Walk 227 – Beinn Dubh Horseshoe – 7.2 miles

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Beinn Dubh (642 m / 2106 ft) is located a short walk from the conservation village of Luss on the banks of Loch Lomond. This circular hill walk is sometimes known as the Glen Striddle Horseshoe and if walked in an anti-clockwise direction begins with a gentle ascent to Beinn Dubh summit before continuing around to Mid Hill (623m / 2043 ft) and then descending a steep grassy ridgeline. The final section is a delightful easy walk down Glen Luss.

Car park at Luss Visitor Centre (G83 8PA). Bus service from Glasgow stops on A82 just outside Luss.

Purchase the OS map for this area

Route map - Beinn Dubh and the Glen Striddle Horseshoe

WALK REPORT: 18th February 2023

I’m sure the views from this hill are stupendous on a nicer day! Sadly we were treated to low cloud pretty much from the offset and managed only the tiniest glimpse of Loch Lomond before a very grey day indeed.

Despite the poor visibility, route-finding for the walk from Luss to Beinn Dubh summit was easy enough with a path visible up the grassy slope all the way. The second half of the walk was more challenging to navigate, with frequent map checks required. Undoubtedly at least part due to the fact that we couldn’t see more than 100m in any direction, but also because it was incredibly wet underfoot – we were walking on one giant sponge. This had led to the track becoming less distinct as walkers looked for the path of least resistance across the peat bogs.

View across Loch Lomond from the lower slopes of Beinn Dubh
A brief glimpse of Loch Lomond before heading into the cloud for the day.
My husband and friend walking up the boggy grassy slope of Beinn Dubh surrounded by low cloud.
… and in the cloud is where we stayed. This photo shows how saturated and boggy the underfoot conditions were.

On a positive note, it was a calm day and fairly quiet on the hill. The busiest point was the summit cairn in fact! Where everyone came from I have no idea as we had only seen one or two couples on the way up.

I made the most of these conditions and a nice flat grassy area to bring out my 4-person emergency bothy shelter at lunchtime, in an effort to practice using it before any real emergency. Neither my husband nor my friend Gleb had used one before so after some brief instructions we we coordinated the entry and did some necessary adjustments to seating positions, ready to eat lunch. I’m not sure it was much of a success – my husband lasted a couple of minutes before he freed his neck from its crunched position and retreated to the comfort of the great outdoors. There is no denying the build up of heat inside these simple shelters though, and that is probably what helped convince Gleb and I to stay in there a bit longer. When we emerged a little later, I packed it away noting that we had somehow managed to sit right on top of several small piles of sheep poo. Better planning required next time!

The descent from the summit started off flat, becoming extremely steep on the final push down to the road. A steep and ridiculously boggy, grassy slope: I think I am right in saying I’m the only one who managed to stay on my feet! So it was a relief to reach the road, which in contrast was beautifully surfaced, as smooth as a baby’s bottom.

We commented on how nice the road walk down Glen Luss was – surrounded by woodland and farmland there was always something interesting to see and keep the mind ticking over for the 3km push back to the village. Frog spawn filled the ditches at the roadside, and sadly there was also lots of evidence of frog roadkill…. With it taking between 3-4 weeks for frogspawn to hatch and become a frog, I wasn’t sure of the survival chances of this lot. But that is nature for you!

Waterlogged path and gate on the lower slopes of Beinn Dubh
A giant sponge, right to the end!
Smooth surfaced single track road in Glen Luss surrounded by woodland
Scenic Glen Luss road – a nice way to end the day

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