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Ben Vane: The Ultimate Munro Bagging Guide (2023)

Ben Vane: The Ultimate Munro Bagging Guide (2023)

Ben Vane is a spectacular Munro located in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. From the mountain’s summit, you’ll enjoy splendid views of Loch Lomond. Whilst, the hike to the peak is an exhilarating experience. In this guide, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about bagging this Munro!

A Loch Lomond cruise is a memorable thing to do in the national park. Make sure to do a Loch Lomond Cruise during your visit to the area.

How to Climb Ben Vane

In this guide, you’ll find information about the Ben Vane Walk itself as well as details about all of the essential logistics. After providing trail specs, maps, terrain and elevation profile details, we’ll provide a trail description. Then, we’ll talk about getting there, where to park, where to stay nearby and what to wear and pack. Certainly, this is the ultimate ‘how to’ guide when it comes to sumitting Ben Vane.

Dan approaches Ben Van

About Ben Vane

At 915 metres above sea level, Ben Vane only just scrapes in as Munro, which is a mountain higher than 914 metres (3,000 feet) above sea level. Despite being Scotland’s shortest Munro, it’s by no means the easiest Munro walk. Of course, no Munro walk is easy. But, you’d be forgiven for thinking the shortest Munro would be the easiest to climb. Certainly, it’s not the hardest Munro to bag. But, with several false summits and some mild scrambling nearing the summit, Ben Vane is still somewhat challenging to summit.

Ben Vane is actually one of four Munros in the Arrochar Alps, which is a compact mountainous area west of Loch Lomond. The other three Munros in the Arrochar Alps are Ben Vorlich, Beinn Ime and Beinn Narnain.

FYI – confusingly, there is another mountain in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park with a similar name – Benvane. This mountain is located east of Loch Lomond.

Dan approaches Ben Vane

Where Is Ben Vane?

Ben Vane is located in the Arrochar Alps in the southern highlands of Scotland. To help get your bearings, please click on the image below to access an interactive map of the area.

A screenshot of a map showing the location of Ben More

Ben Vane Statistics

Below, you’ll find trail specs for the Ben Vane Walk.

  • Type: Out & Back
  • Distance: 11.7km (7.3 miles)
  • Time: 4.5–6.5 hours
  • Accumulated elevation gain: 1,040m
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trailhead: Inveruglas Visitor Centre

Ben Vane Route Maps

In terms of trail navigation, Beck and I used a GPS-guided map to help us navigate the route. We found assistance with trail navigation throughout the walk to be helpful.

A screenshot a map showing the Ben Vane walking route.

Ben Vane: Terrain and Profile

Initially, you’ll encounter road and track walking. Eventually, you’ll reach a steeper trail traversing through the rocky hillside. You’ll also meet the odd mild scramble to progress near the summit.

Overall, the walk involves about 1,040 metres of accumulated elevation gain. So, you’ll have your work cut out!

Elevation profile for the Ben Vane Walk

Ben Vane: Walk Description

Below, we’ll briefly describe the Ben Vane Walk. Here, our intention isn’t to describe the walk step-by-step. After all, you can use a map for trail instructions. Rather, our aim here is to provide a snappy overview with some photos to show you the highlights of the walk.

Where to Start: Inveruglas Visitor Centre

The walk begins from the Inveruglas Visitor Centre, on the western shores of the famous Loch Lomond. After crossing the A82 tarmac road, you’ll immediately pass the Sloy Hydro-Electric Power Station (AKA Sloy Power Station). You’ll then continue southwards, along the A82 road. Soon enough, you’ll turn right to join a track that leads you straight towards Ben Vane.

Loch Lomond, Inveruglas Visitor Centre
Loch Lomond, Inveruglas Visitor Centre

Up to the Ben Vane Summit

The well-defined wide track steadily inclines and winds its way through the hilly terrain. During these stages of the walk, you’ll enjoy a clear look at the mountain you’re soon to climb! You’ll also walk by the impressive A’ Chrois mountain (848 metres above sea level), whilst other Arrochar Alps Munros such as Beinn Narnain and Beinn Ime can be seen in the distance.

Dan walks on a gravel track

Eventually, you’ll turn left onto a gravel road and straight away, you’ll notice it’s steeper. Soon after joining the gravel road, you’ll turn right onto an even steeper trail – this is the one leading to the summit of Ben Vane. This is where the tough slog really begins!

During the ascent, you’ll encounter steep and winding trails up the eastern side of the mountain. Often, there is a well-defined stepped trail. But, at other times, there are several trails running alongside one another. Similar to climbing Ben More in Crianlarich, the steep walk feels unrelenting at times. After bagging around a dozen Munros in the previous week, Beck and I were certainly feeling the brutal nature of this ascent!

Loch Sloy

During your ascent, you’ll enjoy views of the viaduct at Sloy Dam as well as far-reaching views of Loch Sloy. Of course, the views of Loch Lomond are the most impressive.

Dan near the Ben Vane summit

Ben Vane Summit

After catching some delightful views of Loch Lomond, it’s time to continue your push to the summit. You’ll soon reach a series of steeper sections with a few teasing false summits. Finally, you’ll arrive at a final climb to reach the base of the peak’s flat plateau. The large flat expanse atop Ben Vane provides a stellar viewpoint of the surrounding mountains and highlands. Whilst, you’ll find several rocky cairns at the peak’s plateau.

Personally, when Beck and I arrived at the summit, we were unfortunately met by mist. So, atop the summit, we did have a temporary whiteout. Thankfully, with the mist rolling in and out, we managed to catch a glimpse of the outstanding views atop the mountain’s peak.

Dan at the Ben Vane summit

Returning From the Ben Vane Summit

After refuelling at the summit, we began to retrace our steps to complete the walk. As we descended the mountain, we encountered improved weather and visibility. So, fortunately, we enjoyed even better views on the way back down the mountain.

