Today we decided to undertake Ben Vane. This was a risk take as Ben Vane is situated in the popular and busy Argyll and Bute area beside Loch Lomond. We also thought it might be a busy Munro in general as it has a well-made path up which adds to the attraction for some.
We were going to undertake a circular which would mean we would go up the popular path but come down a different way, a more off the beaten track way, taking us hopefully to a more secluded spot.
The drive to Loch Lomand is always pretty stunning, it’s a lovely area. We parked the car and headed straight off. Things right now looked pretty quiet so we wanted to move when the going was good.
The beginning of the walk took us through a hydro electric estate. The last time we were here we were undertaking a long distance hike called The Cowell Way and this part had been our final point. As we walked we reminanced, laughing as we remembered on that particular day how we had walked long and hard for miles to get here and what with this being the last bit of our walk it had tested our patience as we were on our last legs. Today felt much better, but then again today we were fresh and it was just a day hike, we had not just walked approximately 90 kilometres.
We eventually left the estate road and turned right on to a very beautiful well made stone path which took us up the hill, this was a treat.
The higher up we went the more the views behind us kept growing, getting bigger and better. We saw across to Beinn Ime and Ben Vorlich and down to Loch Lomand in the valley, it was real beautiful.
Eventually the well made path stopped and we took a left turn which entailed a small scramble up.
Just at this point we met a couple who looked lost. The guy asked us where the ‘easier’ path was as he couldn’t find it and his partner didn’t want to undertake the scramble as she didn’t like heights. We directed them in the right direction, but they were still reluctant. We said we’d undertake the scramble, get to a point above them to look down point them in the right direction and verify and reassure them that the path they should take was ok, which we did.
Onwards and upwards we went. The views here were stunning and just when we thought we had hit the top there was just another bit to hike up, then another bit.
The walk in from Loch Lomond had been pretty short and the climb to the summit via a rocky ridge that at times required some simple scrambling was good and broke up the hike.
When we approached the summit, we had it to ourselves. The couple we had met on the way up were nowhere to be seen and after staying at the top for a while we realised they were not coming, they must have turned back which was a real shame.
From this point instead of walking back off the way we had just came up we continued to walk across the top of the Munro to walk off the back of it. We always prefer to try and do a circular.
There were no paths here so we navigated down over grassland which was really nice. This way would eventually lead us down to the Loch Sloy dam, part of the hydro power scheme.
It felt quite quick getting down off the hill and before we knew it we were at the reservoir, which was very picturesque.
We found a tunnel which took us through a part of the mountain (it did say no entry and then entry only to workers with a helmet, but we couldn’t resist) then this led us on to a forest type track which we were then able to quickly walk down all the way back to the car.
Ben Vane may be only just high enough to make Munro status, but it was a steep, rocky little mountain with real character, and well worth the hike.
Again we got lucky with this walk and we’re pleasantly surprised with how quiet it had been and we were pleased with such beautiful scenery in perfect conditions!