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Unexpected Munros in bagging area - Lui 4

Unexpected Munros in bagging area - Lui 4


Postby denfinella » Thu May 11, 2017 3:15 pm

Munros included on this walk: Beinn a'Chleibh, Beinn Dubhchraig, Ben Lui, Ben Oss

Date walked: 08/05/2017

Time taken: 10.5 hours

Distance: 25 km

Ascent: 1900m

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Ever since seeing Ben Lui for the first time from the A82, it's been firmly on the list for a future climb. But the standard route from the north has always been unappealing - a river to cross, bog, and missing out on the best side of the hill. Following a little more research and advice from other WH-ers, I ended up set on doing Ben Lui from Dalrigh along with Ben Oss and Ben Dubhchraig. The forecast was so good for Monday that we added Beinn a' Chleibh into the mix too, unexpectedly making it the first walk where we've "bagged" four Munros in a day - not that we're planning to do all of them.


Ben Lui.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts



Leaving Glasgow at 7.45am (earlier than usual for us), quiet roads helped us reach the parking area by 9am, where a few other cars were already parked. Easy tracks for the first several kilometres to ease us into what would be a long day - first through woodland, then out into the broad Cononish Glen. Ben Lui looked absolutely
awesome from here!

1.jpg


The bright green buildings of Cononish Farm were passed after about 5 km as well as a track branching off towards Tyndrum's silver and gold mine, and the track finally began to climb a little. Sheep padded down the track towards us ahead, perhaps thinking we had food for them.

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Leaving the sheep disappointed, the track abruptly lost what little height it had gained, dropping towards the Allt an Rund. Here the track ended, but a narrow path led onwards beyond a small path of (mostly dried-up) boggy ground, up into Coire Gaothach. The summit seemed a long way up, and the NE ridge looked pretty foreboding from here.

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Flowers by the burn:

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The path up by the burn was excellent - never boggy, a welcome gentle breeze and with excellent views. Soon we were hemmed in by the coire walls, where we briefly lost the path. View ahead:

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On the plus side, the way onto the NE ridge looked straightforward, with an obvious route up to join it at about the 950 metre mark (just to the right of the photo above). Fairly steep but grassy, and we soon found the path again which led onto the ridge without any difficulties. Suddenly we arrived on the ridge, with Coire an Lochain suddenly revealed in front (unsurprisingly, with a lochan in it) and rows of Highland peaks beyond. Looking back from the first section of the ridge path:

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The path to the summit was still excellent, with no real scrambling (perhaps a hand or two useful in places) all the way to the top. A large cairn abruptly appeared ahead, but this turned out to be a false summit with the real one a few hundred metres beyond. Views of Loch Awe and Ben Cruachan? Awesome (sorry).

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View ahead to the summit - a couple of walkers just leaving, and the first other people we'd seen all day. Timing: 3 1/2 hours to this point.

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From here the original plan had been to head down the broad SE ridge on the direct route to Ben Oss, as below:

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...but now we were planning on adding in Beinn a' Chleibh as well, we instead set off SE on the main baggers route. The wide path is a bit loose at the top but soon gets easier as the gradient lessens. Down at a busy bealach, looking back at Ben Lui:

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There's less than 150 metres of reascent to Beinn a' Chleibh from here (and it looks even less), so the summit was easily reached. Predictably the views aren't as good from here as from Ben Lui.

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Back to the bealach, peering left into Fionn Choirein on the way.

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Now for the section we weren't looking forward to: traversing right around Ben Lui's southern slopes towards Ben Oss. You can't see the height of the bealach between Ben Lui and Ben Oss from here, so we decided to reascend Ben Lui for about 90 metres (to just above the source of a small burn) before starting the traverse, making sure we wouldn't end up too low. In the end, the traverse was much easier than expected thanks to bone-dry grassy ground, and the bonus of a few ptarmigan strutting about close by. Ben Oss reappeared and so did the bealach, confirming my suspicions that we were unnecessarily high up.

