|Ben Ledi from road A84
|Estimated net time||2½-3 hours|
|Drinking water||Water from small streams across and along the path until you get to the ridge towards the summit.|
|GSM coverage||Coverage throughout the route (November 2009).|
|Parking||Room for many cars at the several small car parks along the cycle path when turning left after the bridge.|
|Start height||120 metres|
|Vertical metres||840 metres for the roundtrip.|
|Trip distance||7.8 km|
|Route photo||Start of route to Ben Ledi.|
From Edinburgh drive west and then north-west on road M9. After having passed Stirling turn left onto road A84. After approximately 22.5 km on road A84 you get road A81 exiting to your left. Drive another 2.0 km and you get A821 on your left. Stay on A84 for another 2.9 km and turn left where signed for "Strathyre Forest Cabins". Drive across the bridge and note the trail head straight ahead (a path leading into the forest). Turn left after the bridge and drive a few tens of metres along the cycle path to one of the several small car parks along the road.
From the car return to the bridge and the trail head. Start walking by following the very good path up into the dense forest. When you get out of the forest you cross the gravel road and continue on the path at the other side. The path gradually turns south, along the east walls of Ben Ledi. After you have crossed a stream the quality of the path gradually gets poorer, but is still well defined. When you get onto the wide south ridge of Ben Ledi the path turns north and takes you all the way to the summit. Along the ridge there are a number of metal poles indicating the route. The summit is marked by a concrete cairn.
The descent is best done by reversing the ascent route.
01. November 2009
This Sunday was the second full day of my late autumn visit to Scotland. When I woke up at my Dunfermline hotel and looked out the window at the wet, windy and misty conditions, I soon concluded that today's hike would have to be modest. But I didn't want to settle for some of my safest backups, so decided to have a go at Ben Ledi, knowing that this would be another total of 160 km driving. The rationale for choosing Ben Ledi was based on two arguments; high primary factor, and a path all the way to the summit (for easier navigation if poor visibility).
When I got to the trail head I had problems finding somewhere to park; there were several sign around trail head saying "no parking", and the road to the right had no good places to park, and the road to the left was marked as a cycling path. I was about to drive back onto the main road to find a car park there when a guy came down from the forest. He informed me that I could drive along the cycling path, and would find several small car parks there. Thank you!
I was soon on my way, and after having walked through the very dense and dark forest I was able to see Ben Ledi above me. The walking was very easy on the good gravel path, but when I started traversing the east slopes of Ben Ledi the path doubled as a stream so I had to jump around a bit to avoid some of the "deepest courses". I assume this stretch of path normally is nice and dry, but this week-end was not nice and dry.
After having got to the southern most point of the hike I started my ascent of the south ridge, and soon I had other issues than rain and water; up here the visibility was close to zero and the wind gradually got stronger and stronger. When I got towards the first small bump along the ridge, approximately 1 km from the summit, I met seven other hikers. They expressed surprise that there were other hikers who were "stupid enough" to be out on a day like this.
The reminding hike along the wide ridge was easy enough in terms of navigation, but there was nothing to be seen except the path a few metres ahead of me, and even that was not so easy since I had to close my hood to obstruct as much as possible of the stinging rain to hit my face.
At the summit I took a couple of photos of the summit cairn before starting my descent. A little before the forest I overtook the seven hikers I had met on the south ridge, and soon after I was back in the car and was able to change into dry clothes. Then a longish drive back to Dunfermline and some well deserved food and drinks.