Ben Venue Walk from Loch Achray
The walk to Ben Venue from Loch Achray is an absolutely exceptional hike. If you get lucky with the weather, the views across Loch Katrine, Ben Lomond and beyond are outstanding. It’s a steady climb with several steeper sections where you need to use your hands, but this is one of our all-time favorite walks in the UK.
To get to the start of Ben Venue walk, head north from Aberfoyle on the A821 to Callander. After just less than 6.0mi, park at the Ben Venue car park on the left-hand side of the road, close to the shores of Loch Achray. The car park costs £3 for the day.
|When to do|
April to October
Out and back
Ben Venue Walk from Loch Achray
Ben Venue Walk Description
To start the Ben Venue walk from the car park, find the footpath that leads off from just beyond the information board and pay station. The path winds gently up and provides good views down to Loch Achray and the summit of Ben Venue.
At the junction turn right, following the sign for the Ben Venue mountain path. The path crosses a boggy area via a boardwalk, and then meets a minor road. Follow the signs and turn sharply left up a private road.
A little over half a kilometer up the Ben Venue trail, turn left onto a footpath that leads to the Achray Water Bridge. After crossing the bridge, turn right onto a broader track, following the well-marked footpaths.
From the broader track, you’ll walk west for around 984ft then take the path on your left into the forest.
The path climbs through the forest and then emerges onto another forest track. Turn right at this track to climb through the trees and reach another forest track. Turn left onto that track and then right at the next junction.
Soon the path diagonally crosses into another forest track. Ahead is now a long gentle climb up along the treeless, north side of Glean Riabhach.
Continue on the main path all the way to the ridge, crossing several flattish and slightly boggy areas. The ridge becomes steeper with some rocky parts to negotiate. The path reaches the lowest part of the ridge after 1.9mi; a large cairn marks this point.
Turn right for the summit of Ben Venue, the path climbs and falls along the ridgeline, and there is a touch of scrambling required, although it’s not particularly challenging. The ridge provides beautiful views in all directions.
After 1640ft and a descent, follow the path to the southeast of the summit. This path skirts around the rocky summit and brings you up between the twin summits of Ben Venue. At the junction here, head right to follow an easy scramble to the trig point before retracing your steps and taking the other path to find the small cairn that marks the true summit of Ben Venue. Both are worth a visit!
After enjoying the views, and perhaps a spot of lunch, the best option for the descent is to retrace your steps. Remember to turn left at the rocky cairn to descend into Gleann Riabhach. Once lower down, the return route is well marked all the way to the car park.
Walking Route Highlights
Ben Venue may mean ‘miniature mountain’ in Scottish Gaelic, but this craggy peak certainly has a big character. Towering over Loch Achray and Loch Katrine, Ben Venue offers magnificent views and is one of the classic peaks of the Trossachs. It’s also one of the most popular ‘Grahams’ in Scotland (a peak that rises between 2000ft and 2500ft above sea level). Despite its (relatively!) diminutive height, the trek to the top requires a stiff climb, but you won’t regret it – this Ben Venue walk is surely one of the most rewarding in the region.
What’s more, this beautiful mountain is steeped in local history and myth. To the north of the summit, close to the shore of Loch Katrine, you’ll find the Pass of the Cattle. This ancient trail was once regularly used by Highland cattle thieves as they fled with large herds of cows! The mountain itself has an air of mystery, and the famous poet Sir Walter Scott described it as being like a “fragments of an earlier world” in his narrative poem The Lady of the Lake. A walk up Ben Venue feels like a step back in time, back to an ‘earlier world’ when history and myth were inextricably entwined.
Loch Achray is a beautiful freshwater lake in the heart of the Trossachs, boasting beautiful views of Ben Venue and Ben A’an. This calm, peaceful spot is paradise for anglers as the rich waters of Loch Achray sustain a wide variety of fish, including brown trout, perch, pike and salmon. There’s plenty to see and do around the lake, with walking and cycling trails, and some pretty Scottish sights. Don’t miss the pretty little Trossach church below the slopes of Ben A’an, or the turrets and towers of Tigh Mor, a grand old house where Queen Victoria once stayed!
If you’re a keen photographer, Loch Achray has plenty to keep you occupied. Surrounded by picturesque woodland and the craggy peaks of Ben A’an and Ben Venue, Loch Achray is simply beautiful, exploding in a fine array of autumn colors in September. The placid waters of the lake act as a perfect mirror for the surrounding scenery, and it’s the ideal place to come for some quiet contemplation.
Deep in the heart of the Trossachs, Loch Katrine is one of the most iconic lakes in Scotland. The name Loch Katrine actually comes from the Gaelic ‘cateran’, which refers to a Highland thief, and the lake is so-named because it was the birthplace of one of Scotland’s most famous outlaws and folk heroes: Rob Roy MacGregor.
Today, Loch Katrine is a popular tourist destination, offering spectacular views along its 8.1mi length. This is the best place to admire the hills and forests of the Trossachs, whether from the walking and cycling trails that skirt the lake, or from the water itself! The steamship Sir Walter Scott regularly ferries passengers up and down the loch, just as it has done for more than a century.
Want to find more amazing walks in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park? Check out more amazing walks in Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, like the Ben A’an, Ben Lomond, or Loch Venachar.
Enjoy a picnic at the summit with views beyond description.
The car park often gets busy, so arrive early.
If you’re not up for the longer Ben Venue hike, take a shorter loop from the car park. There are still some excellent Scottish views to enjoy (signposted routes available- see information board at car park).
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