Lindsay Boyd's Trip Reports

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Section 3 - Strath Orchy to Loch Leven

Loch Leven and Pap of Glencoe
Loch Leven & Pap of Glencoe
Stob Ghabhar
Stob Ghabhar
Bidean nam Bian
Bidean nam Bian
Aonach Eagach Ridge
Aonach Eagach Ridge

This section refers to the hills and mountains between Strath Orchy and Loch Leven and include the Glen Coe and Glen Etive Mountains as well as the Ben Cruachan Group. They cover the Corbetts, Grahams and Munros that I have climbed in this area since 2003. The Sub 2000 Marilyns within this section can be viewed here and the Humps, here.


Section 3 - Index

Corbetts Grahams Munros
Beinn a'Bhuiridh Beinn Bhreac Beinn a'Chochuill
Beinn a'Chrulaiste Beinn Donachain Beinn Eunaich
Beinn Bhreac-liath Beinn Mheadhonach Beinn Fhionnlaidh
Beinn Mhaol-Chaluim Beinn Molurgainn Beinn nan Aighenan
Beinn Mhic Chasgaig Beinn nan Lus Beinn Sgulaird
Beinn Mhic Mhonaidh Beinn na Sroine Bidean nam Bian
Beinn Trilleachan Beinn Suidhe Creise
Beinn Udlaidh Meall Garbh Meall a'Bhuiridh
Creach Bheinn Meall Mor Meall Dearg
Fraochaidh Meall Tairbh Meall nan Eun
Garbh Bheinn Sgorr a'Choise Sgor na h-Ulaidh
Meall Lighiche Sgorr na Ciche - Pap of Glencoe Sgorr Dhearg - Beinn a'Bheither
Stob Dubh   Sgorr Dhonuill - Beinn a'Bheither
    Sgorr nam Fiannaidh
    Stob a'Choire Odhair
    Stob Coir'an Albannaich
    Stob Coire Raineach - Buachaille Etive Baeg
    Stob Coire Sgreamhach
    Stob Dearg - Buachaille Etive Mor
    Stob Diamh
    Stob Dubh - Buachaille Etive Beag
    Stob Ghabhar
    Stob na Broige - Buachaille Etive Mor

Section 3 - Trip Reports

Sgorr Dhearg and Sgorr Dhonuill

21 August 2015

slide show

Map - OS Landranger 41. Time taken - 7.25 hours. Distance - 13 kilometres. Ascent - 1335 metres.

I left my vehicle in the car park in Gleann a’Chaolais, accessed from the A828 west of South Ballachulish, and headed up the glen passing signs indicating the route to Sgorr Dhearg. The separate signed route to Sgorr Dhonuill was new to me as my previous ascent of these two Munros started from Ballachulish.

The waymarked route took me over the bridge across the Allt Gleann a’Chaolais then immediately right where the path climbed through the forest, crossing a couple of vehicle tracks and becoming a bit steeper higher up. The latter section of the route was through mature firs on a path dug out of the hillside. After nearly an hour a gate in the stock fence was reached and shortly thereafter I emerged from the forest and into the wind and rain.

A wet and boggy path continued into the corrie with old fence posts to follow if necessary. The gradient then increased before I reached the bealach between the two Munros. The wind was even stronger here and very gusty and I found it difficult to stay upright. I met a couple of chaps who had come over Sgorr Dhonuill and decided due to the wind to head down into the glen.

I climbed Sgorr Dhearg keeping below the ridge line but on a few occasions was brought to a standstill by gusts of wind. The cairn and broken trig point were perched at the junction of two ridges making it rather exposed but keeping low I made it to the summit before quickly backing off. I returned to near the belach where I found a slightly sheltered hollow for an early lunch. A couple who had come over Sgorr Dhearg from Ballachulish stopped and spoke to me and due to the wind decided to head into the glen rather than continue to Sgorr Dhonuill.

I decided to do likewise as there was an exposed section on Sgorr Dhonuill but while eating lunch the gusts appeared to become less frequent so I decided to climb this Munro and see what the wind was like higher up. In fact the climb wasn’t a problem neither was the exposed section although it was still windy but minus the gusts.

