top of page
  • Writer's pictureHiker Heather

The Munros : Road Trip

Updated: Mar 28, 2022

Ben Lomond, Ben Vorlich (Loch Earn), Beinn Ghlas, Ben Lawers & Beinn Ìme

I was all set and packed for a very last minute thru-hike of the Cleveland Way but whilst shopping for the groceries that I needed for the trail, I had a sudden change of heart, something just wasn't feeling quite right, I can't fully put my finger on the reasoning or whether, actually, it was just simply that I was craving being back in Scotland again after just completing my second thru-hike of the West Highland Way, whatever it was, I felt compelled to go back up to Scotland and so I quickly changed my plans and started to prepare for a road trip up to Scotland where I would camp and hopefully hike a few Munros whilst I was there. Quickly realising that I would have the luxury of my car on this trip, rather than living completely out of my backpack, I was able to pack a few 'luxury' items that I wouldn't usually be able to carry on the trail and so into the car went lots of water, soft drinks, food and snacks, two sleeping bags, two down jackets and even an actual pillow and lots of spare clothes! Pure luxury!!!

The following day would see me head up to Scotland...


Note: Please only ever undertake hikes that are within your capabilities and assess and prepare for any risk associated with the hike that you are planning to undertake. If hillwalking when there is snow lying then an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly is required.


Day 1 - Travel to Scotland (Sallochy, Loch Lomond)

Leaving my house in Yorkshire at around lunchtime, I head off on the 5 hour journey to Scotland, my car packed to the rafters with everything I will need for the trip. I had decided that my first camp spot would be Sallochy Campsite where I had also stayed whilst on the West Highland Way, just over a week ago! I just love this location so much - it is just magic. Sallochy Campsite is located on the eastern shores of Loch Lomond and is a 'wild camping' campsite which has very basic facilities including a compost toilet and water source. The campsite would once again be closed during my stay since it does not open until the beginning of April, if you are visiting during its opening months then you will need to purchase a permit online prior to your stay. Upon arriving at the car park to the campsite, I pulled up next to a car with a man sat inside, there was no one else around at all and I hadn't expected to see another person upon my arrival (I mean, there are few others that are crazy enough to want to camp in sub zero temperatures in Scotland in March!), I therefore decided to wait for a little while in my car to see if the gent would depart before making my way over to my camp spot, I didn't want it to appear obvious that I was a solo female out here camping alone... alas, the man didn't appear to be going anywhere and so, I started to unpack my car and made my way towards my pitch (the exact pitch that I had whilst doing the West Highland Way too!)...

Just as I had finished setting my pitch, the man from the car started to approach me and we start chatting, the man is in fact called Stuart and he is lives in the Hebrides but was down on the mainland visiting family, Stuart is a real character, his positivity was inspiring, he is a traveller/ hippy type of soul and he has so many stories to tell about his travels and also about his time spent on the Hebrides renovating an old cottage, a real interesting character! We eventually said goodnight for the evening after a long while spent chatting...


Day 2 - Ben Lomond (974m) - My first Munro!

Today's plan would be to hike Ben Lomond - my first ever Munro! Needless to say, I woke up very excited for the day! Stuart had been kicking around my tent this morning and so I asked him if he wanted to join me on my hike and he decided to come along and so we made our way to the start of the trail at the Ben Lomond car park in Rowardennan. Leaving the car park, you head through the information building which then takes you onto an excellent path up through oak woodland and then onto the mountain track itself which will eventually take you up to the wonderful summit of Ben Lomond with panoramic views of Loch Lomond surrounding you. Stuart and I had met another wonderful gent called Kenny part way up the trail and we would hike the remainder of the trail with him too. Kenny has hiked all of the 282 Munros - what an achievement!!! His first Munro was also Ben Lomond and this was also his first time hiking a Munro and Ben Lomond since completing the Munros! The three of us chatted away during our hike, the conversation mainly focusing on our mutual love for Scotland and Munros although Stuart often changing the conversation to something like sacred geometry or numerology - you know, as you do! Kenny and Stuart celebrated my first Munro with me at the summit before we retraced our steps back to the car, I feel so lucky to have been able to share this day with two wonderful people! Stuart and I said our goodbyes to Kenny at the car park before returning to our pitches at Sallochy campsite where we would spend our second night...

Distance

7.5 miles

Terrain

Clear mountain path with some rocky sections

Start/ Finish

Navigation

GPX from WalkHighlands & Harveys Maps - The Munros, The Complete Collection

I am extremely sad to report that as I write this blog post, Ben Lomond has been victim to wildfires (photo below). The National Trust for Scotland have released a statement stating that the fire was caused by 'a single dropped cigarette' (!). The fire has sadly spread to an area where natural regeneration of woodland was only just starting to take place, this is deeply upsetting! I can't express how important it is to be extremely vigilant when visiting these incredible places, if you wish to smoke then please ensure that the cigarette-end is completely extinguished, in addition to also carrying the cigarette-end out with you, together with any other rubbish you may be carrying. Please ensure that you are always following the Leave No Trace Principles and the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.

Day 3 - Bad Weather Day!

I had checked the weather the evening before and the forecast for the hills was pretty awful with bad visibility, winds expected to reach 60mph and snow and ice expected up high, I had therefore made the decision to take a rest day and relax at camp on this day and so I remained at Sallochy campsite for a third night.


