Weather: dry, cloudy, occasional sun, moderate westerly cool gusts, temperature mild.
Having decided on doing Ben Vane from Arrochar as it was easier on the pocket than from Inveruglas (Citylink please explain why the £5 difference), we started out from the Cobbler drop off point at 10:30, with a time window of 7.5hours until our bus departure from the Arrochar Braeside Store at 18:00. Game on.
We took the initial path towards the Cobbler until the first intersection, then turned right heading up Glen Loin (Loop) enjoying the sudden isolation amongst trees and hills. An hour on the gradually ascending track brought Ben Vorlich, the Loch Sloy Dam and Ben Vane (our target) into view then the path turned away towards towards Ben Ime.
At the next intersection we went right, across the river, and followed the Glen Loin loop to a dam-bridge on the south-side of Ben Vane for a 15 minute lunch stop at 12;20. We then took a 'shortcut' up the hillside so as not to loose elevation though the ground was a bit boggy (the Glen Loin loop started to descend around the base) until we came upon other hikers on the actual (east-side) path towards the summit.
Conditions underfoot from here to the top varied between mostly dry rock, boggy grassy areas and scrambling steeper sections, with those annoying false summits compensated by increasingly stunning views east to Loch Arklet and Loch Katrine, a cloud topped Ben Lomond and south across Loch Lomond's islands with Glasgow in the far distance, and Ben Narnain and the Cobbler.
The summit was reached at 14:10, a small flat topped peak with a pool in the centre and the actual summit cairn marked with an orienteering control flag. One of our group bumped into colleague at the top, as you do, and over the course of our ascent-descent we met about 15 people enjoying Ben Vane. We spent 20 minutes enjoying the panoramic views, with most of the munros visible being cloud topped, we were just under cloud level on our baby munro.
The descent back along the same path we ascended involved lots of slips and slides. Close to the base, the path became less clear so we went down the north side into a very boggy patch and less then 30 metres from joining the Glen Loin Loop my left leg decided to sink to my knee, and took a but of assistance from one of the group to reclaim the limb from the bog.
Back (thankfully) on the Glen Loch Loop, we went (left) towards Ben Vorlich, joining the path that goes left up between the munros to the Loch Sloy Dam, We went right (away from the dam) in the direction of Inveruglas, through cattle and a few minutes down the road until the signpost directing us right, back onto the Glen Loin loop/Cowal Way, along the farm track to the bridge, then immediately left through the wee gate onto a brief undulating trail following the electricity pylons back along valley base of Glen Loin following the Cowal Way posts back to the Arrochar Car Park by 17:10, just shy of a total 7 hours.
As we made it back with spare time before the bus, a well earned drink was had in the pub opposite the bus stop.
Personally found shorts and t-shirt adequate for the ascent, and glen walking sections, addition of fleece for short breaks and descent, and further thermals, hat, fleece neck-tube and gloves for summit, Peruvian coffee optional.
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