Sunday, 12 April 2015

Getting to Ben Lomond: An Idiot's Guide

Step 1: 

It is advised that you acquaint yourself with one of those ye olde paper map things. This is good for two reasons.

Firstly, it will help you to identify exactly where in the world you are and if you've properly consulted a map then you might not end up in a place which is on a completely different page from Ben Lomond.

Secondly, being vaguely competent at map reading will make life much easier when you stop in a small village shop and ask for directions, only to be confronted with a piece of paper and a pen pointing at a spot on it.

"You're here and that's Ben Lomond there.' They'll say to you, expecting you to understand all the squiggly lines in between the two points.

If you have read a map before you might not look completely non-plussed and nod confusedly before exiting the shop to realise that you still have no idea which direction to drive.

Step 2. 

Do not bother expecting Google Maps to give you the correct directions. IT WILL LIE TO YOU. Google Maps is excellent for navigating around cities. Rural Scotland though, not so much. Basically Google will direct you to Stirling and then send you off in the completely opposite direction.

Given that it's rural Scotland you're navigating round it's probably sensible to forsee the fact that 3G service will be extremely limited. Goodbye Satnav.

I reiterate. Buy a map.

Step 3.

When you arrive at a small village, take use of the opportunity to use a bathroom in the only cafe you have seen for about fifty miles. This is particularly sensible if you are about to drive down a road to nowhere. Your bladder will thank you.

Step 4. 

When you arrive at a road which appears to be a road to nowhere, rather than driving down this for an hour and hoping for the best, it is advised that you return to the village you've just driven through and ask someone for directions.

Step 5. 

Try very hard not to cry when, after driving for an hour down the afore mentioned road to nowhere, you meet another driver, ask him if you are close to Ben Lomond and he replies;

'You're about as far away from Ben Lomond as it is possible to be and still remain in Scotland!'.

Step 6. 

Do not believe the same man when he tells you that once you get back onto the main road the route becomes apparent. It does not.

Step 7. 

When you miraculously find a spot where you can access 3G and have a phone signal do not bother consulting Google Maps. It will tell you that you are two hours away from Ben Lomond because Google Maps is evil and is trying to make you cry.

Instead call your sensible friend who owns a map, did some preparatory research and is much more level headed than you are. She will advise you that you are in actual fact, not two hours away but only about half an hour. Breathe a sigh of relief and curse Google Maps to death.

Step 8.

Following your friend's directions, nervously navigate the road to Rowardennan. Arrive 1 hour and 45 minutes after planned.

Step 9. 

Enjoy the satisfactory feeling of having successfully navigated your way to Ben Lomond. Go climb the mountain and hope that there is a clear path as without one you'll be lost forever on the side of the mountain.


  1. Haha, this made me laugh out loud - but I feel a little guilty for it! I'm glad you made it there in the end!


    1. Ha I'm glad it made you laugh! I did make it in the end so all's well that ends well :) x

  2. Hahaa this sounds exactly like how my attempt would likely go! At least you got there in the end and got a funny blog post out of it - win-win!

    1. Ha I'm glad someone sympathises with my fatally flawed sense of direction. The whole time I was lost I just kept thinking 'this will make a good post' so I wasn't even bothered about being lost haha! X