Autumn colours but summer weather on Wednesday last week - perfect for a wander in the Trossachs. We parked at the car park for Ben Venue around mid-afternoon for a variation on walkhighlands' Achray Water bridge circuit.
Wee Ben A'an looking fine from near the car park. We still haven't climbed it - waiting for the forestry work to be completed!
A runner overtakes us, probably off for an afternoon race up Ben Venue, directly ahead:
Following the Ben Venue signposts takes us to a track along Achray Water. Turning left after about 500 metres of track takes us to a footbridge over the river, above an attractive group of waterfalls which don't really come out well on camera!
Up through the sunny, quiet forest:
Right at a track, still following signs for Ben Venue:
A left turn takes us onto a good footpath, although surprisingly steep in places - this is really the beginning of the Ben Venue hill path. Someone's carved a mushroom out of a tree stump by the path:
Suddenly the path descends again to a path junction. Falling water can be heard ahead so I head into the undergrowth to investigate - it's not really worth it in the end. Ben Venue is to the right, but we turn left onto a less-often used track - a good surface underneath some slippery moss. This follows a small stream down a pleasant valley.
Another 500 metres or so takes us to a track T-junction with more lovely views of Ben A'an.
The walkhighlands route turns left, but we head right towards Loch Achray Hotel. Ben Venue appears above forestry plantations behind. Leaves are just starting to turn - a little early season for the best colours but still not too bad!
The deforested mound of Gardh Innis soon shields most of Ben A'an from view.
A gentle descent leads right to the back of ugly Loch Achray Hotel. Heading round to the front (it looks a bit better from this side), Loch Achray stretches out ahead beyond the road coming down from Duke's Pass. Of course a few Highland cows around to complete the scene...
All that's left is a five-minute walk north on the road back to the car park - no pavement, but fairly wide and straight here (and quiet on an October weekday). Midway along, another track leads temptingly towards the loch.
A lovely little walk, even if it didn't go anywhere in particular...
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