Date: 25th March, 2017
Ben Vorlich (985m) – Loch Earn
The forecast was great and the opportunity too tempting to miss out on a day in the hills. I set out around 7:30 and was parked, dressed and ready for the ascent by 9:30. The sky was already a cloudless blue and the temperature was beginning to climb from a frosty start.
I have climbed Ben Vorlich before, the previous time in conjunction with Stuc A Chroin, but had decided just to complete a single hill today. The initial path through the farm is well marked and keeps you out of harms way and away from the private properties along the way. The climb starts almost immediately and although it is not punishing, it is not easy either. There were small patches of snow at a low level and the mountain was cloaked in white most of the way. Underfoot was generally OK, with the path clearly visible, although under snow a lot of the way. There were a few snow fields to be crossed higher up and the wind at points was fierce and biting.
I made good time and only met a couple of climbers on their way down who had made an early start. Both reported good conditions on the ascent and advising that the snow was softening from a frozen start to the day.
The climb becomes steeper the higher you get, but I managed to maintain a good tempo and did not find the climb too demanding. I reached the summit after a couple of hours and the views were breathtaking. There was another couple of climbers on the summit and a few others arrived as I took in the views. It was actually warmer and less windy on the summit than it had been at times on the ascent, where at the three quarters point, the wind had been strong and biting, causing me to have to put my hood up to stave off a sore ear, as i could feel the wind chilling it.
I spent longer than usual on the summit as the conditions were so good, before heading back down. The descent was easier than I had thought as the snow proved a good surface to walk back down on and actually cushioned the impacts and reduced the usual strain on the knees, although at times the depth caused the odd stumble and one very soft fall into a deep drift. I met lots of people on their ascents, some of them dressed for a summer’s day at the beach and I only hope that they had adequately warm clothing stowed away in their packs, although I doubt that was the case. I often wonder how many of the people I pass dressed like this that actually make it to the top?
I got back to the car and had my traditional coffee and biscuits before driving back home.
Another great day on Scotland’s hills, one of those perfect days that remains in your memories for life!