From the Cairn Ban Archives...
Campbell's Last Munro - by the Bagger Himself!
Campbell Crombie, 21 February 2010
It’s a month on from Ben Lomond and I would just like to thank all that came and climbed with me and how say us off and return. See report below and some pictures attached.
My Last New Munro
I started climbing when I was in the Kilbarchan Venture Scouts at 17 years old and the leader then, Alan Leeman talked me in to buying my first pair of climbing boots to compete in a Renfrewshire Venture Scout competition. Alan took me on many climbing weekends and taught me all there was to know about navigation and planning routes and his rules are still what I work on today, 4km per hour and ½ hour per thousand feet. This was where it all began. I climbed my first Munro on 17th November 1979 with 3 fellow climbing friends. I then met Bob Gardiner and I can honestly say Bob has been a great friend and inspiration throughout my climbing days and they are not over yet!
Over the past 30 years I have climbed every second Sunday from October to May, weather permitting and had been recording all the Munro’s I had climbed but never really had the urge to be a’ Munro Bagger.’ Then 2 years ago I realised I only had 30 Munro’s to climb and as the 21st Feb 2010 (my 48th birthday) was a climbing Sunday and it was also the 30th anniversary of the Cairn Ban Mountaineering Club I decided to try and finish all the Munro’s by this date leaving Ben Lomond to the last.
The day had arrived, I awoke on Sunday 21st February 2010 at 06:00 to look outside to see clear skies and -3˚C on the thermometer, I knew it was going to be a great day and a birthday I would never forget. My trusted climbing friend (of 30 years) Bob Gardener was coming to collect me and for the first time ever Jill got up to see me off at 07:00.
The journey up in the car was great, with Stuart Michie, Bob, I and new member Christine Milligan. As we got nearer to our destination the excitement and adrenalin was beginning to run. When we arrived at Rowardennan (bottom of Ben Lomond ) we met all the people who were climbing with us, I was buzzing. There were 31 people in total who had turned up to climb as well as Jess the dog, who had climbed with us on many occasions. Not everyone was experienced in climbing; there were people from my work (Star-Refrigeration) who had never climbed Windy Hill never mind a Munro. Everyone in the club had helped them to get the correct gear for the day.
We were off at 09:00 and as I am a bit of a stickler for timing, if they weren’t there then they would just have to catch up. After walking for 20 minutes my phone rang and it was Alastair, his first words were; ‘have I got the right day, you know I’m not a morning person, I will catch you up.’ As he is an experienced climber I knew he would catch up soon and he did. Alistair was a school friend and we had gone through the scouts together and he climbed with me on my first Munro Ben Ime, 17th Nov. 1989. The main group continued walking and we came out of the tree shade into the warmth of the sun, but was still not above freezing, I just listening to everyone chatting, old friends and work colleagues, it was great.
On reaching the shoulder of Ben Lomond we stopped to let all the groups catch up, as we all walk at different speeds. The top was clear with good snow cover and I was in dream land from here on up, or so I thought. We continued to walk with the mist floating in and out of our path when one of the guys (Stas) had a bad fall. He slipped on some ice and fell and split his head open on a rock. He required stitches and luckily we had a paramedic, doctor and surgery nurse in our party of climbers, so they patched him up and continued the climb, of course he had the rest of us making a big joke out of his misfortune. After this stop it was real climbing, with ice axes and crampons for the final push to the top.
Approaching the final 200 feet to the summit we were above the clouds and you could see Loch Lomond shimmering through the clouds. I arrived at the top just before 12:00 which was a dream come true and as I was the first up I thanked everyone for climbing with me, including Jess the dog. The atmosphere at the top was great and we celebrated with Whisky, Champagne and Port carried up by some of us. Just before the descent George and Kenny hadn’t forgotten that it was my birthday and started singing ‘Happy Birthday’.
The walk back down was just as good as the climb up without the excitement of a casualty. When we got to the final part of our descent our family and friends, that hadn’t climbed, were waiting for us in anticipation. They all welcomed and congratulated us with clapping and cheering.
We then had a quick change and met at The Rowardennan Hotel where there was tea, coffee & sandwiches for everyone. The final surprise was when Jill produced a cake, carried in by my heroes Emma & Lucy to celebrate my 48th Birthday and last Munro. Words cannot describe how I felt. On the cake I am the one at the top & Bob is the one sitting with his tea & Flask.
As the day was coming to an end, I just thought to myself that someone was looking down on me today as it couldn’t have been a more perfect day to climb my last Munro and celebrate it with my family and friends. As the sun began to set, we all said our goodbyes and I hope this day has added something to the 30th anniversary season of the Cairn Ban Mountaineering Club.
Cairn Ban Mountaineering Club member No 6