Ben Lomond by the Ptarmigan ridge

by Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com Sep/2011
This route has been read 2,793 times
Walking

Rising within sight of Glasgow, Scotland's most southerly Munro is also among its most popular. Ben Lomond stands in a dominant position overlooking the Loch of the same name, its edge-of-the-highlands location giving it a wide ranging outlook spanning both the mountainous north and the low lying Central Belt. The standard linear route from Rowardennan is the hillwalker’s equivalent of a motorway, busy year-round. This comparatively less-visited ascent via the minor summit of Ptarmigan gives a longer and more interesting circuit.

photo
Ben Lomond from The Cobbler

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Detailed description

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NS3595098635 Follow the West Highland Way north along the loch shore, soon turning slightly inland to skirt right of the Rowardennan youth hostel. Just beyond some rangers’ cottages branch off right onto a path beside a burn, climbing through woods and then up a more open hillside. Below the prominent waterfall stay left instead of crossing a stile, making a long rising traverse with an outlook over Loch Lomond. The path passes below scattered rock outcrops before zigzagging steeply onto the grassy 'summit' of Ptarmigan.

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NN3582002205 Ptarmigan is less a defined summit, more like the last pimple on the end of a broad curving ridge. Follow the high ground between rocks, pools and boggy patches, following the ridge as it loops around the head of a shallow corrie to reach the summit slopes of Ben Lomond. The ground steepens and the path gets rougher for the final pull to the top.

+Looking northwest from Ben Lomond, 81 kbLooking northwest from Ben Lomond
© Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com
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+Loch Lomond from Ben Lomond, 52 kbLoch Lomond from Ben Lomond
© Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com


At the summit trig point you join the busy normal route to descend. At first the main path runs just below the edge of Ben Lomond’s northern cliffs, and it's more interesting to follow this crest rather than the trail itself. As the cliff edge begins to curve northeast drop to the main path. This zigzags down a fairly steep slope and then makes a more gentle descent across the open moorland below, following the vague spur of Sron Aonich with the island-scattered lower reaches of Loch Lomond stretching out below. The path enters some woods, soon leading back to Rowardennan.

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