With new boots to try and memories of a nightmarish days on nearby Beinn Narnain and Beinn Ime to erase, we set out to conquer the wee Munro, number 282 out of 282, Ben Vane. This particular Arrochar Alp could not have been more welcoming as the barest wisp of clag hung onto the top of mighty Ben Lomond on the other side of the Loch Lomond.
Parking at Inveruglas and positivity in the heels of my new boots, we moved alongside the A82 on the path, past the Loch Sloy Power Station, under the railway with the shadow of the impressive A' Chrois ahead of us.
Sticking to the winding road up to the power plant, we soon got our first view of Ben Vane, a triangular lump of rock and grass, not unlike a lump of Toblerone but for a chocoholic like me, would it be a tasty day out OR more akin to the hell of Ime and Narnain in the fog??
However as we moved further up the valley towards Loch Sloy, Claire queried whether indeed it was Vane that I was pointing out. So out came my trusty OS Explorer Map XXX and soon was able to dispel the fears that I was leading us off on another wild wander among the Arrochars. Phew!
Having negotiated yourselves to the shoulder described within these pages, we started to get a fuller appreciation of just how damp the summer and autumn has been this year as the sludge started to put my newly acquired boots to a rigorous water test which thankfully they were passing. However the conditions underfoot made it very slow and tiring. It was clear the wee Munro was not going to be a breeze in the park. Far from it.
Eventually after an age we managed to find the ground a little bit more firmer underfoot and managed to take out breaths, Claire and I soon saw the majestic Arrochar Hills as I hoped we would on our previous trips as we were truly blessed by great sunshine and views for miles around. Across the beleach we could see the majestic twin peaks of Ben Narnain and Ben Arthur - the Cobbler - and we continue with me trying to plot our way on the map but only slowly getting used to the skill.
Onwards and upwards we scaled the hill, false summits leading to utterances not fit for a family audience by yours truly. Eventually we reached the summit and my eight Munro was completed, I had only started in June so was quite chuffed.
However we soon found that the reasonable weather had brought wee parties of walkers - so to settle down for a well earned lunch we hopped over the side of the summit to take in a view of Beinn Ime and eat the wee feast we had prepared. Although the sun was out - the wind was quite cutting. Hats and scarves became necessary although Claire's impression of an urban guerrilla might have taken it a bit far.
Suitably refreshed and fed we set off down the hill to return to Inveruglas. The traffic off the mountain was quite extensive and progress was slow. However the lack of a clear path, combined with the extremely boggy soil underfoot meant I erred on the side of caution. I much prefer the firm ground under my foot, and to compound my mood I proceeded to sink into the ground up to my shin on the descent. I cursed my lack of gaiters and vowed never to come to the Arrochars again without them.
Eventually we came to the Tarmac path through the power station and onwards to the car park at Inveruglas. At least this time we'd had a view from an Arrochar Alp - both Ime and Narnain proving to be misty - but although the smallest on the Munro tables Ben Vane is far from an easy one, so a cool beer in the famous Drovers Inn afterwards was most appreciated.
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Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.