By Yon Bonnie Banks...

Great day on Monday climbing Ben Lomond for the second time. Set off reasonably early morning, although due to a Christening on the Sunday not as early as planned. With this in mind we headed up the normal route as it was decided that this would be less taxing than the alternative Ptarmigan Ridge - although we did descend down the ridge for something a bit different!

Started off with a little bit of rain but that soon cleared up and the sun was shining and it was shaping up to be clear and glorious views from the summit... then we reached the summit and the cloud closed in, the winds picked up, and worst of all the hail started. The hail lasted for about 15 - 20 minutes and it felt like being hit in the face repeatedly with needles, although I'm only guessing at this as I've never been hit in the face with needles.

Hail aside though it was still a good day, the sun came back out, and there were some smashing views to be had.

Winter Walking - The Grey Mare's Tail

Been a while since I've posted anything, also been a while since I've really picked up a camera, well other than the selfies and other smartphone photography like everyone else these days.

Anyway, decided to try and get back in to walking this year (and taking photos, and maybe blogging), and seeing as it would be nice and wintry, and not too challenging a walk, The Grey Mare's Tail between Moffat and Selkirk was the walk of choice.

There wasn't a whole lot of water coming over the falls at the weekend, however this isn't really all that surprising given that a lot of the stream and almost the entire Loch that feed the falls was frozen. The climb wasn't too bad and the conditions under foot were actually not bad on the ascent, once at the top though the snow got thicker and the temperature got significantly colder compared to the toasty -1.5 degress C at the bottom! It wasn't too long before the weather closed in a little, the small patches of blue sky disappeared and the snow began to fall. The fresh snow made navigating back from Loch Skeen a little bit more tricky as it had started to cover the path that had been trodden, it also made the descent a little bit more slippy but after a few unintentional sit down, we made the bottom with relatively little trouble.

Next trip here I think will be spring for what will hopefully be a more impressive waterfall in full flow, and maybe a little bit of exploring the surrounding hillside on a longer walk.

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 Caught these two acting the goat!!

Caught these two acting the goat!!

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Ben Lomond

On Saturday I decided to venture out and attempt my first Munro, Ben Lomond. Looking at the forecast on the lead up to Saturday and it was looking cold and potential gale force gusts, but come Saturday it was a smashing day and the sun was shining.

The walk up was long, tough at times (due to my lack of fitness), and hot due to the sunshine - also having dressed for the colder temperatures that had been forecast didn't help! In the end I made it up to the summit after 3 hours of huffing and puffing, and it was well worth the trek. I was also glad of the warmer clothes I'd chosen to wear as it felt like the -5 that had been forecast, hat and gloves also made an appearance!

While up there and not too far from the summit, I had a close fly by from a sightseeing plane and almost missed it as I fumbled to get my camera!

Also, as if the walk up didn't seem hard enough a guy had carried his bike up to the summit.

So after a short stay at the top to take in the views, take some snaps, and catch my breath it was time to make the journey back down. I had contemplated going down the alternative route but in the end I opted for going back the way I came and 2 hours 10 mins later with some aching muscles I was back at the car.

Here's some more from the trip, enjoy!

Trip to the Isle of Skye

I've finally gotten round to sorting the photos from last weekends trip to Skye. Skye has always been on my list of places I wanted to visit, and it's an experience to visit the island. I don't think I've ever been in a place that's felt as remote and cut off, you're lucky to get a mobile signal never mind any data signal . Was good for a change, although luckily there was some wifi in the hotel (satellite internet)!

The drive up to Skye is good in itself winding through the mountains of Glencoe and Fort William, although it was quite foggy in places. Whilst on Skye we visited the fairy pools which have to be the clearest water I've ever seen, and had to resist the temptation to jump in though as I think I may have ended up with hypothermia! The scenery on Skye itself is quite spectacular, and I could have happily spent all day driving / walking about and just admiring the place. I'll definitely be looking to go back, perhaps in the summer when it's a bit warmer and can jump in the water!

On the way back we stopped off at Eilean Donan Castle. Next to the village of Dornie, and not too far from the Skye bridge, the castle is built on a small island where Loch Duich, Loch Long and Loch Alsh and meet. The castle is apparently the most photographed castle in Scotland, might even have been Britain. Very picturesque castle!

If you ever get the chance to visit then I would highly recommend it... unless of course you aren't really in to the outdoors!