Ben A’an, a Trossachs gem

This is the loveliest little mountain, with glorious views over Loch Katrine. A great family walk, it’s only around 45 mins to the top on a well built path.Just over 2 miles return. Yes, a bit of slog as there’s still 340m or 1,120 feet or so to ascend but it’s worth the minor effort. I think the views are actually better from here than from higher Ben Venue (pron. ven -oo) opposite which is much more of an outing.

The car park on Loch Achray is west of Callander or north of Aberfoyle over the Duke’s Pass on the A821. It gets very busy on summer weekends with often no spaces left though it is possible to park a little further away using the Ben Venue car park (which also fills up). Both of these are car parks where you have to pay so £ coins required.

Across the road, the large track goes immediately uphill then eases off a little as it winds through rowans and birches with some views over to Ben Venue itself.It’s typical lovely Trossachs scenery.Although the summit looks like a rock climb, a nice easy path goes round the back of it, with no difficulties at all.

There has been a lot of forestry clearance which has left parts of the route looking less than their best but if anything it opens up the views more.

We last did this little hike one October on a beautiful autumn day with blood red berries still on the rowan trees and the bracken turning bronze.My son (26 at the time) took off at a great rate of knots, leaving us pecking and panting to keep up.No chance of that but we met again 40 minutes later at the rocky top, where we were greeted with a knowing smile and ‘what kept you?’ I thought we’d done pretty well to only be 5-10 minutes behind! It was a joy of an outing and the views mesmerising.

The blue of Loch Katrine below, led the eye to the more distant , higher mountains of Loch Lomond, all in a palette of gold, tawny and amber.The ancient oak and birch woodlands that line the loch were still mostly inmate summer greens. Through the zoom lens, the air clarity allowed some good close ups of the rugged Arrochar Alps, as they are called.

Some younger folk were clambering up the bouldery rocks that are the summit but there was plenty space to just sit and enjoy where our efforts had taken us.

It’s so hard to leave a summit, no matter how relatively lowly in height but down we eventually had to go; Ben A’an has real mountain character and we will be back, often.

 

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