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solo walk up Ben A'an

solo walk up Ben A'an


Postby neilmckenzie » Tue Apr 22, 2014 3:34 pm

Route description: Ben A'an

Date walked: 21/06/2005

Time taken: 2 hours

Distance: 3.7 km

Ascent: 340m

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--This is taken form a blog I gave up writing a long time ago--

Summer Solstice. Longest day of the year. I'm in Scotland for a holiday. It seemed like the most exotic place possible. I'm in various countries all summer for work, so I thought I’d have a trip to Scotland to see some nature before the trek started.

I've got various trips planned (Not all will happen), but today I'm up a mountain. Well... A kind of mountainy hill. I had to come up alone, everyone was either hungover, working, or packing for a summer trip, so I thought I’d better start with an easy one.

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Ben A'an - 461m - 1512 Feet

It's about an hour's drive from Glasgow. I thought it was closer, but I must drive slower in my old age. Or maybe it's the wealth of Sunday drivers travelling round these windy roads at 5 miles an hour. To get there you drive from Glasgow to Aberfoyle and take a right towards Calander and the Trossachs. Ben A'an is in the Trossachs, which are a network of hills, and lochs, not super high, but very picturesque. This is where Sir Walter Scott created our picture of Rob Roy.

When I started off, I forgot how steep it was, the first half mile is probably the steepest part of the walk. I was regretting the bravado of trekking up a mountain. You kind of dodge rocks and trees, find a good foothold etc. This one is easy, and I'm already sweating. I started to regret staying out till 4am last night and opting for a healthy (i.e. unsatisfying) breakfast. Luckily, I have my iPod to get me through this rough bit.(Melloncollie and the infinite sadness - Smashing pumpkins) Eventually you get to the first bridge, and you start to remember why its worthwhile.

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It's easy to find forest like this in Scotland, this is nothing impressive, but I've been away from nature for a while. I'm getting into my stride now, mainly because the path is less steep now. Eventually I get through the country path type scenery and it becomes worthwhile. You get to see the peak, and feel good about the fact that you are going to be at the top of it.

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Now sitting at the foot of the peak, I am having a sandwich and some water to make up for a crappy breakfast, and I'm looking out on loch Katrine, while writing this in my moleskin. Ben A'an sits between two Lochs. One is called Loch Katrine, and the other is called Loch Achray. Loch Katrine provides the drinking water for Glasgow. I set off again and the path now becomes more challenging. You've now got to climb. Hands and feet some times. The view gets more magnificent with every step. People tell you not to look down. I think its more important not to look up. If you look up, you realise that the step you've just taken, which seemed to take so much out of you is one of 200 still to go. The path runs through a small river, so your feet are getting wet as you scrabble up rocks and aim for the peak. Eventually it evens out, and you can look back knowing the worst is over.


Now its just a field of peaty mud and heather to get through before climbing up the peak and seeing the views. I eventually get up there as the last song of the album is climaxing and finishing, which means that from car to peak takes just under an hour. The summit is magnificent. You get a view across Loch Katrine and further north to the mountains. Ben Venue, the nearest peak looks as if you could jump to it.

I sit and chill alone on the peak for a while, and write the rest of this account in my moleskin. The trip down is less tiring, but more difficult. The laws of dynamics involving Scottish beer bellies, gravity and inclines are not taught in schools, but basically you are forced to run down the same steep rocks which you spent all that time climbing.

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Last edited by neilmckenzie on Tue Apr 22, 2014 3:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
neilmckenzie
Hill Bagger
 
Posts: 40
Munros:34   Corbetts:5
Grahams:4   Donalds:1
Sub 2000:6   
Joined: Jan 17, 2012
Location: Glasgow

Re: solo walk up Ben A'an

Postby neilmckenzie » Tue Apr 22, 2014 3:41 pm

neilmckenzie
Hill Bagger
 
Posts: 40
Munros:34   Corbetts:5
Grahams:4   Donalds:1
Sub 2000:6   
Joined: Jan 17, 2012
Location: Glasgow

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