Total distance – 3.8 kilometres
Ascent – 340 metres
Walking conditions – Well defined footpath, muddy in places. Some steep rocky sections where children may require some close supervision and assistance.
Time required – Around 3 to 4 hours
Nearest town – Aberfoyle
As a child living in Blantyre I learned that our drinking water came from Loch Katrine. I was entirely unaware that a boat named The Sir Walter Scott sailed on Loch Katrine on a daily basis. Equally, I had no idea that Ben A’an, a fantastic mini Alpine-esque hill sat beside Loch Katrine and that one day, a large photo canvas of my wife cuddling her little Lakeland Terrier on the top of Ben A’an with Loch Katrine in the background would take pride of place in my kitchen. Taking nothing away from my wife or her dog for that matter, but a photograph of Ben A’an and its surroundings on a clear day is a joy to behold.
From the car park cross the road and follow the footpath as it winds its way up through the trees and over a little footbridge across a stream. After about 700 metres the ascent becomes a little gentler giving you the chance to stretch your legs on an easy stroll for a few hundred metres. It also provides the children with the opportunity to explore the numerous ‘dens’ and shelters constructed from upturned trees and branches and is the home of man-eating dragons, or so I told the children. The truth is probably far less exciting as I presume the ‘dens’ were built by youth groups participating in award schemes. Anyway, at about the 1.2 Km point there is a small clearing on level ground where you can see the top of Ben A’an and the final ascent which is fairly steep in places. Care should be taken as a trip in one of the steep sections could lead to a nasty injury, so please make sure you’ve got a firm hold of small children. Although steep, there are no difficulties and as you leave the trees you will be immediately overwhelmed by the magnificent scenery. It’s always a busy summit full of happy faces so bring a hearty picnic and a camera. Return via the same route.
The Harbour Café at Loch Venachar which is located a couple of miles up the road towards Callander is a great spot to stop for lunch or dinner. It sits on Loch Venachar and you can get a table on the pier. My wife recommends the scallops with black pudding.