On reaching Sgorr Dhonuill’s summit cairn I descended west initially over some boulders then passed a cairn which was possibly the route up from Gleann a’Chaolais. I crossed some undulating and rocky terrain to gain Sgorr Dhonuill’s West Top, a Corbett Top, before locating its Far West Top. From here I walked over to the top of a mainly grassy gully which was used to descend to the forest. Then a small stream was followed through the trees, a bit awkward in a couple of locations, to reach the path from Coire Dearg which was the marked route to Sgorr Dhonuill. This path and vehicle tracks were followed back to the car park.

previous ascent

Sgorr Dhearg Munro sixth ascent 1024 metres
Sgorr Dhonuill Munro sixth ascent 1001 metres

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Beinn na Sroine

17 May 2015

slide show

Map - OS Landranger 50. Time taken - 2 hours. Distance - 3 kilometres. Ascent - 425 metres.

The forecast was for changeable weather so I decided on a short walk before returning home. The Graham, Beinne na Sroine, would only take around a couple of hours so I parked up in Glen Lochy on an area of waste ground on the north side of the A85 Tyndrum to Dalmally Road at a wide gap in the forest. Grid Ref NN245286.

On my arrival it was raining heavily so I remained in my car until it dried up. I then set off crossing an old fence before climbing an embankment on the west side of a stream. Initially there was a path but it soon disappeared so it was just the sake of continuing uphill across wet vegetation. Higher up the gradient eased before reaching a small cairn followed by a short walk to the summit trig point. Nearby were some concrete and metal stanchions, the remnants of an old mast.

There were some views of the surrounding hills but most of the higher tops were covered in cloud. It was windy but I did manage to find a bit of shelter looking across to Ben Lui. I had hoped that the cloud would lift but unfortunately it didn’t so I returned to my car by the upward route arriving there just as the rain started again.

previous ascent

Beinn na Sroine Graham second ascent 636 metres

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Meall Tairbh

5 October 2013

slide show

Map - OS Landranger 50. Time taken - 5.75 hours. Distance - 12.25 kilometres. Ascent - 660 metres.

The start of this walk was the Inveroran Hotel reached from Bridge of Orchy on the A82. I left my car opposite the Hotel, and accompanied by a Graham Bagging friend, walked the few metres east to the West Highland Way which we followed south-east. As height was gained we met four Europeans en-route to Fort William with their camping gear. Near the high point on this section of the West Highland Way we came across a path that headed south-west towards the Hump, Ben Inverveigh.

This path, which was not shown on my map, appeared to be an old stalkers route now used by quad vehicles. It took us to the 546 knoll where the cloud lowered and it started to drizzle. We continued in the same direction crossing a few small knolls to eventually reach the summit of Ben Inverveigh. The highest point wasn’t obvious so we covered at least four points that were possibilities. Two were cairns and we came to the decision that the small cairn may have been the highest point.

In poor visibility we continued south-west, again over a few knolls, keeping track of the minutes taken so at the appropriate time we turned west and descended to Lochan Coir Orain which later appeared through the mist. The ascent of Meall Tairbh commenced as the cloud thinned for several minutes to reveal a stag standing on a rock face presumably guarding its females although we didn’t see them. The cloud thickened as we climbed onto the north-east ridge of Meall Tairbh which was followed by a short easy stroll to the small summit cairn.

There were no views from the summit so we descended the north-east ridge listening to the roar of the stags and trying to spot the one we saw earlier. Once below the cloud we found some shelter for lunch but failed in our attempt to spot the noisy stags on the slopes of Ben Inverveigh. Afterwards we continued down this ridge and came across some hinds and stags. They weren’t particularly bothered with our presence and we managed to get a bit closer to take several photos. I thought they may be youngsters as we could still hear the roar of the more mature males. Eventually we continued the descent over some wet and boggy vegetation to the Inveroran Hotel.

previous ascent

Meall Tairbh Graham second ascent 665 metres

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Meall Mor and Sgorr a'Choise

6 October 2012

slide show

Map - OS Landranger 41. Time taken - 7.5 hours. Distance - 16 kilometres. Ascent - 1170 metres.

I climbed these Grahams, five years ago from Ballachulish, with no views so with fair weather forecasted and a different approach route, thanks to Scottish Hills, I returned for second ascents.

The starting point on this occasion was the Glen Coe Visitor Centre where there was ample parking, although it may be busy during peak holiday periods. Paths at the rear of the property led to a wide vehicle track that wound its way up through the forest crossing the Allt Fhiodhan several times. Despite spending some time amongst the trees there were opportunities to view Glen Coe, although the mountain tops were cloud covered, the Pap of Glencoe and Loch Leven.

