Sunshine Over the White Mountains of Scotland

    Leading in deep snowAt 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.

In the early morning

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.

Climbing up Beinn Chabhair

Climbing up Beinn Chabhair

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 :)

Loch Lomond

Loch Lomond

In the early morning

In the early morning

Sun behind the hill

Ridge, Crianlarich, and the valley of Tyndrum

Ridge, Crianlarich, and the valley of Tyndrum

Top of An Casteal

Top of An Casteal

Ben Lomond from An Casteal

Ben Lomond from An Casteal


Inversion in the Loch Lomond area

North ridge of An Casteal

North ridge of An Casteal: Ben Lui, Ben Oss and Ben Challum in sight.

Running down the mountain

Running down the mountain

Frozen cascade

Ascent to Beinn Chabhair

Ascent to Beinn Chabhair

On the way to Inverarnan

On the way to Inverarnan

The best way to go downhill: sledging

The best way to go downhill: sledging

A cool spot

A cool spot

Straight into the rock :D

Straight into the rock :D

Frozen loch

Frozen loch

Lovely stream

Hope you liked the pictures. Don’t hesitate to give a feedback :)

This entry was posted in Scotland, Wildnerness and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to Sunshine Over the White Mountains of Scotland

  1. Hey, What an experience you had! That’s what it makes us feel alive, isn’t it? Yet, you have found the time to get a really fine pictures. Thanks for sharing! I agree that a snowfall catch us early this season. Take care! Dob

  2. Wow! Simply incredible photos!

  3. elizabeth says:

    Orel, I’ve used one of your photographs for one of my posts. I have linked it back to your website. If you’d rather I didn’t use it please let me know. Thanks. PS sorry for the three comments. I’m a bit scatter-brained today :)

  4. elizabeth says:

    I can’t believe how much you achieved in one day! And you still caught the bus with 3 mins to spare! Awesome.

  5. elizabeth says:

    I’m so happy there are people like you in this world Orel. I’d never go hiking in such adverse conditions. I like my comfort too much; but I LOVE seeing the results of your forays into the great wilds of Scotland. Stunning!

  6. Stefanie Michel says:

    I like your writing! Your articles give a very good impression how the trip was and how one feels when being there! The pictures are of course unbelievably great!!! :-)

  7. I’ve been to Scotland once before, unfortunately I didn’t get to see the country like this… Beautiful pictures!

  8. Thank you for sharing your exciting adventure and stunning photographs.

  9. Debra Kolkka says:

    What an absolutely beautiful place, beautifully photographed.

  10. Pingback: Update of ‘Sunshine Over the White Mountains of Scotland’ | Backcountry Tranquility

  11. Pingback: Wandering around Tyndrum: Ben Lui and Ben Oss | Backcountry Tranquility

  12. niki says:

    The pictures are simply amazing! I can only imagine how great you feel there :)

  13. Wonderful photos and a great write up, I love the views down and looking at the clouds over the mountains and valleys.

  14. CwithNuEyes says:

    I love this set of images! I would love to go travelling over seas. Your blog is Great!!
    Thank you for visiting & liking a post of mine :)

  15. BasiaB says:

    The first photo is quite amazing ;)

  16. NaamanHelmes says:

    Great photos, you’re lucky to have friends to do that sort of thing with; my wife is enemy with the snow.

  17. I never realized that Scotland had such beautiful, snowy mountains. Thank you for sharing this with us.

  18. beingouthere says:

    Really nice photos….. but i am sure they can’t describe the feeling. Keep on and climb safe!

    • seekraz says:

      I agree with “Beingouthere,” they are incredible photos, but they can’t come close to describing the feeling of literally being there. The photos can’t capture what actually seeing the view does to us inside. Well said. Thank you again, Orel.

  19. Cabbie Notes says:

    Love your photo of Loch Lomond!

  20. wow! Your hike made ours look like nothing. The views were astounding! Scotland is on my bucket list and this was like being there! Although I could not do this hike. :0) Thanks for sharing!

  21. Neil Murphy says:

    fantastic photies, heres hoping for another great winter

  22. Garmin 1490t Specs says:

    Finally a smart blogger…I adore how you’re considering and writing!

  23. Amazing photos! the landscape full of snow looks really impressive. I really like your photo of “Loch Lomond”… by the way the band of the same name is as good as the lake! I will be visiting Scotland for the first time in october, I’m getting excited! thanks for sharing your photos. cheers.

    • Orel Engel says:

      Hi there :). Happy that you liked the photos. Scotland is an amazing country. You’re very lucky to go there. The colors of the country are great in October. I hope that you’ll have the opportunity to do some walks there and may the weather be nice :D

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