Attendees: Me, Big Dog, Small Dog
Map: OS 1:50,000 no. 57
Loch Achray car park – Achray Water – Gleann Riabhach – Ben Venue. Return as outward route.
Fabulous day on a great little hill. Parked up at the Ben Venue car park beside Loch Achray at 0815 hrs after an enjoyable drive along the A821 west from Kilmahog.
On the way, I'd stopped at the little kirk near Brig o' Turk. It's a pretty little building on the north shore of Loch Achray and one I'd passed several times previously. I'd always fancied a proper look around. Unfortunately whoever looks after the place seems a little conflicted about visitors. One sign read ‘All Welcome’; another beside it ‘No Access at Any Time’. Go figure The building was locked.
A minor crisis ensued at the car park. Conspicuous footpath diversion signs were up because of forestry work - 'No access to Ben A’an this way', 'Ben A’an route this way'. I spent 10 minutes fretting with the map until I remembered it wasn’t Ben A’an I’d come to climb.
In any event, paid my £3 parking charge –for once I brought change- and took a couple of shots across the loch. Mine was the only car there, the sun was bright, the air still and clear. After feeding the dogs, we set off along the WH route. The colours of the heather, shrubs and native and new woodland were superb and there were striking views of both Ben Venue and Ben A’an.
fullsizeoutput_31a8 by Neil Mackay, on Flickr
The walk in towards Ben Venue
fullsizeoutput_31b3 by Neil Mackay, on Flickr
An hour later we arrived at the end of the end of the good path and its poorer, rougher cousin took over. 5 mins break and we were off again, picking our way up and over shelf-like obtrusions and the odd rocky outcrop. It was easy enough going all the same.
Looking back down Glenn Riabhach
P1120068 by Neil Mackay, on Flickr
Small Dog with Ben Venue behindfullsizeoutput_31b5 by Neil Mackay, on Flickr
At one point, near the final pull up to the twin summits, the dogs had their first encounter with a herd of feral goats. They'd seen some before but never at close quarters. I’m not sure they knew what to make of them. If they’d been deer, the dogs would have been off. If they’d been sheep, they wouldn’t have batted an eyelid. As it was, they looked at them curiously - as something in-between perhaps.
Big Dog eyes the goats
fullsizeoutput_31b8 by Neil Mackay, on Flickr
The views from the tops across Lochs Katrine, Achray and Venachar were excellent. Bit windy but we spent 15 mins there, sheltered in behind a rock on the leeward side of the hill.
Lochs Achray and Venachar from near the summit
fullsizeoutput_31b6 by Neil Mackay, on Flickr
Tourist boat on Loch Katrine
fullsizeoutput_31b7 by Neil Mackay, on Flickr
It was straight down thereafter, passing a steady procession of 30 or so later starters on the way up. We diverted for several minutes for a break beside the Achray Water and got back at the car park for 1300 hrs. It was mobbed Glad we left early.
Achray Water on the return
fullsizeoutput_31b9 by Neil Mackay, on Flickr
Edited 10/2/17: Text amended, pics added from FlickR and status changed from personal log to trip report.
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