Before I go into the walk report, I have to advise that due to ill health, Janie will no longer be accompanying me on the West Highland Way. As a result, the majority of walk reports from now on will be reported by me alone.
Last Tuesday, I had a day off work booked, so took the opportunity to get out and about in the local hills for the afternoon. Upon arrival at the East Lomond car park, I was met by a wall of mist. The cloud base was so low, that visibility was reduced to virtually nothing.
I have to admit, it didn’t look very appealing for a walk, but I’d made plans later on that day to visit family nearby and I didn’t want to waste the petrol on making two trips, so I went ahead with the walk. It turns out that was a good decision!
I met a couple of guys about 5 minutes into the walk, who had left before me. Apparently, the mist was a bit much for their liking so they’d given up. I walked up as far as the trig point on East Lomond (pictured below). I didn’t see the point in spending an extra 5 minutes going for the summit, when there was clearly nothing to see.
When I got to the base of the peak (which I still couldn’t see!), I decided against the 15 minute trek to the summit. Again, with no visibility, I didn’t see there being much point. Instead, I took a path off towards Glen Vale, with a view to making a more circular walk.
Again, it wasn’t long before I got below the cloud level, which was quite a good thing, really. Glen Vale is notoriously boggy, and the paths are awful. Admittedly, this is mainly due to mountain bikers tearing it to pieces. I have to admit, that’s a bit of a bugbear of mine… why cycle on clearly boggy ground, destroying the path for everyone else in the process?!
The walk then went past Harperleas Reservoir, which was very full. That’s a bit of a surprise, as visits during the summer had the water levels half what they would normally be. Clearly it’s been a wet winter!
The path then carried on past Little Ballo farm, and back to Craigmead. On the return journey, instead of going for the summit or trig point on East Lomond, I chose the old road past the old limekilns to get back to the car park.
In total, the walk was about 9 miles, and took me about 3 hours. The descriptions above don’t do justice to how good it was. Besides the 2 people I met right at the start, I didn’t see another soul the whole time I was walking. As I was above the cloud line most of the time, there was a sense of isolation. Escapism, pure and simple. The only noises keeping me company were the calls of the Red Grouse in the heather and the occasional Buzzard overhead. What looked like it was going to be an awful walk turned into an escape into the wilderness (even though I was only a few miles away from Glenrothes).
The route I took is shown below, if anyone is interested in repeating the walk.