Day 4 - Ben Vorlich (Loch Earn) (985m)

Today I would pack up camp and drive over to the Loch Earn region as my intention was to hike up to Ben Vorlich & Stùc a' Chròin, it was another beautiful, clear day and Stuart had decided that he would join me once again, however, he had some errands to do first so we agree to meet at the start of the trail, Stuart eventually arrived at around 11:30am so we had a late start... Starting at the roadside parking in Ardvorlich and passing through the urn-topped stone gateposts that mark the start of the trail, we continued on the track passed farm cottages, the track then continues directly up to the summit of Ben Vorlich. Leaving the summit of Ben Vorlich, it was our intention to also hike to the summit of Stùc a' Chròin and so we followed the ridge path down onto the bealach where the mighty buttress of Stùc a' Chròin eventually comes into view, the route to the summit is a scramble to the right of the buttress, however, there was still a lot of heavy lying snow and ice and the route was difficult to find, I therefore went in search of the second alternative route to the summit, we must have reached only about 100ft from the plateau that would then lead you to the summit but I considered the final ascent too much of a risk considering the snow and ice and so I decided that I would not summit Stùc a' Chròin today, I will come back and summit Stùc a' Chròin when there is no snow lying - always better be safe than sorry! It was getting dark by the time we returned to our cars, we did try to find a pitch beside Loch Earn, however, all the pitches were occupied with other campers and campervans since it was the weekend and so we decided to car camp at the side of Loch Earn instead.

Distance

9 miles

Terrain

Straightforward hillwalking to Ben Vorlich, steep rocky terrain and light scrambling on Stùc a' Chròin

Start/ Finish

Navigation

GPX from WalkHighlands & Harveys Maps - The Munros, The Complete Collection

Day 5 - Beinn Ghlas (1103m) & Ben Lawers (1214m)

Leaving the shore of Loch Earn, I drove over to the Ben Lawers car park (Stuart following behind in his car) as the intention today would be to hike Ben Lawers and it's neighbour, Beinn Ghlas. Ben Lawers is the 10th highest Munro and is the highest Munro in the central highlands. Ben Lawers gives it's name to the wider National Nature Reserve in which it is located, the Reserve boasting celebrity status for it's rich artic-alpine flora and fauna. Upon arriving at the car park, I got chatting to a couple of men who were already on their way down from the hills, they reported that they did not manage to summit Ben Lawers due to the ice and lying snow and had only been able to summit Beinn Ghlas, I also received similar reports from others whilst heading on up to Beinn Ghlas. I had decided that I would go ahead with the walk regardless as it seemed that I would be able to summit Beinn Ghlas without much issue and I could then determine whether I wanted to attempt Ben Lawers myself once up there, having assessed the risk myself. The established main path leads directly from the car park, through the stunning Nature Reserve, eventually taking you up onto a shoulder before finally reaching the plateau summit of Beinn Ghlas, from here, the ridge to Ben Lawers stretches out ahead. Continuing over the bealach before the ascent to the summit of Ben Lawers, I kept monitoring the situation and any risk being imposed by the lying snow and ice, I felt comfortable enough to continue onwards to the summit of Ben Lawers and I was so pleased that I was able to summit, it was a truly wonderful day - it felt like a true mountain day, the location, weather, snow and route all adding to the feel of the day. I was truly in my element. Retracing our steps back to the bealach from the summit of Ben Lawers, we then took the right fork instead of returning via the summit of Beinn Ghlas, the right fork takes you round the north side of Beinn Ghlas instead to the bealach between Beinn Ghlas and Meall Corraniach before then eventually dropping back down to the car park. This evening would see us camped in our cars once again...

Distance

6.75 miles

Terrain

Clear mountain path in summer conditions

Start/ Finish

Navigation

GPX from WalkHighlands & Harveys Maps - The Munros, The Complete Collection

Day 6 - Rest Day

Today I would say goodbye to Stuart before heading over to the Arrochar region where I would find a beautiful camp spot in the forest, by the side of Loch Long. I would spend the day here taking in my surroundings, listening to the woodpeckers and other wildlife surrounding me, I even got to see a treecreeper which I had never seen before! It was a beautiful day spent by the loch, taking in the early spring sun...

Day 7 - Beinn Ìme (1011m)

I woke rested having spent the previous day and night relaxing at camp by the side of Loch Long, I packed up camp early, also collecting rubbish that had been left behind by others before me, including what appeared to be tent poles together with lots of other rubbish. Please always ensure that you too leave these beautiful places better than you find them and always follow the Leave No Trace Principles at all times. I made the short drive from camp to Succoth Car Park which would mark the starting point of today's hike up to Beinn Ìme, which is the highest mountain in the stunning Arrochar Alps range. Leaving the car park you cross over the road and follow clear forest tracks, this track also being the main track up to The Cobbler. Before long the iconic The Cobbler and Beinn Narnain come into view, carrying on up the clear path towards the bealach between The Cobbler and Beinn Narnain, you carry on over the bealach at which point Beinn Ìme itself comes into view with its broad grassy slope of an ascent, a long ascent too with over 400 metres to gain from the bealach! Making my way up to the summit with the most incredible views surrounding me, I then turned and retraced my steps back to my car (at quite a pace too, since I had realised that I had not put enough time on my car parking ticket!!!). My hike of Beinn Ìme would, unfortunately, mark the end of this amazing little road trip! Needless to say, this little road trip has left me even more obsessed with Scotland than I was before (wasn't actually sure that was possible!)...I really do hope to be back up there very soon (fingers and toes and everything else crossed)!!! I have so much exploring to do, I have only just scratched the surface! More Scotland please, much, much more Scotland!

Distance

9 miles

Terrain

Good mountain path

Start/ Finish

Navigation

Ordnance Survey GPX & Harveys Maps - The Munros, The Complete Collection

If you have any questions about the Munros or anything else then please do use the contact form to drop me a line, I will get back to you as soon as possible. You can follow my adventures live over on my Instagram @hiker_heather


0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

コメント


bottom of page