Helen Rose Hill Diary
Due to the pressure of other commitments, I have not spent a lot of time on the hills this winter but I had an exceptional day out on Ben Dorain in late April. This Munro is at Bridge of Orchy and is connected to Ben an Dothaidh, also a Munro. I have walked these hills many times separately and together but not in winter conditions. They are less than a two hour drive from Glasgow on the way to Glencoe and the West Highland Way runs alongside them at a low level. They can also be seen from the scenic West Highland Railway north of Tyndrum where Ben Dorain rises steeply on that side from the railway line.
I happened to notice that the Bearsden and Milngavie Ramblers were running a bus to Bridge of Orchy for the A group to climb Ben Dorain. I am a member and in fact I did many of my first fifty Munros with the Group. I have neglected them in recent years’ with Munro bagging but now the Munros are completed I can rediscover people I used to walk with many years’ ago. I was lucky to get a last minute cancellation on the bus. It was great to meet up with people from a long time ago and to find so many new and enthusiastic walkers. The Bearsden and Milngavie Ramblers is a very active club offering various grades of walks every weekend and many social events. In fact, I spent a week in Majorca walking and socialising with them over ten years’ ago and it was an excellent holiday.
We walked form the Bridge of Orchy Hotel in glorious weather on a good path toward the bealach between the two mountains. There were twenty two people in the group so lots of new people to chat to on the way. As usual, the walkers were a sociable bunch and I regularly walked alongside different people as there were lots of stories to hear. They were all very friendly and happy to see a new face. We stopped near the burn for a tea break and to admire the views of the mountains all around. There was then a fairly steep path to the bealach where the weather was considerably colder at the higher altitude so sheltering behind some rocks, it was on with the windproof gear. It is a fairly long ridge but with a good path and we soon reached a steep snow slope. The walking was easy as there were many walkers out in front of us and they had kicked steps in the snow. There had been a late dump of snow so the snow had held on the north facing slope of Ben Dorain
At the first top, the views were clear all around and we walked on to the second top, the summit of the Munro. We dropped down out of the wind and had lunch. What could be better than sitting in fresh air with a delicious packed lunch, stupendous views and congenial company? I was very slow on the snow slope descent as usual but people were kind enough to go at my snail’s pace and keep me company. When we reached the Bridge of Orchy Hotel, there was time for a quick refreshment before boarding the bus for the journey home. A great day out! The Bearsden and Milngavie Ramblers have a website at www.bearsdenandmilngavieramblers.org.uk
In the Ramblers Association magazine, Walk, I am featured in the June 2008 edition as an insulin dependent diabetic who climbs Munros. The article is intended to inspire other diabetics to go out and enjoy the hills.
Coming attraction; Weekend at Ratagan.
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Thanks to George Miller for the photos taken on his mobile phone.