Bike exploring: Help for Heroes
OS GetOutside Champion, Helen Pollard, takes us on a great Mountain Bike (MTB) route used as part of the delivery of MTB leadership training to Phoenix House staff in collaboration with Cycling UK.
Loch Lomond and the Trossachs has a staggering 41 mountains over 2000 ft to climb. In celebration of the National Park’s 16th birthday, GetOutside champion Kate Hopper gives us 10 of her favourite hill walks in the area.
Covering 720 sq miles of beautiful lochs, mountains and glens, the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs was the first National Park to be designated in Scotland, opening on the 19th July, 2002.
Conic Hill is a knobbly little peak which rises up 350m above Loch Lomond - giving incredible views across the loch. The walk to the top of Conic Hill takes around an hour and is great for kids - look out for the hill’s resident shaggy highland coos! On a sunny day the car park at Balmaha gets very busy - so get there early!
Described by many as the perfect hill, Ben A’an is a ‘mountain in miniature’. Popular with families, a recently upgraded path takes hikers steeply up to the summit 454m above Loch Katrine. This is a small hill with a very big view - and a great introduction to hill walking in Scotland.
Ben Ledi ‘or the mountain of God’ dominates the Trossachs town of Callander. Starting from the edge of Loch Lubnaig it is a steady walk up a good path with wide-ranging and stunning views of the Trossachs – including across to the huge Ben Lawers range.
Whilst Ben A’an might be the most popular of all the Trossachs hills in my opinion the view from Ben Venue is actually even better.
Ok, Ben Venue at 729m is quite a bit higher than Ben A’an at 454m – and there is a wee bit of very easy scrambling to get you to the two summits – but the view across Loch Katrine and Loch Venachar is worth it.
Loch Lomond contains over 30 islands and my favourite view of them is from Beinn Dubh (The Black Mountain) above the village of Luss. You don’t need to climb high up Beinn Dubh for the view, but if you have more time and energy the Glen Striddle Horseshoe is a fine walk.
One of Scotland’s most famous hills, The Cobbler is famous distinctive shape and rocky crags – and the challenge of ‘threading the needle’ – jumping across and then scrambling up the pinnacle to stand on the rocky peak which is actually the very top of the hill.
Challenging Ben Nevis for Scotland’s most popular hill climb, Ben Lomond (‘Beacon Mountain’) is tackled by around 30,000 people each year.
My favourite views of Loch Lomond are actually from the Ptarmigan Ridge next to Ben Lomond. The path is rockier and tougher, but the views from the descent are beautiful.
The Arrochar Alps are a set of rocky peaks rising above the north end of Loch Lomond. Behind the Cobbler rises Ben Ime one of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs 14 Munros.
With views across to Ben Nevis and the Crianlarich Hills, Ben Ime makes for a great day’s hill walking and can also be combined with rocky neighbour Beinn Narnain.
The mighty Ben Vorlich (‘Hill of the Bay’) is the most dramatic of the Arrochar Alps. Climbed from the hydroelectric dam at Loch Sloy, the hike up Ben Vorlich is very steep and boggy and leads you up a series of false summits.
However, all that effort is seriously worth it – the view across Loch Lomond, to Ben Lomond and to the rest of the Arrochar Alps is simply stunning.
Ben More (‘Big Hill’) is the highest mountain in the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park and is a huge cone towering about Crianlarich.
From the top there is an incredible view across the Trossachs and neighbouring Stob Binnein - however Ben More comes with a health warning - the path up the front is relentlessly steep.
To climb in the National Park you will OS Maps: OL38 Loch Lomond South (Conic Hill, Ben Lomond), OL39 Loch Lomond North (Beinn Dubh, The Cobbler, Ben Ime, Ben Vorlich) and OL46 The Trossachs (Ben A’an, Ben Ledi, Ben Venue, Ben More).
Or check out GetOutside in Scotland for more ideas to get you active outside.