A Fine Day in Perthshire: Ben Vorlich & Stuc a’Chroin

After a successful trip a few weeks earlier taking in Ben Lui and Beinn a’Chleibh, Sarah and I were keen to get back out and get up some more new mountains. We opted for 2 well known hills in Perthshire – Ben Vorlich and Stuc a’Chroin.

[June 2019]

I always enjoy a drive through the Trossachs, so was only too happy to set off on another journey to this neck of the woods. The start point for our walk was Loch Earn (with an obligatory toilet stop at Loch Lubnaig en route) and we arrived around 0830,  very pleased to see the clouds were above the tops despite a questionable forecast.

Eager to get going, we set off just before 0840 up the track towards Ben Vorlich, our first Munro of the day.

The day’s first target

Conditions were ideal – it was overcast with a bit of a breeze so a perfect temperature for walking. The path was extremely easy to follow and climbed steadily, giving us a reasonably easy start to the day, which – after 5 days in Berlin where we did very little but eat – was a welcome relief!

Easy going to begin with

The views improved with every metre we gained, especially so to the north towards Ben Lawers and its neighbours.

Great views towards the Lawers range

Around the 500m mark the gradient steepened significantly and the going became slightly tougher, but this gave us an excuse to stop often for short breaks and to admire the great views across Perthshire.

After one last steep pull, we reached the summit of Ben Vorlich shortly before 1100, 2h 20mins after leaving the car. This was probably a little slow compared to our usual pace, but we’ll definitely blame that on the Berlin trip!

We took in the spectacular views and hopped across the summit ridge to the slightly lower eastern cairn, where the view west was fantastic. The wind was starting to pick up slightly though, so we decided to start heading downhill towards Stuc a’Chroin to find a suitable place to stop for lunch.

Stuc a’Chroin from Ben Vorlich
Ben Vorlich’s summit
Spectacular summit views

We found a couple of extremely comfortable seat-shaped rocks at around 850m and enjoyed a well earned rest and a tasty lunch of pasta and sandwiches before continuing on towards Stuc a’Chroin, which looked very rocky and rugged indeed.

Rocky looking Stuc a’Chroin

Other than a couple of boggy sections to cross, there were no difficulties reaching the foot of Stuc a’Chroin’s imposing face, so we made good progress to here, scanning the steep terrain in front to pick out our way up.

Sarah heading for the second target of the day

If it had been a cloudy day, I imagine it would have been a little more difficult to pick out the ‘path’ up Stuc a’Chroin from Ben Vorlich as it peters out a couple of times to cross some boulders, so it would definitely be necessary to take extra care here if conditions were not favourable. But with good conditions and my Garmin watch for added peace of mind, we followed the path and zig-zagged our way up towards the summit. The scrambling was reasonably interesting at times, but nothing too complex or tricky. This would be a different story in the wet, I think.

Ben Vorlich from the ascent
Steep going
Negotiating the steep face of Stuc a’Chroin

After a tough 45 mins or so to negotiate the steepest section of the day, we reached the summit of Stuc a’Chroin around 1245. We were noticeably slower than usual, but the views were excellent and the walk was very enjoyable so we definitely weren’t fussed at all.

More great summit views
Ben Lomond and the Arrochar Alps

After spending a wee bit of time at the summit taking in the lovely views, we headed for the descent route, which was slightly west of where we ascended and followed a steep path rather than scrambling back down. This was tough on tired and out-of-practice knees, but we soon made it to the bottom of this steep section and had a gentle (albeit long) boggy trudge back to the main path and then to the car.

Looking back towards the descent route

We made good steady progress back towards the path, spurred on a little by the rain clouds that were now approaching from the north. It was tricky at points to pick out a decent route through some of the boggy sections (again, this would have been worse after some heavy rain), but we managed to keep ourselves reasonably clean and dry.

Rain approaching

After an exhausting but enjoyable day, we made it back to the car around 1500, giving us a total journey time of around 6hrs 20mins. We had definitely picked the pace up on the descent given the good path and relatively gentle terrain. Combined with a long lunch stop, we hadn’t actually been that much slower than usual!

A colourful end to the day

Pleased with the day’s effort and happy to have 2 more Munros under our belt, we headed home where a big dinner and a well earned sleep was waiting (after an obligatory toilet stop, of course!).

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