Ben Lomond: Snowy Legges Tor 2020

If you had told me even two years ago that I would be brave enough to climb Legges Tor from the back entrance in the middle of winter, solo, I would not have believed you. It would have seemed far too brave a task, especially with the risk of sub-zero temperatures and an icy wind to drop the thermometer even lower (both of which I got. The maximum temperature for the day was 3 degrees down in the valley, so I’m not sure what it was on the summit – something negative – and then subtract a bit more for the windchill factor).

Ben Lomond, Legges Tor trip

One slip in those sub-zero temperatures and it could be fatal. Of course I had my PLB with me, but, well, people can slip in ice and snow or accidentally fall down an unexpected hole and break a bone, and have a long, long wait for rescue to come (if weather permits). Anyway, I wanted to give it a go, and now I’ve done it, I have no idea what all my fear was about. I watched the snow clouds rolling in with total equanimity, sure that I could run out – even clad in my boots, as I was – faster than it could roll in. I was totally calm on the summit with the wind howling around me while I fiddled with my camera.

Ben Lomond, Legges Tor trip

It was a magic and delightfully silent world up there. There is something terribly special about snow coating rocks and bushes. Three wedgies circled above at intervals. There were quoll footprints making cute lines in the snow, but mostly, just huge expanses of white.

Ben Lomond, Legges Tor trip

I did try to time my journey, but I stopped so often for photographs that I gave up. It was nice to be alone and be able to stop for everything beautiful that snatched my attention and not have to feel guilty about inconveniencing someone else. Presumably I sang while I walked: I usually do.

Ben Lomond, Legges Tor trip

I met a guy who was finishing just as I was setting out; he had had two close family deaths in the last very short space of time, and wanted to be in the wilderness to help ground himself and connect with the greater universe; to find peace in nature. “This is my church”, he said, throwing his arms out wide.

Ben Lomond, Legges Tor icy summit

Governments and local councils who are grabbing our precious wilderness to squeeze every dollar they can out of it for the blessed god of tourism fail to consider that they are doing unfathomable spiritual damage to those of us who need the wilderness to connect ourselves to the eternal and the important spiritual aspects of being human. The story of worshipping the golden calf dates back several millennia, but is still happening.

Ben Lomond, Legges Tor trip

Those bureaucrats who are grounded in material gain and solely guided by market forces will, I guess, never understand humans who have a spiritual dimension, and value that over money. I wonder how many of the aboriginal suicides in incarceration have been caused because these people have been robbed of their necessary connection to nature and their tribe.

Ben Lomond, Legges Tor – beautiful end to the day

Such are the thoughts I am free to have while wandering along through the snow, following my icy markers to the summit, being distracted by beauty as I go.

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