Sunday, 12 August 2012

My first Ben.

Ben A'an.  A little hill in the heart of the Trossachs.  I found the route on Walk Highlands , which is an excellent website with loads of walks as well as a route planner.  This looked perfect for a short excursion into the hills, and wasn't too far a drive from our  friends home in Livingston.

We knew it was going to be steep.  It's only a little over a mile and a bit each way with a climb of 1100ft to get to the summit (1468 feet), but the pictures on WalkHighlands looked so enticing we just had to give it a go.  We got there for an afternoon walk, setting off at around 1.30 pm.  It was hot and muggy, with not much of a breeze. As usual, I was slow at getting up the hill, which meant I was overtaken by young fit people, older fit people, older not very fit people, toddlers, toddlers who have just learnt to walk, hedgehogs, beetles and caterpillars.  Peter enjoys this pace, as it means he can take as much video as he likes, our friends are much faster though, and went ahead in the final stage, which was good, cos that meant they could get the picnic out ready for when we got there.
There are quite a few very steep sections of the walk which is mostly through woodland at the start.  This means you spend that part of it concentrating on moving and keeping your lungs inside your body.
Then suddenly it opens out, and you start to see the scenery around you.
A little hill that thinks it's a mountain. 
The last couple of steep sections bring you to the top of this wonderful little hill that feels like a mountain.  All the time the views are opening out, and you get to see more and more, including your first sight of Ben Venue across the loch. 
Ben Venue
Then we were at the top, the sun was out, the lochs glinted below us and the heather was just beginning to show purple.  Beautiful.
Loch Achray
It's a popular walk, and there were loads of people up there, but I am quite happy with that. Everyone scrambled over the rocks to reach the absolute top of  the peak, and cameras clicked away busily.  Just lovely.
Loch Katrine
Sadly though, we had to leave these glorious views.  But cunningly, we'd left flasks of tea and coffee in the car to entice us down. Exactly what was required by the time we got back to the car. 
So that was our weekend in Scotland.  With the very excellent company of our Scottish hosts, who I must thank again, it was brilliant.  We have to go back now, especially to them there Trossachs, they are awesome. 


  1. Love the description of being overtaken by everyone! That's something I can relate to all too easily living somewhere flat. These legs aren't used to climbs...

    Cracking views over the Loch though. Makes the effort worth it!

  2. Really nice trip!

    It surprised me - after the first few pics - just how busy it was up there! Scotland is always (and rightly) lauded for it's wilderness and wide-open lonely spaces.

    But not there.

    And not then!

  3. Loved it T :-) and what a cracking view from the top.