Ben A'an is the 'little mountain' that sits in the centre of The Trossachs, and forms a lofty viewpoint over the head of Loch Katrine. Friends had recommended the hill as a family-friendly walk that would be within the range of our five year-old. It appeared to tick all the boxes; no long walk in/out, great views, nice steep summit to give a little feel of adventure for the boys, and not too far from home. So today we drove South to give it a go.
The path works it way steeply up through the trees from the car park alongside Loch Achray. Eventually, it breaks through the tree-line to reveal the first view of the summit, which on first sight, between the branches, looks fairly intimidating. (click on photo to enlarge). When we stopped at this point, the view was impressive enough for the kids to point and ask, "Are we really going up there!"
The climb up the gully alongside the summit, is steep, and slippery when wet. Happily the worst parts have been re-enforced to make them very straightforward even for the smaller members of the family. It's great to see our daughter getting strong and confident in the hills, being more than capable of leaning into a good hour or so's uphill walking at a reasonable pace. The summit, once made, is a gorgeous little spot, with a nice rocky peak to scramble on. The winds were gusting quite powerfully, so I had to hold onto our youngest quite carefully as she scaled the last few feet. Nevertheless she made it, and along with the others sat for the inevitably posed summit-photo with Loch Katrine and Ben Lomond as the backdrop.
Loch Katrine is often visited in order to ride on the Sir Walter Scott, the lovely old steam-ship which still plies its waters. We watched her making sedate progress up the Loch, before drifting gently into Trossachs Pier, right at the foot of the hill.
I can't actually remember who it was who recommended this walk to us, but if it was you.... thanks!