It has been a while since I ventured up Ben Venue. A lot has changed! My aim for the day was to get over the shoulder of Venue, then drop down to Kinlochard and head into Queen Elizabeth Forest, nip round to Comer and then over the shoulder of Ben Lomond, and take the West Highland Way back round to Aberfoyle by way of Conic hill.
Riding through the forest from Aberfoyle showed me how dry the trails were after a lovely, prolonged spell of sunshine. The trail up Venue from the Duke’s Pass still starts by climbing through some fine forest, but the upper area has ben felled. This hasn’t been good for the drainage of the area and a lot of sections of the trail are rutted and washed out.
Once you get up into the corrie, climbing above the tree level, the path has been all but destroyed. Huge areas of bog, alternate routes that seem to have been trampled in at random and the clegs patrol the area in force. Still, I made reasonable time up to the ridge and followed the singletrack west. Unfortunately, the descent down to Kinlochard is an absolute mess. It took me forever to get down and the ruts could have swallowed my bike!
This put a bit of time pressure on me and as I neared Comer, it became clear I was going to have to turn tail and get back without completing the route. I’m not convinced I’ll be up Ben Venue for a while. The path is such a mess and I am unaware of any plans to improve it – it desperately needs some love! A shame as it would be a good loop.
Next up: putting a months worth of intensive UL/SUL solo shelter research to use…