Ben Venue (729m)

Saturday 8th September 2018

Distance: 12kms - Duration: 6hrs - Group Size: 14

Walk Leader - Mhairi

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Ben Venue offers everything that makes a great walk; wonderful views across Loch Ard as you park and boot up, a fine forest walk with waterfalls tumbling down the Ledard Burn followed by a long winding ascent over a narrow bealach and finally the views towards the rocky and truly mountainous looking twin peaks of Ben Venue itself.

A narrow, and quite rough path leads up through the deciduous woodland following the course of the Ledard Burn where the waters create a series of small waterfalls which tumble down the rocks into pools of calmer water; the path eventually breaking free of the trees and into the open moorland above the upper reaches of Ledard Glen. Here we had the first views of the hills ahead, although not yet of Ben Venue, as it is the rugged southern crags of the 700m summit of Beinn Bhreac which first comes into view, with it's neighbour, Creag a'Bhealaich forming the bealach beyond which Ben Venue lies hidden from view.

Crossing to the east bank of the Ledard Burn, the path continues in a rising contour up the hillside until it reaches the bealach ahead, a fine spot from which to gain a closer view 0f the rugged summit of Beinn Bhreac, near enough to tempt a detour, but which, on closer inspection, would probably present more of a challenge than as seen on first glance. Continuing our traverse beyond the bealach, Ben Venue eventual comes into view; a fine spectacle with its rocky slopes and twin tops, visible today through a slight layer of drifting cloud.

A short descent down to a col at about 585m brought us to the unsightly large pile of stones which mark the junction of the paths from Ledard Farm and Loch Achray, and at which point, the relatively easy grassy track gave way to a steep, and rocky section as we started the final ascent towards the twin tops of Ben Venue. As we approached the summit area, the path split, leaving us with the option of which route to take to the tops, branch right to visit the Trig Point to the east, or do we go left to the true summit on the west top - we went right, now scrambling up a rough rocky track to reach the remains of the Trig Point, at 727m, the top where most people head for, and from where many descend, not having realised that, although this top contains the Trig Point, the true summit is in fact some 400 metres to the west, and some 2 metres higher, topping out at 729m. We, therefore, took a few moments to regroup around the Trig Point before heading off west along the summit ridge to where a much smaller cairn marks the true summit at 729m. A fine mountain, with wonderful view, especially those from the west top looking down over Loch Katrine.

Descending from the west top, we rejoined the main route at the path junction and simply retraced our steps back over the bealach, descending down through the woodland and back to the lochside.

A brilliant walk, on a great little mountain - Thanks Mhairi.

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