In search of volcanic sunsets…

In light of the very good weather forecast and the icelandic volcano apparently offering the chance of excellent sunsets and sunrises I thought I’d head out for a wild camp. I’ve only wild camped once before, last summer on the top of the sixth of seven Munros on the South Glenshiel ridge. This time I decided to have an easier mission and picked the Luss Hills just north of Glasgow on the west side of Loch Lomond.

I parked the car at NS357930 at 5.30pm and headed north west up towards Beinn Dubh. I quickly gained height and soon got good views back to the village of Luss and Loch Lomond.

Luss and Loch Lomond

Luss and Loch Lomond

I dropped off the north west shoulder of Beinn Dubh and found a nice grassy pitch overlooking the Arrochar Alps to the north.

Overlooking Arrochar

Overlooking Arrochar

As the sun went down the promised spectacular sunset didn’t quite materialise but it was still a fantastic night to be alone in the hills.

View of the Arrochar Alps from the tent

View of the Arrochar Alps from the tent

As darkness fell I went for a wander towards Loch Lomond. Inverbeg glistened below and I could just hear the odd car driving along the A82. To the south the orange glow of Glasgow’s lights did it’s best to stop the sky going completely black. To the north west the thinnest of crescent moons appeared above the Arrochar Alps. Next to it Venus (I think) shone brightly and gradually more stars appeared. I also saw a couple of satellites pass overhead (at least I know they weren’t aircraft as all flights across the UK were grounded due to volcanic ash high in the atmosphere!). I did keep looking for shooting stars but sadly didn’t see any.

I set the alarm on my mobile for 5am so that I would be up in time for sunrise but unfortunately my mobile died in the middle of the night! Not sure why as it was almost fully charged although it was pretty cold overnight (there was frost on the tent in the morning!). Anyway the upshot was that I didn’t wake up until 6am but I still got a good view of Ben Lomond.

Sunrise over Ben Lomond

Sunrise over Ben Lomond

After taking a few more photos I have to admit I crawled back into the tent and eventually got back up at 8am. Packed everything up and headed over at about 9am to Mid Hill and the steep descent down to Glenmollochan Farm and the long road back to the car. Despite being a tarmac road it was actually very pleasant with Jays, Great Tits and Robins for company. Made it back to the car at 11.30am and headed back to Ayrshire content and happy after my first solo wild camp.


9 Responses to “In search of volcanic sunsets…”

  1. Metric Kate Says:

    Congrats on your first solo wildcamp. You could hardly have had more perfect conditions too! 🙂

  2. ayrshiretiger Says:

    Thanks Kate, well you know me, fair weather camper!

  3. So can we expect to see you out on some more camps soon?

  4. ayrshiretiger Says:

    As long as we get a long, dry summer!

  5. Sounds great AT a wee night alone in the hills is great! Btw did you know that those phones alarms do actually come on even if the phone is turned off, test it now, if you set the alarm to go off in five mins then turn it off, the alarm still comes on even though the phone is switched off. I always turn my phone off as I know it definitely won’t power down. Also if you are somewhere a little remote you’ll find that the phone getting anf then not getting a signal takes up power, real evil circle it causes using power to look for a signal again. I tend to turn off the Bluetooth aswell and like you say the temperature also makes a difference so putting it inside your bag, which I also do in case I wanna quickyl know the time.

    Looks like you had a great time! 🙂

  6. ayrshiretiger Says:

    Thanks Jamie, that’s useful to know. I did have it in the sleeping bag so was a bit surprised it went dead but I guess it’s been doing what you describe. Still, you live and learn! Really was a fantastic night. Great coming down in the morning to meet three people going up and they look at you as if to say “where the heck did you come from!”

  7. David MacKenzie Says:

    Fantastic – you are wone of the few people who I have seen review a wild camp on Beinn Dubh. I’m going on Friday afternoon with the kids to do the same. Do you have a rough grid ref of where you camped?

    • ayrshiretiger Says:

      Hi David. I’m out at the moment but I’ll have a look at a map later and see if I can remember!

    • ayrshiretiger Says:

      It was a long time ago but it was somewhere around NS332960. You shouldn’t have a problem finding a nice grassy pitch. Enjoy!

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