A cold spring day in the West Highlands and another Munro -An Caisteal- a perfect test of my fitness after recent 57th birthday celebrations.
I set off late from Glasgow after a breakfast in the Tapa coffeehouse, where my daughter works, hoping to reach the hills at the north end of Loch Lomond by 10.30. The weather was as predicted in the mountain forecast, low cloud and rain at low levels.
My preparation was not the best after a very late but excellent curry at the Pakastani Cafe and a long drive down from Aboyne the evening before.
I had planned to take the route via the north ridge to Sron Garbh over the Twistin Hill to the summit of An Caisteal and then south east to Beinn Chabhair returning back down the track along side the River Falloch.
Deep snow on the approach was testing to my fitness, so much so, that I had to take off my Lochnagar Karisma fleece and pack it in my rucksac. I was wearing Paramo’s new lightweight Velez Trousers to test their effectiveness in the conditions -I would normally have worn Paramo Cascada or perhaps Aspira Trousers which are warmer but heavier.
Above 600 meters the rain turned to snow but, as the day wore on, the showers lessened and the cloud lifted opening up superb views all around, as forecast.
My late start, the poor forecast for the late afternoon, the icy conditions on top and the long drive home to Aboyne dictated that I return on the same route.
The Velez Trousers were perfect for the conditions light wind and temperatures around zero degrees. If the wind had been stronger I would have been warmer in Cascada or Aspira Trousers but probably perspired much more lower down.
You can find out more about Velez Adventure Trousers on the Hilltrek website.
If you are planning to walk or climb in the Scottish Mountains try the Mountain Weather Information Service - the forecast was very accurate.
An excellent overview of the route can be found on Munro Magic website, which also has 3D views.