Ben Ledi’s Height: 879m
Summit Grid Reference: NN 562 098
Translation: Hill of the long shoulder
Start Point: Car Park near South of Loch Lubnaig at the A84 (NN 587 090)
Ben Ledi: A Comprehensive Guide to Hiking Scotland’s Iconic Peak
Nestled in the heart of the Trossachs, a beautiful mountainous region in the southern Highlands of Scotland, lies the captivating Ben Ledi. Standing proudly at 879 metres (2,890 feet), this distinct peak serves as a popular hiking destination and a remarkable viewpoint. Visitors often find themselves drawn to the area surrounding the villages of Callander and Loch Lomond, as Ben Ledi majestically presides over the breathtaking lochs of Katrine and Lomond.
Though not classified as a Munro, Ben Ledi holds the esteemed status of a Corbett, setting it apart from other nearby landmarks. As hikers ascend the peak through well-maintained paths, they are rewarded with stunning views of the surrounding landscape, an unmissable highlight of the excursion. The hike itself can be completed within 4-5.5 hours, spanning approximately 11.3 kilometres, providing enthusiasts with the perfect opportunity to explore the captivating Scottish countryside.
Despite its popularity, it’s crucial for hikers to embark on this adventure well-prepared, equipped with good footwear and essentials to sustain them through the journey. Setting foot on Ben Ledi’s summit, looking out at the spectacular vistas, serves as an undeniable reminder of Scotland’s natural splendour, making it an unforgettable experience for all who visit.
Location and Access
Ben Ledi is a mountain in Stirling, Scotland, situated in the Trossachs, a mountainous region in the southern Highlands. It is approximately 6 kilometres (4 miles) northwest of Callander, near the village of Kilmahog. The mountain has a height of 879 metres (2,884 feet), making it classified as a Corbett.
Access to Ben Ledi is possible through walking trails that begin near the village of Kilmahog. There are various paths leading to the summit, offering different levels of difficulty for hikers and walkers.
Summit and Vantage Points
Reaching the summit of Ben Ledi provides stunning views over the Trossachs, particularly onto the peak of Ben Lomond and beautiful lochs, such as Loch Katrine and Loch Lomond. The mountain’s long ridge makes for an impressive visual, and its Gaelic name, which means ‘Hill of the Slope’, reflects the unique shape of the terrain.
Flora and Fauna
Plants and Vegetation
Ben Ledi, located in Stirling, Scotland, boasts a diverse array of plant life due to its position on the edge of the Highlands. Its lower slopes are covered in mixed woodlands, consisting mainly of native oak, birch, and Scots pine. As the elevation increases, the vegetation transitions to heath and moorland, characterised by heather, bilberry, and blaeberry.
In the spring and summer months, Ben Ledi’s slopes are dotted with wildflowers, including wood anemone, bluebells, and the lesser butterfly-orchid. Rare montane plants, such as mountain avens, can also be found in the higher altitudes.
Wildlife and Habitat
The varied ecosystems found on Ben Ledi provide a suitable habitat for many wildlife species. The woodlands serve as homes for numerous bird species like woodpeckers, tree pipits, and redstarts. The iconic Scottish capercaillie and black grouse can also be spotted in the more open areas of the woodland.
On the moorland, the elusive mountain hare and red fox can often be seen, as well as the red grouse. Reptiles, such as the common lizard and the slow worm, inhabit the heath and grasslands, while the higher slopes provide a habitat for a variety of invertebrate species, including beetles and butterflies.
In addition to the terrestrial wildlife, the numerous lochs and streams surrounding Ben Ledi provide a haven for aquatic species, such as the otter, as well as various bird species like the common sandpiper, and yellow wagtail.
Hiking and Outdoor Activities
Ben Ledi, located in the Trossachs region of Scotland, is a popular hillwalking destination offering excellent viewpoints. One well-marked route starts from Stank car park near Callander, leading all the way to the summit.
Another option is the Ben Ledi Foothills Trail Circular, a moderately challenging 7.6 km loop trail near Callander in Stirling. With an elevation gain of 387 metres, it takes an average of 2 hours and 41 minutes to complete.
When planning a hike to Ben Ledi, consider the following safety tips:
- Check the weather forecast before setting out, as conditions can change rapidly
- Inform someone of your planned route and estimated return time
- Stay on marked trails to avoid getting lost or entering dangerous areas
- Carry a map and compass for navigation, even if you’re familiar with the area
Proper equipment is essential for a safe and enjoyable hiking experience. Recommended gear for a day hike on Ben Ledi includes:
- Appropriate footwear: Walking or hiking boots that provide ankle support and have a sturdy sole
- Clothing layers: Waterproof clothing, thermal layers, and a light, breathable top layer for changing conditions
- Backpack: A comfortable, lightweight backpack to carry equipment and supplies
- Supplies: Water, snacks, a first-aid kit, and any necessary personal medications
- Navigation tools: A map, compass, and where necessary, a GPS device