This post was supposed to be about climbing Ben Aan with my dad, but I had a wee iPhone restore problem and I lost a bundle of photos from recent adventures. Fortunately, I had shared a few of them from my hiking buddy, so I will have the chance to get them back and post a photo or two of that hike up Ben Aan.
In the meantime, let me tell you about another hill. It’s not a Munro. It is 768 metres, which puts in neatly into the Corbett category of hills, and it is called The Brack, which means “Speckled hill”.
With the weather starting to turn wintry, we reckoned that setting our sights lower (in terms of height) would present us with less icy terrain, and give us a shorter journey time – something to bear in mind now that the days are shorter.
So when Malcolm found this wee hill that could be climbed from the Arrochar area, we both though it would be ideal. Walk Highlands gave it “four boots” out of five for difficulty. Four boots can mean an easy but sustained trudge up Ben Vorlich, or it can be a heart pounding ice climb up Beinn Narnain‘s spearhead gully. It’s a very loose grading system. I think it best to say “four boots = you have been warned”.
So I packed accordingly, which meant the same rucksack and contents I had taken up Ben Nevis. Just because it’s not a Munro, does not mean you can set out without the spare jumper or the bivvy bag. You can break your leg falling just four feet. The Brack has 2582 feet, and it’s quite possible to fall off any of them.
The profile of the start of the hike from Ardgarten is quite interesting. In the simplest terms it goes like this:
Gentle forest road … gentle forest track … steep steep fucking steep wet rock steep fucking boggy fucker steep.
It really is quite steep. Some websites say things like “a thin eroded path ascends quickly”. Look out for phrases like that. What they mean is “it’s fucking steep”. Also look out for the following phrases which I’ll translate for us newbies:
- “Airy views” trans “Don’t look down. Seriously, don’t look down”.
- “Lofty” trans “Stay away from the edge”.
- “Exposed path” trans picture climbing a spiral staircase with no handrail.
Just remember that the airy view is usually worthy of the effort! And on that note, here are some of my photos on The Brack…
On The Brack, it was deinitely worth the effort. After a sharp and tricky start, the grade eases a tad and gives way to fine views to The Cobbler and Beinn Ime. On top the views are pretty good too & we enjoyed being able to recognise some hills we’d climbed previously.
Looking towards the decent route from the trig point, it was tempting to heard straight for the tree line (South East), but it really is best to go against instinct and walk instead in a more Easterly direction. Any attempt to shorten the wide descent loop will likely be met by a crag.
Once at the treeline, we were met by an eroded forest trail and too soon, the hike was at an end & it was time to hang up the boots. But hey, now I can factor some of those 222 Corbetts into the mix. Rubs hands with glee!