Thursday 2 June 2011

He Ain't Heavy

The plan for the fortnight was to chill out for the first half, and do a good bit of walking this week, however, that plan now looked to be a bit hindered. After the wash out of week 1, week 2 wasn't to fair much better according to the forecasts. This was a bit of a let down as I was going to go a walk with my brother and let him bag his first munro. SO just as it looked as though the majority of the week was off-limits, imagine our surprise when the MWIS forecast was very favourable for Tuesday. A couple of texts later, and a trip to Loch Earn to conquer Ben Vorlich was organised.

One scenic drive later and we were parked up at Arvorlich House ready to start the ascent. As walking routes go this one is pretty good. A path has been set out from the beginning to the summit, so from every part you can see the scar up ahead and if you look hard enough the trig point on the summit you are aiming for.

It started off quite easy. A good steady incline to get the initial knackeredness out of the way and let the lungs get a good build-up. After navigating the third stile you are away from estate land and onto mountainside with the only way being up.

Looking back, you get the same picture every time so it was difficulty to judge how far up you were. To our surprise, the first time we checked, we were over a third of the way in. I was convinced we were not even at the height of the Lyle Hill yet so that was quite motivating, but it was about this point that bad things happened. I started to get a really bad pain in my right knee. If you know me, you will know that this is a problem area for me but usually it is just a niggle that I can get through. This was different. This was a proper stabbing pain with every footstep. I decided to march on and see how it would go.

Somehow, we made it to the summit approach, with a good bit of scree separating us from the goal. Lord knows how I made it to this point and any thought of chucking it previously seemed a distant memory when I seen what I was to tackle next. This was going to take a while.

Marching on through the pain was the order of the day and this final section was no different. The image above is basically what drove me on. The thought of the sights on such a clear day was an appealing prospect. A few determined stints later and we made it.

Before the obligatory summit shots, we headed over to the cairn to ensure we had a shot at both points.

From the cairn, we got great shots of what should have been summit no. 2 of the day - Stuc a' Chroin. With the amount of pain I was feeling, there was no way I was trying it. I'll leave that one for another day.

Back to the true summit and it was time for pictures. Munro no. 11 for me and a first for Gaz.

Getting to the top is half the battle. The descent is always another matter. The constant downhill impact gives my knee a battering at the best of times so I was not looking forward to this at all.

Once passed the rocky final section, it was not too bad.

The path meandered down with Loch Earn always being visible. Well, that was until we got to the stiles in the estate. When you have limited leg movement, crossing a stile is quite the obstacle.

My week of walking was finished before it even began. The original plan was to try and get 4-5 munros done over the week but you know what they say about the best laid plans. I would have to settle for one this week and plan alternative ascents in the future. Although my plans have been hindered, it was good to finally get out and tackle a hill with my brother. Hopefully, there will be some more in the future.

In regards to the knee, there doesn't seem to have been too much damage. Two days later and the sharp sensation is away and I can actually walk without looking like I am completely immobile.

2011-05-31 - Ben Vorlich (Loch Earn)
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