Wednesday, May 30, 2007

33-34 Buchaille Etive Beag - Stob Coire Raineach (263), Stob Dubh (201) 27/05/2007

After exerting ourselves the previous day and realising that we had to be off the hill by about 3, we decided to find a fairly short yet spectacular hill to climb. Fortunately we had come to the right place, since Glen Coe has them in abundance. Weather-wise, the day was excellent - we had roiling clouds all around, but none ever got in our way or showed much signs of precipitation. Parking the car in a new purpose made car park at the foot of the hill, we made our way up the ever steepening slopes. As the slopes got steeper, however, the path became less boggy and after a while even had steps, so the climb was short and sharp. We reached the ridge in under an hour and headed for the southern top, from where we had clear views of our previous day and the dramatic side of Bidean nam Ban and perhaps almost a glimpse of that ever elusive 'Lost Valley'. With the hill descending very steeply on all sides, the views were dramatic and we vowed to climb the other impressive looking ridges in the area on later trips. We made our way to the northern top as well - less than a mile from the top of Buchaille Etive Mhor, but with the small matter of 800m of re-assent in between. We jogged back down to the car in about 20 mins and the whole walk took us less than 4 hours.

The view from the top of the southern top, with Ben Starav at my right shoulder along with the other hills from the previous day
Looking south along the ridge of Buchaille Etive Beag

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

29-32 Beinn nan Aighenan (196), Glas Beinn Mhor (145), Stob Coir' an Albannaich (90), Meall nan Eun (254) 26/05/2007

We awoke to see a dusting of snow on the peaks and climbed the nearby Beinn nan Aighenan in the receding mist. We returned to pack our tent only to recieve another blizzard. This lowered our spirits and meant we had snow inside the tent, but we decided to climb at least one more hill on the way back to the car. Once we arrived back at the ridge, we passed an elderly chap who was just finishing all the munros for the second time. Whether this inspired us or something, I don't know, but despite another hail shower at the summit of Glas Beinn Mhor, we decided to go on. A steep descent to and then re-ascent from the bealach was likely to be most of the hard work for the rest of the day, so we were now pretty happy. The remains of the climb to the highpoint of the day - Stob Coir' an Albannaich was fairly gentle, although looking on, we could not see any way of getting to our next munro. Putting our faith in the tortuous path, however, proved a sound course of action and we descended very steeply into the 'Corrie of the Scotsman' from which the hill gets its name. From there it was a simple climb over grassy slopes to the top of the 'Hill of the Birds.' We possibly should have stayed here for a few more minutes than we did, since we were lucky to reach the top in the sun and without the wind, which is a rareity on any munro. I think the desire for the sausage rolls in the car got the better of us, however, and we descended west by a boggy path down the parallell glen to that of our ascent. We reached the car in the early evening with sore feet, but pleased with our achievement - it was quite a tough day of walking and we rewarded ourselves with bangers and mash in the Kingshouse Hotel before returning to our tent.

Beinn nan Aighenan, with our campsite somewhere in the middle-ground

The ridge up to Glas Beinn Mhor, the second of the day

The impressive Corrie of the Scotsman
Meall nan Eun - not quite as small as it looks

28. Ben Starav (63) 25/05/2007

Having left cambridge at 6am and flown to the wrong airport, I thought we were doing quite well to be starting out from the south of Glen Etive before 2pm. The sun was shining, despite a poor forecast when Robin and I set out, carrying our tent and aiming to cover several munros over the weekend. After crossing the river and climbing gently for a while, we struck off to the south and climbed the steep shoulder which leads on to a ridge. This was a really quick way to climb and within no time we were at the summit, a little out of breath. Then we began along the superb ridge which leads away to the east - the views being excellent of Glens Etive to the west and Noye to the south. The ridge was fun and when we reached its lowest point, we set off south in search of a campsite and to climb another munro if time. We spent a while looking for one in the damp and only when we began to unpack the tent did it begin to hail. Hail turned to blizzard and all ideas of climbing another hill disappeared - all we were interested in was finding a place which was sheltered enough to stop us being blown away in the night. After a couple of hours we did, and went to sleep with the sound of hail hammering on the side of the tent.

Back along the ridge to the summit of Ben Starav

Our route of ascent

The whole mountain from the north on the following day