Walk 1406 - printer friendly version
Ben More and Stob Binnein Walk
Author - Jake Robertson
Length - 6.0 miles / 9.8 km
Ascent - 4300 feet / 1303 metres
Grade - mod/hard
Start - OS grid reference NN411259
Lat 56.39855 + Long -4.5762016
Postcode FK20 8QS (approx. location only)
The massive twin mountains of Ben More and Stob Binnein dominate the skylines of the Southern Highlands and at over 3800ft each they are second only in this region to Ben Lawers. They are a very formidable pairing, throwing down some of the most notoriously big and steep slopes in the Highlands. This is a classic and popular outing that you should allow a full day for, the effort being rewarded with two very fine summits, though in winter their steep grassy slopes make it a very serious venture.
The start is roadside parking just east of Benmore Farm on the A85 (grid ref. NN411259). Alternatively use the large layby by Loch Lubhair ½ mile to the east (grid ref. NN424267). Public transport is limited. The bus service along the A85 is infrequent as are the three trains that run daily serving Crianlarich station. However this latter option adds an extra 4 miles of road walking.
About 100 yards east down the road from Benmore Farm a small signpost on the right points through the hedge to Ben More. Cross a stile and climb up to a farm track which zig-zags steeply up the hillside until it levels out at the 310m contour. Ben More looms oppressively above and your eye will probably be trying to make the slope seem smaller than it is. When the track levels go through a gate and follow it into Benmore Glen for about 1/3 mile until it starts to descent about well before the stream issuing from Sloc Curraidh where you should strike off on the left and begin the ascent of the northeast ridge.
Initially the ridge is pathless to the 750m contour and the climb is a tedious and painful slog which few will delight in. The ridge isn't well defined, the ground grassy and damp and the gradient is charmingly steep but there's nothing to it except to grit your teeth and get on with it. Take great care to avoid veering into the hanging valley of Sloc Curraidh, scattered rock and grass on a high gradient make it exceptionally dangerous and in winter it is a well known avalanche blackspot. Continuing up the ridge a wall is met at about 750m and a path develops; taking you up through a long section of zigzags to an easy scramble around Cuidhe Chrom. The gradient then eases and the path swings onto the northern slopes before heading eventually up to the surprisingly rocky summit with its cairn and trig point.
At 3852ft high Ben More is the highest mountain south of the Tay Valley which is well seen with Ben Lawers soaring above. Needless to say it is an excellent viewpoint with almost half of Scotland being visible on a clear day, the view stretching from the Cairngorms to Ben Nevis, Arran and the Southern Uplands.
Descend south on a small path to Bealach-edar-dha Bheinn. Near the top it's advisable to veer left to avoid some awkward crags but otherwise it's fairly straightforward, just very steep with Stob Binnein growing in stature with every foot lost. As Ston Binnein is an out-and-back walk from the bealach you can leave your bags if need be, a prominent overhanging boulder being an ideal place. An eroded path leads up the north ridge, problem free and mercifully less steep than Ben More, the 1000ft to the summit being gained quite quickly.
Stob Binnein at 3822ft may be a little lower than Ben More but doesn't lose anything to it, its elegant shapely pyramid complimenting Ben More's imposing bulk and the summit is a lot smaller and airier. Whilst views are slightly blocked to the north; they are far better to the south with a beautiful panorama over the Trossachs.
Return to Bealach-edar-dha Bheinn and don't forget to collect your bags. There's a very temping path to the northwest of the bealach which should be resisted as it leads to steep boggy ground, it is far easier to descend due west straight down into Benmore Glen and follow a path down the east bank until a track is met by a ruined footbridge. From here it's easy going down the glen, retracing the outward route for the last bit down the zig-zags to the road.