Ben Lomond & Trossachs…route advice please?!

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  • Ben Lomond & Trossachs…route advice please?!
  • peachos
    Member

    inspired by a couple of viral videos this year i’ve booked myself and a bunch of mates into rowardennan yha in a few weeks. rough plan is to tackle a few of the bens in the area, as well as put in a few more xc miles. looking at the maps now & planning routes and have a few questions, if anyone can help?

    ben lomond – seems like there are two paths two the summit, the one heading SE being the more robust looking & longest. is that the best way up & down? what’s the other path like – is it worth doing a 2nd summit to ride the other? roughly, how long to push up?? is there anything else in that locality worth looking at to fill up the day? maybe a bit along the WHW north to inversnaid & back?

    ben venue / ben a’an – i’m thinking that one day we’ll head to this area and start off with ben a’an up & back down, then ride through the forest a bit along gleann riabhach before hiking it up to the summit of ben venue. really don’t mind a bit of hike-a-bike, but is that section do-able with bikes? then what is the path down to ledard like? doesn’t look as well established as ben lomond path (obviously not) & want to ride responsibly, so is it suitable for bikes or would we end up tearing up the bogs? would it be better going the other way around??

    that’s all the questions for now…got plenty more though 🙂

    cheers in advance for any help.

    peachos
    Member

    can anyone help on this?

    druidh
    Member

    My tuppence worth….

    Neither of the other hills are worth riding from a perspective of rideability vs. trail damage & condition.

    It’s been well above average rainfall all year and the ground is much softer than usual and the paths up these two are a lit less armoured than the Ben Lomond path.

    We have a forecast of hill snow this week. I’d be prepared to alter or cancel your plans if, as expected, this is the precursor if an early and severe winter.

    The path heading SE off Ben Lomond certainly has an easier gradient for climbing and only has a couple of boggy/peat sections to be handled (one of these is just after leaving the forest road – which doesn’t end where shown on the OS Landranger). Most folk seem to ride the path to/from Rowardennan.

    peachos
    Member

    hmmmm, that’s good to know, especially about the weather. Ta!

    you have any other ideas for rides in the area? i need to do a bit of digging around to see what else i can find, but any suggestions would be great. don’t mind travelling a bit (hour or so) from base to get a good ride in…

    fergal
    Member

    Ben Lomond is a great descent, really worth doing, the main tourist path drains well, the other path shown over Ptarmigan has been ridden, but have no idea how good it is. Ben a’an i would imagine would be pretty full on for mortals, big rocks, very precipitous, you may well find you are carrying your bike for the most part, the guy riding it in the vid is pretty gifted!. Weather wise it is not unusual to get a dump of snow in October, in these conditions i would give it a wide birth, but you never know dry crisp and clear is also a possibility.

    I’d be amazed if you could ride much more than 20% of Ben A’an. And that’s the descent I’m meaning.

    Unlees you are Joe B.

    peachos
    Member

    cheers fergal. yep like the look of both of those descents to be honest – right up my street!!

    edit: is it that hard? looks steep & loose, but i like steep & loose.

    grum
    Member

    Ben Lomond is superb IMO – the main path from Rowardennan up and down is what we did – one of the best descents I’ve done anywhere. I seem to remember someone saying the other path was more sensitive and shouldn’t be ridden. The very top of it would be a bit of a scramble anyway IIRC. Even at this time of year I would try and do the descent late in the day, it gets VERY busy with walkers.

    There are some other bits of the WHW round there that would be fun to ride (downhill anyway) I think, like the bit around Conic Hill.

    peachos
    Member

    cheers grum – that’s more like it!! 😀 and i thought as much about the other path from looking at google earth. could well be a bog-fest. we’ll probably do lomond on the thursday & first thing, so hopefully a bit quieter.

    off to scope conic hill on a map now.

    Premier Icon Sanny
    Subscriber

    Ben A’an – well steep. The stone pitching in the wet is super sketchy! Best saved for a nice dry day. It’s a full on descent despite its lack of height.

    Ben Lomond – prepare for a push/carry on the way up. Ptarmigan ridge is one I have considered but never ridden. I’ve walked it and there are a couple of unrideable scrambly sections which would be tricky to get your bike down on your own. Have a look in the mag archive from last year from my route guide to Ben Lomond and Conic Hill.

    Ben Venue – a beezer of a ride but the path can get pretty soggy. Climb up via the Land Rover track marked to the east on the map then cut across and down onto the footpath near the Bealach (all on the Loch Ard side). I wouldn’t bother with the Ben A’an side – potential for super bogginess. It’s a lovely dry day descent down to Loch Ard and worth going to the summit even though there are a couple of sections that are unrideable on the way down near the top. They are very short though.

