Ben Vane and Ben Vorlich
Area: Inveraray to Crianlarich
Munros: Ben Vane, Ben Vorlich (Loch Lomond)
Date walked: 12/09/2009
Time taken: 6 hours
Distance: 18 km
Ascent: 1731 metres.
Ben Vane and Ben Vorlich sit high above Loch Sloy 5km West of Inveruglas on the shores of Loch Lomond. Ben Vane is one of the smallest Munro’s just scraping in at 0.6m above the required height but has many of the attributes enjoyed by hill walkers. Bogs, crags, scrambles and false summits make ben Vane an exciting climb. Ben Vorlich, with its very steep South West face makes for a tough and interesting ascent.
I decided to go to Loch Lomond this weekend and bag some more Munros in the the forecast glorious sunshine. Brian and I drove up on the Friday night and parked up at the Inveruglas centre on the shores of Loch Lomond. Brian was intending to do a lower level walk and we were both hoping to get a good night sleep but in contrast to the winds and rain that kept us awake here two weeks ago, this time it was the passing traffic and passers by stopping and talking loudly that kept us awake. I was intending to set off at 7am but with one thing or another I didn’t leave the van on my bike until 8am. The plan was to climb Ben Vane and Ben Vorlich and the morning weather was glorious sunshine with few if any midges.
So, after a short ride down the road for approximately 600m, I turned off the main road onto the road to Loch Sloy dam. There is a locked steel gate here so as with my previous visit I had to lift the bike over the gate. It’s now uphill all the way, cycling a further 3km, to the forest track turning off across the small bridge. The road changes from tarmac to track at this point. I cycle along the track for approximately 500m and park the bike just at the point where the stream comes down the Glen.
The track into the hillside is very boggy and is almost a swamp along the side of the burn due to the recent prolonged spell of rain. It’s extremely boggy here but it doesn’t last too long as I cross the burn and head upwards into the hillside on a reasonable track. It’s now a matter of ascending 715m over approximately 1.5km. The track continues onwards and upwards climbing across some boulders/slabs and some light scrambles. There are approximately 5 false summits which adds to the enjoyment and variety on this walk. I met Steve from Bristol up here walking his first Munro and I arrived at the summit at approximately 0940, but I did work hard up this hill so add some time if you have been off the hills for a while or are not so fit.
There are some excellent views from the summit and there were plenty of clouds/mist filling all the Glens but the camera didn’t do it justice so a quick stop for some photos and grub then I head back down the way I came. I met a nice couple on the way back and a couple of young lads so it looks like walkers were out there making the most of the great weather. I like to jog down when I can but the terrain and underfoot conditions on this hill make this very difficult so a good pace walk all the way back to the bike retracing the upward journey was in order.
I am soon back down and onto the bike to cycle the short distance to the forest road and then turn left up to the start point for Ben Vorlich. It’s just under 1km from the forest road to the start of the Ben Vorlich climb identified by a very small cairn on the side of the road and a larger tarmac area opposite slightly wider than the road itself. It’s now 1110 and Ben Vorlich summit is just over 2.5km away with a total upward climb of approximately 710m. The track meanders up the steep hillside and it’s easy to lose sight of it, I did, but caught it back up at the 500 metre point.
This is the hardest part of this Munro climb up to the 700m point whereupon it levels out a bit. The final 1.5km to the summit is a lot easier now that the hard work has been done. The weather was still glorious but as I neared the summit mist was moving in from the west. I met a number of people on this hill again confirming my thoughts that due to the fine weather the hills will take a battering this weekend lol. The track takes me around the back of the trig point and then it’s a short walk to the true summit 2m higher. It’s now time to head back down the hillside and there were good opportunities for jogging.
As I came down the hillside I noticed a huge rocky crag that to me resembled a camouflaged Landrover. (ok maybe it’s the stress of today’s walk) anyone else think so? Check the photo. I have named it Landrover rock
I am soon back on the bike and heading at a fast pace downhill to Inveruglas. Not long after passing the forest road I met Brian. He had tackled Ben Vane and was heading back himself. I was pleased back at the van. Two Munros, climbed 1620m approximately in a time of 5hours 53 mins.
I really enjoyed Ben Vane. It seems to have everything except a decent cairn. It has bog, steep hillside, slabs, scrambles, lots of impressive false summits and nice views. Certainly one to remember.
The walk in to the start of these Munros would take 50 minutes to Ben Vane and another 15 minutes to Ben Vorlich. The walk out should take 35 minutes maybe. My total bike time was about 50 minutes. My calculations mean that if I walked instead of using the bike I would have to add 50 minutes to my total journey time.