Walk: Legless on Lui

[Ben Lui from the approach past isolated Cononish Farm]

The first time we laid eyes on Ben Lui and its snow-filled coires, it took our breath away. The popular "grab-and-go" Munro bagger's route from the north has problems with bog and a wide river to ford, also missing out on the hill's best side. Instead, approach from Dalrigh to see this graceful, formidable massif in its full glory, returning over the range's three other Munros. It's a long day: 16 miles with nearly 2000 metres of ascent meant we felt pretty legless at the end of it all. But this intensely beautiful route is well worth suffering for, taking in dramatic coires and ridges, magnificent vistas, clear mountain burns and majestic glens. Save this one for a day when the ground is dry - otherwise bog will spoil the descent through ancient Caledonian woodland at the end of the day.

[Looking north from Ben Lui's summit towards Loch Awe (left) & Ben Cruachan (centre)]

Name: Walk: Legless on Lui ★★★
Length: 25 km / 16 miles
Ascent: 1880 metres
Main summits: Ben Lui (1130 metres, Munro); Beinn a' Chleibh (916 metres, Munro); Ben Oss (1029 metres, Munro); Ben Dubhchraig (978 metres, Munro)
Points of interest: Gleann Auchreoch pinewoods
Start / finish: Car park off A82 at Dalrigh, 2 miles south-east of Tyndrum, G.R.: NN 344291 / fizzle food describes

Route: Car park - Cononish Farm - track end at Allt an Rund - Coire Gaothach - gain Ben Lui NE ridge at 900 metre contour - Ben Lui - Ben a' Chleibh - retrace steps to 860 metre contour on Ben Lui - Leacann Ben Laoigh - Ben Oss - Ben Dubhchraig - retrace steps to 900 metre contour - Allt Coire Dubhchraig - Gleann Auchreoch pinewoods (path forks around 250 metre contour - left branch is drier) - cross new footbridge across Allt Gleann Auchreoch just above confluence with River Cononish - start
Terrain: Track on approach, then mostly rough paths. Pathless sections: very briefly in Coire Gaothach, very start of descent from Ben Dubhchraig, traverse of Ben Lui's south slopes; only intermittent path for ascent of Ben Oss. The odd hand might be needed for steep ascent of Ben Lui's NE ridge. Bog rare until final descent from Ben Dubhcraig, which can get very boggy.
Wildlife today: Several ptarmigan on Ben Lui, sheep / lambs lower down, wood ants in the pinewoods.
Weather today: Bluebird and temps in mid-teens at the base; light breeze tending to fade through the day.

[Several ptarmigan added interest to the traverse between Ben a' Chleibh and Ben Oss]


Route credit: Scotland off the beaten track

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