Hiking Ben A 'An - Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, Scotland
Updated: Jul 19
We only had two days to explore Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park in Scotland. We couldn’t do much in such a limited time but we wanted to do a little hiking (to Scots it's called "hillwalking"), and afterwards take a cruise on Loch Katrine in a steamship - a very touristy thing to do, but we love cruising on a historic steamship so we take advantage if the opportunity presents itself.
Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park is one of the two national parks in Scotland (Cairngorms is the other, which was established in 2003). Although The Trossachs was a popular leisure destination even years ago, it was only given national park status in 2002. In the United Kingdom, it is the second largest national park covering 720 square miles. Plenty of outdoor activities and very tempting to explore more of the area, but we had to stick to our plans.
HIKING BEN A'AN
There are many hiking trails in the park, but alas, we only had one day and a short hike was what we wanted. The Ben A’an trail with spectacular views from on top fit the bill. It was a chilly day but partly sunny, ideal for hiking, but the blowing wind gave us second thoughts at first. We can take the cold - but the wind? That was something we had to simply accept - or call off the hike. We were thankful it was not raining that day, otherwise we would have had to skip it.
The name "Ben A’an" may have originally been called Am Binnean which means "the pinnacle" or "the small pointed peak" in Gaelic. It's a well-deserved name as you can see from the photos. The pointed peak looks like a mountain, but to the locals it is a small hill - the Scots are tough, I might say. But don’t get intimidated - it is actually an easy hike, probably due to its low elevation which is around 1,512 feet at the summit.
But how easy it is, or not, depends on a person’s physical condition. The trail has some steep sections starting at the foot of the hill. No warming up! But then it gets easy until you reach the last ascend to the top, which is also very steep.
A little scrambling up, but you will be rewarded at the end. The spectacular view is well worth it despite the blowing wind at the top. It overlooks Loch Katrine, Loch Achray and Ben Venue, a higher peak on the other side of the valley. But goodness! It seemed the wind would blow you away to "kingdom come", literally. We wanted to stay longer at the summit so we could enjoy the view for a while, but the unrelenting wind was unbearable!
You will notice in some areas where trees had been cut down. We thought it was a logging site but found out later that it is a deforestation area with the intention of replacing non-native trees with native trees.
The trail is 4.5 miles return, or round-trip, so if it’s not enough for you there are other trails in the area that you can combine it with, all in one day.
There is a small car park a little way down across from the Tigh Mor Trossachs hotel. A fee is required to park here but the machine was not working, so free parking for everyone that day.
For those who like to combine climbing Ben A’an with other hills or mountains in the area; there’s a trail to Ben Venue and Ben Ledi, the highest hill in the Trossachs. I bet the views are spectacular as well.