Cruinn a` Bheinn.

Again the west coast had the best forecast.It`s hard to tell sometimes early morning as the mist tends to hang over the Clyde Valley but as I pulled out the driveway and up the hill Ben Lomond was sitting pertly on the horizon.I arrived at Bob`s house to find out that John and Chalkie were also on their way.A slight delay to John caused by the closure of the Clyde tunnel meant that it was almost 9 `o` clock when we left.Still,we weren`t going too far today,just up to Aberfoyle and then west along to Inversnaid.

Ben Vane and Beinn Ime came into view at the far end of Loch Arklet..

The carpark at the pier was pretty much deserted as we set off south along the West Highland Way on the shores of Loch Lomond…

…with Ben Vane being prominent across the Loch….

We continued for a few miles until we reached Cailness .Bob had been up Cruinn a`Bheinn years ago and convinced us it was best to ignore the path and head up the south side of Cailness gorge itself.Ever since Bob took us caving ,in Ayrshire of all places, John And I have been extremely wary of following him anywhere but you only live once so they say and we followed him upwards.Turned out there was no danger to life this time and we weaved our way up through through the woods on a carpet of oak leaves linking up traces of animal tracks.

Nice view back across the Loch to Ben Vorlich…

A short drop down took us to the Cailness burn beyond which lay the last 1,000ft to Cruinn a`Bheinn.Regular readers will know of Chalkie`s remarkable enthusiasm for humping anything on four legs regardless of size so,as there were some sheep in the far distance,we took the opportunity of cooling his ardour by making him cross the frozen waters of the burn which were just deep enough to immerse the offending anatomical parts and deep freeze them for the rest of the day.

Sheep may safely graze now hopefully .The hill steepened….

..and then eased off just before the summit….

John And Bob looking over to the rarely visited north face of Ben Lomond….

We didn`t hang around very long as time was getting on a bit,just like ourselves 🙂
We took a direct route back across the head of Gleann Gaoithe and were glad that we had listened to Bob`s advice to ignore the path on the way up.The ground quivered below our feet and there was no way of avoiding the bog.There was an ATV track but if anything that was worse so we just headed straight across.If you do this hill then follow our ascent route and then reverse it.It`s much nicer and you`ll have dry feet.

The Cobbler just before the descent to Loch Lomond…

The sun was sinking behind Tarbet as we descended…..

…and had just about gone completely as we hit the lochside.Bob spotted a Colin Prior style opportunity.

After that it as just a few miles back along the lochside in the dark to reach the car.

Another Graham which proves that the wee hills are harder than the big hills 🙂  An added bonus was finding this lovely lump of folded schist while scrambling through the rock band under the summit. The photo doesn`t do the contours or colours justice…

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