Weather forecast indicated it would probably be an okay day for going to the hills in September. They were wrong it was a spectacular day! Up at 05;30 (as usual on these days) and met at Sheriffhall for 7:30 - bacon roll in Callander at 8:30 and started walking at 10:05. Already there was no sign of the forecast early morning mist and visibility was crystal clear.
The day just improved as it went on and Stob Binnein really is one of the most fantastic hills. One of my compadres, who has only 11 of the Munros to do, ranks this in his top 10 and I have no reason to argue. The initial ascent is fairly steep from the South as you are straight onto the hill from the car park. However the day was so good that we weren't in any rush, and with no plans to do Ben More (the usual pairing) we knew we had plenty of time in our pockets. So a steady, if not fast, ascent got us to the top in just about 3 hours. A slow 3 miles but plenty of stops to take a breath and admire the views, with height being gained very quickly and aspects changing throughout the day. Plenty of chances to stop for photos too.
For a change we felt no rush to leave the summit with time-a-plenty and no gusting wind to discourage us from sitting a while and having a relaxed lunch and looking at Scotland - because you can see a fair chunk of it from here on a fair day like today. The views in all directions are superb and we could see Ben Ledi and Ben Vane back towards Callander. I'm no expert but I think we cold see Ben Lomond and Beinn Ime off to the South West. Ben Lui was obvious as of course was Ben More (to be saved for another day and from the North). Scanning round further we could see Tarmachan Ridge and Ben Lawers and Loch Tay and then all the way round again back to Ben Vorlich and Stuc a Chroin.
This was Munro number 50 for me and it couldn't have been a better day or a better hill. The viewpoint was fantastic and allowed me to mentally piece together many of the previous hills and some of those yet to be done. I can't get over how close everything really is considering the road miles we have to travel to get to some of our start points. A quick measurement this morning made me realise that from the summit of Stob Binnein to the top of Ben Lomond, as the crow flies, is only 13 miles.
Lunch over (almost an hour later) we started back down having decided to vary the route and take in the top of Meall na Dige. This proved to be a great choice as it added a bit of variety (I hate in and out walks) and it opened up new views of Stob Binnein and Ben More. It also gave some great views of Loch Voil and Loch Doine before descending down to the road about a mile from the car park.
I know many people will do the pair of Stob Binnein and Ben More to get a double done. However if you don't want to do the hills just to tick off numbers then I can heartily recommend that you try splitting them and giving this route a go. I for one have no regrets that I will have to go back and do Ben More on another day. In fact it has brought back the focus on the reason that I started going out into the hills - fresh air, exercise and you can have a great day away from it all and see some fantastic scenery in good company. Time to start thinking about the next 50 with a renewed sense of purpose.
Share your personal walking route experiences in Scotland, and comment on other peoples' reports.
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.