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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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!