I can’t say I’m a big fan of low-level walks. Specifically those where the chances of crossing a few contour lines are rare. I much prefer a bit of up and down and a bit of a view. I’m happiest running or walking on the type of trails that mountain bikers love. You know the trails I’m thinking of. And who wouldn’t walk 5 miles reach them?
Well, on a wet and blustery Monday morning I found myself in a car park just outside Arrochar, about to walk over 5 miles of boring and featureless land rover track. Myself and my hiking buddy were to walk the least intersting part of the Glen Loin loop before heading off the beaten track into the hills.
I can’t say much about that first hour or two of walking. After what seemed like an age, we eventually got to the main event… At a chicane in the land rover track, hikers seeking a slightly less low-level walk can abandon the track. With reckless abandon, it’s possible to push off the beaten track, heading west and up.
Reckless abandoneers are advised to head for what looks like an impossible sight – a gravity defying near-vertical deer fence.
On closer inspection the deer fence is much less near-vertical, until you are half way up it, where it is, in actual fact, quite near-vertical. Holding on helps.
The deer fence brings the fortunate to a 650m-high bealach (which is Gaelic for a high-up flatish area in between some great big hills, or ‘mountain pass’ if you prefer).
On reaching this grassy theatre, it is advisable to ‘do a Julie Andrews’ and take in the full splendour of the surrounding peaks which seem almost close enough to touch.
And as you swing around with your arms outstretched to The Sound of Music (ach, just go with it, it feels right) Ben Vane and Ben Vorlich rise to the occasion to complete the set.
Be lucky to drink in this fine view, as we were. The winter sun, having finally bested the clouds, caught up with our shoulders just as we caught up with the trail. Sure it was lunchtime, but the day had just begun.
Here’s a rough route map. We went anti-clockwise from Loch Long.