The North to South walk Day 1976 May 29 Day 21 – The Last Day “A dream come true” Ben Lomond

It was an incredible night in the small school at Inversnaid where we were staying by kind permission of one of the locals. We were really tired may be we have misjudged the second last day but these hills were so hard, pathless and hard work, lots of unseen contours and rough walking took their toll. We found it hard to believe that this was the end of a superb walk across Scotland. In addition we were also very tired and were very glad we only had a short walk today to the summit of Ben Lomond and then hopefully a lift home to a hot bath and good food from the RAF Kinloss Team. We did not hang about in the morning the boots were soaked but it was the last day so I put my spare dry socks and broke a ritual. We had to be way early from our lovely bothy and were not sure what time our lift was from Ben Lomond but we had to be out the school before Inversnaid I find it really amazing that we just shook hands and headed off down the tourist path alone in our thoughts.  On the last mile we met our lift heading up the hill to meet us, some members of the RAF Kinloss Team.

They were a bit late and then it was a few congratulations and long 5 hour drive in a land rover where we slept most of the way, we were exhausted now the walk was over. The land rover stank after half an hour we needed a wash badly and we just wanted to get home.

 The troops to be fair had no clue what we had done and until you do such a feat it is another world in you are in. It was sort out the kit most went in the bin and then was back to work next day and that was my holidays for the year over. A bit of a downer at the end! It was my first big walk and a huge learning curb for me many that was to be invaluable in many call -outs in the future. I learned so much about the mountains and different ways up and down them and it was great having Paul and Jim on the trip. We never fell out all the way and at times we were pretty tired and running on empty. There were no bothies on a couple of occasions due to being let down by our organisation and that was hard after a big hill days. The hospitality of the keepers and their families were wonderful and the kindness was unequal especially at Scardroy Lodge where I was ill, this was true Highland Hospitality at its best and will never be forgotten.

The gear was basic as were the food caches every 3 /4 days with food and our boots were a pair of curlies that leaked every day. We had some incredible days saw so much and learnt so much about this great country and the hospitality we had been given was incredible. Why not go and do a short trip across this great land, you will see a lot more people and there will be more paths but the hills will always be the same.  I have been a member of the Mountain Bothy Association ( MBA) for many years and appreciate what they do to keep these remote shelters going in 2014 so that others may enjoy what we did all these years ago. Why not join them or send them a donation or buy the book below.

Paul. Heavy and Jim

These nights were the highlights of a great trip a fire going, the company of Jim and Paul, the gear steaming nearby and that first cup of tea I will remember these days forever. We were following a history of RAF Mrt for doing these classic walks and I was lucky to do another 3. I learned so much from each one. The next was to be a winter walk that was nearly a walk to far. Hamish Brown had not long finished his incredible Munro journey and his book has become a classic. What a trip and again thanks to all who made it possible and to Jim and Paul for looking after me.

Ben Lomond.

The total for our trip was 62 Munros 334 miles and 104464 feet of ascent.

This was a record for the RAF Trips at the time and we were pretty pleased!

About heavywhalley.MBE

Mountain Rescue Specialist. Environmentalist. Spent 37 years with RAF Mountain Rescue and 3 years with a civilian Team . Still an active Mountaineer when body slows, loves the wild places.
This entry was posted in Equipment, Hill running and huge days!, Mountaineering, Munros, People, Views Mountaineering, Well being. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The North to South walk Day 1976 May 29 Day 21 – The Last Day “A dream come true” Ben Lomond

  1. Gwyn Lloyd says:

    Brilliant Heavy, really enjoyed reading it every day. Makes you appreciate the kit we have today.

    Liked by 1 person

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