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Ptarmigan:

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Down to the bealach, and its a gruelling 300 metres of ascent to Ben Oss's summit. There's a path for some of it (keep right to find it - don't be tempted to cut the corner) and underfoot the going is fine, but I found this pretty tiring. Meanwhile, a sheep pondered the meaning of life as it gazed across the abyss to Ben Lui...

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Happily no false summits here though - the cairn appeared very suddenly. Looking back to Ben Lui, shade beginning to consume its eastern coires:

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The way ahead to Ben Dubhchraig, with lovely Loch Oss below:

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The path between Bens Oss and Dubhchraig is straightforward, though with one short but annoying hillock to requiring reascent on the way down to the bealach. Down at Bealach Buidhe we met a stalkers path running across the pass. and followed it left. I was still feeling pretty exhausted at this point, but a 10-min rest on a flat rock with my eyes closed did a world of good. After this, the 200 metre climb to Ben Dubhchraig was no problem. About two-thirds of the way up, there's a small cairn (with a larger one a little further down) marking the way off the hill - for later. Ignoring this for now, we soon reached the summit. Looking back over Ben Oss & Ben Lui:

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Back to the cairns, and despite these there didn't seem to be an obvious path down at first. We soon found it though, just to the left of an infant Allt Coire Dubhchraig. Path down:

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After a steep initial descent, the rest of the walk out was gently. The path was very dry today but there were lots of patches of old bog evident, especially lower down in the trees - one to avoid after wet weather? The burn we followed down was very beautiful indeed, with lots of waterfalls and small gorges, even though the water level was low.

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After stopping to paddle in a plunge pool (and an encounter with a lively green leech!), we entered the stunning Caledonian forest for the last couple of miles. This section felt much longer than expected and was intensely beautiful - we were in no rush so just ambled through, enjoying the scenery.

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Again there were obvious signs that bog would be a problem in more typical conditions. Near the bottom of the forest a clear but narrow path branches left off the main route - left is apparently the drier of the two options here. The path wound through the trees, rejoining the other branch just before the "bridge" over the Allt Gleann Auchreoch. Well, we weren't going to be crossing that...

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...but crossing was easy just below the bridge, hopping across a couple of boulders. After scrambling up the bank on the other side, flattened grass (more evidence of bog issues here) led to a track down the glen. Further on we crossed the railway on a bridge and followed it for a while on the track, waving to a Crianlarich-bound train. The very last stretch is on the (very) old route of the A82, half-overgrown now but with the cats eyes still present! It was 7.30pm when we reached the car park, so 10 1/2 hours in total including some longish rest stops.

A wonderful day - one of the best we've had in the West Highlands for sure, though also one of the most tiring!
User avatar
denfinella
Wanderer
 
Posts: 1119
Munros:67   Corbetts:34
Grahams:24   Donalds:16
Sub 2000:61   Hewitts:14
Wainwrights:6   Islands:45
Joined: Mar 19, 2012
Location: Edinburgh

Re: Unexpected Munros in bagging area - Lui 4

Postby Jaxter » Fri May 12, 2017 7:54 am

The title of this made me laugh :lol: :lol:

It's a good walk that, Lui is worth a a decent weather day :clap:

I think that's about the only conditions you'd be able to do the forest descent without ending up waist deep in bog :lol:
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Jaxter
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Posts: 1367
Munros:205   Corbetts:125
Grahams:61   Donalds:46
Sub 2000:88   Hewitts:60
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Joined: Aug 8, 2011
Location: Glasgow

Re: Unexpected Munros in bagging area - Lui 4

Postby denfinella » Sat May 13, 2017 6:44 pm

Jaxter wrote:I think that's about the only conditions you'd be able to do the forest descent without ending up waist deep in bog :lol:


Think you might be right about that!
User avatar
denfinella
Wanderer
 
Posts: 1119
Munros:67   Corbetts:34
Grahams:24   Donalds:16
Sub 2000:61   Hewitts:14
Wainwrights:6   Islands:45
Joined: Mar 19, 2012
Location: Edinburgh

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