Ben A'an an' a banana

Route: Ben A'an

Date walked: 11/12/2017

Time taken: 2.5 hours

Distance: 4km

Ascent: 340m


Popular Ben A'an's only an hour's drive from our house but somehow we'd never climbed it. A freezing, sunny Monday seemed like the perfect day to do it, though we were hoping the paths wouldn't be too icy. Before getting there though, we had to drive over the Duke's Pass - we were slightly nervous about this given the -6C temperatures on the drive north from Glasgow. The steep ascent from Aberfoyle had been freshly gritted and was no trouble, but the gritter had turned around at a layby just beyond the summit of the pass, leaving the remainder with a heavy frost, perhaps a dusting of snow, and some large areas of water ice where streams had run across the road (check out the layby to the right on the photo above :shock: ). The views were undeniably stunning though in the morning sunshine:



Fortunately we made it to the parking area for Ben A'an without incident, where I wolfed down a banana so I wouldn't be walking on an empty stomach (see, there's an excuse for the report title!). There was one car already in the car park. The temperature had shot up to a balmy -2C here. Two welcome surprises: a very tame robin looking for food which actually hopped inside our car boot as we were putting on our walking boots, and the following:


What a shame! Not... anyway, onto the walk:

ben-aan.gpx Open map in GPS Planner  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

We were carrying some cheap, novelty shoe grips in our rucksacks (given to us as a present last winter, but we'd never used them), but there was no snow down here, and the paths were mostly ice-free at first. There are basically three stages to the walk: a steep initial ascent, then a flatter stretch, followed by a steep final climb. The path all the way to the top is excellent:


Some beautiful ice sculptures in the adjacent burn:


First proper view of Ben A'an's rocky profile:


Ben Venue:


And from further up:


Approaching the final climb:


Back to Loch Achray:


Approaching the summit:


Near the top, the path headed across a more shady aspect, with a little snow and lots of ice - care needed.




I'd seen plenty of photos of the summit view, and it more than lived up to the hype: amazing.






We stuck around for around 20 minutes or so, before the wind got up. Given it was probably well below freezing, that was our cue to head down. Time to try out those shoe grips... except we should have actually checked they fitted in advance. One pair were fine, but mine were too small, so I had to be extra careful on the descent. Whoops...


A fantastic and very short walk at barely more than an hour to the top - I can't think of many hills which give such a reward after such a short ascent :D

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Location: Glasgow
Activity: Walker

Munros: 52
Corbetts: 31
Grahams: 14
Donalds: 11
Wainwrights: 6
Hewitts: 11
Sub 2000: 45

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Last visited: Dec 15, 2017
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