Ben Lomond -one of Scotland's most acclaimed landmarks and most popular hill walks.
The east side of Loch Lomond is dominated by the large profile of Ben Lomond, Scotland's most southerly munro (974 metres/3192 feet) and is clearly visible from every area of the loch. It remains one of the most popular hill walks in Scotland with over 30,000 people from all over the world heading for the summit each year. The views from the summit provide a stunning panorama of the contrast between the flat Central Lowlands and the endless mountains of the Highlands
Located at Rowardennan on the quieter eastern shore of Loch Lomond it has long been a visitor destination with the first recorded tourist ascent in 1756. Ben Lomond is in the ownership of the National Trust for Scotland and is accessible by footpath from the car park at Rowardennan. The climb up and down should take approximately 4-5 hours.
There is a lot more to the mountain than the views beyond it. Ben Lomond offers a variety of habitats and wildlife and traces of centuries of human presence. The name Lomond most likely derives from the Gaelic word laom meaning 'beacon' or 'blaze of light'. It is likely that warning beacons were lit on the summit long ago. Ben Lomond can be seen from large areas of central Scotland including Dumbarton Rock, ancient capital of the Britons of Strathclyde who held sway over Loch Lomondside long ago.
Rob Roy MacGregor was a cattle drover, leader of the MacGregor Clan and outlaw. His exploits were popularised through the writings of Sir Walter Scott, securing for him a name as a folk hero in Scottish History. Rob Roy owned the Ardess area (close to the Rowardennan Hotel) between 1711 and 1713. Many other people also lived here over the centuries and traces of their presence can be seen on the lower slopes, including house sites, rig and furrow (a type of corrugated cultivation dug by spade), bloomery mounds (Where iron was smelted) and even the odd illicit whisky still site!
The Ardess Hidden History Trail links up some of these archaeological remains and gives an insight into life here over 300 years ago. The trails starts at Ardess Lodge NTS Ranger Centre.
Centuries of human use have greatly affected the vegetation cover on Ben Lomond, but the mountain still retains a rich diversity of natural habitats. These range from oak and birch dominated woodlands on the lower slopes, through a mosaic of blanket bog, heath and grassland to the alpine flora and moss heath of the summit area. Common plants such as the yellow bog asphodel, pink common spotted orchid and star sedge with its star-shaped heads can be seen in late summer beside the paths.
Wildlife include the adder which does well in the bracken-covered lower slopes, however they are difficult to
see as it usually slithers off on our approach. You may also spot a ptarmigan, however at the southern limit of their range only one or two pairs manage to to raise broods every year. Their grey and white plumage hides them well among the rocks. Feral goats can be found on the west slopes of Ptarmigan peak. These wild goats have decended from domestic animals abandoned centuries ago when people had to leave their farmsteads.
Get out, get active and climb Ben Lomond
Ben Lomond can be reached by taking the B837 road to Rowardennan, 12 miles north of Drymen. Drymen is just off the A811 which links Stirling with Balloch.