Ben Lomond is a fine mountain, deserving of its popularity. It should have a big flag on the summit saying ‘The Highlands start here!’ It’s many a walker’s first Munro – the name given to the 282 mountains in Scotland over 3000ft – and its accessibility means it vies with the likes of Ben Nevis and Cairn Gorm as Scotland’s most-climbed mountain. Countless feet have worn a wide path up the nose of Sron Aonaich and along its easy south ridge, but there’s more adventure to be found on the less-trodded Ptarmigan Ridge. Ben Lomond bears its load well, looming over Loch Lomond like a benign giant with its arms outstretched for people to clamber along and up on to its wide summit cone. But that image is a little misleading, for the summit cone is actually a narrow ridge and far below over its steep edge lies a wild corrie with cliffs, steep ridges and trackless rough terrain. Ben Lomond is so much more than a quick up-and-down from the Rowardennan car park. It covers a huge area, throwing ridges out to all sides, and approaches can be made from all points of the compass. On a good weather day tackle Ben Lomond via the main Sron Aonaich path and down the initially steep but wonderfully quiet Ptarmigan Ridge – all accessible from the car park.
How hard? This is a strenuous route with a decent amount of ascent. It follows clear mountain paths most of the way; the descent from the summit of Ben Lomond onto Ptarmigan ridge is steep; and the ridge is narrow and rough at points, but is generally easy to follow.
Start point Rowardennan car park (NS359986)
Distance 11.5km/7 miles
Time 5 hours
Best map OS Explorer 39
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