The Little Munro with Wee Dog Syndrome - Ben Vane
by Chris Mac » Tue Nov 27, 2018 4:38 pm
Route description: Ben Vane, from Inveruglas
Munros included on this walk: Ben Vane
Date walked: 19/11/2018
Time taken: 5.05 hours
Distance: 13.6 km
Ascent: 1145m7 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
I barely had time to get home, dry things off, re-pack and get some sleep before I was off to follow up an epic 15km/1758m day out. Lucikly for me the original plan to head for another double Munro hike at Crianlarich changed when Michele didn't want too early a start. She also hates bogs, really hates them, preferring to scramble on rocky peaks and ridges instead.
I knew An Caisteal & Beinn a' Chroin would be pretty boggy so suggested an alternative that I knew would go down well when I picked her up in the morning - shorter, closer, less boggy and one we both still had to climb, Ben Vane. I had been here a few weeks ago on Ben Vorlich and initially didn't fancy returning for the same view but conditions would be different, clearer and the next closest Munro we still haven't visited is Stuc a' Chroin but that would involve either a Munro or Corbett traverse on either side in order to reach it.
My suggestion went down well, the less bog part was the clincher so after a breakfast stop en route I was soon returning to Inveruglas Car Park and setting off for the road to Corriegrogain again, both legs feeling a tad worn out after the day before. Nothing like a short, steep Munro to aid the recovery...
As we got ready a guy passed and we asked where he was headed "Ben Vane", same here, see you up there! Ben Lomond and Loch Lomond were sparkling as we left...
DSC_0887 20181118_103954 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
A' Chrois was also reflecting nicely:
DSC_0888 20181118_104014 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Michele admitted it was probably her first winter walk, well she couldn't have picked a better day for it, not exactly winter conditions though!
DSC_0890 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
We followed the pavement then path, turned right, through the gate, along the road, took the shortcut so Michele at least got her feet muddy early.
Beinn a' Choin behind us as we rejoin the road:
DSC_0891 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Ben Vorlich's southern flank, i'm looking forward to finding a way up this side another time:
DSC_0893 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
As we turned onto the straight section of road and saw Ben Vane ahead I snapped a photo. We had caught up with the guy that left ahead of us on the left but who's that on the right... guy in shorts, girls with rucksack, they look familiar and look like they may have been up here for days, it must be Malky and Jaxter! I didn't realise I got a pic of them until I got home.
DSC_0895 by djchrismac, on Flickr
It was the first time I had met some Walkhighlanders while out on the hills so we stopped for a quick blether and introduction and they told us how they had just spent the night on Ben Vorlich, a great choice as I had really enjoyed the view from there a few weeks before. As their walk reports show they had a cracking time and got some brilliant pics! Nice to meet you both.
We continued on and met our first obstacle after passing the lone guy who had started up the road on the right heading up Vorlich, I wasn't sure if he knew where he was going but hopefully he'd realise then follow us... before I could think about shouting over we had other things to deal with... incoming!
DSC_0899 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
I can't have a straightforward walk on this road. We slowly edged forward on the left as I ushered the cows past, apologising for getting in the way as they noisily protested at our presence! I said hi to a few I recognised from my last visit as they passed. Unexpected walk obstacle number 1 out of the way, we continued on towards Ben Vane which was showing off in the morning sunlight:
DSC_0903 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Ben Vorlich, she might not look like much kid but she's got it where it counts:
DSC_0907 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Then disaster... Michele, walking on flat tarmac alongside me, suddenly went flying face first and only saved herself with an impressive stretch for the finish line chin pull up move which seemed to go in slow motion!
I half laughed and seriously asked if she was ok... but also... what just happened?!
On examination her new Salomon boots had the higher up lace hooks out to the side and a lace on the opposite side had caught as she was walking, causing her to trip over her own feet. I compared to my Scarpa boots which had their upper hooks facing forward and out of the way. It goes without saying that we were lucky not to be higher up or on a ridge.
The guy we passed had caught up and checked if Michele was ok and we got chatting as we walked towards Ben Vane, turning left and crossing the bridge otherwise we'd end up climbing Ben Vorlich by mistake which i've heard is a common problem!
He was from Beith and quite new to hill walking having just done Ben Lomond, the Cobbler and a few others so far. The three of us reached the decision point, right for the more direct but slightly boggy path or.... so we went left of course, Michele being in tow, and headed up the drier but muddier route on the left.
As we started uphill a younger guy behind us was taking the short route, seen here bottom right in the sunlight:
DSC_0911 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Loch Sloy Dam peeking through:
DSC_0912 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
On our left Beinn Ime as we cross the dip in the grassy mound and make our way to the proper start of the ascent:
DSC_0921 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Coming up this way was a good choice, behold, steep and rocky! Michele is pleased to hear that I was told when on Ben Vorlich recently that Ben Vane had some crambly bits at the top.