At the track’s high point we came to the grassy rake mentioned on the Scottish Hills report. Here we spotted some deer although we had heard the roar of the stags as we walked through the forest. The grassy rake wasn’t in great condition with some wet areas and brash timber to contend with but it was better than walking through areas of felled timber. Beyond the forest a deer fence was crossed although some of the fencing had collapsed. It was then a steady climb onto Meall Mor’s wide south-west ridge where the walking was easy. The summit cairn was reached but unfortunately the tops of the mountains on either side of Glen Coe were still topped with cloud.

We returned along the south-west ridge then descended south to the col between Meall Mor and Sgorr a’Choise where we disturbed more deer. It was a bit wet here but the conditions were drier as we gained the south-east ridge of Sgorr a’Choise avoiding the small knoll by staying on its north-east side. At the col between the unnamed knoll and Sgorr a’Choise we came to another deer fence where a small gap had been created in the top section of the fence. It still wasn’t that easy to negotiate but better than clambering over the fence.

It was then a steep climb with rocky sections higher up. The summit cairn was reached with good views all round although we did walk out the south-west ridge for some of our photographs. A late lunch was had near the cairn before we returned to the col between Meall Mor and Sgorr a’Choise. We then headed to the south-east corner of the forest and followed its edge north-west over some rough ground with a few deer trails to make walking slightly easier. A little height was gained and a couple of gullies crossed but with no real difficulties. The deer fence we were following changed direction so we climbed over it and descended to the top of the grassy rake used earlier that day. We then followed the outward route back to the car park.

previous ascent

Meall Mor Graham second ascent 676 metres
Sgorr a'Choise Graham second ascent 663 metres

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Beinn Donachain

29 January 2011

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 50. Time taken - 5.5 hours. Distance - 12.5 kilometres. Ascent - 765 metres.

We parked in the car park at Catnish, in Glen Orchy, and crossed the River Orchy by a swing footbridge. It was a pleasant walk along the path following the flow of the river but the path’s condition soon deteriorated and became wet and boggy in sections.

On exiting the forest we found the path that zig zagged uphill, mainly because the bracken was dead and it was therefore easier to locate. The path ran below the Creag Ghlas crags and we followed it to beyond a fence and the crags at Creagan Glas. Here we left the path and climbed to, and found a route through, the forest and over a fence.

It was now a steady climb onto Cruach nan Nighean’s south-east top followed by an easy walk to its highest point. Thereafter we continued round the horseshoe ridge passing Heart Loch to the north before reaching a deer fence. A section of wooden slats in the fence assisted our crossing before an old fence and dyke was followed to the summit cairn of Beinn Donachain. Here there were some reasonable views of the Ben Cruachan and Glen Etive mountains as well as the nearby Corbett, Beinn Mhic Mhonaidh.

From Beinn Donachain we descended south-west to Lochan Uaine and ascended Beinn Donachain’s West Top, a Graham Top at 644 metres. It had been a fairly calm and bright day but there was a cool breeze on the tops. We therefore sought a bit of shelter for lunch with a view of distant Loch Awe.

After lunch we headed east below the summit of Beinn Donachain before descending to the path used earlier in the day and following it back to the start.

previous ascent

Beinn Donachain Graham second ascent 650 metres

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Bidean nam Bian and Stob Coire Sgreamhach

27 September 2010

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 41. Time taken - 7.25 hours. Distance - 11 kilometres. Ascent - 1310 metres.

We were in Glen Coe to climb Argyll’s highest Munro, Bidean nam Bian and its sibling, Stob Coire Sgreamhach, so we parked in the large car park on the south side of the Pass of Glen Coe. There were already a few cars parked there and tourists, including a bus party, were arriving to take in the views.

Several paths led down to the River Coe and a bridge which we crossed to reach Coire nan Lochan. This was the start of a steep climb up the east side of a stream on a well used path, over short areas of landslip. Higher up work had been carried out to improve the path.

The cloud base, which when we set out was just above the top of the Aonach Eagach, was steadily lowering and on approaching the waterfall we entered the cloud. The path at the side of the waterfall was badly eroded and needed some care. Just beyond the top of the waterfall we came to a small lochan where we changed direction as we crossed over and climbed onto the north-east ridge of Stob Coire nan Lochain.

