Walk 72 – Ben A’an Circular Walk, Loch Achray – 4 miles

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The iconic pointed peak of Ben A'an in the Trossachs is a fantastic wee climb. With a clear and well-worn footpath all the way to the top, the views of Loch Katrine and Ben Venue are nothing short of spectacular. This particular route forms a loop, taking you back down the other side of the hill, through some forest to the banks of Loch Katrine.

  Parking available in Ben A’an Car Park just off A821/Dukes Pass. A small charge applies although at time of writing the machine had a ‘Not in Use’ message on it. Please check with the Forestry Commission before setting off in case of any closures due to forestry works. No public transport to start point.

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WALK REPORT: 22nd June 2016

I was super happy when my friend Laurianne suggested we do a hill together! Having met when we both worked for Hilton hotels many moons ago, we have remained in touch and I just love her positive outlook on life and passion for the great Scottish outdoors. A beautiful woman inside and out. We were long overdue a catch up and I had some hills to tick off my 7 Summits Challenge list so this seemed like the perfect solution. Ben A’an had been recommended to me by one of my most loyal Facebook page followers and I can certainly see why!

Laurianne had climbed Ben A’an before and really enjoyed it however was initially disappointed this time due to the forestry works which had recently taken place around the lower section of the footpath. She had fond memories of hiking through a pretty woodland but it now resembled more of a tree graveyard. Fortunately once past the initial climb we did enter some woodland which was far more pleasing to the eyes.

On the plus side the lack of trees gave way to a lovely view back to Loch Achray…. if you can ignore the rubble in the foreground
Tree graveyard
Far more pleasing to the eye once you walk a little further. Laurianne tells me the first section used to all be like this. Very pretty.

The scramble to the top was exciting! Too much chatting meant that it wasn’t long before I was out of puff but it is a short section and before we knew it we emerged out onto flat ground and the first views of Loch Katrine opened up beneath us.

From there the footpath to the summit is clearly visible and the going is easy enough.

The views from the summit are stunning and we spent quite some time up there chatting and admiring our surroundings, pondering how grateful we are to live in a place of such beauty.

View north along Loch Katrine
View west towards Ben Venue

The return route was completely different to the climb. With a view of Loch Katrine almost the entire way and varying terrain, it swung between being wet and boggy out on the open grassy hillside to bone dry inside the forest. We made the mistake of climbing over the deer fence using the stile, which, let’s face it most people would as why is it there if you aren’t supposed to go across it?! We have no idea but once across it and down by the forest there was no way through so we had to retrace our steps, climb back over the fence and headed into the forest from the other side. We were happy to find a little footpath in here which actually led us all the way down to the lochside. It was pretty steep at some points and there were fallen trees blocking the path at a few places but neither of us minded, we were enjoying the quirkiness of it.

The road along Loch Katrine to Trossachs Pier car park is very easy going and the scenery makes for a pleasant end to the walk. You may see the Sir Walter Scott steamship or the Lady of the Lake cruiser out on their regular sailings.

I knew from my map that there was a footpath we could use which runs parallel to the road and when we reached it we were both happy to try it out: after our exciting hike the road was apparently a little boring 🙂 I am glad we did as it turned out to be a boardwalk with pretty wildflowers all around.

I really enjoyed this day and plan to return to Ben A’an with my children, most probably sticking to the main route up and back which is a shorter overall distance.

Path through the forest following the deer fence all the way down
A boat trip on Loch Katrine
Boardwalk path – a much nicer way to end the day than walking along the road.

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