Ben Vorlich, Loch Earn - Winter

The Race to the top
Sunday January 13th

All thoughts of 'will the weather be too wild' are soon forgotten when you are out on the hill.
You just cope, and mostly enjoy the experience.
Our wee group left the shelter of the trees in the lower glen and plodded up the well made path.
Well drained paths like this one get a big 'thumbs up'
On the open hill we were hit by a succession of snow showers.
Our world shrank to a grey curtain, where were our 
'summits cloud free'?

In Scotland we have a fabulous mountain weather website -
 It has been very accurate on countless days out,
but today's weather front arrived a bit ahead of schedule.

To be fair, 'confidence in timing low' is the key phrase!
There were a few well spaced parties ahead of us,
guess they hadn't been to Mhor in Callander!

  Snow showers came frequently,
 limited visibility coming and going each time.
David and Graham battened down the hatches 
as another squall moved towards us.
We stood in a shallow groove and ate our 'pieces' ....
snow and ice particles constantly blasting us. 
....some had a bigger piece than others.....
....while others patiently waited.....
We decided to split into two parties -
 'summit' and 'how far will we go?' 

Bill, David  and Andy raced on into the blowing snow, while Dee, Roni and Graham walked on, eventually turning back around 850m.

The 'boys' found the summit trig had feathery ice crystals 
growing into the wind.
 On Ben Vorlich's east summit - 
visibility was not great.
Several fierce squalls of freezing snow and ice soon shifted us. 
It took just 35 minutes to run from the summit to the intake dam.
Our pal was waiting for us
Back down in the lower glen not far from Ardvorlich House, 
we spotted blossom on one of the trees.
Must be a special micro-climate here......
Remember  - this is Scotland mid-January.
Azelea 'Praecox' screamed colour,
it's a beautiful plant.
On reaching the cars the 'summit' squad caught up with the 
'850m' mob who had been lucky enough to see some of the red squirrels who inhabit the glen.

Roni met a young couple on the way back down, Gillian and Stuart.
Their conversation turned to different styles of crampons -
 and what to buy.

Roni remembered that in her garage were two pairs 
of 'old' Cassin crampons. 

Always good to recycle gear to someone who will use it! 
Here's hoping they have much fun with well travelled 'jaggy feet'.

Roni, Graham, Deirdre, David, Bill & Andy 

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