Munro Meanderer's Group Walk - Ben Venue
by Chris Mac » Thu Jan 10, 2019 3:03 am
Route description: Ben Venue from Loch Achray
Grahams included on this walk: Ben Venue
Date walked: 02/01/2019
Time taken: 5.17 hours
Distance: 14.7 km
Ascent: 876m7 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).
As the name implies speed was not the order of the day and I think Iain was concerned that I might be like a mountain goat on a lead for this walk but I assured him I could handle a slower pace and good path the whole way (as I would say on the walk, I think Hart Fell broke Iain's off-road spirit!), especially with good company and as it would turn out, several well known Walkhighlanders!
It was an 8am collection on the Wednesday morning although it had been Saturday for weeks according to my internal holiday clock. Iain and I stopped off at the Mearns on the way to pick up Jonathan and we enjoyed good banter in the van all the way to Callander where we stopped off for a coffee. As we parked two others who were joining us, Alan and Glen, had the same idea so the 5 of us enjoyed our morning pitstop amongst the early bird foreign tourists, some of which would no doubt be heading up some popular hill nearby wearing inappropriate footwear!
Despite Iain's satnav taking us on a minor scenic detour we arrived at the Loch Achray Ben Venue car park bang on 10am which saved us from an ear-bashing from Polly who had texted en route telling us to get a move on.
I was introduced to Wullie and Willie, then Theresa arrived and the gang of 9 were soon all set and leaving the car park behind:
DSC_0270 by djchrismac, on Flickr
As you can see it was quite busy and having checked the OS map I wondered why we weren't parking at the closer car park... more on that shortly!
Off we went as I enquired how long it would take to reach Santa's Grotto as despite a sunny start it was very frosty at ground level as we headed further into Achray Forest:
DSC_0271 by djchrismac, on Flickr
Jutting out from parent peak but little known Meall Gainmheich was Ben A'an on our right. "It'll be like Sauchiehall Street up there today!" was heard.
DSC_0275 by djchrismac, on Flickr
As we walked along Ben Venue was looking lovely up ahead, it's definitely a more scenic walk from this side compared to the Loch Ard side which I did in the height of summer a year and a half ago, quite a conrast today:
DSC_0279 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
DSC_0282 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
We passed the other car park, asking ourselves why we didn't park closer to our destination...?! Ach never mind, it would only add about an extra 20 minutes or so to the walk, no big deal, plus it was much smaller anyway:
DSC_0288 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Lots of handy sign posts to follow, now a left turn towards Achray Water:
DSC_0296 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
I got chatting to a few of the group on the way through the woods:
DSC_0297 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Time to cross Achray Water as Ben Venue continues to be in view from the bridge:
DSC_0301 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Ben A'an, a few more stick figures appearing on it already:
DSC_0305 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Meandering along the path:
DSC_0308 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Now on a track and a fair bit higher up as Glen and Alan continue along behind me:
DSC_0309 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Ben A'an again, although it's only a lump...
DSC_0311 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
...on a very lumpy Meall Gainmheaich!
DSC_0312 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
It might be a tump but as we all know it's one of the prime viewpoints in Scotland
Onwards we go:
DSC_0320 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Ben Ledi looking grand behind us now:
DSC_0322 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
I soon find myself in front as the path gets steeper, mountain goat legs kicking into gear. I did a lot of walking in 2018 and the hill fitness had stayed over the holidays thankfully:
DSC_0323 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
The path work on Ben Venue has done a good job and the going is easy, if a little icey in places, the whole way up Gleann Riabhach:
DSC_0327 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
The path curves gradually up and around the hillside then hits a straight:
DSC_0335 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
We reach a guy standing at a gate to a forestry path up the hillside but he laughs and says he's only stopping for a break before continuing on the normal path:
DSC_0342 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
It's been a great morning so far with loads of chat about hills, walks, meet ups, pub nights and hangovers. As is standard with group walks everyone interchanges position and new conversations are started, more often than not with laughter the end result and it was no different with the Munro Meanderers!
We continue along as the path curves right and the rocky heart of Ben Venue appears:
DSC_0344 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Jonathan and Willie, walking well with gammy legs!
