Climb Ben Lomond
Introducing Ben Lomond
A munro is a mountain over 3,000 feet high. There are 282 munros in Scotland and Ben Lomond is the most southerly of them. It's height is 3,196 feet, 974 metres. If you're planning to climb it here is some practical information which I hope you find useful. I've also included some photographs taken on my recent climb.
Getting to Ben Lomond
To climb Ben Lomond head to Rowardennan on the east side of Loch Lomond. Rowardennan is approached by car (there are no busses) via an 11 mile dead-end road from the village of Drymen. Cruise Loch Lomond run twice daily sailings by their water bus from Tarbet on the west side of Loch Lomond.
Rowardennan is on the West Highland Way, with a Youth Hostel and Hotel. My recommendation for staying in Rowardennan is this B&B, click for link.
Preparing For Your Walk
Be prepared, have plenty of water and layers of clothing. Wear sun screen and smidge (midge repellant), bring snacks/lunch, stock up at The Village Shop in Balmaha, next to the Oak Tree Inn (the last shop before Rowardennan). Good walking boots and appropriate socks are highly reccomended.
You could time your climb to watch the sun rise or set. Many of the guide books estimate 30,000 annual walkers, although speaking to one of the rangers he told me that he thinks it's in excess of 40,000 now. They have electronic measuring systems so that is probably quite accurate and shows the growing popularity of the walk.
For my walk I set off just after 9am, as I was walking on a Sunday I knew that the car park would quickly fill. Setting off at that time you should get to the summit just before 12pm, ideal for lunch (with a view) at the top. The descent was completed before 2pm. So allow 5 hours for the walk in total.
Parking is in the Forestry Commission car park, cost is £3 for the day. There is a toilet block, with some information panels nearby. To find the start of the path just walk through the central archway of the toilet block and you're on the path.
The climb takes you through a forest. Currently the Forestry Commission are cutting down trees infected by a disease, they are planting replacements.
Ben Lomond National Memorial Park
Since 1995 the area around the mountain has been dedicated to those who gave their lives during the first and second world wars. Ben Lomond Memorial Park is now managed by the National Trust for Scotland. As you move from the forest into more open ground you will come to the start of the area that is looked after by the National Trust, this is clearly marked.
Throughout your ascent you will see the well kept pathways of the mountain. The Ben Lomond rangers and volunteers work hard to protect the pathway for the ever increasing visitor numbers. On our trip we saw a Thistle Camp and Trailblazers team hard at work, this is an initiative to get young volunteers from around the world to have a holiday in Scotland, whilst contributing to conservation projects. It is projects like this one that help to keep the paths in such good condition.
Loch Lomond & it's Islands
As you climb the footpath beyond the forest you start to see the excellent view emerging over your shoulder. The elevation provides an excellent view of Loch Lomond and its islands.
The climb is very sociable and you meet a number of walkers, we even met a couple of mountain bikers!
I mentioned previously the necessity for layers. When we left the car park it was very warm, however sadly there was a thick cloud base from just over half way up the mountain. This took away the warmth and more sadly any kind of view.
As we got close to the summit we met the mountain bikers, who had already experienced mixed fortunes with the first part of their descent.
Thanks to the cloud at the summit there wasn't any view to be had. However, there is a good achievement at having 'bagged a munro' and climbed to the top of the iconic mountain that provides Loch Lomond with its name.
Take care on the descent, by the time you get close to the starting point your legs feel like jelly! The views as you head down are superb, once of course you clear the cloud.
Ben Lomond Views
Around Loch Lomond and the Trossachs you can get some magnificent views of Ben Lomond, here are a few of my favourites.
Talking of views of Ben Lomond if you want one at Rowardennan the best is from the metal jetty. Located close to the jetty is a stone sculpture that commemorates the fallen service men and women of both world wars.
This article and accompanying photographs are by Paul Saunders for See Loch Lomond. Visit Paul’s other websites, Paul Saunders Marketing & Paul Saunders Photography, for his marketing, photography & video services in Loch Lomond and beyond.
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