When it came to choosing a few Munros to bag over the course of my birthday weekend, it didn’t take us long to decide where to go: Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park. We’ve explored embarrassingly little of it since moving to Edinburgh, but are (very) slowly rectifying that. Past Balquhidder, there’s a cluster of four Munros that can be combined into a two-day/one-night circular route. We tackled Stob Binnein and Ben More on the Saturday (this post), and Cruach Àrdrain and Beinn Tulaichean on the Sunday (stay tuned for those two).
When we arrived at the little car park in Inverlochlarig, there were just a few spaces left. We parked in one of the remaining shady spots, slathered ourselves in sunblock and pulled on our rucksacks. For the first kilometre or so, we followed a grassy track up through the ferns to Stob Invercarnaig.
On a sunny day, there’s zero shade to be had, and the combination of no shade and a steep slope made for a tougher than expected start. But with views like these, who were we to complain?
Although there was a well-defined track along Na Staidhrichean (I wouldn’t know where to begin with pronouncing that, so it’s just as well this is a blog not a vlog), the endless false summits on this section of the route drove us both a bit potty. When we reached Stob Coire an Lochain, we stopped for lunch – at which point grey clouds swept in to replace the bright blue skies, and it felt decidedly chilly.
We stopped just long enough to eat our sandwiches, and then ploughed on towards Stob Binnein (1,165m). True to another walker’s words, there was a little bottle of whisky tucked beneath a few rocks in the cairn at the summit.
We spent a few minutes at the summit admiring the views, and then dropped down to Bealach-eadar-dha Beinn (862m). If you’re doing both Stob Binnein and Ben More, as we were, then what goes down has to go straight back up again (and a little more). We descended 303m to the bealach… and then climbed 312m to reach the summit of Ben More (1,174m).
Another bank of cloud swept in just as we reached the trig point, leaving us with partial views to the north but extensive views to the east and south.
We were following a GPS route from Walk Highlands, which served us pretty well on the whole but occasionally took us on some rather iffy paths. Like this one:
The stones are part of a stream that had dried out during a recent heatwave. I’ll let you be the judge of whether anything in its vicinity could really be called a path. We picked our way down the hillside towards Benmore Burn, and then across an exceptionally boggy/watery stretch of grass alongside the water. (I wouldn’t fancy this on a soggy day.)
Suffice it to say, we were very relieved to reach a stony, dry track a short while later. We followed this for a short distance, crossed the little red bridge over the burn (just about visible in the photo below) and set off up the hillside on the other side of the valley to find a spot to camp for the night.
As is often the case when wild camping, this was easier said than done. We eventually found a patch of hillside that wasn’t too boggy and/or filled with holes and pitched up.
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
- Parking | There’s a small car park in Inverlochlarig with space for c. 15 cars. You can’t miss it: it’s on the left-hand side just as you reach the end of the public road.
- Maps and guides | Pack a copy of OS Explorer OL46 – and know how to read it.
- Distance | 13.3km/ 8.3 miles; 1,479m of elevation gain.
- Misc. | You’ll be exposed to whatever the elements throw at you on this route, so be prepared for anything the Scottish weather gods might throw at you: blistering sunshine, bitterly cold winds and just about everything in between.