DSC_0923 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
We had left our Beith friend behind and said we'd no doubt pass again, here he is further below as we kicked up a gear and went into ascent mode, my legs still feeling ok and Michele just happy to be out in the sunshine and climbing hills again after a wee break:
DSC_0925 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
The shadows being cas across the landscape were superb and it was another thing Michele picked up on and really liked about winter walking, of course the sun and a blue sky helps. The three lochs, Lomond, Arklet and Katrine to the east with Ben Ledi in clear view behind them, visibility was top notch today:
DSC_0931 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Getting proper steep and rocky now, excellent!
DSC_0938 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
DSC_0940 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
The good path snakes right then around to the left, up a rocky bit until you reach this area looking up at the next section, with the fun ramping up the further up you go:
DSC_0946 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
To the north inbetween Vane and Vorlich Ben Lui and Ben Oss came into view:
DSC_0950 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Ben Vorlich's bulky side, it looks much better from the south or north:
DSC_0951 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Heading up the next section:
DSC_0958 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Beinn Ime next door and an indication of gradient:
DSC_0960 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
As we had a breather I could resist no longer and took a panoramic shot:
DSC_0965 20181118_125702 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
The first of the scrambly bits:
DSC_0968 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
A similar view to Ben Vorlich but a slightly different angle down Loch Lomond, stunning and hard to beat:
DSC_0975 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
It was a bit hazy to the south though... I was hoping to make out Duncolm as the Kilpatrick hills are a cracking viewpoint up the Loch:
DSC_0980 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Ben Ledi, Meall Gainmheich, Ben A'an (for the eagle-eyed among you) and Ben Venue with the three lochs:
DSC_0984 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
We've gained height fast and Stob Binnein is now peeking out behind Ben Vorlich:
DSC_0986 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
The route up Ben Vorlich from Ben Vane:
DSC_0989 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Another grassy bit ifs traversed and the view north is even better:
DSC_1009 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Ben Starav, the other Loch Etive Munros and where I was yesterday - Bidean nam Bian, Stob Coire nan Lochan and Stob Coire Sgreamhach:
DSC_1010 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
The hill was buisy today which wasn't surprising and we were enjoying being social, chatting to people as they came down, most telling us how fierce the wind was and that they couldn't stay long. A few had also warned of false summits, something I was aware of but it didn't concern either of us, we were having a great tiem srambling our way up the smallest but steep and rocky Munro. It's like Ben Vane has angry wee dog syndrome, surrounded by the bigger hills, it's got character and bite!
What we saw ahead of us were some scrambling opportunities! First up:
DSC_1015 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Conditions couldn't be better as we looked south to Beinn Narnain, A' Chrois and the Luss Grahams:
DSC_1017 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
I've still got a fair few of these hills to climb:
DSC_1019 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Fantastic, the first false summit scramble looks really good, people on and atop it for scale too:
DSC_1020 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
DSC_1023 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
It was far too over quickly as I did my usual mountain goat impression and bounced up, turning to snap a shot of a jubilant Michele in Armadillo-esque "yaaass, scrambling time" pose!
DSC_1027 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
First one done it was on to the next, again people on it for scale, looks interesting:
DSC_1030 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Just above where the two people with blue jackets are a cleft runs from them up to the right and is the easier way to go. We took that way down as it looked the easier way on the way up the ramp but we took the ramp to the end on the ascent to make it more difficult and interesting to climb up:
Ben Arthur was now in view:
DSC_1033 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
The final section took us up to the summit which surprised me by being fairly wide and flat with a wee lochan on it, very nice:
DSC_1039 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
The Paps of Jura and Beinn an Lochain inbetween Beinn Im and Beinn Corranach to the west and south:
DSC_1053 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
West and north we have Meall Corranach, Stob Coire Creagach/Binnein an Fhiddleir, Mull, Ben Cruachan & Beinn Bhuidhe:
DSC_1055 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Mull close up:
DSC_1056 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
The view north and west:
DSC_1062 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Glen Etive and Glen Coe mountains:
DSC_1063 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Moving around from west to east, the Ben Lui group:
DSC_1066 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Towards the Tyndrum hills:
DSC_1068 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Glen Lochy Munros and a few people enjoying Ben Vorlich at the trig point:
DSC_1069 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Summit shot of the tiny lochan looking south east:
DSC_1070 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
We didn't find the wind and cold as bad as advertised during the ascent, leading Michele to laugh and say this was relatively mild for a summit and she wasn't wrong, it was rather pleasant and we have both experienced a lot worse! The wind noise in the summit video makes it seem worse than it was.
The Luss/Loch Lomond Grahams again, quality viewpoints and well worth a visit:
DSC_1081 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
I head over to the first cairn from the second summit cairn for another shot of the three lochs and take another video:
DSC_1083 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
It was still not clear enough down Loch Lomond but we could make out Conic Hill at least:
DSC_1092 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Satisfied with another Munro in the bag, a third for me this weekend and a first "winter" walk for Michele meant it was time to head down again. Down scrambling time!
