Ben Lui National Nature Reserve

Whether you are a naturalist or a walker, you will find that the Ben Lui National Nature Reserve in Scotland is just the sort of place you will like. With as many as four mountain peaks which reach higher than 3 000 ft, the moist rocky cliffs and outcrops support an abundance of mountain plants. The growth of these plants is further encouraged by the low acidity in the soil and so visitors are often surprised to see just how abundant the saxifrages are amongst the moss and lichen. If you prefer nature of a more mobile kind, the most commonly spotted creature here is deer. These delightful animals scamper about the corries (bowls) in the mountains and feed off the delicate shrubs that grow here.

Managed by the Scottish Natural Heritage Trust, the Ben Lui National Nature Reserve is named for its primary mountain, the Ben Lui (Beinn Laoigh). Situated in the southern Highlands of Argyll, Scotland, this massive mountain has an elevation of 3 703 ft. The mountain has four corries that lie in between the five ridges that originate at the summit, and it is in these corries and at the foot of the mountain where the most life is found. From a distance, the mountain stands proudly above the three other mountains that can be found in this nature reserve and the crisp white snow contrasts strongly against the brown rock. The other, smaller mountains are Beinn a’Chleibh, Beinn Dubhchraig and Ben Oss. Most visitors wishing to climb the Ben Lui will take the ascent from Glen Lochy which is the shortest and easiest. However this route does not take you all that high or allow you to truly get a feel for the magnificence of the mountain and a more difficult route is recommended if you are physically able to tackle it.

‘Beinn Laoigh’ is Gaelic for ‘Hill of the Calf’ and this is a fitting description of the soft brown and white folds that help to make this massive mountain the impressive feature that it is. If you are an alpine plant enthusiast, you might want to consider visiting between May and July since this time of year provides the best sightings. If you prefer to try your hand at deer stalking, you should visit between August and October. You can reach the Ben Lui Reserve by car, bus or train though train and bus services are sporadic.

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