Ben Vane is probably the hardest Munro that I’ve bagged to date. Over the weekend Scot and I tackled this absolute beast. Despite the fact it is joint smallest of all 283 Munros, Ben Vane proved to be quite a challenge. It didn’t help that we took the wrong path and had to follow a trail made my sheep but we got there in the end!
Category – Munro
Height – 915 metres (3,002 ft)
Location – Inveruglas, Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park
Difficulty – 8/10
Approximate Timing – 5 – 6 hours
Pronunciation – Byn Vane
Ben Vane (middle hill) can be found on the Western side of Loch Lomond. The best place to park is probably at Inveruglas Visitor Centre (about £4 for full day parking or free on Sundays). If you drive North up the A82 from Balloch, the visitor centre is on your right, just after the Loch Sloy Hydro-Electric Scheme building. Once your parked and all ready to go, head to the main road and back past the Hydro Electric building. There’s a path on the opposite side of the road, just be careful when crossing! Follow that road for a bit the it will lead right, under the railway bridge. From there, follow the track for a while until you pass a large electric substation and come to an opening and there are 3 visible mountains. You have A’Chrois on your left, Ben Vorlich on your right and Ben Vane is straight ahead.
The Wrong Way
The road continues for a bit and then just after a farm on the left, the road forks. The right way to Ben Vane is to go LEFT. Unfortunately this isn’t a well sign posted track and we got intrigued by the big dam straight ahead. Don’t be lured in like us, take the LEFT track. Our path eventually came to an end, just after the dam. Instead of turning back to find the right track, we decided to take on the Munro via tracks left by sheep – not a wise idea. The route we took felt almost vertical and the whole time was spent scrambling. It took us nearly 4 hours to reach the summit, making it our longest ascend yet! The correct route would probably have shaved off an hour/ hour and half mind you.
Once we reached the summit and saw that view, it made it all worth it. I probably say this about every mountain but wow. On one side you can see Loch Lomond, Loch Katrine and the various other hills we’ve climbed. On the other side, there’s mountains for as far as the eye can see. If you get a cracking day, like us, you can even see Ben Nevis away in the distance! There’s something about being at the top of the mountain and taking in the Scottish landscape that makes you truly appreciate our country.
The Correct Way
We met an old couple at the summit and they pointed out the correct route, which we took for the descent. This way had a visible path and more rocks to stand on making it a lot easier than the way we went. It took us just over an hour to get the bottom of the mountain and reach the fork in the track. It seemed just as much of a scramble and reminded me slightly of Buachaille Etive Mor and The Cobbler.
Even though we spend most the day scrambling up the wrong way, I really enjoyed Ben Vane. It was definitely a challenge and the view from the summit made the reward all the better. The best description of Ben Vane comes from the WalkHighlands site, “it is a steep, rocky little mountain with real character, like a wee terrier that refuses to acknowledge its lack of stature amongst its higher neighbours.” I’ve given Ben Vane a 7.5/10, mostly because of the lack of signs to guide you in the right direction, if it wasn’t for my ‘World Peaks’ app, we would have probably ended up the wrong mountain!
I hope you enjoyed the post and are finding them helpful in some way. I’m aiming to do a few posts on previous mountains that I never wrote about. In the mean time, I’d love to hear your feedback and would greatly appreciate if you could share the site! If you have any recommendations for mountains to climb, let me know! Scot and I have a list on our phones but looking for more to come.
Thanks for reading,