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Issue 78 - The Mini Mountain

Scotland Magazine Issue 78
December 2014

 

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The Mini Mountain

Keith Fergus climbs Ben A'an above Loch Katrine

There is an old adage that the best views are from the lower vantage points, and this is certainly true of Ben A’an, the wonderful, diminutive peak that rises from the shores of Loch Katrine in the heart of the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park.

It climbs to 1,512 ft above sea level but this is where any thoughts of Ben A’an just being another hill are banished. A good path rises from a car park near Brig o’ Turk all the way to the top, and you can be standing on its summit in less than an hour.

Mountaineering pioneers, such as Jock Nimlin, utilised Ben A’an’s vertiginous slopes to practise their climbing skills, before hitting the bigger mountains of the West Highlands, during the great outdoor movement of the 1930s.

And just like the thousands who reach the top of Ben A’an every year, Nimlin and his band of pioneering cohorts must have revelled in such an astonishing panorama.

Nearby, and the waters of Loch Achray and Loch Venachar are framed by Ben Venue, Ben Ledi, and the Menteith Hills while on a clear day the Wallace Monument above Stirling may just be visible.

Heading west, the long arm of Loch Katrine draws the eye to the Arrochar Alps and beyond, to the big hills of the Southern and Central Highlands.