After spending some time in the New Lanark UNESCO heritage site, we drove towards the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, the first National Park in Scotland. We chose to stop in Callander, a popular town often considered by many as the gateway to the Highlands. We spent two nights over there in order to explore the region and do some hikes around.
It was already late when we arrived in our bnb, so we decided to go for some food in the Crown Hotel nearby and called it a day.
We had a good night of sleep and our first Scottish breakfast the next morning ! It was good, but I find the Scottish sausages very mushy in general…. :-(
We took the car and drove towards Loch Venachar, stopped to see what we thought was Hamish, the famous Highland Cow, before learning that Hamish has died last year :-(
Highland cows are quite fascinating regardless, as they have no layer of fat to keep them warm ! Instead they have an extra coat that keep them protected from the rain. In addition, their fringe keeps the wind and the rain out of their eyes in the winter, and the sun and insects in the summer :-)
We left the fake but cute Hamish, and continued our drive towards Loch Venachar, before stopping once again to admire the views ! Loch Venachar is very pretty, and the Harbour café and restaurant looked very appealing to us, so we decided to have a latte before the hike ! (I’m starting to take pictures with my iphone as well, it’s quite convenient sometimes and the quality is not that bad)
After this little break, we drove towards Loch Achray and found the car park for our hike. The car park and the route to reach Ben A’an t is currently closed due to some repairs, so we had to use Ben Venue car park. Everything is well indicated, so no chance to get lost :-)
Ben A’an is a popular hike as it is known as the “mountain in miniature”. The hike itself is not very long (4 km), but quite steep and can be very challenging while going up-hill. Once you get on the top, you are rewarded by a beautiful view of Loch Katrine, with the famous Ben Venue in the background and Loch Achray on the other side :-)
We started the hike and it was already climbing steeply as we entered into the woods. In some places, it was also a bit muddy, but they placed some mats on the floor to avoid to get stuck in the mud :-) Well done guys ! When it was really steep, they also installed some ropes on the side so you could help yourself. I wish I had taken my walking sticks with me.. but they were still in Leeds. I planned to take them, but completely forgot to put them in the car ;-)
Once we arrived into the birch woods, the path was getting a bit flatter to my relief, and I could caught up my breath. Far away, we could see a summit shaped like a pyramid.. at the beginning, I didn’t think it was Ben A’an (and I remembered Le telling me, “don’t worry, it’s not Ben A’an”), aka the end of our walk, because it seemed so far away.. but it was Ben A’an indeed… unfortunately :p
The flat section was very short and soon enough, we started a steep and rocky path … I stopped several times, pretending to enjoy the views and take some pictures, but it was just to catch up my breath :D
One last bit of rocks to climb and we reached the summit… and we could admire the incredible and breathtaking views !! It was just amazing !!! All the sweat and the effort was well worth it !