Munro #2 – Ben Vorlich

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Munro Baggin’ and Tail Waggin’

  • Munro Climbed: Ben Vorlich (Loch Earn) – 985m Altitude
  • Date – 12th September 2017
  • Total Hiking time: 3 hours 36 mins
  • Distance covered: 12km
  • Elevation gain: 847m
  • Stuc a’ Chroin summit not acheived

I have set myself the challenge to complete all of the 282 munros in Scotland in my lifetime. The munros are the mountains in Scotland over 3000 feet high, first listed by Sir Hugh Munro in his ‘Munros Tables’, published in the Journal of the Scottish Mountaineering Club (SMC) in 1891.  Having already completed the largest of the munros and the largest mountain in the UK, Ben Nevis, I started planning for Munro #2 and picked the closest one to me, Ben Vorlich at Loch Earn. After doing some research I decided to attempt Stuc a’ Chroin on the same day as there is a short but steep technical rocky ascent across from the Ben Vorlich summit. Two birds one stone!

After parking up along the side of Loch Earn in Ardvorlich, I took in the beautiful surroundings and began packing my bag. There is no official parking but plenty rough parking at the side of the road. My supplies included water, drinking cup for Jack, Stoats bars, Schmakos, waterproof jacket, poop bags, route map, mobile phone and headphones.

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Rough parking – only a short walk from the path

I clipped the running lead on Jack and we set off along the road. The entrance to the Ben Vorlich walking path is through the South entrance to Ardvorlich House. From here you follow a farm road up the hill with a couple of signs dotted about to keep you going on the right course. The start of this climb is very simple with a relatively gentle ascent over farm tracks through fields with a few stiles and gates along the way.

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Plenty signs to keep you right.

There are some furry (and woolly) friends in the fields so please keep that in mind if you decide to take your four legged friends. Although Jack has grown up with farm animals I would not risk letting him off the lead on someone else’s farmland.

The next part of the climb changes gradually from track to walking path with very slightly rougher terrain and a couple of streams flooding over the path, although very shallow still worth a mention for wetter days.

About a third of the way up the route Jack and I scrambled up a small boulder for a top up of fuel and a short rest to enjoy the view of the loch. The stoats bars were hitting the spot perfectly giving me a wee boost in energy without overloading and Jack seemed pretty pleased with his schmackos.

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Snack time!

From this boulder there was a very smooth newly resurfaced walking path which provided a gentle reintroduction to climbing. The summit could be seen easily which was both a blessing and a curse, it was a target to aim for that didn’t seem to get any closer the more I walked.

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The newly resurfaced section of path

After walking along this path for around 30 minutes I reached the terrain I am more used to; rough Scottish mountain trails. This is where Jack began showing me up. For every two steps I took, Jack had ran about 120 up and down the hill and around my feet. This was the most physical part of the climb for me, the closer I got to the summit the steeper and looser the terrain became. As is usual in Scotland, I had gone from sweating and cursing myself for carrying a jumper and jacket to suddenly feeling like I should have packed and extra layer or three.

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The summit within reach

As I approached the trig point I realised that reaching the top of Ben Vorlich was hard enough for one of my first munros, Stuc a’ Chroin was going to have to wait for another day. I enjoyed the views of the surrounding hills and took a breather while Jack introduced himself to another couple of hikers. After taking some photos for the other two ladies, they offered to take a photo of my wee pal and I before we set off back down the mountain.

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Summit photo with Stuc a’ Chroin lurking behind.

The descent was fun and smooth, in dry weather the top section will be pretty loose and slippery so take care not to get carried away. Once at the bottom we jumped down to the edge of the loch and Jack took a cool down swim. while I packed up the car. Convincing him out of the water and into the car was hard work but eventually he caved (schmackos may have helped).

Although Jack smashed the hike I will be looking at getting him some hiking boots of his own to protect his paws from the rough terrain.

Overall this was a great introductory munro with a relatively easy climb and good access. I would recommend allowing plenty of time for this one and to try tie in Stuc a’ Chroin in for the same day as there is a short but scrambley route between the two peaks.

Now to get planning for the next one…

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