Weekend three, day four part one, Ben Vane (06.09.2016)

Friends, collies and the old girl’s friend Amber,

Over breakfast with B, I discussed the dream that ended my last blog. It seems that B had precisely the same dream, isn’t that amazing? However, B told me about something called the cold light of day, which told us we couldn’t afford the wonderful converted transit. I didn’t like the sound of that outlook at all; it was too rational and had more than a touch of the scientific about it. I would rather think of myself as coming from the romantic school of thought. Those spot lights definitely had more aesthetic value than anything in my van and I could easily have got over the attachment I felt for my van, with a spot of cuddling up on the big bed. Anyway, lots of word issues forth from B, which came like a stream of consciousness and hurt my head space. After a little doze to stop the pain (and the feeling of loss), I understood that, once our bills are paid, all our spare dosh goes on keeping the wonderful caravan in the lake district; which has much more going for it than a squashed up home on wheels. Therefore, me and B are having to do the Munros on a shoe string budget which, put like that, makes my van seem quite substantial.

Never-the-less, I was still in a bit of a strop when we drove off towards our next walk. I couldn’t quite get the image of jumping up on a double bed, to snuggle down for the night, out of my head. So, to make my point, I did battle with my seating position and that of the gear stick, causing quite a bit of a tussle between me and B. By the time we arrived for our last Munro walk of the year we weren’t the best of friends.

B had been chasing the weather, yet again, and I only hoped it was better than yesterday’s effort. Supposedly, the sky was meant to metamorphose, from overriding grey (the backdrop to this morning’s tete a tete), into a verdant and abundant blue; it was all so deja vu and I wasn’t in the least convinced. Motivation ranked low, in the get up and go department of this young Border collie. The blue we were chasing was further west, arriving at midday so – yet again – we had managed a lie in. After a drive beside the beautiful Loch Earn, with limited views of hills beyond, we travelled south west, arriving at Inveruglas an hour earlier that the supposed transformation of the heavens. This turned out to be a very good job because several miles north the grey matter had evaporated rapidly. It happened so quickly it reminded B of the story of the parting of the red sea, in the bible. This clever trick of Moses, authorised by the god without the science background, allowed the Israelites to escape into the promised land, avoiding persecution from the Egyptians. I wished a modern god could do that trick again, in the places where there are all these horrible wars right now. Then all those people and their dogs wouldn’t drown and, when they get to the other side, it really would be a promised land, with lots of lovely Pedigree Chum.

All this is by way of contemplating – albeit rather philosophically for a pouch – the fact that the weather had broken ranks, just so me and B could complete the first weekend where my van didn’t scupper our fourth day. In fact my van had behaved very well, if you put aside the windscreen wiper that doesn’t work any more.

Had I had needed a bit of the inner dog resilience – to keep me going on other walks – it was superfluous today. The Romantics were alive and well, parading evidence of their beliefs in the amphitheatre around us, lit by the gods. The spring in B’s step, the perfume scented flora and the clarity of light ignited my senses, in a way I had only known a couple of times on my Wainwright s. If there was a dog in heaven that Border collie was looking down on us today.

When we turned onto the track I looked up at B for direction and she told me “it’s that big bugger right ahead.” And, she told me to tell you the photo doesn’t make it look as steep as it really is.


The bad language creeping into our discourse upset me quite a bit, but it indicated a touch of apprehension about the supposedly short afternoon walk. The words very and steep had appeared in all descriptions of the walk, with reference to the Arrochar Alps suggested something beyond our experience. I knew about the Alps in Switzerland and they really were big buggers. There now, you see it’s rubbing off on me and I don’t like it; some very little puppies could be reading my wikiblogi (Border collie puppies… obviously). Anyway, we were both approaching this walk with more than a soupçon of trepidation. Once again, we had to look for the place where we needed to leave the track but, thankfully, the directions were clear so we left just after a bridge, at the right place. Not long after this the spring in B’s step seemed to disintegrate and we were back in huffing and puffing territory. The route got boggy and steep very quickly and, in truth, I was even beginning to feel it myself. It turns out there is only one ideal walking day each year. That’s the one when it isn’t too cloudy, or too windy, or too cold, or too snowy, or too rainy. When it isn’t any of those things it is often too hot. We seemed to have missed the best day this year as today was of the too hot variety.

Love Ben xx



3 thoughts on “Weekend three, day four part one, Ben Vane (06.09.2016)

  1. My friend Richard thought Ben Vane looked so steep he stopped right at the foot of the steep bit and just said “I’m not going up there” and promptly turned back and left me to it! And I was feeling nervous too!
    P.S. I thought a campervan was too expensive but, as I ended up spending £30000 on my accommodation over my 10 years of Munroing, it wouldn’t have been after all!


  2. It’s so good to hear we weren’t the only ones struggling on Ben Vane. I think you are amazing for doing all the Munros with a fear of heights. How on earth did you manage In Pin. So far I have managed Striding Edge and Sharp edge without too much of a problem but my stomach churns at the sight of In Pin. Your recommendations for guides are really going to be useful. I love the photos on your blog too.


  3. At the end of my part 2 post for the In Pinn, I tell you how I managed it. Basically a couple of years at least of preparation including an outdoor climb (multi-pitch and very scary) and lots of indoor wall climbing. Also the right gear, i.e. climbing boots instead of clumpy and clumsy hiking boots.


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