A pleasant loop to the summit of the Corbett Ben Ledi with a return via Stank Glen and the end of Loch Lubnaig on a beautiful autumnal day
Date: 1st November 2016
Time: 3hrs 15mins
Hills: Ben Ledi (Corbett, 879m)
Weather: Bright and sunny with the crisp feel of autumn
Route: Click to view on an OS Map
As part of a glorious week off work with no fixed plans I was keen to get across and explore what are now my local hills, the Trossachs. Ben Ledi is an iconic hill, forming the backdrop to the picturesque tourist village of Callander and nestled between some of the larger lochs of the Trossachs on the eastern side of the area. It was a beautiful day, that perfect autumn combination of bright sunshine and colourful tress, and the drive over via Stirling, Doune, Callander and through the pass of Leny to the parking area for Ben Ledi was stunning.
For a weekday the car park was busy but I luckily squeezed into a small space and was soon setting off to the find the start point for the hill.
I stopped briefly to look at the river as it squeezes between tree-lined hills towards the Pass of Leny. An excellent path leaves the road at this point angling up the hillside and the lower slopes of the hill.
I gained height quickly and soon had a view back down towards Loch Lubnaig. In the bright sunshine the tree colours were absolutely splendid.
I crossed a service road where there signs about logging operations. On the far side the narrow path continued winding its way up the steep hillside with the views opening out as I climbed.
Above the treeline the path angled towards the south, skirting below the steep and craggy eastern side of the hill and making for the low point on the long south-eastern ridge. There were plenty of folk dotted up the ascent and I caught and passed a few.
The views back down to the blue waters of Loch Lubnaig were superb and off to the east I could see Callander and beyond it the lumpy shapes of the Ochils by Stirling.
As I approached the ridge I past a few folk out working on improving the path, digging drainage ditches and putting in some more stones to improve the surface. Beyond them there was a short steep section to gain the ridge itself.
From here there were excellent views down to Loch Venachar, catching the low November sunlight.
The path turned to ascend the ridge which was wide, peaty and rose on a more gentle angle than the previous climb. The views behind me to the loch kept drawing my gaze as well as the first views of the distant Arrochar Alps and the hills around Loch Lomond.
The ridge presents a series of lumpy tops that deny a final view of the summit. Part way up I passed a guy who had found an excellent spot to stop and have his piece.
I plodded on up the ridge taking in the sweeping vista of the southern Highlands which had now opened up all around me.
Higher up the ridge got a little rockier but never presented any difficulties. There was a final dip and then I was heading up to the summit itself.
There was a bit of weaving around rocks and then I was standing at the memorial cross, enjoying the superb views.
I crossed over the trig point and took in the panoramic sweep of hills to the north. It was quite cold and blustery up here and so like several others I sought shelter, heading slightly downhill on the side that faced Arrochar.
As I sat eating my lunch I pondered my route, deciding eventually to make a loop by continuing north and then dropping down into the Stank Glen, returning via Loch Lubnaig and the minor track besides the river.
The north ridge has more character than the southern and was much quieter. I enjoyed bimbling along it, now heading right towards the Highlands and the Munros.
The views to the north and west continued to impress as I headed towards the end of the ridge.
Near the end of the ridge it became apparent that the path on the map would lead me gently to the bealach. However, there was also a narrow path that hugged the ridgeline and I followed this as it looked to be cutting off the corner and heading more directly down to the glen.
The path was steep and scrabbly on loose rock and gravel. It was precariously close to the steep drop off into the Stank Glen and I had to pick my way carefully down.
Eventually it levelled off and the path meandered along, occasionally losing itself in boggy grass as a number of streams coalesced towards a burn. Ben Ledi was now a dark, sharp silhouette behind me, the low sun already well behind the hill.
The path became clear again as I dropped into the top of the Stank Glen. A merry burn danced beside me and I picked up the pace again as I headed out towards Loch Lubnaig.
In no time at all I was looking down the wooded slopes to the loch itself. The path was a delight, weaving between trees and occasionally giving me sight of a tumbling fall.
The trees were a riot of colour, even as the light became slightly subdued below some passing cloud.
Eventually I popped out near the bottom of the slope on a vehicle track that led me down towards Loch Lubnaig. I took a brief diversion to see the loch itself which involved skirting the edge of a cow-pat covered pasture before finally reaching the shingle beach.
It was worth it for the views along the still waters of the loch and I lingered here for a few minutes, enjoying the peace.
I headed down towards the outflow where the burn I had followed down the Stank Glen also joins the river.
I retraced my steps to the road and then followed this all the way back the couple of km to the car. After a quick snack break I headed back, stopping briefly in Callander and Stirling before reaching home just as the sun was setting. A wonderful November day out.