Take A Hike… To Ben Ledi

After three highly successful walks in 2015, the fourth and final Scots Mag Take A Hike of the year had a lot to live up to – but for the thirty Scots mag hikers, it more than lived up to its promise.

Organiser Garry Fraser of The Scots Magazine, and Nick Drainey’s feature in the August issue, had warned of a steep ascent – and they weren’t joking. However, the path had steps leading the way upward at some of the steepest parts and the stunning views called out to be admired regularly so we all made it to our traditional morning cuppie stop without too much incident, or anyone (apart from me!) being overly puggled.

As we looked across to Loch Lubnaig with our flasks at our feet, the now-regular band of Scots Mag hikers caught up on each other’s news, found out where everyone else had been walking in the intervening weeks and decided who had the best snacks in their rucksack!

Summer 2015 finally arrived in Scotland!

The climb was no longer as steep and had the added distraction of two rooks swooping above us and, of course, glorious sunshine. At long last, on September 19, summer 2015 finally arrived in Scotland!

As the top came closer, we made a small detour to study the memorial near the summit to a member of the Mountain Rescue who lost his life on Ben More in 1987 – a timely reminder that our hills are not always the walker-friendly, sun-bathed spots we experienced on this particular walk.

And then it was the very final ascent to the summit – just as the cloud came down! But that didn’t dampen our spirits as we enjoyed lunch at 2,940 feet.

What an introduction to the wonders of our great outdoors!

On the descent, it appeared half of Scotland had shared our idea of heading out to Ben Ledi.

Seasoned walkers, families, friends out for a daunder, runners, dogs of all shapes and sizes and even a tiny baby, looking out happily from the back of her dad’s rucksack. What an introduction to the wonders of our great outdoors!

At the end of our highly enjoyable hike, we retired to the Lade Inn for well-deserved pints of various persuasions (and a Martini Rosso for me!).

As always, there was a small fundraising appeal and this time, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of The Battle of Loos, a collection was taken for Erskine House.

Thanks to the generous donations of our fellow hikers and several of the people in the pub, over £300 was raised.

As the day came to a close, and a few of us (me!) realised just how much our calves were aching, Garry announced that the next Take A Hike will be along part of the Fife coastal trail in March 2016. See you there!