OverviewThis is a great big bulk of a mountain that holds a picturesque location on the western shores of Loch Lomond. It is the northern most peak of the Arrochar Alps range and rises proudly above the small villages of Inveruglas, Ardvorlich and Ardlui. Access routes up onto the peak can be found in both Ardlui and Inveruglas, with the latter giving fine views of the Loch Sloy reservoir. The peak has a long ridge that runs roughly north to south, with the summit top and northern top both located along this ridge. Please note that the OS trig point is not the highest point, which is actually locted a further 200m north at the large cairn (943m). To the east of the summit a ridge juts out leading to a small group of outcrops, known as the Little Hills which can be ventured over onto and gives fine views down to Loch Lomond.
The translation of Ben Vorlich (pronouncation: byn-vorlich) is Hill of the Bay and not surprisingly there are quite a few peaks with this name in Scotland, as many peaks are found around the various lochs dotted around the country. Only two peaks with this name, however, are high enough to make it onto the Munros. This peak, next to Loch Lomond and the Ben Vorlich which lies next to Loch Earn.
The views on a clear day are excellent. To the south, Ben Lomond and Loch Lomond command your view. To the west the rest of the Cowal and Arrochar Alps are clearly seen, with the Paps of Jura and the Isle of Mull visible on the horizon and to the east and north the hills of Crianlarich and Tyndrum complete the 360 degree views.
Located on the western side of Ben Vorlich, on the Vorlich Fissures, high above Loch Sloy reservoir, is what is commonly known as a howff. This is a natural mountain refuge amongst the rocky outcrops and would provide good safety if the conditions took a turn for the worst.
Approx time taken: 5 to 7 hours.
Please note that if ascending from Inveruglas, car parking is discouraged at the start of the private road up Coiregrogain as it will block access. Parking should be done at the visitor centre opposite the power station.
The best city in Scotland for Ben Vorlich is Glasgow, however access can be gained from a variety of locations. Ben Vorlich can be climbed from either Inveruglas or Ardlui, which both lie on the A82 road.
There are a variety of airports throughout Scotland that would provide easy access to Ben Vorlich. Below are a selection of the homepages for these airports;
Prestwick International Airport
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Glasgow Queen Street station direct to Ardlui.
Buses run daily from Buchanan Street bus station in Glasgow to Skye, via Inveruglas/Ardlui.
Scottish City Link info
Red TapeThere is no red tape in Scotland due to the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 which incorporated the Scottish Outdoor Access Code. This code, which commenced on the 9th of February 2005, has established statutory rights of access to land and inland water for outdoor recreation.
The Land Reform(Scotland) Act 2003
Scottish Outdoor Access Code
The following aspects should be taken into consideration when you are in the Scottish countryside;
- Seek local advice in regard to deer stalking or grouse shooting activities
- Ensure that all gates are closed behind you
- During the lambing season (March to May) ensure that all dogs are kept on a lead
- Please refrain from feeding or annoying any animals
- Limited parking space is available at the start of many routes, please ensure that you are not blocking a road and/or entrance
- Parking is provided at the start of some routes by the local farmers, it is polite to ask if you can use this facility
- Try to refrain from crossing fields with animals and/or crops if an alternative route is available
- Ensure that you treat the local environment with care by leaving it as you found it and by taking any litter home with you
- Any camp fires should be carefully watched and only used away from dense forest areas
Below is a list of possible accommodation venues that are located in the direct vacinity of Ben Vorlich.
Colquhoun Arms Hotel
Lodge on Loch Lomond
Loch Lomond Youth Hostel
Wild camping is totally legal in Scotland and can be done in various locations close to Ben Vorlich. This is due to the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 that was mentioned earlier.
Here are some of the basic rules that should be adopted when wild camping;
- The larger the group, the harder it is to keep impacts to a minimum. Keep groups small.
- Camp as unobtrusively as possible.
- Remember that noise travels from tents disturbing wildlife as well as humans.
- Enjoy the freedom of wild camping without leaving a trace of your passage. Protect our country's outstanding scenery and wildlife as well as the wilderness experience.
- Camping on the same spot harms vegetation. Aim to move frequently and do not stay for any longer than 3 nights in the same place.
- Lighting fires poses a high fire risk on peaty soils and close to tinder dry grass. A high risk of fire can exist at any time of year, and not just in times of drought.
- Watercourses and loch sides are important sites for birds and animals. Take extra care when camping near burns and lochs, and try to avoid camping immediately beside them.
- Always find a spot at least 30 metres from fresh/running water when going to the toilet.
- Bury excrement in a small hole (not under boulders). A trowel or ice axe can be used to lift a flap of turf.
- Remove all litter (even other peoples!) Think ahead and only carry in what you are prepared to carry out.
The Mountaineering Council of Scotland provides an invaluable leaflet providing a full breakdown of the dos and don'ts of wild camping in Scotland. Wild Camping, A guide to good practice.
The following websites will provide invaluable information on the expected conditions for Ben Vorlich.
Western Highlands Forecast
Books & Maps
Ski Mountaineering in Scotland by Donald Bennet & Bill Wallace
The Southern Highlands by Donald Bennet
Scottish Hill and Mountain Names by Peter Drummond
The Munros by Cameron McNeish
The Munro Almanac by Cameron McNeish
Climbers guide to Arran, Arrochar and the Southern Highlands by K.V. Crocket & A. Walker
The Scottish Peaks by W.A. Poucher
Cicerone Guide - Central and Southern Scottish Highlands – backpacking guide by Graham Uney
Cicerone Guide - Scotland’s Mountain Ridges - A Guide to Scrambles and Climbs by Dan Bailey
Cicerone Guide - The Munros Vol 1 - Southern, Central and Western Highlands by Steve Kew
Landranger Map 56 - Loch Lomond & Inverary
OS Map Explorer sheet 364 - Loch Lomond North
Harvey Superwalker Map - Arrochar Alps
External LinksVisit Scotland
Walk the Highlands
The Scottish Mountaineering Club
Mountain Rescue Committee of Scotland