Ben Lui & Beinn a’Chleibh (Tyndrum)

After another great breakfast at the Green Welly Stop in Tyndrum, Ally and I were pondering over what to do this day.  The day was looking OK but not amazing, but we really wanted to walk up Ben Lui.  However we only wanted to go up this beautiful mountain if it wasn’t going to be covered in cloud.  Much like the day we went up the Buachaille, we hummed and hawed, drove past it several times to see the summit in cloud, then began to drive further south where the forecast looked a bit brighter.  Then for whatever reason I can’t remember, we changed our minds and turned back again.

Ben Lui map

We parked in a carpark off the A85 west of Tyndrum along Glen Lochy so we could easily include Beinn a’Chleibh as well.  First there was the small matter of the River Lochy to cross.  I had even packed my crocs for the occasion.  At first it looked affy deep, and Ally made a head start while I wavered and faffed on the banks.  A couple on the far bank waved us further downstream and shouted to us that it was much better further down so we went to investigate and found that we could cross easily on gravelly shallow bits.

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We then followed the path along the bank just as a train shot past.  I gave it a wave and got lots of waves back!

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We then came to an underpass under the train line.  It was a bit tricky for us both – for Ally, who is 6 foot and for me, who is claustrophobic.

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The path led up through the forest now.  At first it was really pleasant, but then got boggier and boggier as we tramped through the muck and dubs further up through the woods.

Starting out fine

Starting out fine

We came to some sort of slick mudfest of a junction and we could hear the couple up ahead who had directed us at the river.  They had got stuck – the lady had fallen into bog right up her leg and they had stopped for a breather and a curse.  Again they helped us by shouting at us not to come their way.  We eventually found a kind of drier route up through the trees in parallel.  The whole path was alongside the very pretty Eas Daimh burn, with some lovely waterfalls.  Apart from the mucky bog, it was really bonnie and pleasant.

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At last we popped out of the tree line and through a deer fence gate to make our way up the grassy hillside.  There was a faint path to start but it soon petered out.

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Soon, fabulous views opened up back the way, of Ben Cruachan in particular.  The weather was turning out great as well.  The forest had been hot, still and humid, so we were glad of a cooler breeze on the hill.

Ben Cruachan, zoomed

Ben Cruachan, zoomed

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It took quite a while to finally gain the ridge and a worn path, and where we could see the fantastic rocky summit of Ben Lui, with some people having already got there from via the northeast ridge (we saw them coming up).

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There was a final rocky mini-scramble and we were up.  What grandstand views!  I was so glad we came up and that it had remained clear.  It looked very remote to the south and we could make out many hills, including The Cobbler and Beinn Narnain.

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Opposite to Ben Oss and the glen back down to the NE looked magnificent.

Benn Oss

Benn Oss

Ben Oss

Ben Oss

Ben Oss panorama, kindly stiched together by Navalairhistory

Ben Oss panorama, kindly stiched together by Navalairhistory

Looking back the way we had came

Looking back the way we had came

I think this is Loch Sloy in the distance, sandwiched between Bens Vorlich and Vane

I think this is Loch Sloy in the distance, sandwiched between the Bens Vorlich and Vane

We chatted to the lovely couple that had got stuck in the bog.  They had completed the Munros and were now just going up their favourite hills on fine days.  And what a lovely hill this was.  We finally turned our attention to the lesser Munro summit of neighbouring Beinn a’Chleibh.  This was not as characterful as Lui and less of a rocky nature, at least the way we came up.  The views were slightly more diminished from the broad summit too.

Beinn a'Chleibh from the bealach

Beinn a’Chleibh from the bealach

Looking across to Bein Lui

Looking across to Bein Lui

Summit views to Cruachan

Summit views to Cruachan

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We had a bite to eat and then made our way back to the adjoining bealach where we found a path that took us down the steep corrie, Fionn Choirein.

Back up to Fionn Choirein

Back up to Fionn Choirein

This petered out eventually, but the way back was pleasant enough, until we hit the horror muck and dubs through the woods again.  As we could remember the bad bits, this was not as bad coming back out and we met the river bank in no time where it was another tiptoe across on the gravel.

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A fine outing!  There seem to be many ways up Ben Lui and I think, like the couple on the summit, I’d like to come back and walk this one again but perhaps from a different route.

12 thoughts on “Ben Lui & Beinn a’Chleibh (Tyndrum)

  1. Great report Rowena…..you got a far better day than we did on the “jewel”!!!

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  2. I’ve heard very bad things about that route and bog – at least I suppose you can get washed off crossing the river on the way back. The underpass of the railway looks fun 😉

    I take it your ascent path came out above the famous and nasty-looking crags of the Ciochan?

    I can heartily recommend an ascent of the East Ridge – it’s great. The NE one would also be a nice ascent but I didn’t like it as a descent. I think if I did it again, I’d either ascend the NE or preferably the E ridge and then go down the south one to where a rake cuts back across to the E ridge again.

    Cracking photo of Cruachan!
    Carol.

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    • Ah thanks for the tip. I was looking at the east ridge as an alternative for another day. I guess then it would be easy enough to include Ben Oss and Beinn Dubhchraig.
      I am not sure about the Ciochan crags – I guess we must have come out above them if they are severe because I didn’t notice any particularly nasty looking crags.

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  3. By the way, did you see I ended up using my boots all the time for river crossings in Sweden? Had no end of trouble with the sandals I took, didn’t hold my feet securely enough. 😦

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    • Yes, just reading your great account. Oh I want to go to Sweden now!
      I have used crocs in river crossings and they’re slippy too – I agree that boots are far sturdier. Better sometimes than barefoot, where I have come out the other side with cut toes and the like. As long as I don’t get blisters then getting wet boots isn’t a bad thing, I agree 🙂 When I did the Cape Wrath Trail I took Hi-Tec Zuks which were really good as so lightweight but also grippy for rivers, and more acceptable to wear casually than crocs 😉

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  4. Wonderful images. Really want to try some of these walks one of these days. I wished I’d brought alternative footwear to Haystacks as there was a beck near the old quarry that was rather high and the usual stepping stones completely submerged. Was OK in boots though. I hope you don’t mind, but I made a panorama of your photos of Ben Oss just to see what the whole view looked like, and I thought you might like to see it. http://i62.photobucket.com/albums/h94/XN923/Blog%20images/BenOss_Panorama1.jpg~original

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