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.
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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Distance: 7.24 miles (11.65 km)
Total ascent: 994m
Steepest Gradient: 52% (1 in 2)
Time: 4:30 hours (Walking)
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SummitsBen Lomond 974 m
Rowardennan car park, NS359986
Clear well-trodden paths all the way; some reasonably steep inclines.
An excellent winter round, a little steep in the final ascent to Ben Lomond but with no notable difficulties. The edge of the northeast corrie may be corniced.
Weather and Hill Conditions: mwis: West Highlands – Met Office: West Highlands
Buses up the east shore of Loch Lomond only run as far as Balmaha. Alternatively catch a Citylink bus from Glasgow to Inverbeg or Luss on the west bank of the loch, from where seasonal waterbus services connect to Rowardennan: see http://www.lochlomond-trossachs.org/images/20110606%20Loch%20Lomond%20Water%20Bus%20routes%202011.jpg
West Highland Way, Dan Bailey, pb. Pocket Mountains http://www.pocketmountains.com/product/west-highland-way The Munros, SMC http://www.smc.org.uk/Publications/Publications.php?ID=1
OS Explorer 364 (1:25,000), OS Landranger 56 (1:50,000), OS Landranger 50 (1:50,000)
Rowardennan Lodge YH 0870 004 1148 Bear in mind the seasonal wild camping restrictions on the east shore of Loch Lomond - see this http://www.ukhillwalking.com/news/item.php?id=62314 news item.
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by Dan Bailey UKH