Annie Bananie en Europe

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Sunset over Loch Lomond, from the summit of Conic Hill

Time seems to pause as the silent waters of Loch Lomond wave good night to the golden globe that left us behind. Conic Hill is the only hill that I’ve walked every year since coming to Scotland, and the views of Loch Lomond and the surrounding hills and mountains continue to amaze me with every climb. The hills may be alive, but at this moment, even they seem to be getting ready to rest. I am going to miss this place when I’m gone.

The hills are alive…at Loch Lomond!

This post is waaaaaaaaaaay overdue.

You see, I went for a hike on Conic Hill near Loch Lomond at the end of June, enjoyed it so much, and was so excited about writing a blog related to the experience. Alas, more than three months have gone by and still no blog post. I am a procrastinator!!

If Kinnoull Hill was my introduction to hill walking, then Conic Hill was what made me fall in love with this activity. I am aiming for the West Highland Way in the upcoming years and some real mountains eventually, possibly some Scottish Munros, but hill walking will get my training started nicely and slowly. Having searched the nearby Loch Lomond, I saw that many people have suggested trying Conic Hill before taking on the real beast of the Munro, especially for the inexperienced, which clearly referred to me. So one very sunny Saturday morning, I packed my backpack and my camera, hopped onto a very early train to Balloch (hills have the power to wake me up at 6:30 in the morning on a weekend, which is impressive), took a bus to Balmaha, and promptly started my solo ascent to Conic Hill at 9am.

At an elevation of approximately 350 m, Conic Hill is a gentle climb and rather straightforward. The hill could be done as part of the West Highland Way (the Way), but since I was climbing it without doing the Way, I think I can skip it when I actually take on the Way in its entirety (though the views on Conic Hill were so impressive, as you will see, that I may contemplate repeating the route). The ascent was slow and steady with some gradual changes in elevation at the beginning, but be not fooled! Past the well-shaded foresty patches, the slopes suddenly became very steep quite quickly, and never-ending steps seemingly appeared out of nowhere in front of me. Oh, I knew I was in for a very sweaty workout, alright!

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