Glen Lui

  • Magical upper Glen Lui - © William Mackesy
  • Lower glen - Caledonian forest - © William Mackesy
  • Lower glen - © William Mackesy
  • Lower glen - Caledonian forest - © William Mackesy
  • Looking up the lower glen - © William Mackesy
  • August snow on high Cairngorms, from Derry Lodge - © William Mackesy
  • Upper glen - © William Mackesy
  • Upper glen - © William Mackesy
  • Fording the burn - © William Mackesy
  • Uppermost glen - © William Mackesy
  • Back down upper Glen Lui - © William Mackesy
  • Upper Dee under high Cairngorms - © William Mackesy
  • Upper Dee under high Cairngorms - © William Mackesy
  • Across upper Dee - © William Mackesy
  • Broad upper Dee - © William Mackesy
  • Looking back up upper Dee to high Cairngorms - © William Mackesy
  • Chest of Dee - © William Mackesy
  • By Linn of Dee - © William Mackesy

Key information: Glen Lui

    • Glen Lui is arguably the most beautiful of all the glens off the upper Dee and a Walkopedia favourite. 
    • The glen is dotted with the remains of the beautiful, ancient Caledonian forest. High above are moorland, peaks, beetling crags and purple hillsides. The central Cairngorm NP is a huge protected area teeming with precious wildlife and rare and delicate plants.
    • Make a shortish circuit by crossing between Glens Lui and Quoich, or a longer one (5hrs or so) by crossing from upper Glen Lui into the wild upper Dee valley and circuit back down.
    • This is a remoteish walk in mountains, with always unpredictable weather. Come prepared.

Walkopedia rating

  • Walkopedia rating86
  • Beauty32
  • Natural interest17
  • Human interest5
  • Charisma32
  • Negative points0
  • Total rating86

Vital Statistics

  • Length: Your choice
  • Maximum Altitude: 600m
  • Level of Difficulty: Variable
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August snow on high Cairngorms, from Derry Lodge - © William Mackesy

WALK SUMMARY

The glens north and south of the upper Dee are all marvellous, and Glen Lui arguably the most beautiful of all and a Walkopedia favourite.  Through it runs an ancient drovers' road, along which cattle would be driven from their highland homes to the markets of the lowlands after passing through the Lairig Ghru. It still has a certain atmosphere, and you can think on the lives (and, up here, hardships) of those who followed the track.

The glen is dotted with the remains of the ancient Caledonian forest, widely spaced Scots pines interspersed with birch and rowan and carpeted with heather. The hillsides are (of course) clothed in trademark heather. High above are moorland, peaks, beetling crags and purple hillsides. The central Cairngorm NP is a huge, roadless, protected area teeming with precious wildlife and rare and delicate plants. Wildlife includes eagles, ptarmigan, deer and mountain hares.

The track starts from the roadhead at Linn of Dee, and is delightful within minutes, winding through ravishing open Caledonian forest. It emerges into the gorgeous upper glen, reaching Derry Lodge (a perfect place for a picnic under the pines by the river) at the junction of Glens Derry and Lui in 1.25 hrs or so. A drove road heads up Glen Derry to cross the high Cairngorms to Glen Avon and, eventually, Speyside.

Upper Glen Lui is, if it is possible, even more beautiful than what you have seen so far. The drove road eventually crosses the burn where it turns north, and heads west over a mountain flank into the upper Dee valley where it flows below the great crags of The Devil's Point, Cairn Toul and the Ben Macdui/Carn a Mhaim ridge, narrowing to the north into the Lairig Ghru.

You can make a shortish (4hr or so) circuit by crossing between Glens Lui and Quoich via a narrow, shallow, reedy, loch in a slightly weird ridge-top fissure, or make a longer one (5hrs or so) by crossing from upper Glen Lui into the wild upper Dee valley and circuit back down to the Linn of Dee.

A very delightful walk. It is possible you will meet no-one once you have got a few hundred metres from the road.

SEE OUR CAIRNGORMS PAGE FOR FURTHER INFORMATION (INCLUDING PRACTICALITIES) ON AND OTHER GREAT WALKS IN THE AREA.

Other accounts: share your experiences

Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.

Lower glen - Caledonian forest - © William Mackesy

Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.

Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.

Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.

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Uppermost glen - © William Mackesy...
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