The Loch Lomond and Trossach National Park is the first park created in Scotland in 2002.It is well known for its forests, mountains and lochs. An incredibly diverse area yet not far form the city. In less than 2000 square kilometres you can find 21 Munros (Scottish mountainshigher than 3000 feet/914 metres), 22 large lochs, 50 rivers and some amazing forests! A single glance at a map makes you understand how complex this place is. From the air it would look like a patchwork quilt. This is where we spent two days recently. Two days wandering and exploring…
Day 1 ~
On the first day we had planned to walk up Ben Lomond, the most southernly Munro. After several trips to coastal areas. I was happy to get back into the mountains. Nothing compares to the feeling of achievement that reaching a summit gives me!
We started walking under the sun.The sky was nothing but blue, as was Loch Lomond, our hiking companion for the day as it lies next to Ben Lomond. However, exploring Scotland means expecting loads of different weather conditions during a single day. It was no exception for this hike, we arrived on top of the mountain under heavy clouds. The light was striking and Loch Lomond at our feet had turned into a bright silvery grey.What better view to stop and have our lunch? Most of the time, I eat sandwiches when walking up a mountain to avoid carrying cooking equipment. Yet on this day, the menu consisted of green lentil curry and chicken bolognese!. All contained in small and light packages thanks to the self heating meals of Forestia. After an hour or so spent gazing at the horizon, watching the moving shapes created on the hills by the rolling clouds, we had to abandon our incredible viewpoint. We decided to go down via another path, less walked and surprisingly rough. Ben Lomond, on our way up, had appeared as a soft and round grassy mountain, but on this other side, we discovered some tormented rockforms. Powerful. What a hike!
Day 2 ~
Most of the native forest has disapeared in Scotland and in various places it has been replaced by Sitka spruce or larch. Yet there is still, in the Trossachs, trees that are either part of the old Caledonian Forest or part of a program of restoration of native woodland. Huge Scots pines, thin birches or gnarled oakwoods, for those who love trees this forest is heaven. And I am one of those people!
On this second day, we took the time to wander between the trees, searching for the biggest, the strangest or the tiniest. We walked in the moss, between the bracken, along some burns (the scottish word for small, small river!) and on the shore of a loch, where we stopped to have lunch. Once again we had found a perfect spot to enjoy our Forestia meal, as the trees and mountains were reflecting themselves on a bright and clear water. Scotland in summer is all made of green. A single deep green under the clouds that the sun can suddenly illuminate. In these moments all the shades of green appear. I could have stayed here for hours. Even the light rain and soft wind that came after lunch had something magic. The quiet waters of the loch suddenly stirred, making the pebbles move. Have you ever heard the sound of the water lapping on pebbles? It’s a delicate song. Now that I left I only wish to be back, soon!