Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Ben Lui Run

After two disappointing runs at the Glenmore 24 and then the Stirling 10K I badly needed a good 'kick up the arse' run to get me back on track for the approaching Loch Ness Marathon. Whilst staying at the 'By the Way' the night before the Devil of the Highlands Race I had been talking to Andy McHendry about hill walking and running in this area and he had suggested I tried the track that starts outside the campsite and crossed the railway track at the 'lower' station platform. It heads up 'Glen Lochy South' and then follows the landrover track beside the River to where it ends at the Allt an Rund, in the shadows of Ben Oss and Ben Lui. This turned out to be a fantastic route, thanks Andy.
The day before I had planned on a run on the GO33 route but the weather was mince, so I didn't! The next day the weather was fantastic, so I looked at few maps and the suggestion of Andy's came to mind. Off to Tyndrum I went. My plan was to run the previously mentioned route to the end of the track at the large turning circle and then return to Tyndrum via Dalrigh and the WHW. I parked at the tourist info' office and ran to the 'lower' station. I crossed the track and headed up through the trees until I came out at the path junction at the river where you enter the Ben Lui nature reserve. I got my first views of Lui and 'she' looked amazing with the blue sky behind. I ran alongside the river until Cononish Farm and then climbed up the glen beside Ben Churin and the mine at Eas Anie. I reached the large turning circle and stopped to take some photos. I had planned on turning here, but the lure of Ben Lui proved too much.
I hadn't previously climbed this munro and today's weather demanded an assult onto it's twin peaks. It turned out to be a steep bugger! I kept saying 'go to the next knoll and that'll do', but I kept climbing and soon I was in the boulder filled Coire Gaothach. After a scramble I was on the ridge at Stob an Tighe and then I stumbled upon an Aircraft wreck from the Second World War.
It was a bit errie seeing bits of smashed engine and landing gear strewn over the mountain side knowing that lives had been lost here. On I went and soon I was on a flat plateau looking over to Loch Fyne and Cruachan. Behind me stretched dozens of peaks in all directions. A great day to be alive and on the hills indeed. I climbed up the final pull to the peaks and WOW!!

I wish I could have bottled the views and taken them home. I met only one other person on the hill today as I crossed from one peak to the next. I spent a few minutes taking in the panorama and shrugged off any lingering disappointments from the previous two races. I started my return journey and felt lucky to have had such a great day of running and climbing.

I returned to the path junction by the river and instead of heading back via the Lochy glen I followed the path down to the WHW at Dalrigh and back to Tyndrum. An epic day and making up my route as i come across it seems to lead me to some amazing places. I highly recommend this route if you want a fantastic day of running and climbing.
Ended the day with Tea and Chips in the Real Food Cafe. And then it popped into my head that there are now only 5 weeks until the West Highland Way entry for 2013 open, let the madness begin, again!!

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