Ben A'an is one of the most prominent landmarks in the Trossachs. At 461 metres high, it is by no means a lofty peak, but its craggy slopes give it the mountainous air of a much taller hill. The ascent is arduous, rising straight up from the shores of Loch Achray through dense commercial forestry. The reward, however, comes in the form of panoramic views as far as the Pentland Hills, near Edinburgh, and the Arrochar Alps, above Loch Long.
From the car park, cross the A821 and, on the other side, the start of the path to the top of Ben A'an is well signed. It climbs steeply through dense larch trees, following the Allt Inneir upstream.
About a third of a mile up, a viewpoint on the left, signed from the path, offers a short detour and provides a welcome breather. The rocky summit of the peak can be spied through the trees from here.
Just beyond the half mile point, the gradient eases and, as you approach the edge of the forest, the top dominates the view ahead. Free of the trees, there are vistas to neighbouring Ben Venue and west over the blue ribbon of Loch Katrine.
From the edge of the plantation, the path climbs steeply again, rising over a slope of grass and heather moor. It follows a burn into a col to the east of the summit and curves round to the north of the peak. It's not far to the top now. A final stiff but thankfully short pull brings you out on the high point, a magnificent elevation from which to savour the delights of the Trossachs, the heavily wooded slopes of this stunning area of upland country rolling out below you.
On a clear day you should be able to see west to the Arrochar Alps, where the craggy Cobbler lurks, and north to the Southern Highlands where Ben More and Stob Binnein are among the most easily recognised. You can measure just how far you've climbed by looking south to Loch Achray below, where the walk began.
Ben A'an was originally known as Am Binnein (the rocky peak), but in his writings the famous novelist Sir Walter Scott decided to abandon the old Gaelic name for reasons of poetic licence and it has stuck ever since.
To finish the walk, retrace your steps back down the hill to the car park, taking particular care over some of the loose terrain below the summit.
Distance 2 miles/3.2kms.
Map OS Landranger sheet 57.
Start/parking Forest Enterprise Ben A'an car park.
Grading A short, but steep ascent. Take care on loose ground near the top.