From Appletree Self Catering Cottage to Luss
Luss is a pretty estate village on the western shore of Loch Lomond. There is little traffic and a wander through the village is very popular with tourists.
From Appletree Cottage we drive to Croftamie then along the A811 to Balloch. We travel straight through Balloch and up onto the A82 towards Crianlarich. After another fifteen minutes we see a turn off to Luss on the right. Shortly after this on the left is a single-track road signposted Glenn Luss. We turn into this single track road and park on the right - just opposite the Faerie Trail experience (A fairy forest trail for younger children, website at: www.lochlomondfaerietrail.com)
Close to where we parked (no charge) and on the same side of the road is the beginning of a path to Ben Dubh with a signpost pointing the way.
The first part of the path is a brief gentle ascent through pasture, shortly after followed by a meandering trail through a young birch wood with high bracken on the upper reaches.
After about ten minutes we were clear of the birch trees and the land opened out into heather and grass land. As we climbed the views across Loch Lomond grew more spectacular with the definition of the many islands becoming clearer. We could see the pretty village of Luss nestling on the shore below us.
In the picture below the small island just off Luss is Fraoch Eilean. Tradition has it that if you caused trouble you could end up on Fraoch island. In one map of 1792 plan of Dunbartsontshire, Fraoch Eilean is marked as "Luss Prison"
On our best behaviour we continue our steady climb upwards. The path is well established and easy to follow. It is obviously a popular route but even though we are walking during the peak of the summer holidays, on a weekend and in clear sunny weather we encounter only a handful of people during the entire expedition.
After a couple of false summits we reach the cairn at the top of Beinn Dubh (black hill). From there the views are fantastic. We can see Glasgow to the south, Loch Lomond and its many islands with the distinctive Conic hill to the east with the towering magnificent mountain of Ben Lomond further up the loch. To the north we can see some of the famous “Arrochar Alps”.
Looking west from the summit of Beinn Dubh we can see an enticing horseshoe of hills. A glance at the map showed us that a walk across to Beinn Ruisg then round to Balcnock and descending via Craperoch could be achieved with minimal rise or fall. However, also to the west we can see some dark rain clouds creeping in from the distance so decide to make our descent back to Luss with a plan to tackle the horseshoe another day when we were better prepared.
We make it back down to the bottom of the hill, safe and dry. Fortunately, the rainclouds did not affect us.
All in all a fantastic and relatively easy peaceful walk with fantastic views throughout – and now back to Appletree Cottage with plans for a return trip another day!