After a failed attempt at Ben More last year, Davey and I finally managed to get it in the bag! We originally set off planning to climb three Munros nearby but driving past and with such a beautiful day on Saturday, we thought it would be rude not to give it another go!
Ben More & Stob Binnein
Category – Munro(s)
Height – 1,174 metres (3,852 ft); Ben More & 1,165 metres (3,822 ft); Stob Binnein
Location – Crianlarich
Difficulty Rating – 9/10
Approximate Timing – 7 – 8 hours
Pronunciation – Byn More & Stop Biny-an
Ben More (big hill) and Stob Binnein (hill of the anvil) are the two massive mountains you see on the left, just before Crianlarich. They are the 16th and 18th highest Munros, and respectable heights at that! Last time, we parked at the little car park with the ‘Ben More Car Park’ sign. Turns out, the best place to park is actually a lay-by at the Western end of Loch Lubhair (should be on your right driving up from Stirling). Then you will have to walk 5-10 minutes along the A85 to Ben More farm, where you will see a sign on the left to begin the track. Take care when walking along the road!
Once you begin on the route, you’ll have to hop over a wee fence. From there, you’ll notice an access road winding up. You’ll have to cross over a gate via the stile before coming to a fork in the road. The left will take you around to the other car park, the right will take you between the two mountains (this was the route we took back down). Instead of following either of them, you’ll notice a stone stairway leading up through the middle. Follow that. From this point, it feels like absolute hell. I’m not joking, it’s more or less stairs for the remainder of the ascent. As you make your way up, the views behind are beautiful, looking up further into the Highlands.
It took us nearly three hours to reach the summit of Ben More. We had to stop multiple times. Don’t get me wrong, there were others doing it quicker than us and over-taking us but our legs couldn’t handle it as well. Eventually you’ll come to a high corrie, be careful, especially in bad weather. It is prone to avalanches and there has been fatalities. There’s an old drystone dyke, keep to the left as you continue the climb.
There’s a false summit before the final slopes. The summit of Ben More is marked by a large cairn and a trig point. They are a welcome sight after the climb. At 1,174 metres, there are no higher mountains further South… in the entire United Kingdom! The view from here is absolutely spectacular. On a clear day, you’ll see the likes of Ben Lui in the West, Ben Lawers in the East and over to the isolated Ben Lomond.
Have a wee break, replenish your energy and get your photo. There’s also a standalone rock you can climb onto for a cracking photo but be careful if you do it. On the other side of Ben More, is Stob Binnein. As you look on, you’ll notice a well marked path, leading to the summit. It doesn’t look like a long journey… it’s deceptive. Make your way down to Bealach Eadar da-Bheinn (the pass between the two Munros).
At this point you’ll have dropped down to 862 metres. Make your way over to Stob Binnein and begin the ascent to it’s summit. On the positive side… it is only 303 metres. When your legs are tired though, it’s a daunting task. It shouldn’t take any more than an hour to reach the peak, marked by a small pile of rocks.
Again, take your break and photo opportunity. Replenish the energy, what comes next is the worst part (in my opinion). Make your way back down to the Bealach, but before beginning the ascent back to Ben More, there’s a faint path leading left. Before long, the path fades in and out as you make your way down the steep slopes. Take great care, especially after it’s been raining. We slipped umpteen times. You’ll notice the road I mentioned earlier at the bottom. That’s where you are aiming for. Once you reach that, you’re on the home straight. Rejoin the original access road at the fork and make your way back to the main road. Another two Munros in the bag!
Much like Ben Vorlich at Loch Lomond, I found Ben More to be more physically challenging than mentally. Possibly the hardest I’ve faced. Ben Nevis was a trail, and mentally draining whereas this was intense the full way. The view from the summit is rewarding though and the sense of achievement is incredible. What a day we had for it as well! It was absolutely scorching with little to no wind. That possibly made it harder! The sun was beating down with few ways to cool down. All-in-all, I would definitely recommend tackling these two beasts!
That’s it for another adventure! As always, I’ve attached some of the photos below, have a wee look through and let me know your thoughts! Also, the August competition is still on. If you haven’t already, subscribe to be in with a chance to win a 16”x24” photo print from one of my galleries! The competition is also running on Facebook, you can check it out HERE!
Thanks for reading,