Ben Chonzie: A Solitary Munro

Feb 2, 2019 | Hiking, Scotland

Ben Chonzie is all on its own and definitely one of those beginner friendly Munros. With a forestry track leading three-quarters of the way up, it’s a straightforward hike only made difficult with some serious snow or wind.

I happened to hike it in the middle of winter with 80 mph gusts which substantially hindered my ability to take photos, especially near the top! I managed to get a few for this post but nothing too exciting.

Ben Chonzie is more of a heather ridden mound than a defined peak. It’s quite a gentle hike up with no sections proving too challenging. Views are excellent on a clear day, enhanced by the fact Chonzie is a solitary peak.

There are a couple of routes up Ben Chonzie, one from near the Glen Turret dam, and the other from Invergeldie which is the one I’ll cover in more detail here.

 

Contents


Munro Climbed


  1. Ben Chonzie – 931 metres (3054 ft)

Check this out for more information on Scotland’s mountains and their classifications.

 

Getting There


The main Ben Chonzie car park is about 4 miles north of Comrie. If you’re unfamiliar with Comrie then it’s on the A85 road between Perth and Crianlarich.

Coming from the south then I recommend you take the M80 which soon turns into the A9. Leave the dual carriageway at Greenloaning and from here follow the road north to Comrie. From Comrie, you take the Monument Road north up to Invergeldie and the Ben Chonzie car park.

Coming from the north is similar, follow the A9 and here you should take the exit at Little Dunkeld signposted for Crieff and then Comrie.

The starting point is on the map below.

Difficulty


As already mentioned, Ben Chonzie is definitely a beginner friendly Munro. It’s even one you could consider taking young kids or going up for a family walk.

The ascent is gradual and you’re assisted by a forestry track for most of the way. It’s soon before the ridge the track turns into a fairly well-worn path – this leads up to the summit of the Munro.

I believe the other route is slightly more challenging but still straightforward by Munro standards.

If you’re getting into winter hiking then it’s one I’d definitely recommend. You won’t get many easier Munros in the winter than Ben Chonzie.

Duration & Length


Duration: 3 – 6 hours

Length: 7.8 miles (12.6 km)

viewranger screenshot of hike
Ordnance Survey Map for route: Explorer OL47 or Landranger 52.

 

Where To Stay


There are plenty of options in neighbouring Crieff and Comrie.

There are so many to choose from that I won’t separate them on this post, I’ll just leave you the links below to have a look at your leisure!

Hotels/Hostels in Crieff.

Hotels/Hostels in Comrie.

One of the most popular campsites in the area is Comrie Croft.

 

The Hike


The route I did was via Glen Lednock and it starts at the conveniently named “Ben Chonzie Car Park“. This can be found along Monument Road from Comrie (see map above).

car boot open at car park
We were actually the first at the car park
Once you’ve parked up, start walking along the track towards the white houses. Go right at the first two houses and through a gate which takes you onto a rougher forestry track.

When we did it, the majority of the hike was a battle against the elements so I was severely limited in my capability (or desire) to get my camera out and take photos. There was a bitter wind with ice-cold sleet being blown into our faces…

We knew the weather would be against us but were up for the challenge!

Once on the forestry track, follow this as it gradually ascends up the hillside. Initially, you cross over a wooden bridge and go through another gate and from here on it’s a steady climb up towards the southwestern slopes of Ben Chonzie.

You’ll soon pass a dam on the Invergeldie Burn and after this the track forks. Stick to the right (the main track) and continue your ascent.

The track is like this for the bulk of the hike
At this stage, the wind had calmed down significantly and we were able to enjoy the walk a little more. Little did we know the wind hadn’t stopped, we were just sheltered by the mountain.

Follow the track for about another 1.5 miles after it splits. This is a relatively steady walk with a couple of mildly steep bits. You’ll soon reach a small cairn which indicates the path up to Ben Chonzie’s ridge.

Take this path, it’s quite steep in places but nothing too strenuous. Follow it all the way up to the top of the ridge where there’s a line of fence posts.

the track continuing up the hill
These posts go all the way to the cairn and are particularly helpful in poor visibility.

Normally you would be home and dry at this point but for us, it was a different story.

