Ben Lomond teacher information

Ben Lomond, situated on the east shore of Loch Lomond, is probably Scotland’s most visited mountain and, at 974m, is its most southerly Munro.

Over 30,000 people climb the mountain every year, and an important aspect of the National Trust for Scotland’s work has been repairing the path erosion caused by visitor pressure. 

A wide range of upland habitats are present, while the lower slopes hold remnants of native woodland and scrub. Sheep grazing has depleted these habitats in the past, and the Trust and the tenant farmer are working towards more balanced grazing use. This is allowing natural habitats to regenerate and expand.

Insight into the human history of the area has been greatly enhanced by the development of the Ardess Hidden History Trail. This popular low-level trail (1.5km) gives access to various archaeology sites which, together, build up the story of how people lived in the area until the mid-19th century. The trail passes through both woodland and open slope. It has proved a great resource for visiting school groups looking at a range of subjects relating to our natural and cultural heritage.

The school programme offers opportunities for cross-curricular work and engaging with the Curriculum for Excellence.

Possible topics

  • Mountain habitats, from high to low altitude 
  • Conservation and access  
  • History and archaeology (gathering evidence)

Resources for schools

  • Ben Lomond illustrated leaflet – available on request
  • Ardess Hidden History Trail leaflet – available on request

Planning your class visit

  • To book: please contact the Ben Lomond ranger office to discuss your visit. We can tailor activities to meet your requirements.
  • Book well in advance to avoid disappointment.
  • Class teachers are encouraged to make a preparatory visit to the site.
  • Maximum class size: 40, with a maximum ratio of 10 pupils to 1 adult. Large classes will be split into groups. 
  • Transport: school visits should travel by minibus and/or cars – we recommend that you keep your transport at the site during your visit. Between Rowardennan and Balmaha, there is a 7-mile road which is very narrow. Full-size coaches are not permitted on this section of road.
  • Parking: The Rowardennan car park is owned by Forestry Commission Scotland – there may be a charge. From here it is a 700m walk to the ranger centre. Alternatively, you can drive along the uneven track to the Ranger Centre, where there is free parking. Further details will be provided at the time of booking.
  • Access: there is a ramp into the Ranger Centre. Paths are rough around Ben Lomond – please contact us to discuss any specific access requirements.
  • Toilets: there is one accessible toilet on site, for emergencies. There are accessible public toilets at Rowardennan car park (at the National Park Centre).
  • Clothing: please ensure that your pupils have adequate clothing. They should have both warm and waterproof clothes and footwear. For sunny days, your pupils need protection against the sun – for instance, a long-sleeved jacket, a sunhat or cap.
  • Refreshments: pupils may bring packed lunches for a picnic. If the weather turns very wet, they can either shelter in their minibuses or in the ranger office.
  • The site has been risk assessed. Teachers are expected to prepare their own risk assessment for the visit.

Charges

  • There is no charge for schools with Trust educational membership.
  • Non-members are welcome but there is an activity charge per pupil – charges vary depending on the activity.

During your class visit

  • On arrival: your class will be met by the ranger at Rowardennan car park.
  • Trust staff will lead the school programme.
  • Teachers are responsible for their pupils and their behaviour.
  • Pupils do not need to bring any materials for the activities.
  • Pupils and teachers may take photos and films anywhere on the site.
  • Safety precaution: there are several low-level activities on offer. If a high-level walk has been arranged, staff will carry shelters since there are no buildings on the mountain.
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