Admittedly, the track and road walking back to the Inveruglas Visitor Centre was a tad on the tedious side of things. But, having reached the A82 road, you’re only a stone’s throw away from completing the walk.

Well done, that’s just another Munro you’ve bagged!

Now you know all bout the walk itself, let’s look at some logistics to help plan your trip. Let’s start with getting there in the first place.

How to Get to Ben Vane in Scotland

The quickest and easiest way to get to Inveruglas to do the walk is to drive there yourself. If you don’t have your own set of wheels, then we recommend hiring a car using Rentalcars.com. You’ll find a wide variety of cars on Rental Cars for reasonable prices. The website is user-friendly and booking online is super easy.

Ben Vane Parking

In Inveruglas, you’ll find a large free car park at the Inveruglas Visitor Centre. Indeed, this is exactly where the walk begins.

After completing the walk, we recommend checking out the visitor centre itself. You’ll find a nice cafe on-site, as well as toilets for your convenience. Of course, you’ll also have to scope out more superb views of Loch Lomond from its western shores. You’ll also find the Inveruglas Pyramid (AKA An Ceann Mòr), which is an eight metre high, pyramid-shaped installation. Certainly, this structure is the site of many a selfie at Loch Lomond.

Public Transport

It’s also possible to use public transport to get to Inveruglas. From Glasgow, you can catch a bus directly to a bus stop next to the Inveruglas Visitor Centre. Indeed, ease of accessibility is one of the reasons it’s a popular route option. We recommend using Google Maps and Citylink to help plan your journey using public transport.

Accommodation​​

If you want to stay near Ben Vane, then we recommend staying in the stunning Arrochar Alps. There are plenty of great accommodation options in and around the village of Arrochar. Below, we’ll look at the best budget, mid-range and luxurious accommodation options.

  • Budget – Village Inn: the cosy lodgings at the Village Inn offer guests amazing views of the Arrochar Alps. There’s a restaurant and bar on-site as well as a beer garden.
  • Mid-range – Glebe Country House Tarbet: the Glebe Country House Tarbet is a lovely guest house featuring great views and also a brilliant breakfast!
  • Luxury – Ben Arthur’s Bothy: for a home away from home experience, you can’t beat Ben Arthur’s Bothy. Although, you’ll likely find this ‘bothy’ a lot more luxurious than the traditional types. This fantastic four-bed apartment sleeps up to eight guests. You can even enjoy a delicious pub meal at the bothy.

Other Loch Lomond Walks

There are plenty of other great walks in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. Below, we’ll detail the best walks to do in the area.

Read more: Loch Lomond Walks – The 26 Best Walks in Loch Lomond

Dan walks on a trail near The Cobbler
Views from Ben Arthur (The Cobbler)

FAQs

Below, you’ll find the most frequently asked questions about Ben Vane.

Dan enjoying mountainous views

What Does Ben Vane Mean?

The meaning is derived from the Scottish Gaelic words, Beinn Mheadhain, which translates to ‘middle mountain’.

Is Ben Vane a Munro?

Yes, but only just! As mentioned, it’s the shortest Munro in Scotland. But, at the end of the day, a Munro is a Munro!

How Long Does It Take to Climb Ben Vane?

It can take anywhere between 4.5 and 6.5 hours to do this walk.

Is Ben Vane Hard to Climb?

We’ve rated the walk difficulty as moderate. That’s because walking up the steep and rocky incline is quite physically demanding. After all, you’ll climb over 1,000 metres! Certainly, hiking the shortest Munro in Scotland isn’t easy.

Is the Ben Vane Walk Suitable For Beginners?

Of course, every Munro walk presents a physical challenge given the elevation gain involved. When it comes to the level of difficulty involved to bag this Munro, it’s certainly on the easier side of the spectrum. So, perhaps this walk is suitable for beginner walkers who are starting to bag Munros. But, in saying that, this walk isn’t suitable for beginners, who haven’t climbed many, if any, mountains before. That’s because there are some steep and difficult sections to navigate. If you’re a beginner, it would be best to join an experienced hiker for this walk.

What Is the Best Time to Climb Ben Vane?

Typically, the best weather in Scotland is in May and June. So, most visitors head to Scotland at this time or during the middle of the year (April to October) to take advantage of the warmer and dryer weather. But, after all, mountain weather can be unpredictable.

Is the Ben Vane Path Waymarked?

No, this trail isn’t waymarked. So, we recommend using a map to help with trail navigation.

Where to Park For Ben Vane?

For information about the car park, please read the section about parking.

What to Wear and Take

Below, you’ll find our gear essentials for this walk.

For a longer hiking gear list, check out our 66 Travel Items You Must Travel With. For a general list of everything else you’d need for travelling, read our Packing Checklist.

Bonus Tips

  • Ben Vane weather: as mentioned, mountain weather can be unpredictable. It’s not surprising to encounter low temperatures, high-speed wind and plentiful rainfall in the Arrochar Alps, even during summer. Thankfully, there are two mountain forecasts you can scope out before setting off. Check out either Met Office or Mountain Forecast for the latest weather forecast.
  • Visit on a clear day: to take advantage of the tremendous views from the summit, try and time the walk during good visibility.
  • Other route options: the Ben Vane and Ben Vorlich route is a more challenging route option. Additionally, the Ben Vane and Beinn Dubh Walk is another challenging route variation. Neither option we particularly recommend. But, these are other options if you’re looking to challenge yourself.

Please leave us a comment below.

Daniel Piggott

Physiotherapist turned travel blogger, Dan is a keen hiker, natural wonder seeker and world traveller. He loves writing travel guides to help his readers explore the most beautiful destinations in the world.

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