Initially the ascent of this ridge was relatively easy but higher up it became steeper with a couple of easy scrambles. The summit of Stob Coire nan Lochain, a Munro Top, was eventually reached where it was quite cold and misty.

A bearing was taken and we made the easy descent to the col with Bidean nam Bian followed by an ascent of this Munro. A couple of buttress’s appeared out of the cloud giving an atmospheric feeling before a scree path followed by some boulders led to the summit cairn.

Again there was no point in hanging around so we descended south-west over a couple of knolls to the Bealach Dearg. It was then the case of just following the path which led to the summit cairn of Stob Coire Sgreamhach.

We returned to the Bealach Dearg and made an awkward and steep descent over reddish coloured rock which was rather wet and slippery. We gave up on the rock and descended the bare red earth, which was slightly easier. Scree was reached and this led to a man made path. Here we stopped for a late lunch and while seated amongst the rocks the cloud began to lift and we heard the roar of the stags.

The cloud continued to lift and after lunch we descended by the path into Coire Gabhail, the Lost Valley. Sections of the path were very eroded but lower down it was in reasonable condition. The roar of the stags now came from both sides of the glen.

The Allt Coire Gabhail disappeared under stones which were crossed to reach the large boulder marking the entrance to the Lost Valley. The stream later reappeared and we crossed it before following the path through a gorge with steep drops to the Allt Coire Gabhail. Lower down the River Coe was re-crossed by another bridge before the short climb back to the car park.

previous ascent Bidean nam Bian

previous ascent Stob Coire Sgreamhach

Bidean nam Bian Munro sixth ascent 1150 metres
Stob Coire Sgreamhach Munro fifth ascent 1072 metres

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Stob Coir'an Albannaich and Meall nan Eun

26 September 2010

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 50. Time taken - 7.25 hours. Distance - 17 kilometres. Ascent - 1360 metres.

It was a lovely sunny morning as I drove down Glen Etive, and with the temperature below freezing, the cars parked in the glen and the tents pitched nearby were covered in frost.

I parked in an area of rough ground opposite the private road to Coileitir. There were already three cars parked there, one of which was covered in frost. Once I had some warm gear on I walked down the private road, across the bridge over the River Etive, and along the track towards Glen Ceitlein, passed a large area of young trees fenced off from the deer. The plan was to walk as far as the glen and climb Stob Coir’an Albannaich by its north-west ridge. However on approaching Glen Ceitlein I discovered a second fenced off area so I left the track, walked through the large gap between the fenced areas, and approached the west face of Stob Coir’an Albannaich.

Initially it was a bit boggy but as the gradient increased the ground became drier although frosty. The deer tracks led to a grassy rake between large granite slabs. The slope later eased and I was able to make a more direct approach working my way round or over the granite boulders. I emerged from the shade into a bright low sun which for a while made it difficult to view the route ahead.

I crossed a few hollows before climbing to the top of Beinn Chaorach. From here I walked round Coire Ghlas and made the easy ascent of Stob Coir’an Albannaich. At the summit I met a chap who had left later than me but had gone through the gate in the first deer fence immediately on leaving the Coileitir track and followed a path to the summit. Obviously a quicker and better route than mine.

I remained at the summit for a few minutes taking in the views of the surrounding mountains before descending Stob Coir’an Albannaich’s East Ridge. I then made my way down the first gully I came to but it was quite tricky as the ground was frozen and there was quite a bit of ice to contend with. There was a second gully further east which may have been easier.

On reaching the foot of the gully I climbed the Corbett Top, Meall Tarsuinn then made a rocky descent to its col with Meall nan Eun. It was then an easy ascent to the summit of this Munro where there was a cool breeze despite the sun.

I descended Meall nan Eun’s east ridge until I found some shelter for lunch sitting in the sun. Afterwards I continued the descent which was steep and rocky in places, disturbing a couple of deer. On reaching Coirean Riabhach I followed the path down the side of the Allt Ceitlein to the end of the glen and returned to my car by the morning’s outward route.

Stob Coir'an Albannaich Munro fifth ascent 1044 metres
Meall nan Eun Munro fifth ascent 928 metres

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Beinn Fhionnlaidh

28 August 2010

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 50. Time taken - 5.25 hours. Distance - 14 kilometres. Ascent - 1075 metres.

The starting point for this walk was a rough area of ground, east of the Allt Charnan, in Glen Etive, where there was space for a few cars. It was then a short walk along the tarred road to the gate leading to the property at Invercharnan. The house was still under renovation and there was no alternative route to access the forest track other than through this property.