    Have you considered the Cobbler? I like it as a ride. Agaain, stone pitching at the top can be hard / slippy in the wet.

    Ben Vorlich by Loch Earn is a cracker too. Just over an hour in the car I would reckon. It’s a wee gem. A full on munro that we knocked out in under three hours with lots of stops for photos and to eat lunch at the top. I reckon I could knock it out in two and a quarter hours non stop, possibly less without mechanicals and not faffing.

    Ben Ledi is ok but not stunning.

    Ben Lawyers is fantastic via Beinn Ghlas on the way up then round the back on the return leg. Good solid track up and down.

    As with all hills, expect to be carrying for large elements of the climb.

    Craig More above Aberfoyle makes for a short but lovely descent with a little bit of everything on the route.

    Oh and don’t disregard the West Highland Way – the trail to Balmaha is lovely as an out and back. Surprisingly climby but really nice to ride.

    grum
    Member

    There’s some really good trails in Mugdock Country Park which is towards Glasgow from there (not big mountain riding though obviously) – though you’d probably need a local to find the best stuff. There’s also some good little bits I found near Aberfoyle, but again local knowledge would be handy really.

    Sanny, which way is best up/down The Cobbler?

    peachos
    Member

    sanny – thanks so much for that lot mate, lots of potentials there for me to check out & i’ll have a dig for your route guide from last year!

    much appreciated.

    fergal
    Member

    Sorry for the hijack, Sanny RE the cobbler, i have ridden as far as the Narnain col, have you summited by the voie normale because shirley pretty unridable for the whole section after the burn crossing, perhaps a small section just below the summit is viable. I am convinced the trail going to the NE is the one to do that meets the Narnain col, i only went as far as the col.

    I don’t know any of the southern stuff, but you could head a bit further north to Glencoe to do the Devil’s Staircase and the Ciaran path. A reasonably big day out with plenty of technical descending, but the high point is only around 600m so doable even if the weather goes pear shaped. If the burns are in spate there is one challenging crossing but still doable

    peachos
    Member

    we did that earlier in the year CM. wicked ride – ciaran path was just amazing…really wish i had an uppydowny seatpost though.

    Also worth considering – Ardgarten loop from Arrochar, add in the Corrie Grogain loop for a good day out. Corrie Grogain could also be added to Cobbler.

    Plenty above Aberfoyle. Around Go Ape there are plenty of trails, a few “made” ones and some natural stuff,

    Also see this link : Trossachs

    Premier Icon Sanny
    Subscriber

    Re the Cobbler.

    We did it on a driech Feb day. The stone pitched steps were pretty slippy so we didn’t ride them all but on a dry day, they looked fine to me. Nothing to give me the willies! A seat down descent not unlike Ben Lomond at the top albeit a little bit steeper if memory serves.

    Up and down the main tourist path is the best way. We rode down via the old narrow gauge rail path. It’s very eroded these days making for a bit of on and off humffing down so I wouldn’t bother with it again (for a while at least!)

    Has anyone ridden above Luss? Any trails of note?

    Ben Vorlich by Loch Earn is a genuine peach of a ride. It’s really short for a munro but very rewarding. Tech and loose at the top then more open and flowy down to the shore.

    Oh and the Carn Gorm 4 makes for a terrific ride – carry up, big sky traverse, lovely descent down.

    fergal
    Member

    Sanny the steps are pretty straightforward in the dry, the bit that confuses me is ths section after the burn where the manmade path ends on the tourist track, i have walked this way many times over the years, it is mainly jumbles of boulders and some scrambling, surely just hike a bike up and down.

    Oh and the Carn Gorm 4 makes for a terrific ride – carry up, big sky traverse, lovely descent down

    Second that, and best done anti-clockwise. Be aware that they are in the middle of the stag stalking season right now so only try it on a Sunday. The landowner makes Ghengis Khan look a bit soft and he still hasn’t come to grips with the right of access laws yet. It’s just not worth the aggro

    fergal
    Member

    This is the start of the climb after the burn on the cobbler tourist path, rose tinted spectacles?
    http://www.summitpost.org/the-east-scramble/144980

    Premier Icon Sanny
    Subscriber

    Fergal

    Not sure about that bit but the route I took last time between Narnain and The Cobbler was path all the way with stone pitched steps near the top. No rocky scramble for me! I only recall the steps being tricky but the rest rideable. Off to look at maps later!

    Sanny

    peachos
    Member

    nice one sanny – just read you ben lomond write up in the archive, good read!

    The better path goes up the ‘back’ of the Cobbler, on the slopes facing Beinn Ime. You would continue past the turn off for the scrambly path.

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