Sitting high above the River Tay in Highland Perthshire, the big, craggy mountain of Ben Lawers climbs to a height of 1214 metres, and is the 9th highest peak in Britain. Its neighbour, Beinn Ghlas, climbs above 1100 metres and a walk across both mountains is one of the finest in Central Scotland.
The best start point for the walk is from the National Trust car park, a short distance south of Lochan na Larige, and as this sits at a height of 450 metres much of the hard work is done, making this wonderful hill tramp an ideal introduction to the mountains for younger children.
It is thought that Ben Lawers translates from Gaelic as Mountain of the Hoof and refers to the Ben Lawers range in full (comprising of 6 mountains over 3000 feet, including Beinn Ghlas) and the shape of the high peaks and deep corries when seen from a distance. Another translation stems from ‘labhar’ (pronounced lavar), meaning loud and pertaining to a nearby river or stream. Ben Lawers is the highest mountain for many miles and subsequently the panorama is magnificent. This includes the mountains above Bridge of Orchy, Schiehallion’s sharp cone, the twin peaks of Ben Vorlich and Stuc a Chroin and the neighbouring mountains within Ben Lawers National Nature Reserve including Meall nan Tarmachan and An Stuc.
Ben Lawers National Nature Reserve encompasses nine mountains over 3000 feet in height. It is this elevated landscape, which draws both walkers and botanists throughout the year. Botanists discovered many of the arctic/alpine flora here during the 18th century including alpine saxifrage (which was discovered here in 1768), alpine mouse-ear and moss campion. Many of the plants are rare and endangered species, found nowhere else in Britain, including highland saxifrage. Mountain ringlet butterfly, black grouse, ptarmigan, red deer and raven can also be spotted. Conservation is key to the continued prosperity of this unique landscape and careful consideration for the flora and fauna should be taken when walking here.