DSC_0345 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Progress, the steep and rocky scrambly bits are now in view, just what Iain and I have been waiting for!
DSC_0349 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
A nice waterfall you don't see when walking up the south side from Ledard Glen:
DSC_0350 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Wullie was with us now too as we look down on the stragglers, or those who weren't excited about rocky and now treacherous ice dodging path scrambling we had started up!
DSC_0354 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Summits uphill in the distance but the path takes us left then back towards them:
DSC_0356 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Atop the steep section we all stop for a breather so everyone can catch up as Jonathan amuses us all with a walking story:
DSC_0361 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Unfortunately it had clouded over
DSC_0368 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
I was on navigation duties, not that you really need them on Ben Venue via the tourist path but having a Viewranger route to follow is always handy and we're soon on the move again:
DSC_0374 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
We reach the cairn that marks the path splitting off to Ledard Glen or the twin summits.
DSC_0377 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
We take a right and immediately it's a steep scramble up the way, with even more ice to deal with. I make off up it fairly quickly but carefully and remark that it's the closest i've come to a frozen water fall ascent. Iain isn't far behind me. We reach the top and say to the others it's safe but to take care. As we wait I observe the view now that we're at a decent altitude and the view has opened up at last.
Ben Vorlich, another prime viewpoint and cracking Munro I was up a few months ago. To the left is Ben Vane and back right in the distance is Beinn Bhuidhe:
DSC_0379 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Distant Ben Cruachan, Ben Lui and Beinn Chabhair:
DSC_0381 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
An Caisteal, Beinn a' Chroin, Stob a' Choin and Cruach Ardrain:
DSC_0383 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
The others heading up the steep icey scramble:
DSC_0384 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Ben Arthur and Beinn Ime now in view behind Beinn Bhreac:
DSC_0390 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
We head along and up and down and up and down for a bit before the final ascent(s) are in view:
DSC_0398 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
We head to the left then up to the right where the people are in this shot:
DSC_0399 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
I recall that I lost a pair of sunglasses just south of the summit last time I was here but unfortunately I never found them although it was somewhere off the path and they were probably munched by a sheep a long time ago.
Ben Challuim now in view beyond the Crianlarich Munros and Stob Binnein is hiding in the clouds, a shame:
DSC_0401 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Arrochar Alps to the west:
DSC_0405 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
At last the view north down to Loch Katrine opens up and it's stunning, as still as glass with no wind, outstanding:
DSC_0408 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
DSC_0410 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Although Ben Venue has a twin summit, the actual summit to the west has three rocky outcrops. This is us at the first:
DSC_0411 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
We head to the cairn on the middle outcrop and soak in the view.
DSC_0414 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
East with Ben Vorlich, Stuc a' Chroin and Beinn Each in the middle of Benvane and Ben Ledi. Below us is Meall Gainmheaich with Ben A'an almost invisible save for the crags now that we're way above it:
DSC_0425 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
The north side of Loch Katrine:
DSC_0430 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Meikle Bin and Earl's Seat to the south:
DSC_0436 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
West to Ben Lomond and the Arrochar giants:
DSC_0437 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
I move on to the actual summit of Ben Venue which is the third rocky outcrop along. Looking back to the cairn:
DSC_0439 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
East to Ben Ledi and Loch Vennachar:
DSC_0441 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
We had met a fair few folk on the mountain so far but it certainly wasn't mobbed. The others were now appearing at the summit area, here's Theresa chatting to the dog owners we kept passing as Glen pops into view as well:
DSC_0444 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Cheese... now that everyone is distracted the dog is hunting for sandwiches!
DSC_0448 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
It was a wee bit more breezy on top of the hill as was expected. Cairn group shot:
DSC_0450 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
DSC_0451 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Loch Katrine in full view:
DSC_0453 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Theresa doesn't need a summit to claim a hill!
