Ben More’s Height: 1174m
Summit Grid Reference: NN 432 244
Translation: Big Hill
Start Point: At Benmore Farm or from Car Park Loch Lubhair (NN 420 263)
Ben More: Exploring the Majestic Scottish Mountain
Ben More, situated in the Breadalbane region of the southern Scottish Highlands, is a prominent landmark in the village of Crianlarich, near Stirling. Standing at an impressive 1,174 metres (3,852 ft), this majestic mountain holds the title of being the 16th highest in Scotland. Its name in Scottish Gaelic, Beinn Mhòr, translates to “the great mountain,” reflecting its grandeur and significance in the local landscape.
As the highest among the Crianlarich Hills, Ben More offers outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers fantastic opportunities to challenge themselves and explore the beauty of Scotland. Its picturesque surroundings, rich history, and captivating tales make it a sought-after destination for hikers and climbers alike.
The terrain of Ben More is varied and offers a multitude of routes, presenting adventurers with options based on their skill level and preference. Whether it’s a day trip or a more extended journey, Ben More promises breathtaking views, memorable experiences, and a true connection to the quintessential Scottish landscape.
Geography of Ben More
Location and Access
Ben More is a mountain located in the southern Scottish Highlands, specifically in the Breadalbane region, near the village of Crianlarich. This impressive mountain rises to an elevation of 1,174 metres (3,852 ft) and is the highest of the so-called Crianlarich Hills to the southeast of the village.
There are several other hills named Ben More in Scotland. For example, there is Ben More on the Isle of Mull with a height of 966 metres (3,169 ft) and Ben More Assynt with a height of 998 metres (3,274 ft). However, the Ben More near Crianlarich is the most prominent among them, being the 16th highest mountain in Scotland.
Access to this Munro is relatively easy through the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. The most common starting point is the Benmore Farm, a short drive from Crianlarich village.
Terrain and Features
The terrain of Ben More is characterised by its rugged and steep slopes. The mountain’s northern and eastern flanks are covered in grass with some patches of rocky outcrops. On the other hand, the southern and western flanks feature a mixture of rocks, heather, and scree.
There are three main ridges on the mountain. The northeastern ridge is the normal route of ascent and descent for most hillwalkers. The southwest ridge, known as Stob Binnein, is a popular alternative route, offering a more challenging climb with equally rewarding views. The third ridge, a northwestern spur, is less frequently climbed and is typically used for descent after summiting Stob Binnein.
The summit of Ben More offers panoramic views of the surrounding area, including the Crianlarich Hills, the Isle of Mull, and the Trossachs National Park—an ideal spot for photographers and nature enthusiasts alike.
Climbing and Hiking
Routes and Difficulty Levels
Ben More, standing at 1,174 metres, is the 16th highest mountain in Scotland and the highest peak in the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. It offers a challenging and steep hike due to its terrain, vague-to-invisible paths, and sheer steepness. However, the fantastic views make the effort worthwhile.
Most people begin their ascent at Ben More Farm on the A85, walking south-east to Ben More and then moving on to Stob Binnein. The summit of Ben More features a large cairn, and thanks to its height, the views from the top are usually superb. You can see many mountains of the southern Highlands over to Ben Lawers above Loch Tay, as well as Ben Lui in the west.
Another option for more experienced hikers is to combine Ben More and Stob Binnein, an adjacent mountain, in a single day’s climb. These routes can be more challenging, particularly in winter, with grassy slopes and boggy areas along the way.
When tackling a mountain like Ben More, it’s essential to take some safety precautions to ensure a successful and enjoyable hike. Consider the following tips:
Check the weather conditions: Weather in the Scottish Highlands can change rapidly, so be prepared for various conditions and adjust your plans accordingly. In adverse weather, it may be best to postpone the climb.
Wear appropriate clothing and footwear: Waterproof and breathable clothing is recommended, as well as sturdy, grippy walking boots to tackle the uneven and challenging terrain.
Bring navigation tools: While there are some marked paths, many trails on Ben More can be vague or difficult to follow. A map, compass, and GPS device (or a smartphone with appropriate mapping apps) can help you stay on track.
Pack essentials: Bring a hill walking essential kit, including a whistle, torch or headlamp, first aid kit, and high-energy food and water.
Let someone know your plans: Inform a friend or family member of your intended route and estimated return time. If something goes wrong, this information could be crucial in organising a rescue.
By keeping these tips in mind and being prepared for the challenges of climbing Ben More, you can enjoy a safe and memorable experience on this majestic Scottish peak.
Wildlife and Nature
Ben More, located on the Isle of Mull, is home to a diverse range of plant life. The lower slopes of the mountain are covered with extensive areas of heather, providing the perfect habitat for various species of wildlife. Ferns and mosses can be found in the damp, shady areas near water sources, such as streams and boggy ground. As you climb higher, the vegetation becomes more sparse, reflecting the harsher conditions experienced on the mountain’s upper reaches.
The Isle of Mull is well-known for its abundant wildlife, and Ben More is no exception. The mountain provides a habitat for a variety of animal species. Birdwatchers may spot various types of birds, such as golden eagles, buzzards, and red grouse, soaring above the slopes. Mammals such as red deer, mountain hares, and otters are also present on the island. In addition to these creatures, the surrounding waters are home to seals, dolphins, and even the occasional orca, offering visitors a unique opportunity to observe marine mammals in their natural environment.
While exploring the mountain’s diverse flora and fauna, it is essential to remain mindful of the delicate balance within this ecosystem. As a visitor to Ben More, it is crucial to minimise your impact on the area’s wildlife and natural beauty by practicing responsible outdoor behaviour, such as adhering to designated trails, properly disposing of waste, and respecting the habitat of the plants and animals that call this island home.
History and Cultural Significance
Ben More, located on the Isle of Mull in Scotland, has a significant role in both history and culture. As the highest mountain on Mull, Ben More stands tall at 966 metres and is the only Munro on the island. Munros are Scottish mountains over 3,000 feet, named after Sir Hugh Munro who first catalogued them. Ben More is unique in being the highest peak in the Scottish isles, apart from those on the Isle of Skye.
The name Ben More comes from the Scottish Gaelic phrase “Beinn Mhòr,” which means “great mountain.” This name embodies the mountain’s grandeur and majesty, reflecting its importance to the local community and visitors alike. The surrounding natural beauty and breathtaking landscapes make Ben More an attractive destination for hikers, climbers, and tourists.
As part of the island’s natural heritage, Ben More holds a special place in the heart of the local culture. It serves as a symbol of the rugged beauty and rich history of the Isle of Mull, inspiring awe and admiration in residents and visitors alike. Its presence has undoubtedly influenced the development of local traditions, stories, and folklore centred around the mountain and the island.
Additionally, the mountain is part of the broader story of Scottish culture and identity, given its prominence as one of the highest peaks in the Scottish isles. Hiking and hillwalking are beloved pastimes in Scotland, and conquering Munros such as Ben More is seen as a rite of passage for outdoor enthusiasts.
In summary, Ben More represents a crucial element in the history and culture of the Isle of Mull and Scotland as a whole. Its natural beauty, status as a Munro, and connection to local traditions make it an important symbol of both the island’s and the country’s rich heritage.