Saturday morning Eloise was sad because we could not find her football top. It did not matter though, after registering Eloise, she got her very own Football Buzz top, she was definitely buzzing. Eloise could hardly stand still long enough to put it on properly. Although we had to do a shorts swap as they kept falling down after every kick.
At home, Lachlan was enjoying some precious Super Mum time, trying his hand at baking.
After we got home we noticed the fine print in our visa terms and conditions, it stated that we have to complete at least one Munro per year, or we would be deported from Scotland. Oh no! We only had seventeen days left. After panicking we dialled 1300SHERPA, in no time at all Jennine and the Lighthouse Keeper appeared. He must dabble in being a sherpa on his days off. Luckily Jennine had volunteered, actually she had been volunteered, to look after the kids in what turned out to be a longer than expected day. We jumped in the car and headed into the land of the bens. After flirting with the idea of Ben Lomond on Day 41, today was the day, time to break our Munro duck. Ben Lomond is our first 3 out of 3 boot rated hike, 12km long, 3248ft climb, estimated to be 4.5 to 5.5 hours long.
Ben Lomond is one of the most popular Munros, rewarding the 30,000 people who make it to the top with truly fantastic views of the length of Loch Lomond and its islands. The view to the north reveals range beyond range of mountains into the Highlands. The path up is well made, but the optional return down the Ptarmigan ridge is steep and rocky, and muddy lower down.
It was a beautiful day for a hike so the car park was full, we had to do a wee walk from the overflow car park to the start of the actual walk.
Not before long, we found the turnoff and the climb started straight away. These Munros do not mess about.
After only half an hour, there was already an incredible view of Loch Lomond.
The up track then turned into the really up track.
We started strong, it felt refreshing not having the dynamic load of the Osprey Offsprings on our back, pulling our hair.
You can just see the series of humpy bumpy hills on the other side of the other hill. We should have taken a photo a bit earlier, that is Conic Hill, conquered on Day 41, an incredible walk. As we got a bit higher we could also spot the summit of Meikle Bin, which almost broke Liam on Day 280.
We had made it up the first steep stage to a wee flat area. As we made our way across we could then see what we were facing. Bearing in mind, we were already fairly high at this stage.
We continued powering on up the second steep part until it levelled off and for the first time we could see all the bens to the northeast. In this part of the world, nothing is flat.
Stage three of ‘up’ started. The cool breeze was nice. We were looking forward to the view from the top. There were some big drops that looked spectacular, we kept making our way up and across until we got to the summit.
We could not have chosen a better day for it, every direction you looked was breathtaking. The perfect spot for lunch.
It was a bit windy, nothing that Darryl couldn’t handle though.
It is prime Munro Bagging season, Ben Lomond was definitely not one for the winter.
At the summit, we decided on the steep scramble descent to complete the ring route, rather than making our way down the way we had just come up. Funnily enough, it was much quieter on this path.
Liam needed a new work Skype picture to replace his January 2015 security photo. This will do the trick.
The scramble continued as we lost altitude quickly.
Sophie felt jipped that the ‘way down’ also included upwards parts. We were all still feeling pretty good at this stage. Lucky we had been carb loading for two weeks in Italy. To make matters worse there was plenty of sheep staring at Sophie as she made her way through.
After making our way through the sheep, we had reached our limit. We had been walking for over four hours, the breeze had died down and it was hot work. The views of Loch Lomond were still impressive, which meant we still had a long way to descend. The final stage down we could now feel it in our legs. We passed a wee waterfall and made our way along Loch Lomond back to the car park.
We had done it! After almost six hours of hiking, we had completed our first Munro, well Sophie and Liam had, Bill, is still a few ahead of us! One down, 281 more Munros to climb.
Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to conquer Scotland’s Munros, a list of Scottish mountains which are named after Sir Hugh T Munro, who surveyed and catalogued them in 1891. Climbing these peaks is a great way for experienced walkers to explore some of Scotland’s finest scenery and further-flung locations. Munros are mountains that are found across Scotland that are over 3,000 ft (914.4m). There are in total 282 Munros across Scotland. The highest Munro is Ben Nevis at 4,411 ft (1,345 m). Munro bagging is a popular pastime in Scotland where walking enthusiasts challenge themselves to climb as many of the peaks as they can – over 6,000 people, called ‘compleatists’ (or Munroists) have climbed them all so far.
It was a long tiring drive home. A big thank you to Jennine who had looked after the kids for seven hours. A marathon in its own right. It sounded like they had also had a brilliant day in the sun.
All six of us were starving, the Chinese takeaway went down a treat and was well deserved.
It felt great to get the boots off and put up the legs, not for Bill though. That was only the warm-up, he now had an enthusiastic Eloise to deal with for round two.
Jennine had done such a fantastic job tiring out the kids, Eloise fell asleep with a book over her head.
We both managed to get a bit sunburnt on the gruelling descent. Across the UK but mainly in England “parents are advised to limit their children’s sun exposure as temperatures are predicted to hit highs of 30C (86F) across parts of the UK. Children should cover up in light coloured clothing and rest in the shade, a specialist children’s hospital says, as a heat-health alert is issued”. Enjoying the sun, “Scotland’s city music festival TRNSMT has returned to its summer slot after two years of Covid disruption”, lucky BoJo said the pandemic was over.
Getting out of bed this morning was a bit trickier than usual, the staircase was an early morning challenge. After the success of Sewing with Sophie, Lachlan was keen for a try, but we had to get ready for a picnic.
We all jumped into the car and dashed off, the only thing stopping us was a sheep.
Eloise was excited as ever to rendezvous with Emma. Emma showed Eloise the way to her favourite cow in the Mugdock Country Park Walled Garden.
It was the perfect place for the girls to work on their football skills.
After a lovely picnic and catch up with Emma, the boys were dropped at home to get out of the sun and tune in to watch Dumb And Dumberer in the Wimbledon Final. It was nice not having to wait up until midnight for a change, we will have to see if we can get tickets next year. Before the match began there was a neat drone fly-through by Darryl’s long-lost English brother, not as good as Land Rover’s though. In the end “Novak Djokovic has delivered one of the performances of his career to defeat Australia’s Nick Kyrgios and claim a seventh Wimbledon men’s singles title, and 21st slam title overall”.
Lachlan is becoming a big strong independent toddler, after feeding Eloise he did his last shuffle and it was off to bed. The problem with Lachnado walking is that he is in stealth mode, you could usually hear his turbo crawling which would give you a couple of seconds to brace for true chaos to hit, now true chaos sneaks up on you.
As we speak, well as I type, Sophie has the iron out. This sewing hobby must be serious. See you all next week on Sewing with Sophie.
For the first time in as long as I can remember, the blog has caught up to present time. What a time to be alive.