Ben Vrackie

This is a 7am face waiting in the spring sun on http://www.instagram.com/dariayogaDaria as she drives over to mine. We have already been on the phone to clear up details and go over the weather report for the morning. It looks like rain on the schedule but clearing up in the afternoon. Checking the weather, wind and local information are a big part of our mini-adventures. We had also checked the Walk Highlands website to get the best route that would take us through Pitlochry (a place we always passed through growing up on family trips up north). Our drive took up down to Perth, past Kinnoul Hill (A favorite of mine), past the big Tiso outlet and up the A9 past Dunkeld and the Hermitage to Pitlochry. From Dundee, this took about an hour.

We parked up at the base of the woodland trail and made our way up the paths and above the tree line when it opened up to the heather hills you can see above. The views back down to Pitlochry were amazing. We could see the palace and down to the river Tummel. The path went round this rocky outcropping and north to Loch a’ Choire. What was saddening about this walk was the amount of trash people throw away thinking it will be dealt with. We saw fruit peels (which take ages to biodegrade), tied dog poop bags, cans, tissue paper and plastic wrappers. We lifted some of it on our walk but public education needs seriously improved to protect the integrity of these places. We were always taught in the scouts to carry your trash with you until you get to the car park!

I would love to come back with a canoe or paddleboard and get to the rock in the middle. The water was a predictable brown colour from the peat moors that were covering this elevation. We were catching some serious wind here as the two hills either side channeled the wind into a tunnel. This brought the rain to us pretty intensely and the kilt got a bit damp. We trecked up the stone cut steps up to a great rise where we could pause and wait for the rain to move on. We were rewarded by some hot sun for our troubles.

When we reached the summit at 720 meters, we were hit by snow, hail and intense winds. We were stuck in the low clouds and fashioned a shelter out of a large microfiber towel, as you will see in the vlog. I time lapsed the fast-moving weather and we got a great streak of sunshine after about 20 minutes. Of course, we got down to some Kilted Yoga and Daria joined in with some arm balances on the rocks (don’t worry, it was safe!).

I love getting to the cairn. We get to see the reference points to the places we have climbed, names that call back to my childhood but also some of the places that we want to climb. With some of the peaks, you can follow the line of sight to see them too.

We made a great time getting down and were able to fully dry off. We managed to get down in about 40 minutes in the sunshine. When we returned, we grabbed a quick soup at Cafe Calluna in Pitlochry. This was a no-brainer as they let dogs in!

All in all, this was a great climb just under 18,000 steps on the pedometer. Do you have any recommendations for where you want to see next?

 

Make sure you check out the vlog for some hilarious moments that we had up there including a runaway bra and my kilt blowing up!

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