943 m. |
Translation: Hill of the bay
Pronuncation: Ben Vorlich
Of the two Beinn Vorlich Munros this was the second one I had the privilege of climbing. No. 1, the Loch Earn Munro, had been my two hundredth Munro. And yes: After topping out on that one Frank and I had become increasingly single-minded and very intent on finishing off the tick list at last. That single-mindedness was also the reason why we had decided to come to Scotland in the middle of November to bag the Arrochar Alps.
On a misty Monday morning on 17 November we thus parked at the hikers’ layby opposite Ardlui Station. The rain gear came on immediately since it was cold and very damp. We followed the road to the second railway underpass and turned right to cross under the West Highland Railway Line. The path then continued uphill through grass for a few hundred metres until it reached the burn draining Coire Creagach which had a rough mountain track for ATVs high on its left bank.
This ATV track climbed very steeply into the open upper reaches of Coire Creagach. The terrain underfoot changed from grit to grass and bog but the ATV track remained easily recognizable all the way to the bealach between Stob nan Choinnch Bhacain and Beinn Vorlich.
From the bealach we followed a faint path that climbed around the first steep rise in the north-east ridge. Then we decided to gain the crest of the ridge which had some steep sections and became rockier the further up you get. There were one or two rock bands which sported some easy scrambling but which also required great care because of the wet weather and the slippery surface of the rocks underneath.
Then the North Top of Beinn Vorlich appeared before us in the fog. From there it was an easy stroll over the broad ridge to the true summit of Beinn Vorlich and its cairn where we remained engulfed in clouds, felt a strong wind chill and also had some showery rain beating down on us.
When planning the hike we had pondered using the alternative descent route via the Little Hills. But now the weather allowed now views of the surrounding hills and Loch Lomond at all. In fact, it felt a little foolhardy to venture into the unknown and – as the books said – complex terrain ahead. It was thus easy for us to choose simplicity over variety: We retraced our steps all the way down to Coire Creagach. Once we were below the 600m contour the clouds lifted a bit and Loch Lomond and the lower slopes of Beinn Chabhair (?) became discernible. The rain and the wind subsided and we took off the rain gear. Once back on the gritted lower section of the ATV track we took a short break and had a good look around the corrie. Oh well, not much difference to any other grassy open corrie in Scotland. Then we headed back to the A82 and our car.
Munro No. two-five-eight (Cord) and two-four-eight (Frank) bagged. Mission accomplished. It was a good and short half-day walk. And even though the weather was not really comfortable it was still much better than we had expected it to be in November. You’ve got to be content with what the mountains give you. And so we were.
Max elevation: 950 m
Min elevation: -2 m
Total climbing: 975 m
Total descent: -976 m
Total Time: 05:13:15
Description Ben Vorlich is the northernmost of the Arrochar Alps, rising to the north of Inveruglas between Loch Sloy and the north end of Loch Lomond. The mountain is a long crescent-shaped ridge running roughly from south to north with an eastward spur, the Little Hills, jutting out above Loch Lomond.The shortest route to Ben Vorlich is from Ardlui by Coire Creagach to reach the north ridge of the hill. Continue up this over the North Top and along a fairly level ridge to the summit, which is on a prominent little crag overlooking Loch Sloy. Another possible route starts from Inveruglas and goes up the long south ridge of Ben Vorlich over several knolls and little tops.