It’s been quite a while since I last wrote. Amidst the lockdown and Covid situation, opportunity for adventures have been limited. Also, I wish to say that I hope you’ve all kept well and healthy during the pandemic! After a failed venture into printed clothing and struggling to find motivation to do anything, I finally dragged myself out the house this earlier this week. I decided to gauge my fitness by hiking up Ben A’an. The result – my fitness levels are appalling. This was the third time I’ve been up Ben A’an, it’s starting to become an annual thing! It’s also got more difficult every time.
Category – Hill
Height – 461 metres (1,512 ft)
Location – Loch Katrine, Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park
Difficulty – 7/10
Approximate Timing – 1.5 – 3 hours
Pronunciation – Byn Aan
Ben A’an isn’t a massive hill but it’s one of my favourites. It can be found on the Northern side of Loch Achray. There’s a dedicated car park for the hill just at the base of the path, remember to take coins as it doesn’t accept card. To get to the car park, you have to drive through Callander to Kilmahog then take the A821 cut off on the left. Follow that road for about 20 minutes, passing by Loch Venachar and you’ll see the car park on the left. Once you’ve parked, the pathway begins directly across the road!
Despite Ben A’an being just a hill, don’t underestimate the climb. There’s a lot of steps on the way up. The first stretch is quite a steep incline, with a winding path up to an open space where the forestry has been cut down. You’ll see the rocky summit from below and think to yourself, why am I doing this? Trust me, its worth it. It then levels out a little for a brief stretch before you begin the last part of the ascent. You’ll head through trees as you make your way up the rocky steps, with a burning sensation in your legs. Before long, you’ll reach the summit and get the beautiful views up to the Highlands. It shouldn’t take you any longer than an hour and a half to climb Ben A’an. I managed it in an hour and five minutes and that was me stopping quite a few times!
At the summit, you can see Loch Katrine, Ben Venue, Loch Achray and Ben Ledi in spectacular panoramic views. That’s only within a close distance, on a clear day you can see Ben More, Ben Lomond and even as far as The Cobbler at Arrochar! Once you’ve taken in the views, and begin heading back down, just make sure you’re watching your step. You’ll have noticed how steep it is, you don’t want to be tumbling down!
As I said, Ben A’an is one of my favourite hills to climb. For being half the height of a Munro, the rewards are just as good. I would highly recommend it for any starters or someone looking to have a short hike. It was encouraging that everyone abided by the social distancing rules, even on the hill. Whether you were passing someone on the climb or at the top, everyone was at least 2 metres apart from strangers. I even took my drone with me to test it against the wind – it held its own, even at the top! Now that I have a taste for getting outdoors again, I’m looking forward to exploring more. It’s to be cloudy for the next week but I’ll take every opportunity to climb or get out. Hopefully I’ll have a lot more to write about before long! I’m now planning to work on my photo galleries for you to have a look over. Hopefully once Printlabs are back open I’ll be able to start printing photos for anyone that would like to buy one. Let me know if you’d be interested in the comments!
Thanks for reading,