Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Ben Vorlich - From Loch Shore To Mountain Summit


Day 2 of my munro bagging trip.
Exhausted after the previous day with not much sleep, driving & climbing Carn a' Chlamain I had an amazing sleep & woke up feeling energised & ready to reach the summit of Ben Vorlich.
Packing up the tent etc, having to force feed myself breakfast to add vital fuel to the body & driving along the shore road of Loch Earn I was ready to bag the next munro of the trip...
 ...'Ben Vorlich'

Parking up the van at a small lay-by I readied myself for the assault up the mountain, looking from here it seems a long way up but I'm sure it will be more than worth it for the views from the top. 

Before crossing the small stone bridge I spotted a gravestone next to the road, this is where the bodies of seven MacDonalds of Glencoe were interred. These victims were killed by the people of Ardvorlich in retaliation for an earlier bloody raid by the MacDonald clan. A reminder that life was not always peaceful on the shores of Loch Earn.

Immediately after the bridge the route to Ben Vorlich goes through the urn topped stone pillars the gate entrance to Ardvorlich house.

The well kept grounds of Ardvorlich house with a sign directing walkers in the right direction.

Ardvorlich has been the residence of the Stewart family since the 16th century. The present house was built in 1790.

Following the Land Rover track upwards & the start of the long climb up to Ben Vorlich.

Slowly but surly climbing upwards it was really warm & sticky weather making it hard going & I had only just begun the climb.

It was tempting to jump into the water to cool off it was that hot.
Stopping for a breather & drink, looking back I could see the peaks of the Lawers range in the distance the highest being Ben Lawers which I climbed last year.

Keeping the head down pushing forward & by now it was hike a bike time over the shoulders step by step uphill when I heard a voice saying "Should you not be cycling up this hill" looking up it turned out to be my workmate Callum who was making his way back down off the mountain.
Callum had come up the day before to climb & wild camp up on the summit of Stuc a' Chroin another mountain just to the side of Ben Vorlich, I too had initially planned to climb this munro too but after a bit of research it was more or less impossible to climb with a bike, dangerous as well & I didn't fancy leaving my bike all on it's own while I climbed it so I decided to give it a miss.
After a wee blether with Callum we both set off in opposite directions. 
(After I finished this climb & was back at work Callum had shown me some of the pictures he had taken during his night up on Stuc a' Chroin & he was lucky enough to have seen red deer, ptarmigan & strangely some goats up on the rocky crags of the mountain, I on the other hand never saw any wildlife other than farm livestock on the lower slopes.)

The terrain was starting to get more difficult & steeper the higher I climbed, rocky at some points & boggy trenches badly eroded at others, but at least now gaining altitude there was a nice welcoming breeze to cool me down.

Stopping for another fluid intake I zoomed the camera in to the summit & could see the trig point on the mountain summit.
Still a long way to go & I could see other walkers up ahead of me on the last bit of their climb to the top which was even steeper.

The last steep section of the climb was a real sting in the tail & hard work on already aching & burning calf muscles, some parts were just loose rocks making sure footing difficult even more so with a bike over the shoulders...

...but in the blink of an eye the trig point got a hand slap & Ben Vorlich was conquered :-) another bikeable munro & trig point bagged.
Ben Vorlich is Scotland's 165th highest munro at 985 metres high (3231 feet) 
The name Ben Vorlich means 'Hill of the bay'

Revelling in the magestic munro views I only wish that I had a better knowledge of the names of them, but for now I just enjoyed the euphoric feeling of having 360 degree views of stunning scenery.

The obligatory bike pictures & selfies before the rapid fire fun part bombing down the mountain.
Just behind me is the mountain which workmate Callum wild camped on 'Stuc a' Chroin' which means 'peak of the sheepfold' & is Scotland's 182nd highest munro standing firm at 975 metres (3198 feet)
I was kind of gutted to be so near yet so far from Stuc a' Chroin but there was no way I was leaving my beloved Rocky Mountain behind while I climbed it.
The first part of the descent was steep, a lot steeper than the picture suggests, I had only just rode about 30 yards & the front wheel washed out on the loose scree & off I came rolling down the mountain all part of the fun though :-)

Nearly at the bottom again only stopping to take a picture of Ardvorlich house & what a view they have looking up behind me onto the mountain.

Back at the van on the shores of Loch Earn & it only took eleven minutes to get from mountain top down to loch shore, great fun giving it what for bombing down the mountain & it makes the hard fought climb worth while.

What a nice sight to come back down to see on the loch shore !

Before the long drive back home I made a coffee on the stove & drank it by the loch looking back up the mountain thinking how awesome the last two days had been, then making another coffee for my travel mug to drink going down the road. 
What a brilliant two day adventure it was & another two munros bagged, now time to plan which ones are next on the bikeable munro to do list !

Hope you enjoyed the climb & ride, thanks for visiting & keep the wheels turning.