Ben Vrackie return

Ben Vrackie is a Corbett (Scottish mountains between 2,500 and 3000 feet high , just below Munros) near Pitlochry, Perthshire . The name means “the Speckled Mountain” and it rises to 841m via a lovely and relatively easy ascent from Moulin , just outside Pitlochry (use the 1st larger car park ideally , the 2nd smaller one fills fast and I tend to leave that for those who need less of a walk).

We had first walked Ben Vrackie in the deep of winter back in 2013 when the small loch on its lower flank was frozen and the whole world was wrapped in deep snow. We didn’t actually summit that day, the wading through snow, poor visibility and impending dark drove our decision to turn back as it turns out VERY near the summit. We knew we had been close but having returned now in summer it was clear just how close!

A snowy walk in in 2013
Loch a Coire, in a frozen January, 2013

Staying at the lovely Craigatin House (lovely place and very lovely staff – I cannot recommend the raisin and cream porridge enough ! ) meant we could get up and out early so that’s what we did.

The route itself follows a very nice path first climbing through the beautiful green woods, along side the Moulin Burn then out across open land blanketed in beautiful heather with Ben Vrackie summit peak rising to the North/North east. Never tough the winding walk offers beautiful views and there is a lovely bench set at a viewpoint en route for those needing a a tactical break 😉

At around 460m you pass between two minor tops and approach Loch a Coire , now beautiful in its summer repose , you cross the east edge via a footpath over the dam to begin the final , steeper but never difficult ascent. With beautiful views back down to Pitlochry and Killikrankie its a fairly quick walk up the well made path, the wind picking up nearer the top taking the heat out the air (very welcome).

Along the way a good game to play is “spot the caterpillar” – these long brown, striped an hairy little fellas are prolific here , we counted 35 before giving up! Watch your step !

Just below the summit we met a well tanned, fit looking gent of perhaps retiral age, descending with a glass of beer in hand. Normally I’d shake my head but it was clear he knew this path well and this was his “thing” . Stopping to chat he told me he had been up Ben Vrackie no less than 32 times since lock down alone, the early weeks requiring a 30 mile cycle to get there from Perth – colour me impressed ! The tan on him was indicative of how much time he spends outdoors, and it was clear he was fit as a butchers god – despite the recent hip replacement he’d had ! #FitnessGoals #RetirementGoals – Kudos! . Ive since seen him post on some Facebook groups and the beer is indeed his trademark – well done sir and long may it continue ! (although I suspect not safe in winter 😉 )

The Loch , in summer

Final summit push and into the wind , we hunkered down in the lee of the hill to take in the views and have a snack. Just taking the time to enjoy a summit and drink in the views and fresh air, the expanse below you, the sky above and the patchwork of fields, pimpled with hills as far as the eye can see is a treat for the soul you need to experience to understand.

From here we got a great view North West to the Bheinn A’ Ghlo range, with Carn Liath, 976m, rising from Bridge of tilt, its scarred South west flank bright in the sun. (We came back to do it a week or so later , check that post).

After a nice seat, a summit pic (mandatory) we headed back down to Pitlochry by the same path.

Returning to finish Ben Vrackie has been a great decision, stunning hill and perfect for a lovely summer day.

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