The view over the Trossachs and Loch Katrine from the summit of Ben A'an is phenomenal for its height making this a very rewarding walk.
Cross the road from the car park to a path which climbs up steeply through mixed woodland and is soon accompanied by a burn on the right.
The path levels out after crossing the burn by a footbridge (a).
Just beyond the bridge after a short steep section a knoll on the left offers a good view over Loch Achray beyond the path you have followed to this point.
The path becomes very easy for a while and meanders through pines and deciduous forests beside the burn.
When it finally emerges from the trees the conical summit of Ben Aan is suddenly revealed ahead.
On the left there is a viewpoint looking over the Trossachs steamer pier.
A little further on is an open area at the foot of some stone steps. A large rock on the left is often used as a picnic table and a faint path leads off to to the left to the base of a steep rocky escarpment often used by rock climbers(b). Ignore this and continue toward the steps.
The 'easy' path now turns right and becomes more demanding with steep stone steps on a path with lots scrambly bits up loose rock. Where it becomes possible to cross the burn above a small waterfall, take the opportunity to cross as the right bank becomes difficult and overgrown. A path with some steps continues on the left bank. Follow this path to the summit, taking care on the rocky slabs just before the summit.
Pause occasionally to catch breath and enjoy the view back.
It generally takes about an hour to reach the summit though the super-fit can do it in half this time.
The highest point on the route (c) is 1,491 feet and the path ends at its twin rocky peaks each providing vast landscapes of Scotland in different directions west over Loch Katrine past Stronachlacher at Loch Lomond to the 'Arrochar Alps' and 'the Cobbler' and south-east over Loch Achray and the Campsie Fells.
You can sometimes see the steamer Sir Walter Scott as she leaves for trips up Loch Katrine.
This walk gets a bit busy at times - last time I was up there there were about 25 people on the top!
After visiting the summit, if you have the time and energy it's worth continuing west past the summit on the ill defined path leading down towards a fence in the distance. Don't cross the fence, but follow left down a somewhat wet path to the woods, staying close to the fence all the way. This leads down to Loch Katrine with a walk of about 3 miles along the lochside and down the Trossachs road to Loch Achray and the car park.
The return is by the same path and should take little more than thirty minutes.
The route on the map is shown in red below. The optional circular addition is shown blue.
The altitude profile indicated there are only 2 steepish sections, one at the start and another about 1/4 mile from the summit, with the remainder being fairly level walking.
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