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