It’s been a few months since I done my annual “fitness check” on Ben A’an. I can safely say that since then, my ‘fitness’ has taken another nose dive and needs some hard work! Originally, I wasn’t even planning to do Ben Challum at the weekend, Suzanne and I were meant to be receiving the keys to our first house together… that never happened. I was that annoyed at the situation, I set out to clear my head and ended up Ben Challum. What a turn of events! Despite my sore legs and lack of fitness, it was a very enjoyable hike with some spectacular views over the snow-capped Munros of the surrounding areas.
Category – Munro
Height – 1,025 metres (3,363 ft)
Location – Kirkton Farm, between Crianlarich and Tyndrum
Difficulty Rating – 6.5/10
Approximate Timing – 5-7 hours
Pronunciation – Byn Hallum
Ben Challum (Callum’s peak) is one of the Mamlorn Hills, a group of mountains surrounding Glen Lochay. The best place to park is in a lay-by found on the A82, across from the entrance to Kirkton Farm and the SRUC Hill & Mountain Research Centre. Follow the A84 from Stirling and pass through Callander, Strathyre and Loch Earnhead. Join the A85, pass by the cut off for Killin and head along that road to Crianlarich. You’ll pass by where you would park for Ben More & Stob Binnein. Pass through Crianlarich and join the A82, heading North towards Tyndrum. The lay-by is roughly half way between Crianlarich and Tyndrum… about a 5 minute drive. I highly recommend arriving early, I got up there about 9:15am and struggled to get a space in the lay-by!
Once you have found a suitable space for your car, the track starts on the other side of the road. Take care when crossing and head down the road at the SRUC Hill and Mountain Research Centre sign. It’ll lead you over a bridge that crosses the River Fillan and up towards Kirkton Farm, following the West Highland Way sign. Turn left just before the Farm and go through the two gates, passing what remains of a chapel and graveyard. The West Highland Way then leads off to the left, but you want to follow the track straight ahead as it begins to gradually incline. You will then pass another graveyard with two prominent trees before it leads up to a level crossing over the train line. Take great care when crossing the train tracks!
Once you are through the gates on the other side, briefly follow the farm track and then leave it, heading uphill to the right. The path is very faint, if in doubt, head for the deer fence. Follow the fence line up to the large rocks at the top of the first incline. From there, it gets more boggy in sections and you need to jump over the fence here and there to avoid the boggy sections. As long as you keep following the fence-line, you’ll be fine! The ground gets a bit better as you start on the steeper incline to the South top, again following the fence-line and faint track as you go. It gets a little easier to follow as the ground is less boggy.
From the cairn that marks the South top, continue following the faint track West to cross a cleft, it should lead you briefly up to a ridge on the Northern side of the cleft. You will then dip down on the ridge before finally starting the final incline to the summit of Ben Challum! It only took me around 20-25 minutes to get from South top to summit. Retrace your steps for the descent.
As I said above, despite my lack of fitness and sore legs, I really enjoyed this Munro. It’s challenging but not overly difficult, I only found it more challenging because it had been so long since my last one! It was lovely towards the end though, there were plenty of tracks in the snow to follow and the views were absolutely stunning. Every Munro summit was covered in snow and I could see for miles around.
If you fancy watching my vlog on it… you can check it out at Ben Challum! on YouTube. I’m not sure how many more of these posts I’ll be able to do, unfortunately the site hosting plan will be up for renewal soon and it’s starting to cost more than I can afford to pay for a hobby. I’m not sure how things will progress from there, I’ll certainly continue climbing the Munros and taking photos but it might just be on social media. In the meantime though, if you enjoy reading about these sort of adventures, you can subscribe below.
Thanks for reading,