Since I’ve not done many Munros this year so far, I’m going to really try get a few done in the next few months. After Beinn Narnain last week, I think I’ve caught the bug for it again! I’ll be heading up to Harris & Lewis at the end of the month though so I’ll have a week off then! Not to mention I’ll need to fit them in around work and following Scotland in the Euros… don’t get me started on that garbage we seen on Monday! We better get a better line-up on Friday against England! Anyway, at the weekend, I decided it was time to make a start on the Tyndrum Hills. Beginning with Ben Lui & Beinn a’Chleibh. It was a cracking hike and one of the fastest I’ve done so far.
Ben Lui & Beinn a’Chleibh
Category – Munro(s)
Height – 1,130 metres (3,707 ft); Ben Lui & 916 metres (3,005 ft); Beinn a’Chleibh
Location – Glen Lochy
Difficulty Rating – 5/10
Approximate Timing – 4 – 7 hours
Pronunciation – Byn Loo-ee & Byn a Chlayv
Ben Lui (hill of the calf) and Beinn a’Chleibh (hill of the chest) are two of the four Tyndrum Hills Munros. To get to the access point, follow the A84 from Stirling and pass through Callander, Strathyre and Loch Earnhead. Join the A85, pass by the cut off for Killin and head along that road to Crianlarich. You’ll pass by where you would park for Ben More & Stob Binnein. Pass through Crianlarich and join the A82, heading North and through Tyndrum. Once you pass The Green Welly stop, you take the left as if you were heading to Oban. About 10 minutes down the road, you’ll see the car park on your left.
Getting Through The Trees
To begin the route, head towards the river and you’ll notice a path lead along the grass to the right. Follow that and you’ll eventually come to a bench looking over the river. It will seem as though the path runs out here, this is where you cross the river. The River Lochy is relatively shallow but best to be done when it’s been dry (and if it’s to be a dry day!). There are stones that you can step on as you cross and your feet should remain dry (unless you stumble in). Once you’re across the river, follow the path right. There’s a small river feeding into the River Lochy with a train bridge running over it. It’s a criminal offence to cross the railway (and not to mention dangerous!), luckily there’s a grate that runs through that you can crouch to get through to the other side. Just be wary that if it is heavy rain then there is a chance you may have to wade through water on the way back!
This is where the uphill battle begins. Follow the path along the river, at two points your required to cross the wee river, it’s fairly easy. At the first crossing there’s even a rope to help. You’ll then come to a gate which you pass through. After a short trail you’ll come to the forestry access road, take a left and follow that to the bridge. Immediately after, you’ll notice a trail heading up through the trees. This is when things start to get boggy. The trail is fairly easy to follow but at parts you might lose it. Make sure you keep heading straight up, trying to stay out of the really boggy bits and you’ll be fine. Midge repellent wouldn’t be a bad idea, especially for this section!
The Real Ascent Begins
Once you reach the end of the trees, you’ll come to a metal gate, go through it and then you’re presented with two options. you can jump across the wee burn and head up to the Bealach (narrow mountain pass) between the two Munros and go up both from there OR you can turn East (left) and head up Ben Lui that way for a bit of variety. I opted for the latter. Initially, the path is easy to follow albeit a little soggy but once you start really climbing the hill, the track runs out. As long as you continue heading straight, you’ll re-join the path.
If you have 4G or any sort of data at this point, it’s a good idea to use the Walk Highlands route map to make sure you’re on the right path and veering off to the left/ right. When you do eventually reach the path again, it’ll lead you North (to the right). It’s quite a narrow track and there is a little scrambling involved… I say scrambling but it’s just using your hands and knees a bit. When I done it, the clouds were low and I had poor visibility, it looked as though there was a steep drop off. I’m not scared of heights or anything but even to me it was a bit daunting with no visibility.
You’re not on this narrow trail for long before you reach the cairn at the North West summit where I stopped but the South Eastern summit is actually higher so you can just continue across a slight dip. You’ll notice a path leading down to the right which is the route you’ll take down to the Bealach. Once you’re rested and had your photo & lunch, follow the path down to the Bealach, just be careful… it’s steep to begin with. Before long the path evens out for a short spell before you begin the next ascent.
There’s not much to say about Beinn a’Chleib. It’s a straight forward path up from the Bealach and it’s not a long hike. It took me just 20 minutes to reach the summit! The summit is marked with a rock pile where you can stop and get your photo. It’s fairly level up there, you can wander around the top and I would imagine you could get stunning views. However, visibility was poor up there as well so I just took a wee break then started the descent. It’s simple to follow, just head back down to the Bealach and you’ll notice a path veering to the left. It gets a bit boggy again and easy to lose track but as long as you head towards to the trees, you’ll end up at the metal gate again.
From there, it’s just a simple case of re-tracing your steps back down through the boggy section amidst the trees, turn left at the forestry road then right when you reach the path you followed up. Hopefully it will be a dry day when you do it and the rivers will still be shallow! But yeah, that’s pretty much it, two Munros in the bag!
It wasn’t an overly tough hike. Heading up the grassy section with no clear path on Ben Lui was probably the most difficult part. I managed to get up and down both within 5 and a half hours… a personal best! Actually, I was quite surprised at how quick Beinn a’Chleibh was from the Bealach. I would image from both summits it would be a stunning view, I got glimpses when the clouds looked to be breaking… I just had no luck! Hopefully I’ll be able to get Ben Oss and Beinn Dubhchraig done soon to complete the Tyndrum Hills!
As always, photos are below. There’s not many since the visibility wasn’t great but it’ll give you an idea on what to look out for! Let me know in the comments if you found this useful or if you have done these two Munros… would you recommend going back to do them on a clear day?
Thanks for reading,