Ben A’an although of very modest height (454m) has all the character of a miniature mountain with craggy cliffs and a rocky summit. Despite this its summit is very easily attainable via a well made forestry path. This circular walk makes use of a lesser known path at the back of the hill for the return route.
Distance: 6 km / 4 miles
Ascent: 400 m / 1350 feet
Start / finish: Tigh-Mor near Brig o’ Turk
Facilities: Pay and Display car park at the start, cafe and toilets at the Trosschs Pier
Other walks in the area: Ben Gullipen
Start the walk at the Forestry Commission Ben A’an car park on the A821 at grid reference NN 509 070, close to the turn off for Loch Katrine. Other car parks along the route could also be used. All car parks in the area are Pay and Display (£3 in Summer 2017).
The path to Ben A’an summit starts from the car park on the opposite side of the A821. In recent years it has been resurfaced and now provides very easy, if a bit steep, walking. Recent felling, although leaving a bit of a mess on the ground, now opens up the views behind you across Loch Achray and ahead of you to the hill. Follow the obvious path up the hill, crossing a burn on a new bridge and ignoring a forest track that crosses the path. Once away from the forestry area the walk is extremely pleasant through deciduous trees alongside the burn.
As you gain height you start to leave the trees behind and eventually reach a small bealach just below the summit. The hard work is now behind you! From there a multitude of paths lead across to the summit area with its rocky outcrops. Take some time to explore the summit and enjoy the spectacular views down Loch Katrine and over to Ben Venue.
Most people return by the outward route but it is easy to make a circular walk by returning to the bealach and picking up a feint path through the heather heading in a north westerly direction. The path is quite feint and can be a bit hard to follow in places. Don’t worry too much if you lose it, just pick your own way through the heather in roughly the right direction. The key point is to keep to the right of a rocky outcrop as you head towards an obvious deer fence.
Follow the fence downhill staying on the same side. Do not be tempted to cross the style! As you progress down the hill there will be a forestry plantation to your right on the opposite side of the fence and native trees on your side. Although there is a path all the way down to Loch Katrine it is quite rough and can be very wet after heavy rain. It is also steep in places and a couple of fallen trees have to be diverted around or climbed over from time to time.
The path emerges on to Loch Katrineside close to the fence that you followed. Turn left on to the tarmac water authority road and follow it for 1.2 km to the Trossachs Pier area. Loch Katrine is a fine example of victorian engineering supplying Glasgow with fresh clean water still to this day. It was also the setting for Sir Walter Scott’s Lady of the Lake. When you reach the pier there is a cafe and toilets.
From the car park walk along the public road (probably best to walk on the right hand side towards the oncoming traffic) for about 500m to reach a turn off to your right. To the left of this turnoff is the start of a well constructed and waymarked path that will take you to the Ben Venue car park. From this car park it is then a short walk, firstly left and then right, on the public road to your starting point.
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