DSC_0457 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
The Ferry about to ruin the glass effect but caught just in time:
DSC_0462 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
We all grouped together down off the summit in a sheltered area that we could all fit in, there were plenty to choose from. Sanwiches, soup, home made tablet, it was like a banquet! We enjoyed a blether, mainly about hills and walking again which was great. I said I still hadn't been to the East Top and was going to head that way but only Iain was up for it, the others would be heading back the way we came and we'd catch up with them.
Ben Ledi with Loch Achray and Loch Vennachar as we head to Ben Venue's East Top for the better view in that direction:
DSC_0463 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
A nice rocky surprise awaited:
DSC_0467 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
The actual summit of Ben Venue to the west, except the two people at the cairn are not on the summit it's to the right... confusing I know, don't blame me, hill-bagging.co.uk made me this way, and you lot with your gripping walk reports and fantastic photos of stunning areas of the country...
West to Ben Lomond:
DSC_0471 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
West to the summit(s) and the Balquhidder Beasts:
DSC_0472 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
As we were taking photos Iain suddenyl appeared in a prime position to star in my favourite photo of the day:
DSC_0473 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
We started way down there:
DSC_0476 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
The two lochs again:
DSC_0480 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Further east and slightly south the Ochils were standing out in sunshine, much nicer out that way today. Dumyat and Stirling Castle are very prominent from here too:
DSC_0483 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
South to Meikle Bin:
DSC_0484 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
And just along from there Earl's Seat, Dumgoyne and Glasgow, Corse Hill behind and the Kilpatrick Hills on the right:
DSC_0485 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
A final summit shot then it was time to catch up with the others:
DSC_0486 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Back down the dip but instead of heading back over the summit another path veers right to connect back with the path towards the scramble down and cairn:
DSC_0488 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
A final shot of Stob Binnein:
DSC_0489 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Heading back down the path you can make out where the cairn branches the other path towards the southern approach:
DSC_0490 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
We catch up with the others before the scramble as they all head right and down a grassy slope while I head back down the path of ice. We negotiate the frozen bog and I resist tempting fate by taunting the boggarts of the little mountain by saying their frozen bog cannot harm me.
Unfortunately a not so frozen section of path further along saw one foot get dunked heavily in black mud!
We reach the top of the final steep section before the long curving path back to the start:
DSC_0491 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Heading down the way:
DSC_0494 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Back on level ground:
DSC_0498 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Two student girls who we kept overlapping with now out in front as we meander back to the car park enjoying more good banter with Ben Ledi providing mountain vista enjoyment on the way:
DSC_0501 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
DSC_0503 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Edging ever closer as we descend at a decent pace, they may not invite me back!
DSC_0505 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
Meall Gainmheaich again:
DSC_0510 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
We stop at the forestry track junction for a water break and I accost a passing group and ask them to take a photo. The guy duly obliges and takes a great one, thanks!
Munro Meanderers in full glory:
DSC_0517 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
We pass a fair few folk heading up and down while commenting on which ones have left it too late and have innapropriate footwear meaning they'll soon be turning back.
We reach Achray Water and the wee bridge again, after the heat of the day the river is now in spate:
DSC_0524 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
DSC_0525 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
DSC_0526 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
It being fairly mild higher up it was strange to be back in the cold winter wonderland lower down.
A final shot of Ben Venue as we head along the path back to the car park:
DSC_0528 by Chris Mac, on Flickr
We had a great walk and soon dispersed to the Lade Inn for lots of good food and drinks while enjoying more tales of hill walking adventures and more. Mission accomplished and holiday excess now dealt with, it was great to get the first walk of the year done so early and in great company. The Little Mountain delivers once again.
by iainwatson » Thu Jan 10, 2019 11:57 am
by pollyh33 » Thu Jan 10, 2019 12:05 pm
Your photos are superb and much better than anything we have offered up in previous outings.
It was great meeting you and here's hoping you come to more of our meanders.
by gammy leg walker » Thu Jan 10, 2019 4:54 pm
by mountain thyme » Thu Jan 10, 2019 7:26 pm
by past my sell by date » Thu Jan 10, 2019 11:54 pm
by quoman » Tue Jan 15, 2019 10:25 am
by jonny616 » Wed Jan 16, 2019 3:09 pm