Monday, 18 March 2013

Ben Venue. Trossachs.

After a brief spell of spring like weather in Scotland winter has returned with a vengeance this week and the high mountains are covered in snow once again. We found this out when we tackled Ben Venue. My friend Ron had never been up this hill, one of the rockiest mountains in the Trossachs range, above Loch Ard and I hadn't been up it for years either so we set out for that. The mountain in the above photo is not Ben Venue by the way. Its that famous ancient mountain Ben Cartwright..taken from the rear. Actually I haven't a Scooby doo where it is but it must be a Munro near Ben Venue as its in the same batch.. Its a senior moment as I don't remember taking it :) Its probably a zoom of Beinn Narnain.
We picked the route setting out from  the lay by car park near Ledard farm on the shores of Loch Ard, seen above. I've been up this fine mountain from the other side as well, the shorter route from Loch Achray, but I remembered that as being fairly steep and intense. That's probably the best way up now incidently, apart from a day like this one, when the hill was plastered in soft melting snow.
Its a popular hill but the path was a lot boggier than I remembered it and proved tough going with a foot of mushy snow on top of thick mud in places. A problem that's been a curse all year given the extremely wet summer we have had during 2012.
The main consolation was bumping into this group of wild goats on the sheltered sides of the Ledard burn with its deciduous woodland. This is easily the prettiest goat I've seen with a luxurious golden coat shimmering in the sunlight. Still had the pungent aroma though that most goats are famed for. You really need to click on this picture to get the full impact of the beast. Very pleased with this picture and the one below.


You can also see from its friend here how Goats have always been associated with the Devil and the personification of evil although they are harmless enough beasts with a nice nature. As a nature na├»ve teenager I was once walking back to a remote cottage alone in the dark on a secluded path through some dark and tangled woods on Bute when a six foot high horned apparition suddenly appeared around the side of an old gnarled tree with a loud groaning noise. I came very close to peeing my pants in shock until I realised it was just a large billy goat straining up to its fullest extent on hind legs to reach some juicy leaves above its head. Down through the centuries this sight and others like it must have occurred often, giving them their undeserved reputation as being a gateway to dark forces and the wilder side of human nature. They are probably the inspiration for the Ancient God Pan. The spirit of wild places and hidden desires released by the Greeks and Romans through wine. Only a myth? Well, its still a problem for todays society as  prisons are full of people who have let the dark side of this old forgotten god take over their souls. They just call it something else now, that's all.
Halfway up Ben Venue we were rewarded for our bog slog determination with this fabulous view over towards Ben Lomond's steep north face. You can just see two tiny figures heading towards the summit.
A view of the Cobbler. Ben Venue is a great viewpoint over The Crianlarich Hills, The Arrochar Alps, The Luss hills and The Trossachs.
The snow in places was appalling though. Knee deep and extremely slippy with a foot of soft slushy porridge lying on top of sodden grass. Probably the worst conditions underfoot I've been out in all winter with a rapid melt not helping matters. It took ages to make it to the first coll.

A sight of Ben Venue at last from Beinn Bhreac.
We were also surprised to find a new looking hut up here in the middle of nowhere near Creag a Bhealaich. This certainly wasn't up here the last time I was in this area. It looked like BBQ's on the porch and a paying guest type operation as it was locked and heavily shuttered for the winter. I suspect its linked to the Time Share/Hotel Complex on the shores of Loch Ard as a kind of summer mountain cabin. It certainly has stunning views and a all terrain vehicle track leading up to it from near that location.
Ron on the Porch.
It was weird the way the snow had accumulated up here. In places it was deep and thick.
In others, even higher, but under the influence of a strong melting sun, completely bare of any snow.
An enjoyable day out but a hard one. Took this photo on the way back of the long line of cliffs. The impressive northern headwall of the Campsie Fells viewed from Balfron

Todays video carries on the Goat/ Devil theme. A Russian film linked to an American group known for their ability to conjure up mysterious and atmospheric music. A classical /dark Gothic instrumental group they have stumbled into a lucrative market as they are now used widely in films and horror type theme parks.
Nox Arcana. Night of the Wolf.
This is better than most, and a good match in my opinion but its obviously not scary enough for a discerning modern audience raised on 3D gore and gut spurting reality games. Its nice and atmospheric in a quaint, old school way. Pretty wife returns from the dead. Shame about the nails but nothing a good manicure couldn't fix. Don't really understand what the problem is here. I'd have her back like a shot. Just separate coffins as her own one looks waterlogged for some strange reason. Maybe vampires are all secretly incontinent in their sleep. Still, beggars cant be fussy:)

9 comments:

The Glebe Blog said...

