Ben Lomond Via Ptarmigan Ridge & Breathtaking Views Of The Loch

Following the path less travelled gave us a blissfully deserted ascent up Scotland’s most popular Munro

Amy Streator Wilson
3 min readMay 26, 2022
A person walking in the Scottish Highlands on a clear summer day
Reaching the false summit of Ptarmigan Ridge | Image my own

Despite this being Scotland’s busiest mountain, we found a route that avoided crowds and afforded us unparalleled views of the Trossachs to the north, the sea lochs to the west and even out to the Firth of Clyde. We were lucky enough to have perfect visibility and sun all day, making for one of the most memorable and spectacular hikes possible.

Trail Map

All Trails map showing the circular trail route up to Ben Lomond
Note the clockwise circular bearing north up the lake path to start | Source: All Trails

Trail Stats

Elevation gain: 3,186 ft
Distance: 7.5 miles
Time: ~4 hours
Season: Late Spring
Special equipment: Standard kit, plus extra water and factor 50 sunscreen

Trail Description

Parking at the edge of the loch right next to a restaurant, we veered north, away from the central out-and-back trail, hugging the side of the loch for almost a mile before starting the long, slow climb through stunted woodland and scrubby gorse bursting in full yellow bloom.

This welcome cover only made its way a little farther up the slope before leaving us completely. For much of the hike, we followed a path cut through the spongy heathland of bog grasses and dry reeds endemic to the Highlands.

Each time we stopped to apply more sunscreen and gulp down water, the view beneath us took our breath away. The higher we climbed the more of the lake we could see, complete with inlets, tiny beaches and mini islands emerging from the still water.

An absolutely glorious day for a hike! | Images all mine


Glorious sun & views out to the far summits over the sea. T-shirt weather with snow juggling at the top! Summit dogs: the spaniel puppy who bagged her first Munro and the pug who nearly beat us to the top.

Final Thoughts

Taking the Ptarmigan route and descending down the main path resulted in the perfect hike: virtual solitude on the way up and reassuring company on the way down as our tired legs started to mutter like mutineers.

Despite Scotland’s notoriety for driek weather, our issue was staying hydrated on such a hot day. Darrin Atkins’ advice in this post is always worth noting in warm weather wherever you are.

Finally, think twice about taking this route in bad conditions as the rocks at one part of the top section could be extremely treacherous in wet weather.

Apart from that one small word of caution, though, I can’t recommend this hike highly enough!

A hiker standing on a rock with a mountainous view behind
The view northwest toward Ben Vorlich and deeper into the Trossachs National Park | Image my own



Amy Streator Wilson

Interested in everything and everyone… yet hiking, travel, mountains, space, energy and sustainability really float my boat