Since I started this sports and fitness blog last year, I have felt really inspired to start hillwalking again. When I was at university I was very motivated to climb mountains. I was a member of the university hillwalking society. These were really happy days and I climbed over 25 Munros with various university friends and others . I wanted to see if I still had the ability to climb mountains again. Last week a friends and I set out to climb Ben Chonzie, a Munro in Perthshire. I had been looking forward to this opportunity for some time. As well as an opporunity to climb a Munro again, I was looking forward to putting my new Scarpa boots to the test.
I have always found Munro bagging difficult. It takes phenomenal amounts of my energy and stamina. In the days when I was doing it more regularly, I was still limited to what I could do in a day. I found it difficult sometimes to find people to go walking with because I was generally slower and needed a little patience. Many people would want to go out and bag 4 or 5 peaks in a day. I was limited as to how much I could do in a day. However, I have found good friends over the years and have been able to tackle a few more of the Scottish mountains.
Myself and a close friend approached Ben Chonzie from Glen Lednock. This is probably the shortest route to take if climbing this mountain although you can do the walk from different starting points. It is a relatively short Munro walk but it feels like a challenge all the same. The drive up Glen Lednock was just beautiful. Trees were still bare but draped in soft green moss providing a lovely atmosphere. We managed to spot a couple of red kites on the single track road up the Glen, as well as a few buzzards. Weather started off with the sun shining down on the peaceful valley.
Leaving the car at the road end, we followed a wide track through a farm up towards the base of the hill in fairly pleasant weather. At the start there was a very gentle slope up among sheep. On the left lay an attractive duck pond around which there were pine trees and a small amount of forest. The track continued past the farm, over a wooden bridge and through a number of gates. A bit further up, the path up to hill leaves the track, veers to the left and continues past a concrete structure that looked like it was used to control water flow from a burn. The next section of the walk grew steeper and very boggy! It felt like we were walking up a river.
As well as water and bog underfoot, it began pouring with rain, wind strength was increasing and visibility was not great. We made a decision to abandon reaching the summit and slowly retraced our steps because there was no sign of the weather improving and our waterproofs were being tested to the Max.
Shorter than expected however, it was still a most enjoyable walk. We will return to climb Ben Chonzie again in the future.