Woohoo! I've discovered how to add a few little tick boxes at the bottom of each post, to enable readers to record their reactions. Do please use them. I think I've identified the four most likely responses ...

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Maintaining Mountain Fitness (5)

On Friday 5 October 2012, union business required my presence in Newcastle. So I decided to go in the camper van, and grab an extra weekend walking in Scotland for the expenditure of just one day's annual leave (whereas normally, a weekend in Scotland requires me to take both the Friday and the Monday off as annual leave).

I decided that this weekend, I would try to "bag" the Munros of the Arrochar Alps. Ben Vorlich on Saturday, and the other three on Sunday. On Friday night I parked up somewhere just outside Edinburgh, and by Saturday lunchtime I was at Inveruglas, ready to attempt Ben Vorlich.

Now according to the SMC Munro's book, there is no one standard route up Ben Vorlich; and according to the OS map there is no path. So I followed the hydro road as far as the transformer station, then took the higher road (they're marked on the map as tracks ... but they are both, in fact, metalled roads) to somewhere like NN 313095, and then I just turned left and headed up the slope until I gained the ridge. Then I headed along the ridge until I reached the summit (pictured).

It was a bright, clear day - just perfect for mountain walking - and as I made the ascent I had some pretty spectacular views of Ben Lomond, Loch Lomond, Loch Arklet and Loch Katrine. As I approached the summit, however, I discovered that the map had lied and there WAS a path. I decided to follow this back down, and it took a course just West of the ridge line before turning down the little corrie in grid square 2910 and meeting the metalled road at about NN 294105. I was glad to have this path for the descent ... but I was also glad not to have known about it when making the ascent, because I think the views from the East side of the ridge were FAR superior to those from the West side.

Returning to my van, I met an American couple at Inveruglas. They had been walking on the West Highland way, and had covered the ground from Rowardennan to Inversnaid that morning before taking the ferry across to Inveruglas. After spending some time at Inveruglas, they had decided that there wouldn't be enough daylight to return to Inversnaid and walk on to Inverarnan and so they were waiting for a bus to get them to their overnight spot. We got talking about this and that, and do ya know what? I think we may just see them on the 2014 Challenge (as overseas first timers, they'll be accepted just so long as they get their entry to John in time ...)


  1. Well done, J!
    But do you mean 2013?

  2. They'd have had to move pretty sharpish to get their entry in for the 2013 Challenge in time, Alan. I met them on Saturday 6 October, evening, and the deadline for submitting entries was Saturday 13 October. It is POSSIBLE they could have got themselves sorted in that time ... but I kinda think it's unlikely. However, 2014 is a different matter altogether ...

  3. Ah, J
    I only pointed it out because you had said "just so long as they get their entry to John in time ..." which made me think they needed to be quick about it.

    I always find it fascinating to discover how people hear of the event and what tipped them over the edge into applying.

    How did you find out about the Challenge, J?

  4. Alan -

    Right at the beginning of my blog there's a post called "My First Encounter With The Challenge" which tells you ALL about it.

    But rather than trouble you to go all that way back and turn it up to refersh your memory (as I'm sure you HAVE read my blog from start to finish at some time in the dimly remembered past ...) I'll recapitulate.

    I read the report of the 1998 Challenge in The Great Outdoors magazine (as it was called back then) and thought "this is for me". So I applied for the 1999 Challenge ... and didn't get on. So I waited a year and applied for the 2000 Challenge ... and DID get on.

    And the rest is history ...

  5. Indeed.
    Not long now to hear if we've all made it into next year's event.
    Good luck in the draw, Sir.

  6. Why thank you sir ... and whether by luck or not, I got my place.

    As, I see, did you sir - but luck played no part there, did it?

  7. It was the five boxes of Lagavulin sent to the Deppity wot did it... and, as you noticed, Phil's tenth Challenge.