With the lifting of the 5mile advice/limit/judgement/suggestion/rule/law or whatever it actually was, people were now free to exercise their basic human right of free movement without being shamed throughout "social" media platforms and made to feel like a criminal. Anyway......as expected, this coincided perfectly with some rather horrendous weather forecasts. The big hills were off limits but I felt like I should get out and do something anyway. With new tyres and brakes on the car and my new rab downpour jacket delivered the day before, it seemed like the perfect opportunity for some testing. Ben A'an is always a good shout when the big hills are out of bounds and the windy forest drive to get there was the perfect test for the car.
I headed out in the afternoon and Balloch was eerily deserted as I drove through. Don't know if the rain had put people off or literally everyone had headed much further north in a mad getaway dash on the stroke of midnight. The roads were very quiet but when I got to the Ben A'an car park, it was quite busy. I reckon this place would have been absolutely mental if the weather had been nice. As it was, it was consistently chucking it down but was nowhere near as bad as the forecasts had suggested.
I got the waterproofs on then had a quick argument with my moral compass about the car park fees. I lost and had to pay up
I set off up the path passing a few groups of soggy under prepared people who looked none to happy about what they had just experienced.
The burns along the path were battering along and making a fair old noise. I always think fair weather walkers are really missing out. There is something very holistic and soothing about walking in rain, assuming you have good waterproofs of course
If Arran is a mini Scotland, then Ben A'an is a mini mountain. Short steep section, a flat open bit then a very steep section to the summit. It has good "character", or something like that......
Looking back down to the start at Loch Achray
Onto the flattish open section. It didn't look too bad up ahead....
Back into the woods for the steep bit.
A bit of minor scrambling for good measure.
The summit was inside a rain cloud of course.
I managed to get totally disorientated, and had no idea which direction was what. This has happened to me every single time I have been here, even in clear conditions. I briefly thought about bagging the actual proper 564m sub summit. The terrain looked suspiciously like hill of stake which made me instantly change my mind. For a brief nanosecond the wind blew enough to give me some sort of half views.
I didn't hang around too long. Instead, for the nth time, I took the path off the wrong side of the summit before I realised what was going on.
I overtook some people on the way down who looked utterly miserable. I've always wondered why some people wear a waterproof jacket then just a normal pair of trousers. If I had to choose only one, I'd definitely pick waterproof trousers first
I was back at the car in about 1hour 30mins. Short but fun, and always gets the heart pumping.
There should be a law brought in that says you cannot drive through Gartocharn without going a wander up Duncryne. For very little effort, the views are tremendous. As it was on the way home it would have been rude not to pay a visit.
I had the dubious pleasure of putting on my soggy waterproofs again although the rain had now stopped. I parked on the main road layby to add a bit of distance. You can park at the bottom of the hill as well but that is for the very lazy.
Duncryne is essentially an out of place looking, tree covered lump.
A quick walk up the country lane brings you to the gate which is the starting point. Don't feed the teddy bears!
The path climbs steeply through some woods and ferns.
Despite being a mere 142m high, and only taking 15 mins from the main road, the views down loch lomond are excellent and it makes a grand place to sit and gather your thoughts if you are lucky enough to have the place to yourself.
A fine way to spend half an hour.
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Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.