Also spelled Ben A'n (454m), this fine little peaklet is close enough
to the major urban centres of Scotland to be climbable on a mid-summer
evening after work.
as so many Scottish hills are, of language corruption, it should properly
be called Am Binnean, meaning the small pointed peak, and it was probably
due to Sir Walter Scott that its new name has arisen. The O.S. have also
made a small faux pas by suggesting on the map as Ben A'an the slightly
higher top just east.
In the heart
of that highly scenic area known as The Trossachs, Ben A'an is usually
reached via Aberfoyle by driving north over the Duke's Pass to Loch Achray.At
the west end of this is a small car park. Cross the road and take the
steep path next to a fence. The path then bends slightly leftwards into
the wood, near the bank of a deeply cut burn.
the burn is crossed and a boggy stretch through pine wood taken, the pain
partly lessened by some path work. After about 30 minutes the path finally
emerges from the clutches of the dark wood to reveal a fine panorama with
the rocks of Ben A'an on the right and Loch Katrine ahead.
This is Rob
Roy Macgregor country, his heartland, birthplace, and scene of many of
the dramatic ups and downs of his highly eventful life. The best book
by far on Macgregor is the scholarly yet highly readable biography by
the late W.H. Murray (Canongate). Buy it!
is a rock climber's favourite, with the ripply mica schist rock a delight
on a sunny day. Mere mortals and walkers avoid the steepness by taking
to the path on the right of the crags. This eventually winds up behind
the south face and leads to the rocky summit. There are no difficulties,
unless one counts the tasty temptations of blaeberries in the autumn.
If your waistline
is in training, the other good time to walk up Ben A'an is in the spring.
Mountain flowers will be out, the midges will not, and clear days will
repay the steep path work with one of the best views around. On a busy
weekend day the sound of laughter can be heard from day trippers on Loch
Katrine, perhaps sailing on the wee steamer 'The Maid of The Loch.' Glasgow
may be just out of sight beyond the last blue hill, but you will surely
be in the right spot at the right time. Just remember to leave enough
time for final orders!