|Ben More from
|Estimated net time||5-6 hours|
|Drinking water||There are several small streams along the lower half of the route.|
|GSM coverage||Coverage only around trail head (October 2009).|
|Parking||Room for several cars at car park at trail head.|
|Start height||170 metres|
|Vertical metres||1015 metres for the roundtrip.|
|Trip distance||13.3 km|
Trail head by road A85.|
The path from above trail head to gravel road.
Turn left here to follow sign for diversion.
Cross gravel road and follow path through forest.
Follow a direct route from ladder stile to the summit.
Note: when this hike was done a major part of the gravel road towards the north-east ridge of Ben More was closed due to forestry work. Hence this route description describes an alternative route that doesn't involve the more obvious gravel road.
From Edinburgh drive west and then north-west on road M9. After having passed Stirling turn left onto road A84. Where road A84 becomes A85 at Lochearnhead continue straight ahead on A85, following signs for Crianlarich. From the A84/A85 junction drive approximately 19.0 km towards Crianlarich and park at a car park on the left hand side of the road. This car park is located less than 100 metres after having passed the river Allt Coire Chaorach on a small bridge. Note that this car park isn't just a "wide shoulder", but is considerably wider.
From the car park locate a path heading up to the field 3-4 metres above. Head up this path, cross the fence, and head across the field to a gate approximately 150 metres to the south-west. When you get to the gate turn left and follow the gravel road uphill. After 430 metres on this gravel road turn left onto a forest road (if the gravel road is open for the public you would not turn left here). Continue on this forest road until you meet the gravel road at a little above 300 metres. Cross the gravel road and continue into the forest on a wide path at the other side of the gravel road. Follow this path through the forest. Note that this path is as wide as a forest road in places.
When you get out into the open you will soon get to a big fence. Cross the fence on the ladder stile. You can now either turn right and follow the fence towards the north-east ridge of Ben More, or you can head south-west in a more direct route to the summit. This route description assumes you head for the direct route, up the wide east/north-east ridge.
Stay centre of the wide and soft ridge until the steeper section north-east of the summit. Here you will find obvious places to get onto the wide summit ridge. From here turn left and head south-west to the summit, which is marked by a concrete cairn.
The descent can be done by reversing the ascent route.
31. October 2009
This Saturday was my second day in Scotland during this visit, and I was determined to do a Munro independent of the weather conditions. When I left Dunfermline the weather was quite OK, and when I arrived at trail head 110 km later it was still relatively fair, but with dark clouds all around down to 1000 metres.
I knew pretty well where to find trail head, but wasn't 100% sure. Therefore I drove back and forth a few times, along road A85, but finally ended up with where the car park I first thought would be the correct place. The thing that convinced me most was the fact that there were already a couple of other cars parked here, which of course isn't a terribly convincing sign in general ...
After getting my camera, GPS etc. ready I started my hike, and almost immediately it started to rain lightly. But I was very psyched up, and dead keen on this very prominent Munro, so some light rain didn't affect me at all. A thing that caused more concern was the fact that after a short distance along the gravel road I was met with a sign saying "Diversion, forestry work". A diversion is usually never a good sign, but at this stage I had no idea what it would mean in practice. After some hesitations I decided to follow the signed diversion, hoping that there would be more signs as and when required. Luckily whoever had put up the first diversion-sign had also been wise enough to put up another sign where "my" forest road met a gravel road, and where the path through the forest started.
The path through the forest was fine enough, but very boggy in places, at least at this time of the year. So before I got out of the forest I was soaking wet up to a little below my knees, thanks to being fooled by the firmness of the ground in a couple of places. But there were more bog to come, so at the end it didn't matter much, which of course I didn't know at the time.
When I got a little above the forest I got a fair view of the summit (I assumed) and the ridge leading towards it. I could see a path heading off to my right and heading for the ridge, but to me it seemed much more tempting to head straight for the summit, at least since the path was very wet and boggy. In hindsight I'm still not sure what would have been the easiest route, but I think I would have done the direct route also if I did a second visit to this mountain (assuming the "normal" route was still closed for hiking). The one possible benefit of the ridge is that the views might be nicer, but that would assume nicer weather than what I had during my hike. Also, the ridge is probably more exposed of wind than the route I followed.
The hike up the north-east slopes were strenuous, in particular thanks to a lot of wet and soft grass and moss. And as I started to get closer to the summit the wind was picking up considerably. Also, my feet were getting very cold; so cold that I eventually found shelter behind a large stone and took off my shoes and socks. While wringing my socks I put my feet into my rucksack, and covered them with my spare wool sweater. This helped and I was ready to take on the final ascent before the ridge. Up at the ridge the wind was so strong that it was hard to walk properly, and I soon found out that it would probably get even worse at the summit; I met two hikers coming down, and they told me that they had abandoned their attempt at continuing towards Stob Binnein (which I also had on my plan for the day) because of the wind. They were actually arguing that the only way they would have been able to make it across to this second Munro in the area would have been by crawling! This information didn't change my plan, but when I got to the summit not long after I did indeed understand what they had been talking about. So after a couple of summit photos I turned around and headed back down the same way I had arrived.
Getting down the wet and soft slopes of Ben More was of course much easier than ascending, so the hike back to the car was done without using a terrible amount of energy, except from continuously wiggling my toes to keep them warm enough for reasonable comfort. Back at the car I did a complete change of clothes, before taking on the long drive back to Dunfermline and well deserved food and beer.