Published: June 29th 2012June 29th 2012
view from car park
We had a lovely Scottish day today!
Took the train up to Balloch – that in itself was fun as we slightly miscalculated our timing and ended up running for the train haha. But we got it! The best was the guy behind us who launched himself into the train and loudly exclaimed: HA! DAMN RIGHT! and then just calmly walked over to a seat.
Train ride was pretty – lots of small towns and cows. In Balloch we strolled over to the bus station (speed limit signs said: “20: Twenty’s Plenty", which we found cute). The driver was nice – when we asked about our stop he added that he doesn’t really go further anyway because the roads become too small for the bus to pass. Welcome to the Highlands area haha.
So, off we went to Balmaha along Loch Lomond. Ride was interesting – bendy roads and he was flyin’ alright. He also had his coat hanging out the window – I don’t know how it didn’t blow away lol. Once at the car park we started our trek up Conic Hill for great views over the Loch and all its islands.
Weather started in
our favour: around 16 degrees and spitting rain. The first part of the walk was through a forest area – I always love these because it makes me feel like I’m in a Disney movie – everything is green and crisp and the birds are singing!
To get to the next part, we had to cross a “sheep gate” – a door that you have to sideways manoeuvre through so that sheep can’t push it open or anything. Sheep, sheep, everywhere! The weather improved too - it stopped raining.
And then the real climb began!! It was steeper/ten thousand more steps than I expected lol... I made it slow goings for us haha. It was good though – it’s nice as you go up to see the changing view, how the Loch gets progressively more and more beautiful as you climb. We saw quite a bit of people along the way – more so than I would have thought really – and the most memorable were the mountain bikers. Kudos to them man, I have no idea how one would bike up let alone the guy that came down this one super steep part while we were there.
When we got about 75% of the way up there’s a large enough flat part, so we stopped to eat our lunches. The view was superb – all the little islands below. We were careful in choosing a spot to sit as there was honestly sheep poo everywhere. Absolutely everywhere haha.
We enjoyed our sandwhiches but then as we were about half done, the wind really started to pick up. It was getting so strong in fact that Em’s lettuce flew straight off her sandwhich and whacked me in the arm. Attack of the flying lettuce!!
And then things started to get interesting as we continued our climb haha. The wind continued to pick up – it was gusting quite hard, thankfully in the direction we were walking... so I guess it helped us continue to climb..? Haha. But then about 5min later it started to pour, and I mean pour. But it was wasn’t regular rain – it was coming at us almost sideways (soaking our jeans) and mixed with the wind it was pretty much pushing us up the mountain. It made taking pictures pretty difficult – I had to hide my camera in
Just as we were getting to the top part it started to hail too. That was starting to get a little much for our liking... the mixture of the wind, hail and rain. At the top we couldn’t even see anything lol – we couldn’t face the wind/rain and even when we tried, it was just cloud cover now. Thankfully the top gives the same view as where we ate anyway.
The fog then rolled in... it was crazy heavy, you could only see maybe 10-20 feet in front of you – which is fine considering we were climbing down now. Let me tell you, the day certainly felt Scottish..!! It was great.
Climb down was slow goings – it stopped raining around half way down (and by stopped, I mean barely spitting), but the rocks were now small streams and the clay paths were muddy and/or slippery. On our way down we had a good laugh at some other tourists who were trying in vain to use an umbrella... one does not use an umbrella in the Scottish Highlands. (One has to turtle inside of a rain jacket, thank you.)
And that was
our climb..!! It really was great, even though my legs were like death on the walk up. Bus ride was back was uneventful – our driver remembered us and asked about our hike :) Back in Ballock we hit up the Info Service/tourist shop while waiting for the train and then headed back into Glasgow for supper time. Apparently it rained in Glasgow too – the trash cans were littered with broken umbrellas haha, feels like Seattle or San Francisco!
I had a lovely supper – Scot Broth! Beef, mutton and barley soup – good and hearty soup indeed!! Plan is to try haggis tomorrow, cannot wait!
There are more photos below