Bearing in mind the high winds which were forecast I thought I would take in a few of the lower tops yesterday. I travelled up to Arrochar and Tarbet station on the train to try and do Ben Reoch, and hopefully tack on Beinn Bhreac or Tullich Hill, depending on the weather and time. Unfortunately there was no lull in the weather, and I struggled uphill in a mixture of hail, rain and then driving snow.
I struggled up. This was second time I’d been out on the hills in the snow recently. the last time was on Tomtain, but there had been no need for crampons and ice-axe. I’d brought them today, and with the crampons unfortunately come heavy winter boots, and I was feeling it alright. At about the 550m mark I was in the full face of the storm, 60mph winds, driving snow, and getting worse, not better. Only 800m from the top it was time to call a halt and head down.
Even with the wind at my back it was no easier getting down, the wind tore at the loose snow, scouring it and whipping it into a stream of powder and small chunks which headed off towards Tarbet. It surprises how many people go out without goggles in winter. Without them I would have been helpless.
On the lower slopes I was still battered by the wind, but the snow was now somewhere above me, and I took it easy coming down. It was quite enjoyable, taking a small detour I discovered a small cave hidden away in a crack in the rocks. I could easily sit out the wild weather here.
Back at the train station the weather was no better. The help phone on the platform was not working, and eventually I was informed by the guard on the northbound train that the southbound train was stuck, one half in a snowdrift at Corrour, the other half had hit a tree, and the service was cancelled. I headed for the road, and wasn’t filled with confidence with the bus timetable, dated 2008! The promised bus didn’t appear, and I had no choice but to hit the road, and I began the long trek down the side of Loch Lomond. I had almost given up on thumbing a lift, when a van stopped and two roofers gave me a lift. My luck was in as at the end of their journey they were redirected- to Airdrie! As Harry Hill might say, “What are the chances of that happening?”
I used to pick up hitch hikers occasionally, but it’s not something I have ever had any success in in reverse. Thanks to these two knights of the road, for keeping an old tradition alive, and for getting me home. Had they not I may still have been walking…