I’ve been hiking in some extremely windy conditions but I’ve always been able to battle through it. This was where I met my match. The wind was SO strong that it was physically impossible to walk into it.

We got the shock of our lives because it had been relatively tame for the majority of the hike. It was as soon as we got up to the exposed ridge, the roaring gusts slammed into us. I estimate 80mph winds (or more) because there was absolutely no way we could walk into it head on.

For your information, I did check the forecast beforehand and it said 50mph gusts which I felt would be okay to deal with. This was a lot stronger! Further evidence that forecasts change almost hourly (especially in winter).

I would have been gutted to get to this point and have to miss out on the summit.

We found shelter on the east side of the ridge and decided to follow the eastern flank around to just below the summit cairn.

I stepped on a frosty bog which broke and left me shin-deep in ice-cold swamp water. Not ideal. I was already envisaging that post-hike cup of tea and we hadn’t even made it to the top.

eastern flank of the summit
Seconds before we got blasted again!
Once we got to just below the summit, it was time to face the wind again.

It hadn’t got any weaker, once we got to the exposed part about 50 metres from the cairn, it was like walking into a hurricane. While every step felt like an hour, eventually we touched the summit cairn and ran back to shelter (we were literally propelled by the wind).

Check out the video slightly further on for a snapshot of what the winds were like. It’s all I could manage before I could feel the phone getting yanked out my hand!

me at the ben chonzie cairn
Taking this selfie was a LOT harder than it looks
We flanked the ridge back the same way around to the path we came up on.

The descent is one one of the simplest you’ll do by Munro standards. A simple case of following the path and then track back down to the car park.

The weather had really started to clear as we descended and it opened us up to some brilliant views of the surrounding peaks.

Amusingly, we came across dozens of other hikers on their way up (as we came down). Many of them without a neck-warmer, hat, gloves, or appropriate jackets.

Not prepared for a winter hike, to say the least. I’m intrigued to know how many made it to the top….if any!

There are plenty of spots for some post-hike food or a cup of tea. Comrie and Crieff are filled with quaint cafes and nice restaurants. We got a tea and cake in Cafe Rhubarb in Crieff – highly recommended!

Nearby Hikes


What makes Ben Chonzie quite unique is that it’s not got any other Munros anywhere nearby. It’s the highest point for quite some distance meaning it has some excellent views.

the surroundings as we descended
The best views we got were on the way down
Saying that, there are a couple of Corbetts nearby. Auchnafree Hill is directly to the east of Chonzie and can be accessed from Glen Turret.

There’s another Corbett, Creag Uchdag, which can be accessed from the same starting point as Ben Chonzie.

The closest Munros are Ben Vorlich and Stuc a’Chroin which are just to the south of Loch Earn.

To Conclude


While we didn’t get to experience any of the views, it was still an exhilarating hike up one of the country’s easier Munros. I always love battling the elements and the bigger challenge gives me more determination to get to the summit.

The route is as straightforward as you’ll get and on a nice summer’s day, this could easily be a pleasant family day out.

With the fact that it’s easy means it will also be busy but that’s to be expected! I would definitely go up again to experience the views.

As always, thanks a lot for reading and leave any comments or questions in the box below. 🙂

 

 

4 Comments

  1. Another great place of Scotland to visit. I am a fanatci of Scotland, I love the place, the country , the people and the outdoors are breathtaking for me.

    I have taken note of all the tips and suggestions and diretions you give to get the this wonderful place and this coming summer my and my family are planning our second trip to Scotland, I will definately make sure we will visit this part and maybe take beautiful pictures of the area. thank you for the idea

    Reply
    • Thanks a lot for your comment!

      Scotland certainly is a beautiful country 🙂 I would definitely recommend you do some hiking when you come to Scotland. Ben Chonzie is definitely a good option if you’re coming with your family, so is Ben Wyvis.

      Reply
  2. Greetings to youYour website looks pretty and the theme is beautifulI think that this article written by you even though I did not hear about this place and I have never gone there, according to your descriptions, having a beautiful place and with natural values and maybe one day I go here for your article and much successcheers bajram

    Reply
    • Thanks a lot for your comment!

      Scotland certainly is a beautiful place, I recommend you visit!

      Reply

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