a pair of sunglasses between the three of us, time has been our main problem). We started walking down the mountain following a sharp ridge, and then sledged it down like real bobsledders. Soon, we reached a lovely frozen loch. That is when the real race against the clock began. There was still a long walk to Inverarnan. I imparted a fast pace to the group. Progressively, swamps replaced the snow. After a rather flat muddy section that seemed endless, the village was finally in sight, 200 meters below us. It wasn’t really far but the path was going down really steep. We couldn’t make it in time, unless we run. So, we ran. I was melting in my mountain clothes. I was exhausted. I felt like my knees were about to burst, but I kept running. It was insane. Many times, I came very close to a deadly fall. But we finally reached a track, and then a road, and then the bus stop. Three minutes later, it arrived.
This is one of the most exhausting walks I had ever done, and surely the best for its landscapes. I have to thank my two friends who insisted on doing it :)
Hope you liked the pictures. Don’t hesitate to give a feedback :)