Ben Vane from Inveruglas is a gem of a hill. It has Munro status, but you can be up and down it easily in a few hours. So if bagging a few Munros around Loch Lomond is your plan, an early morning warm up could be this fellow, before tacking some of its more substantial neighbours.
Walkhighlands.com has it graded 4 out of 5 for difficulty, and you could make it that difficult by choosing craggier approaches, but sticking to the well-marked paths of least resistance will boost confidence and still reward you with sore legs and a fine view.
Malcolm and I climbed it six weeks ago (July 2011) on a sunny Friday morning. A pleasant walk was had from Inveruglas car park up into Coiregrogain on a tarmac road which skirts the river, and we began to see all sorts of possibilities for this area that surrounds Loch Sloy. Running, and biking are all possible and yet only moments from the main road. It’s as quiet and tranquil as anywhere and you can feel the pressures of the daily grind dispersing in the breeze. With green all around we started to relax, get into a stride just in time for the base of the hill.
To be honest, it didn’t look like much from the bottom looking up, but Ben Vane has many prows which look like the summit. Best to count each one of them as a victory and you won’t be disappointing.
About 500 metres, the slopes of Ben Vane started to offer a view across Loch lomond. The wolrd starts to look so much different around 500m, and I feel sorry for people who’ll never see our country like this. I also wish I possessed a much bigger map, so I could identify the distant mountains winking back at me through the clouds.
There was only one real bit of scrambling, and at that there was no real danger – just a steep wall and once over it, we realised we could have taken a side path round it.
From there the summit came fast. It was a big table top and had plenty of room to wander about and survey the surrounding peaks. If the weather had been bad, it might not have been so spectacular. My pics don’t do it justice!
Slightly disappointed that we got to the top so soon, we took the long way back by striking out for the lochan, and then down the steep grassy slope to Loch Sloy. It was tough on the knees, but once lochside, it was a doddle of a walk – effortless and quiet all the way back to Inveruglas visitor centre.
Now, the visitor centre has a wee tea room. Use it. It’s not a Costa, or a Starbucks. But they make real coffee, and a very fine cup of tea, which comes in its own teapot with big chunky tea leaves. A pot of that tea, and you’ll be wanting to go straight back up another munro.
I mentioned in an earlier post that I left my cycling glasses near the top of Ben Vane. I’m hoping they are still there, as it’ll be a fine excuse to wander up it again.
- Sunday supplement (rennyrambles.wordpress.com)