1130 m. |
Translation: Calf hill
Pronuncation: byn loo-ee
Ben Lui. The great hill of the Southern Highlands. The cradle of Scottish winter mountaineering. The symmetrical monarch of the Cononish Glen. Jokes aside this hill proved to be one of the really interesting ones even though we walked it under an almost continuously closed cover of clouds the base of which lingered at around 800 m. As the starting point we had opted for the parking of the lower station at Tyndrum. We walked along the forrest road on the low slopes of Sron nan Colan until we reached the junction with the land-rover track up Glen Cononish.
We passed the farm and continued up the glen up to the point where the land rover track turns into a path that crosses the Allt an Rund and heads up over steep ground into Coire Gaothach. Magnificent corrie even when the upper parts of Ben Lui’s ridge are not visible. We continued up the bowl of the corrie and aimed left for the point in the skyline where the rocky North-East ridge becomes really steep above Stob an Tighe Aird. The weather not being really agreeable we decided not to climb to the summt directly but rather to cross the shallow corrie further east, climb its headwall and gain the easy ridge leading up to the summit all the way from the Ben Lui/Ben Oss col.
A little rain set in on the final metres before the summit but it subsided again. Sitting in the clouds at the summit cairn we had a snack and took in the few (rather vertical) views that could be had of Coire Gaothach below. We then followed the ridge to the second summit of Ben Lui and started our return walk down the north-west ridge which was steep on the first few hundred metres. Soon we reached the col before Stob Garbh and walked down the path into the corrie where the path back down to the Allt an Rund, Cononish farm and finally Tyndrum was regained. A grey day on a beautiful hill with not too much rain and some glimpses of its great corrie and summit skyline. To be done again in better weather.
Description Ben Lui is one of the finest mountains in the southern highlands. Its height and splendid shape make it stand out above its neighbouring hills, and in winter and spring when snow lies in the north-east corrie, the mountain has a very alpine character. Its much smaller western neighbour, Beinn a'Chleibh, is hidden in views from the east, but from the west it is seen to rise as a rounded hill above the forest in Glen Lochy.The shortest ascent of Ben Lui, which can easily be combined with Beinn a'Chleibh, starts in Glen Lochy at a carpark near the foot of the Eas Daimh. Cross the River Lochy and follow a path up the Eas Daimh for ½ kilometre, then south up to the edge of the forest. Climb east to reach Ben Lui's north-west ridge and climb it to the summit. To continue the traverse to Beinn a'Chleibh, descend the south-west ridge of Ben Lui and climb the north-east ridge of Beinn a'Chleibh. Return to the col and descend north into Fionn Choirein.The classic ascent of Ben Lui is from the east up the Cononish Glen. This is much longer than the way just described, but it does give a far more impressive route which goes up into Coire Gaothach and finishes steeply up its north bounding ridge.