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Updated 04/25/2018

 


Ben More
 

Ben More (Scottish Gaelic: A' Bheinn Mhr, meaning "the great mountain") is a mountain in the southern Highlands of Scotland, near Crianlarich. It is the highest of the so-called Crianlarich Hills to the south-east of the village, and there is no higher land in the British Isles south of Ben More. It is separated from Stob Binnein by the Bealach-eadar-dha Beinn, meaning "col between two hills".

Ben More's north side contains a long-lasting snow patch, which uniquely in the Southern Highlands is named on a Ordnance Survey map, and is called the Cuidhe Chrom (crooked wreath), on account of the shape it forms in late spring/early summer. This patch frequently lasts until well into June and sometimes July. The similar name Cuidhe Crm appears as a summit near Lochnagar.

A webcam located at the eastern edge of Crianlarich captures Ben More. It provides updates every 10 minutes. See http://www.benmorewebcam.co.uk

Benmore Botanic Garden; formerly known as the Younger Botanic Garden, is situated at the foot of Ben More. The area once called "Innasraugh", meaning "the sheltered valley", was part of the hunting grounds of the Dukes of Argyll, and belonged to the Campbells of Ballochyle. It was reached by a ford across the River Eachaig at Uig, near modern Eckford house.

Around 1820, Ross Wilson introduced tree planting with the first known coniferous plantation of forest trees in Cowal. In 1849 the estate was bought by John Lamont, a wealthy sugar planter in Trinidad who had emigrated from Toward (near Dunoon) 48 years earlier. He arranged replacement of the previous manor house with the larger Benmore House, but died in 1850, a year before the house was completed. His nephew James Lamont inherited the estate, but then sold it and it went to various other owners in succession.

Benmore Estate was bought in 1862 by James Piers Patrick, a wealthy American who carried out extensive work to the house, including construction of the tower. He developed the garden, and in 1863 planted the Redwood Avenue of Giant Sequoias.

In 1870 the Greenock sugar refiner and philanthropist James Duncan bought Benmore Estate, which he extended to include the adjacent Kilmun and Bernice Estates. He arranged extensive plantings in the grounds, including more than six million trees around the estate, and added paths leading up a ravine to the south on the east side of the road, making Puck's Glen a scenic attraction. He extended the east wing of the house with a gallery to house his major collection of paintings: during the summers of the summers of 1881 and 1882, these were seen by more than 8,000 visitors. In 1889 he had to sell his assets, including Benmore.

Henry Younger of the Edinburgh brewer Younger's bought the estate in 1889, and with his son Harry George Younger made many improvements to the woods and gardens, with 40 staff employed to carry out maintenance. They introduced many exotic shrubs and trees, and also demolished the gallery and conservatory at the house. In 1924 Harry George Younger gifted the estate to the nation for science and education purposes: the Forestry Commission took over most of the woodlands. In commemoration of the improvements James Duncan had made to the estate, Younger provided a hut for Puck's Glen, to a special design by Sir Robert Lorimer, and "Puck's Hut" was dedicated to the memory of the botanist Sir Isaac Bayley Balfour.

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RGBE) was looking for a place to take the large collection of plants which the botanist George Forrest had brought from China, and the high rainfall at Benmore was ideal. In 1929 the Younger Botanic Gardens were opened as the first outstation of the RGBE. In the 1930s the Forestry Commission established Kilmun Arboretum, to try out tree species in the humid climate conditions, planting large groups of trees rather than individual specimens. Benmore house was used by the Forestry Commission for apprentice training, then in 1965 Edinburgh Corporation took it over as a schools outdoor education center.