Our days on the isle of Mull were over. We said goodbye to the tiny coastal town, hopped on a bus to hop on a boat and moved to the port town of Oban.
In Oban we brought our stuff to the very modern and comfortable hostel, a real pleasure after the rustic tiny place in Tobermory, and went for a supply/discovery run.
Atop the city lies a circular thing. It’s called McCaig’s Tower but looks rather like an half-assed amphitheater. The legend says it has been built to give the stone masons something to do. From up there you have a nice view over the town and the harbour.
Inside the “tower” is a tiny garden with spectacular tourists giving the victory sign.
Then we headed to a giant Tesco and looked at all the good things that don’t exist in German supermarkets. Like fresh vegetables that are not Kartoffeln.
We got some ready made dinner (Curry and a selection of tapas, all microwaveable), nap-nap and off we went for our next stop on the next day.
Another bus brought us to the town of Luss, right next to Loch Lomond. Luss is a midget infested tiny town built for tourists and travelers to better places. Literally every half an hour a bus would stop on the car park, barf out 50 or so tourists that would swarm the town, buy all the touristy things and hop back on their bus. While we were there a swarm of Germans was followed by a Chinese swarm was followed by a Dutch swarm. We spent more time there than we wanted as the boat destined to bring us to our hostel for the night broke down and could not provide services as promised. The next boat arrived two hours later.
The captain gave us an insight into the history of the lake in a very charming way. In the distance we could make out
Mount Doom Ben Lomond.
We arrived at Rowardennen Lodge about half an hour later. Rowardennan Lodge is just a youth hostel afoot of Ben Lomond, the tallest mountain of the Southern Highlands, with about 1000 meters. Comfortwise the hostel was somewhere between Oban and Tobermory, with a big common room watching over the Loch. It used to be a hunting Lodge and still had some of the feel of a gathering place for men before and after hunting wild bear-boars in the surrounding woods. They probably looked as majestic as I did.
The evening was spent dinnering and exploring the very close surrounding. The next day we wanted to ascend Ben Lomond and so we prepared ourselves by finding the start of the trail and explore the near car park.
The Lodge is situated on the West Highland Walkway, a very popular hiking path, especially among Germans. The first night we already got in touch with two of the directly, but we talked to many more. The Lodge is the last proper hostel on the Walkway for a long time, after it there is only room for wild camping. Situated around two to three days in on the regular hiking schedule, it was the perfect spot for people to get a last chance to stop their endeavor. And so many did. A daily stage consists of 50 km on average, and some learned the hard way that this is not a thing to be done alone.
The next morning. We got up on time to begin the ascend at around ten. The mountain greeted us with a huge cloud. The last days often started cloudy and cleared up soon after, so we continued our way.
Rain was soon exchanged for a constant drizzle and fog as we entered the cloud. We could barely see more than 20 meters ahead, not to mention the amazing view over the Loch that we didn’t have. The path ascended sometimes steeper, sometimes only gradually over a long stretch.
Everything was wet. We couldn’t stop for a picknick, so we had some tea while on the go.
At one point a silhouette appeared and a guy came casually walking his dog up a 1000 m mountain.
The shadow is a white tailed sea eagle. Before we could take the photo we could see it from up close, maybe 15 meters or so. A truly magnificent and huge animal.
At one point we must have reached the top. The constant drizzle grew to hail, the breeze to strong winds. We walked upwards until everything around us was only descending. The gps confirmed our position on top of Ben Lomond. We could certainly not tell from the sight.
Although we spent a considerable amount of money on rain jackets and boots, we forgot good rain pants. Our regular cloth pants were soaked soon enough and from there the water found its way into the shoes and under the jacket. We were freezing, wet, hungry, frustrated and tired. And on top of mountain. Maybe.
We descended the path we ascended before. The climb up took us about three hours, the descent only half of it. Part of the reason was Doro angrily muttering curses towards the general situation and the mountain in particular, more or less running down the cliffs. We didn’t stop until we arrived at the hostel.
We were destroyed in many ways. Our clothes and shoes went into the drying room, of course the Lodge had one, and we went under the shower and then to bed. At 4 pm. We only took a short nap, but a needed one, and then we went outside to enjoy the afternoon. The sunny afternoon. The sunny afternoon that provided a clear view to the summit of Mount Doom.
The next day we went back to Glasgow through Luss.
Our Air BnB in Glasgow was of the shit kind, but it was a bed and that was good enough.
We had dinner in a vegan bar just across the street. Their DJ was amazing, a former host of a uni radio show called The Natives Are Restless. We certainly were restfull. Our great, exhausting, lovely, interesting, relaxing, adventuring trip to Scotland was over.