Ben Challum (1025m);
- Pronunciation: Ben Hallum
- Translation: Malcolm’s Mountain
- Total distance: 13.2km
- Total time: 6hrs 15mins
- Total ascent: 1005m
- Weather: Beautifully bright and sunny. Temperature of -4.5°C at start. No wind.
- Start / end location: Lay by mid-way between Tyndrum and Crianlarich (A82) – opposite Kirkton Farm entrance [Grid Ref: NN 356 282] Map: A map of route can be found here – it may take a few moments to load into a separate window.
Tackling this single Munro was very welcome after reasonably tough outings over the last two days. And without incident we managed to get easily parked very close to the starting point of this walk: just opposite the entrance track leading to Kirkton Farm.
Our walk took us along the farm access road and followed the West Highland Way (long distance footpath) for a few hundred metres. Just before reaching the farm the path veered left and headed past the remnants of St Fillan’s Priory: an Augustinian priory dating from the 13th century. Robert the Bruce endowed the priory in 1317. It must have been of a building of some magnificence as it extended over 50m in length. From the priory we then passed two graveyards: the earlier dating back to times of the early Celtic church (8th century), with a more modern one opened in the 1870s!
Passing the higher graveyard (later one) it was just a short walk to a crossing point of the Fort William to Glasgow railway line. Once across the line we followed a rough land-rover track for a few hundred metres until it petered out. We then simply picked our own route NE up the very broad grassy flank of the lower section of Ben Challum. It was easy going – not too steep. Eventually we crossed a faint path, which we followed to a knoll at around 650m. From here the route dropped down about 40m before climbing steadily, and slightly more steeply, to the south top, with a cairn, at approximately 997m. From the south top the summit of Ben Challum at 1025m or 3,363’ was clearly visible just 600m away to the north. However, we headed west for a few 10s of meters to exploit a fin-like ridge running north that dropped to the bealach leading to the summit peak. A very short climb took us to the top where we stopped for quite a long lunch and ended up taking many photographs.
The views in every direction were brilliant. Ben Nevis could be clearly seen over 40 miles away to the NNW. More locally we were surrounded by many of the Munros that we’ve already completed including Ben More and Stob Binnein to the south, Ben Lui, showing its most spectacular NE face to the west, and Beinn Dorain and Beinn an Dothaidh to the NW.
The route back was simply to retrace our ascent route. The only difference was that we slid on our backsides (intentionally!) down many of the hard snowfields – good fun.