Scary – it’s almost 2 years since my last hill walk which was a return to Dumgoyne. We wanted to tackle a munro but time and weather meant a more sensible first walk of the year – Drymen to Balmaha via Conic hill and back again. Unlike the previous weekend, the weather had closed in and there was a cool breeze and a bit of drizzle on the way up Conic.
I didn’t bother taking any photo’s from the top of Conic as I’ve been up there a couple of times now and the winter set from 2011 on Flickr contains some far better photo’s. It was also windy with not much of a view. Speaking of views, there’s been quite a bit of deforestation on the route from Drymen which really opened up the route to more impressive views.
We chose to walk along the road back to Drymen rather than following our footsteps but to be honest there isn’t much to see from the road apart that Conic looked far better as the day cleared up for a few hours. Timing is everything. RunKeeper stats for the walk are below.
Overall a good walk that got the legs going and hopefully isn’t the last one for another couple of years. Maybe a munro next?
Took advantage of a slight rise in temperatures and the promise of sunshine to climb Conic Hill last Sunday. After a slow and slippy drive to Balmaha it was on with the boots and gaters for the short 400 metre climb. Although the car park had a few cars the hill was pretty deserted and we only saw two other chaps all day who had abandoned their climb up Ben Lomond. At lower levels there was a bit of a thaw on and the snow was quite wet and slippy. After a half hour we had left that behind and were in to the actual climb. Proper snow!
It didn’t take long until we got to the top of the first summit – Conic is actual three small summits and as we clambered on the sun came out and gave us some glorious views of Loch Lomond, the Arrochar Alps and Ben Lomond.
Despite the sun and the thaw at lower levels it was f-f-freezing at the top. A pretty brisk wind meant we didn’t hang around for long at the top and we walked down a bit to have some lunch. After a quick soup we decided not to clamber over the hill again but head further down the slope as we’d surely find a path. Wrong. We found a very old wood and a peat bog so not the best decision we’d ever made. Hence the RunKeeper map showing a circular route that doesn’t really exist.
Speaking of RunKeeper, two little titbits. Runkeeper Pro is currently free for the month of January on both iOS and Android platforms. Highly recommended and is constantly being improved by the development team. Secondly, I forgot I had switched on RunKeeper Live a couple of months. What this means is that at the start of the walk a tweet is sent out and people can watch you walk live online. Updates seem to be every 10 seconds or so and looks to have worked pretty well. Got a few bizarre tweets when I checked twitter after the walk 🙂
The full set of pics from the walk is as usual on Flickr including the panorama above which came out quite well.
The weather recently has been pretty good. Clear sky’s, crisp at night but getting slightly warmer during the day…time for a walk methinks. We considered a munro last weekend but blizzards at that height and pretty bad windchill predictions put us of. We considered a munro for today but there’s still a lot of snow on the hills so we settled for something local that’s easy to climb but promised good views if the clear skies held – Conic Hill.
Conic Hill is easily accessed from Balmaha car park. It only takes just over an hour to climb but as you can see from the photo’s here and at Flickr you can get some great views if the weather is clear. What was still a surprise was the amount of snow at this low level. We were up to out knee’s and sometimes more on the ascent and there was some ice to watch out for as well. Thankfully I’d picked up a pair of gaitors so my feet and legs kept dry. After returning to the car park we bumped into a work colleague who’d got up at 04:30 to get to Ben Lomond summit for sunrise. He said crampons and pick axe were a must for the conditions up there so we had made the right choice. For next winter it looks like they’ll be essential purchases.
Star of the day was Milly who seemed to have no problem with the climb or the conditions, even cooling off at the end with a wee swim in Loch Lomond. I say cooling off but she was shivering after a few minutes in the water – bless. So that was Conic Hill, a cracking walk to dust off the cobwebs or when the weather elsewhere prevents a more ambitious climb.