Munro Adventure – Day 9 with Graeme and Penny the Dog – The Ben Lui 4 and Memories.

2015 DAY 9 ( 9th MAY )
Beinn Dubhchraig Ben Oss,Beinn Chleibh, Ben Lui
After yesterday’s hills I drove to Tyndrum for coffee cake and wifi followed by fish and chips in the Real Food Cafe before parking up at Dalrigh for the night . Ben Lui was stunning in the evening light and still holding huge amounts of snow ,

Ben Lui 4

I had a look through the binos at the intended route and soon amended my plans for the day ahead , I had climbed it last May with much less snow and remember a tricky section just before the summit ridge. I was expecting Donnies company for tomorrow’s hills and he duly arrived at 8.30 along with my Red Cross Parcel for the following week, after a few sociable drinks and a good blether it was heads down ready for tomorrow’s adventure.Up at 7.30 with the sun shining and hills clear got the bikes ready and off at 8.30, cycled as far as Cononish farm and left them beside the bridge, we then set off the N ridge of Beinn Dubhchraig and soon reached the lochan by the col ,dropped our sacks and up to the summit and back for a well deserved Murdochs mince pie ( which Donnie carried up for me )at the col.Dropped down to the low point and ascended Ben Oss through several large snow patches , descended again then made a traverse round the southern flanks of Ben Lui to the bealach of Beinn Chleibh , again left our sacks and up to the summit and back . We kept the best for last and after a 360 m ascent reached the top to a superb vista ,the Coire Gaothach still holding masses of snow. Had a bite to eat and a drink while taking in the views then descended the SSW ridge on lovely soft snow with several superb standing glissades on the way down to the bealach , down Coire Laoigh to the river and followed it back to the bikes then a easy cycle back to the van. Job done with excellent company and the best weather of the trip so far.

My painting of the great Coire Of Ben Lui a favourite place!

My painting of the great Coire Of Ben Lui a favourite place! Painting by Terry Moore!

Today’s totals
19.58 mls
1725 m ascent
25 Munros to date – going great!!! 

Ben Lui is another favourite mountain a big complicated hills with some ininterestingines in winter on it.  We did lots of winter training here on the ribs in the big Coire on Lui. The famous Central Gully was a well climbed route in my winter days at RAF Leuchars  and followed by the 4 Munros was always good training! We had a lot of help as we were given access to Connish Farm and Mr Burton became a good friend.

There is also the wreckage of a Lockheed Hudson Mk.III T9432 / ZS-B of No.233 Sqn RAF, crashed on Ben Lui near Tyndrum in Central Scotland during the evening of the 15th April 1941. The aircraft struck close to the summit of the snow covered mountain in poor weather and fell onto the south eastern flank of the mountain, ending up close to the 3000ft line. There is still lots of wreckage in the gully’s but it is in steep ground. I was involved in many searches but the biggest was for a RAF Jaguar aircraft crash that took three days to locate. I flew in from RAF Valley in North Wales it was a huge event and I learned so much on it in 1979. Ben Lui a mountain of many memories.

1979 RAF Valley Team in North Wales fly to Jaguar Crash on Ben Lui.

1979 RAF Valley Team in North Wales fly to Jaguar Crash on Ben Lui.

In 1984 a Gold bearing quartz vein was discovered by the Irish firm Ennex International on the lower south eastern slopes of Beinn Chùirn a Corbett just above Cononish Farm at Eas Anie. The company spent over £250,000 doing test drillings and were hopeful that the mine would be very productive. The gold, which is the most important deposit found in Scotland so far, occurs as minute particles inside Pyrite and Galena which in turn occur in the quartz vein. Despite claims that there are up to a million tonnes of ore present on the site which could produce five tonnes of gold and about 25 tonnes of silver, the location was only developed briefly in the 1990s when an adit (tunnel) of approx 1280 metres was driven into the hillside. The story goes on with Access and the price of Gold a key point as it is in the National Park.

Wessex stuck overnight on Ben Lui a great complicated mountains/ tied down by Killin and RAF Leuchars MRT

Wessex stuck overnight on Ben Lui a great complicated mountains/ tied down by Killin and RAF Leuchars MRT

It is also has a great waterfall just by the mine 150m, 3 pitches grade 1v  climbed often by the RAF Leuchars we could drive to it ! Mr Burton who was the farmer in these days was a great pal of the team and we had many call outs on these big underestimated mountains. The climb is on Classic water ice giving perfect protection in good conditions.
The lower gully is easy. The upper left hand section provides the crux with two good long pitches. The easier right hand finish can offer ice flutings and an ice cave. What a situation to be on the ice and the views abound. This is also a place of so many varying flowers and  was a place of peace I wonder what will happen if the Gold mine re opens?

Any Comments?


Eas Annie waterfall  by the Gold mine!



About heavywhalley.MBE

After dinner speaker Lecturer and Mountain Rescue Specialist. Environmentalist. Spent 36 years with RAF Mountain Rescue and 4 years with a civilian Team . Still an active Mountaineer and loves the wild places.
This entry was posted in Aircraft incidents, Corbetts, Enviroment, Flora, Friends, Hill running and huge days!, Mountain rescue, mountain safety, Munros, Plants, Rock Climbing, Scottish winter climbing., SMC/SMT, Views Mountaineering, Weather, Wildlife. Bookmark the permalink.

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