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Two in the Trossachs

PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2016 8:23 pm
by weaselmaster
After Friday in the Ayrshire hills, we had a later than usual start due to Allison being at The Pixies on Friday night - I hummed and hawed about where to go, initially thinking back down south, but The Trossachs suggested themselves as near at hand. I'd considered Ben Venue for the Saturday and maybe Sgiath a'Chaise/Creag Mhor for the Sunday. Pleasant drive up to Loch Ard where we parked in the layby across from Ledard Farm - choosing the southern route to enable the 3 Simms to be included with the Venue summits of course :wink: .

Loch Ard
ImageDSC02166 by Al, on Flickr

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The route is signposted as you walk into the farm track - bridge across the river then up through oak and birchwoods, lovely autunmal scents in the air. After a bit the trees thin revealing our mountain and there's some muddy walking before the Ledard Burn is crossed on some metal rails - next a stile over the deer fence with several rungs missing :shock: We could see the Simms over to our left - Beinn Bhreac and Beinn Chochan. Continuing along the track til the bealach, we turned left along a fenceline, ascending a steep knobbly hillside. It was about 1km to Beinn Bhreac - we stopped for lunch at the summit as cloud wisps came over, occluding then revealing the majestic hillscape to the north past Loch Katrine.

Ledard Farm
ImageDSC02167 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02168 by Al, on Flickr

Looking south
ImageDSC02171 by Al, on Flickr

First view of Ben Venue
ImageDSC02172 by Al, on Flickr

Starting up Beinn Bhreac
ImageDSC02173 by Al, on Flickr

Fire-watcher's Hut of Creag a'Bhealaich
ImageDSC02174 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02177 by Al, on Flickr

West to Ben Arthur
ImageDSC02178 by Al, on Flickr

Loch Katrine
ImageDSC02180 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02182 by Al, on Flickr

We trotted onwards to Beinn Chochan, our progress punctuated by rather alarming gunfire which sounded positively military :shock: This continued for much of the afternoon. Retracing our steps back to the bealach we rejoined the trqck and progressed towards Ben Venue. The track undulates a fair bit and is quite rocky as it wends to the true NW summit. From there we followed the trail, over a few bits of snow, to the smashed trig point marked summit. We returned along the crest dropping down to Sput Ban and onwards to Creag a'Bhealaich. The strange building we'd seen from Beinn Bhreac was now closer - it turned out to be a locked up hut (apparently a fire-watcher's hut, google tells me) - fine views from its decking anyway, complete with fire pit :D

Loch Katrine
ImageDSC02184 by Al, on Flickr

Beinn Venue summit
ImageDSC02187 by Al, on Flickr

Along to the eastern summit
ImageDSC02188 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02189 by Al, on Flickr

Beinn Bhreac (R) Creag a'Bhealaich (L)
ImageDSC02190 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02192 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02194 by Al, on Flickr

Ben Lomond (Cruinn a'Bheinn to its right)
ImageDSC02197 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02198 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02199 by Al, on Flickr

We descended SW over open hillside to rejoin our path near the river crossing. Twilight was falling now, some stumbles over hidden roots in the woodland returning to the car. A fine hill, a fine day out - quite hard going if the Simms are included. Now the question was - where to stay? Most of the likely spots for wild camping in this part of the world have "No Overnight Parking" signs, but we headed to a Forestry car-park at the west end of Loch Ard that had no such signs. Not the most forgiving surface for getting your tent pegs in I must say, but level ground and we were not disturbed overnight. A few brief rain-showers pitter-pattered on the tent. Morning was rather misty - we were away by 8.30, spotting an early-morning fox trotting along the road, diving through the fence as we approached.

Because of our location, I'd decided to alter our plans to climb Cruinn a'Bheinn instead - located only 10 miles further along the road at Inversnaid. We drove along the shores of Loch Arklet and arrived at Inversnaid without meeting a single car. The hotel was shut for the winter- I had visions of The Overlook Hotel with its resident Mr Torrance... we parked up and walked along by the jetty, crossing the bridge that leads onto the WHW. Another pleasant walk through oak and beechwoods, the loch lapping beside us, my boots scuffling through a carpet of golden oakleaves. We walked on til we reached the cottage at Cailness - here we turned up left just before the cottage fence and accessed a gate onto a rough track that zigzags steeply up the hillside. As the track reaches its highest point we could see Ben Lomond ahead, our rounded little hill-target sitting to its left.

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Jetty at Inversnaid
ImageDSC02200 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02201 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02202 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02204 by Al, on Flickr

Cruinn a'Bheinn & Lomond
ImageDSC02206 by Al, on Flickr

The next section is a couple of kilometres across flattish marshy ground making for the steep grassy slopes up Cruinn a'Bheinn. There's a dismantled fenceline that meets you at the base of the hill. A strenuous pull initially, then rounding off as the summit is approached, eyes are pulled to Ben Lomond ahead. We lunched at the summit, enjoying the Arrochar Alps across the loch. The sun struggled to break through the mists around the summit of Ben Lomond, then sent a warm glow across the hills when it finally emerged. We retraced our path, enjoying the still air and golden sunbeams - more like an early autumn afternoon than the 4th of December.

ImageDSC02207 by Al, on Flickr

Ben Arthur
ImageDSC02208 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02209 by Al, on Flickr

Ben Lomond popping over the top
ImageDSC02210 by Al, on Flickr

Cruinn a'Bheinn summit
ImageDSC02211 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02213 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02214 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02215 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02216 by Al, on Flickr

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Ben Vorlich
ImageDSC02221 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02222 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02223 by Al, on Flickr

Inversnaid Hotel
ImageDSC02225 by Al, on Flickr