Immediately north of the Trossachs, Stob Binnein lies at the heart of a beautiful, compact area of fabulously rugged little hills and sparkling lochs.
It’s classic Rob Roy country, and the legendary outlaw was born, lived and died among these hills. His grave lies in Balquhidder churchyard, which you’ll pass on the road in if you follow my recommended route.
Stob Binnein is most usually climbed with its partner, Ben More, from the A85 roadside near Crianlarich. It’s the easiest route for bagging both hills, but the initial ascent up Ben More is punishing.
By far the best way to climb Stob Binnein, at least, is from the end of the minor road at Inverlochlarig Farm.
The route can be extended to take in Ben More, but it means re-ascending Stob Binnein to get back to the car park.
As a single hill from here, Stob Binnein is a fine choice for a short winter’s day – providing the winding single-track road is clear of ice.
It’s not far from the Central Belt – Stirling is barely 34 miles away – but it feels far more remote, probably as a result of the 8.7-mile drive along twisting single-track to get to Inverlochlarig from the A84.
It’s picture-postcard Scotland, and the area teems with history. Wildlife you’re likely to encounter includes red deer and golden eagles.
In summer I find the area breathtaking. A friend of mine, Alex MacLennan, a Lewisman, often uses an old Gaelic saying in high summer, tha am feur gorm, which literally means the grass is blue.
I never quite got it until one hot July day in the hills around Inverlochlarig – with the undergrowth so rich and the sun burning in a clear azure sky, grassy hillsides here do take on a blue tinge through the heat haze. The grass is so green it’s blue!
Pronunciation: Stob Bin-yin
Meaning: possibly conical peak, or peak of the anvil
Height: 1,165m (3,822ft); Rank: 18
OS Landranger Map 51
Summit grid ref: NN434227 (cairn)
Nearest town: Lochearnhead is 15.4km (9.6 miles) east. The small tourist town is also a popular water-sports venue, and visiting outdoor enthusiasts will find plenty of accommodation and eating/ drinking options nearby.
Start grid ref: NN445184
Distance: 8km (5 miles)
Ascent: 1,050m (3,445ft)
There’s a parking area at the end of the public road about 0.8km (0.5 miles) shy of Inverlochlarig Farm, with information boards and a shelter. From here, cross the road to a stile over a dry-stone wall.
The stile has a green ScotWays sign pointing the way to Stob Binnein. The initial section heads north to Stob Invercarnaig. A gentle ridge takes you to Stob Coire an Lochain, then there’s a slight descent before a steeper climb to Stob Binnein’s summit.
The views north from here are extensive – much of the Southern and Central Highlands is visible.
This grand pair of Munros form an unmistakable outline and are visible from many miles away – I’ve seen them from as far as Beinn Bhrotain in the Cairngorms. The easiest route back to the start is to retrace your steps.
Inverlochlarig Farm was once the home of the infamous outlaw Rob Roy MacGregor, famously played by Liam Neeson in the film of the same name.
It was here that he died on December 28, 1734, peacefully, aged 63, in his bed, which is perhaps a surprise given his adventurous and often troubled life during a very turbulent time in Scottish and British history.
There’s a story that, while Rob was on his deathbed at Inverlochlarig, an old rival wished to visit and make his peace.
Rob insisted on being dressed, complete with sword and daggers, lest it ever be said an enemy saw him on his sickbed. Once the man departed, Rob – exhausted – returned to his bed for the last time and asked his piper to strike up his favourite tune.
His grave, a short distance away at Balquidder churchyard, is a popular tourist spot.
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