Don’t be daunted by Ben A’an’s pointy summit – the way up is a lot easier than it looks
The reopening of the traditional way up Ben A’an has been long awaited after intensive forestry work on the slopes of this extremely popular little hill in the Trossachs. Although it is hard to ignore the scar left behind after a mass felling of trees, there are earlier views of the pointed summit. The new path follows roughly the same route and stretches all the way to the summit, meaning it is easier underfoot (if just as steep) and some boggy sections are now avoided. So, there are some advantages to be found.
And whatever the impact of the forestry – it will be green again one day – the summit is still a great viewpoint.
Despite being only a little over 1,500ft high you can look down Loch Katrine to the Arrochar Alps. Ben Venue is closer, just across the head of the loch, while Ben Ledi is to the east. South lie the Campsies and to the north are the mountains above Crianlarich. Take your time to enjoy this view, it is one of the best in Scotland.
Distance: 3 miles.
Height climbed: 1,250ft.
Time: 2 to 2½ hours.
Map: OS Landranger 57.
Park: A couple of miles west of Brig o’ Turk on the A821 there is a Forestry Commission car park for Ben A’an, on the left (£3 charge).
If travelling over the Duke’s Pass from Aberfoyle, the car park is on the right a few hundred yards after the turning for Loch Katrine.
Cross the road from the car park and go up a wide track on the other side. When the track bends left go straight on, up steeply on a newly built path.
The path veers left as it nears the tumbling waters of Allt Inneir then continues steeply until a gratefully reached flat section, before you cross the burn via a wooden footbridge.
The path then continues uphill a short way before levelling out as Ben A’an appears ahead. Don’t be daunted by its pointy appearance, the way up is a lot easier than it looks.
The path carries on across clear-felled ground then enters a band of birch woodland below the crags around the summit.
After a small clearing the path climbs steeply again, by a small burn which you cross, before levelling off and doubling back to reach the summit.
After spending time exploring the summit rocks most walkers return the way they came and this is the easiest option. An alternative is to head to the north and west to reach the shore of Loch Katrine. This, however, is rough terrain and can be very wet underfoot.
There is nothing at the start of the walk but just along the road is the Brig o’ Turk Tearoom or the Byre Inn, on the west side of the village.
While you are in the area
Head to Loch Katrine and the Trossachs Pier, from where the steamship Sir Walter Scott sails along Loch Katrine in the summer, as well as shorter trips on the Lady of the Lake (01877 332 000, www.lochkatrine.com).