Full Circle

On 8th May, 1976, I climbed my first Munro – Ben Vorlich (Loch Earn) – little knowing at that time that I would go on to climb all the others over the next 35 years.   So, having climbed my last (but not final!) Munro last year, I had in mind to complete the circle by returning to Ben Vorlich in 2012.

My sister Frances and daughter Fiona, who had accompanied me on Aonach Mor, were also keen to accompany me.

The opportunity came on Sunday 6th May, 2012.  The forecast was reasonable, although the cloud was down on the hills as we drove up through Callander and up Loch Lubnaig. Two cars rendezvous’d at Ardvorlich at 11am:  Anne, Fiona and I came up from Stirling;  Frances and Douglas (my nephew) from Edinburgh.

Ben Vorlich from Ardvorlich on Loch Earn

Ben Vorlich from Ardvorlich on Loch Earn

The hill looked good, with a sprinkling of snow on the top, and the cloud breaking up.  I didn’t remember much of the route from 36 years (less 2 days) ago!

Fi, Anne, Fran and Douglas

Fi, Anne, Fran and Douglas at the start of the walk

From the lochside, we followed the tarred road to Ardvorlich house, then on up a good track on the west side of Glen Vorlich, steep at first, then easing through the wooded glen.

looking down on Ardvorlich House and Loch Earn

looking down on Ardvorlich House and Loch Earn

After a mile or so, we branched right, climbing again, and soon reached the bridge over the burn flowing out of Coire Buidhe.

Once again, the track (now a path) steepened as it climbed up the north ridge of the hill.

snow shower heading our way ...

snow shower heading our way ...

The sunshine disappeared and showers of snow and hail swept in on us from the west.  Still, the path was good, so we battled on upwards.

getting snowy at 750m

getting snowy at 750m

There were quite a few others on the mountain, some going u, some coming back down.  As we reached the crest of the ridge at 800m, the summit was coming and going in the cloud.  Careful steps were required up the last 500m as the snow had been packed down on the path, so was a bit slippy.

the final climb to the summit

the final climb to the summit

Before long, we clambered up the final steep slope and found ourselves on the summit.  Not absolutely sure which was the real summit, we continued along the ridge to the east top (actually 1m lower according to the map), and stopped there for a bite to eat.

east top from summit of Ben Vorlich

looking along to the east top from the summit of Ben Vorlich

 

summit of Ben Vorlich

Anne and Fran approaching the east top

The sky cleared a little, and we had dramatic views across to Stuc a’Chroin, and occasional glimpses further afield.

Stuc a'Chroin from Ben Vorlich

Stuc a'Chroin from Ben Vorlich

We were lucky to have a brief spell of blue sky and sunshine while we were on the top.

summit party

Fi, Anne, Fran, Douglas on east top of Ben Vorlich

 

36 years before, we had continued on to Stuc a’Chroin, but this time decided that one summit was enough, so headed back down the way we had come.  Lovely views to the north ….

view across Loch Earn towards Ben Lawers

view across Loch Earn towards Ben Lawers

map of route

map of route

 

 

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