You're a fit and brave man Bob, it takes me all my time to venture onto our wee hills in the snow. Great pictures. I love your goats especially the first one, that's a devil's evil eye if ever I saw one. I think you'd be right about Pan.
My first look at the Trossachs was a first feature at the Regal or La Scala picture house before the main film. I think it was called 'Scotland, the magic north'. I've never seen sight nor sound of it since. The next one I saw was a W.Alexander bus going on a mystery tour around Loch Lomond and Aberfeldy. Whatever happened to all those old films ? Did I read somewhere that a lot of old films perished sitting in vaults ?
Liked the video, if she's in the other place that's where I'm heading.

Neil said...

Looks like a hard day Bob. I'm getting a bit fed up with this continuing winter type weather. It seems to be clearing and then along comes another dump of snow. Ben Venue looked almost clear of snow when I was on Craig of Monievreckie 10 days ago. And now look at it!

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Jim.
Brave? 'Oh no I'm not' as anyone that knows me will tell you. Cant see me going up hills much of any description in 10 years time as I think my knees will have packed in by then. That's why I also go bike runs in the good weather to preserve them more although I do like both pursuits.
As regard's the video I laughed when I read some of the comments attached to it on you tube along the lines of...'If I could fly I'd chop those nails and shag her big- time all over the ceiling.'
Ah the youth of today. That's no way to treat a poor wee vampire quietly going about her business.
Have they no respect for the undead!

blueskyscotland said...

Yeah, but its only mid March Neil. As long as we get a decent Spring I'll be happy. It will help the wildlife as well if we get a run of good settled weather in the nesting/live birth season. They really need it to recover from last year. We're lucky as at least we have the luxury of a life lived indoors no matter what the weather throws at us.

Carol said...

At first, I thought you were saying you'd chop her nails off and shag her big-time all over the ceiling Bob! ;-)

I quite liked the film and music - quite atmospheric - I think atmospheric has been totally lost in the film world nowadays - like you said, they just go straight for boring old gore! :-(

I'm still laughing at your encounter on Bute in the wild woods with that goat - hilarious! It would give you a fright right enough!

The wild goats around Llanberis near our club cottage in Wales are almost that big but not quite I don't think. I was laughing at one once - it was trespassing down a farmer's field and knew it shouldn't be there. It could see me watching and was avoiding my eyes - I could tell it was thinking, "If I don't look at her, she won't see me!" LOL
Carol.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Carol.
You can still find great atmospheric films nowadays they just tend to be indie films instead of blockbusters.
Let the right one in.
The secret life of bees.
Juno.
Tamara Drewe.
Never let me go.
Hanna.
Siberian.
Shutter Island.
The lovely bones.
Black swan.
Perfume.
Volver.
Master and Commander.
Changeling.
Kickass.
Downfall.
There will be blood.
Hard candy.
Finding Neverland.
Fargo.

Spring to the top of my mind. All stylish and original films with great flair and atmosphere to suit all tastes. I'm sure you would like many on this list if you haven't seen them.
Its back to blizzards up here for the next few days on the west coast. Out with the snow shovel once again.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Carol.
You can still find great atmospheric films nowadays they just tend to be indie films instead of blockbusters.
Let the right one in.
The secret life of bees.
Juno.
Tamara Drewe.
Never let me go.
Hanna.
Siberian.
Shutter Island.
The lovely bones.
Black swan.
Perfume.
Volver.
Master and Commander.
Changeling.
Kickass.
Downfall.
There will be blood.
Hard candy.
Finding Neverland.
Fargo.

Spring to the top of my mind. All stylish and original films with great flair and atmosphere to suit all tastes. I'm sure you would like many on this list if you haven't seen them.
Its back to blizzards up here for the next few days on the west coast. Out with the snow shovel once again.

Carol said...

We've been having snow and white-outs (on the hills) down here too - it's horribly cold - I wish spring would at least start!

I'll keep an eye out for those films...
Carol.

blueskyscotland said...

I've noticed Juno is only £3 from Morrison's and Sainsbury at the minute up here Carol. Its a very funny, warm film. Willing to bet you will enjoy it:)