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Ben Venue - bogfest

PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2013 9:39 pm
by BigT
Had this in my mind for a few weeks so set off for two days in the Trossachs with Venue the first port of call for Friday. Walking solo. Weather was intermittent drizzle, low wind, and a blue sky trying to peak through.

Checking my sunrise and sunset times, I had planned to be at Loch Achray for sun-up, but slept through my alarm and ended up arriving about 9am and getting on the move for about 9.30, checking in with a pal to give him some idea where I was walking that day. I had only finally settled on Venue at about 2am that morning, bumping The Brack for another weekend. The theory was not too strenuous, close to Callander for my overnight stay, little chance of snow on summit, slightly better visibility than further west.

The initial walk was enjoyable and not very taxing on the legs which made for a pleasant start. Following the WH route out the car-park and up onto the private road heading to Loch Katrine dam. The hill is immediately impressive.
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Venue path was then sign posted on the left and a small hump back bridge takes you over a raging Achray water.
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The path continued on for 200m before taking you off to the left and up. This ultimately led to the forest road. Again you only walk on this for a short distance before being led off on the right, and onto a walkers path. It was noticeable that the weather was blowing over quite quickly so chances of a good view from the summit were improving

The further the path went, the more it deteriorated, but this is not the famous on-route bog, oh no, more of that later. After what felt like 1.5-2km stretch you hit a fence line, with a boarded area taking you into a rougher path. Now you have some proper boggy ground to deal with - so get prodding with your treking pole. The rise in elevation is still very gentle, but you still have to pick a careful path through the bog\stream\path hybrid. As you get closer to the end of the glen you see a gushing waterfall, and this represents the end of the walk in, here you scramble up onto the flat bog. The rocks were wet and slippy, no alternatives were obvious to me.
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The infamous bog with vague path stretches out for a 0.5km, again some of it is deep so caution required going up and back down. You also ford a stream on the way along. There is not a lot you can do about the bog, it's a plateau, so it's big and wet. You could clamber up to 550m on the right and contour around until you cross the path, but it's hardly worth the effort. Once you start climbing again, the path dries out a bit and you quickly come to a huge cairn directly you to the summit or either of the ascent routes (achray\ledard farm).
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I'm going to guess the point of the ledard farm route is to miss out on the bog experience. from the cairn it's time get scrambling. The rocks are sharp in places, some parts seem optional, but you have 3 of these to deal with to get to the 727 summit. This is the first and shortest of the three immediately to the right of the cairn.
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It's about 30-40 mins from cairn to summit. A great deal of fun was had on this part, glad the bog was behind and I moved with a spring in my step and confidence in my movement that came from Beinn An Lochain last month. Only one section of the path (just on the finally scramble) felt a little exposed, but it was negotiated with confidence and the summit reached.

Views were good, looking east along Loch Venachar, back West to Ben Lomond, and North to the rest of the Trossachs. All the big peaks were snow covered. The cairn area was big and set inside an area of large rocks, providing cover from the wind.

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I had taken a little longer than planned with a pit stop to fix an emerging blister, and this mean I was not too keen to visit the true summit. Some how I had missed the path to the left on the ascent, and with time short I decided to retrace my steps and find where I went wrong, but leave it for another day. Sure enough I found what I missed earlier, put it down to one of those things and set off back down the scramble as quickly as I could move safely.

The first part of the decent was my best yet, no slipping at all, moving forward at all times and making great time. I was back at the cairn in no time at all. Turning left I headed back down the Achray path. The bog took more concentration than the rocks I'd say.
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Eventually I got myself back to the waterfall where I carefully retraced my steps down the scramble and onto the walkers path.

After than, well I can only call it a good old fashioned yomp - the technical stuff was done, and all that remained was the slog back to the car park. I estimated getting back at 4.20, and was pretty darn close, arriving about 4.25. I was also solo on the hill all day, which was a new one on me, with no other walkers in the area.

Blister count was 2, identical spots on the inside of my ankles from my Meindls. This time I walked without heel lock lacing, so maybe related to that, or maybe just the result of the bog on the boot resulting in a bit more lift than before.

All in it was a pleasing day. The sleep in just meant less photographs. But on the plus side the scrambling was great, got some good views, weather was kind, and my pacing was spot on. The foot blisters killed my attempt at Ben Vorlich from loch earn (at about 300m) on the next morning, but as they say, that hill is not going anywhere and there will be other days.

Re: Ben Venue - bogfest

PostPosted: Tue Nov 12, 2013 9:14 pm
by Malckyb
Nice report and pics.We did this on Sunday in glorious weather with some fine views,its a good wee walk but as you say, its a bit of a bogfest. The bog made it bit of a slog at parts I thought, wouldnt fancy it after really heavy rain thats for sure. Its a grand viewpoint though! :)