DSC_1094 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
We dropped down a bit lower out of the wind and decided to have another break to soak in the view a bit longer, it would be rude not to:
DSC_1100 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Another quick video with less wind noise this time. We met our Beith friend who had finally caught up with us, said cheerio and to enjoy the view from the summit.
The sun was getting much lower to the west and we would be treated to plenty of rays of sunlight during the fast descent, starting with Beinn Narnain:
DSC_1105 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
The route down:
DSC_1107 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
DSC_1113 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
As expected, the lower sun was creating silhouettes of hills on adjacent hills and Michele was really enjoying the display:
DSC_1114 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
DSC_1126 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
As we got closer to the base of the hill we passed a group of three girls with the one at the end clearly huffing and puffing her way uphill and not having the best time. It was coming up for 3pm so I let them know that they were not even half way up yet which led to the girl at the end saying she wasn't sure if she could continue or not. I said they should seriously consider whether to proceed as it wouldn't be long until it was dark.
I'm not one to ruin someone's day on the hills but being realistic it was obvious they would be struggling down hill in the dark even if they did make the summit before dusk so it's better to offer advice someone doesn't want to hear to save the Arrochar MRT getting called out due to poor planning.
After we left them we passed two guys in full kit who looked like they knew what they were doing so I jested I hope you've got head torches for the descent, their reply being that they did and they were not sure if they would make the top before dark and might turn back before then. This was a sensible answer so I said to keep an eye on the girls up ahead of them as they were looking a bit out of their depth. Hopefully common sense prevailed and all 5 of them got off the hill safely.
Ben Lomond getting the last of the light:
DSC_1131 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
The main descent was finished and we looked back to see the rays of sunshine hitting Ben Vane:
DSC_1136 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Ben Vane and Bein Dubh silhouetted on Ben Vorlich:
DSC_1137 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
At the choice of path we opted to risk the boggy descent for the walk out although that's not entirely accurate, it was more wet than muddy and more like a bootwash, Michele still wasn't that keen on it but here she is smiling after a throroughly enjoyable clamber up the smallest Munro:
DSC_1140 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
We were soon back on tarmac and heading back to Inveruglas with Ben Vane deciding to show off as we left it behind:
DSC_1147 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Sunset was now kissing Beinn Ime too:
DSC_1151 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
It may be small compared to other Munros but it's a cracking wee mountain, lots of personality and interesting features:
DSC_1152 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
We reached Loch Lomond in no time and it was as still as glass:
DSC_1166 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
The moon was out now and as we got packed up to leave we discussed how much we had enjoyed Ben Vane and how it was the perfect walk for us both that day with the bonus of some minor scrambling:
DSC_1189 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
I dropped Michele off then headed home and arranged for a last minute holiday from work the next day as I still had days to use up and felt I needed time to recover from a big weekend of walking. It was one of the best weekends yet for both the conditions, hills chosen and the views. Ben Vane also endeared itself to us and although it's the baby Munro it's well worth a visit, especially on a day like we were lucky enough to get.
by malky_c » Tue Nov 27, 2018 9:12 pm
Good to meet you
by Chris Mac » Tue Nov 27, 2018 10:16 pm
malky_c wrote:Nice one . We had vaguely planned a circuit of this, Ime and Narnain, but Jackie finally admitted defeat with her cold . I haven't been up Ben Vane in decent weather before, so I had little idea what it was actually like looks pretty rocky .
Good to meet you
I somehow forgot to add the photo of you both but that's it there now! Well jealous of your Vorlich summit camp, it looked stunning but cold, worth the effort. Yeah I was surprised at how rocky Ben Vane was too, as soon as I was told on Vorlich last month that it had a few scrambly bits on it I knew it wouldn't take long until I was paying it a visit, great fun!
by 2manyYorkies » Tue Nov 27, 2018 10:28 pm
Some fantastic pictures there bud. And is that Michele that did the Five Sisters with us last July? Looks similar!
by Chris Mac » Wed Nov 28, 2018 8:28 pm
2manyYorkies wrote:Ben Vane the Wee Nutter as I called it, in my report on a near identical clear November day, maybe 4 years ago. A small Munro that punches well above it’s weight. And I got a golden eagle as well!
Some fantastic pictures there bud. And is that Michele that did the Five Sisters with us last July? Looks similar!
Haha yeah it looks like you got a very similar day for it and even better you also got a Golden Eagle sighting, nice one, you took some amazing photos too.
Thanks very much and yes that is indeed Michele that did curved ridge with Iain and I, then the two of them went to the Five Sisters to join you the following weekend. She's fun and fearless to walk with, just keep her climbing on rocks and out of bogs and all will be well!
by micheled » Sat Dec 01, 2018 4:30 pm
by spiderwebb » Sat Dec 01, 2018 6:11 pm