In the forest I was protected from the wind although there was an occasional rain shower. Lower down the track was lined with rhododendrons and appeared little used by vehicles. At a sharp right hand bend an obvious muddy path led to the open hillside and into the breeze.

A descent of around 30 metres took me to the Allt nan Gaoirean where there were remnants of corrugated iron bridges which were no longer suitable for use. However the stream wasn’t high so there was no problem crossing it and one of its tributaries. A walker’s trail, wet and boggy in places, followed another tributary to the col north of Meall nan Gobhar.

All morning the cloud had been floating around the mountain tops and at this point the summit of Beinn Fhionnlaidh was visible. Traces of a path led up the south side of its East Top but later disappeared as my intention was to visit this Corbett Top before heading out to the Munro. It was a steady climb but unfortunately as I reached the summit cairn the cloud had again lowered.

From the East Top I descended around forty metres to its col with Beinn Fhionnlaidh where there was another trail to follow. The cloud had lifted off the summit of Beinn Fhionnlaidh as I made my approach over steeper ground with a couple of easy scrambles towards the summit cairn and trig point. I was out of luck as the cloud lowered again just before my arrival.

I took a break here sheltering behind the cairn but the cloud never cleared so I set off back to my car using the ascent route, although I by-passed the East Top.

previous ascent

Beinn Fhionnlaidh Munro fifth ascent 959 metres

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Creise and Meall a'Bhuiridh

24 July 2010

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 41. Time taken - 5 hours. Distance - 10.5 kilometres. Ascent - 1020 metres.

The start for the ascent of these two Munros was Blackrock Cottage, on the access road to the White Corries Ski Centre, Glen Coe. On my arrival here I was surprised that the cloud was above some of the mountain tops, which was contrary to the weather forecast.

I set off from the cottage and headed west over wet and boggy ground, at times following traces of a path. Once I had passed below the north-west ridge of Creag Dhubh I headed south into Cham Ghleann. The cloud had by this time lifted clear of the remaining mountain tops.

I passed some waterfalls before crossing the Allt Cam Ghlinne and commencing the ascent of Stob a’Ghlais Choire. This was a fairly steep ascent mainly across grassy vegetation but higher up some scree and rocks had to be traversed before the gradient eased and I made the final climb to the summit of this Munro Top. It had been warm work on the ascent and I saw numerous frogs, a vole and some midges were around. It appeared that the sun was going to break through but as I approached the summit the cloud started to lower.

From Stob a’Ghlais Choire there was a short descent followed by an easy climb to the summit of Creise which was in the cloud. There were two cairns but it appears that the southerly one was the highest, although it was difficult to confirm this in the poor visibility.

There was no point in lingering here as there were no views so I continued west down an easy gradient before I slight rise to a cairn that marked the route to Meall a’Bhuiridh. A steep descent followed as I worked my way over or round some rocks before the gradient eased. The descent continued to the col where I briefly had a view north into Mam Coire Easain and of the west ridge of Meall a’Bhuiridh.

I ascended the west ridge of Meall a’Bhuiridh and was soon back in the cloud. On reaching its summit cairn I found some shelter for lunch from a slight breeze. Afterwards I commenced my descent in a north-easterly direction quickly coming to the ski tows. I kept to the west of this equipment and spotted a large family of ptarmigan. Lower down I emerged from the cloud with views of the ski huts and tows in Coire Pollach.

On reaching these huts I followed a vehicle track to the top the access tow, which was running for tourists and mountain bikers. I descended a very rough and eroded path on the west side of the Allt nan Giubhas to the main White Corries building then a short walk down the tarred road to Blackrock Cottage.

previous ascent

Creise Munro fifth ascent 1100 metres
Meall a'Bhuiridh Munro fifth ascent 1108 metres

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Sgor na h-Ulaidh

19 June 2010

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 41. Time taken - 6.25 hours. Distance - 13.5 kilometres. Ascent - 1200 metres.

I had been over on the Island of Skye climbing the Cuillin Munros so on my return to the mainland I decided to head for Glen Coe and tackle one of their Munros. I opted for Sgor na h-Ulaidh, which is hidden behind Bidean nam Bian. It was a sunny and clear day so I was looking forward to getting some good views of Bidean, the highest mountain in Argyll.

I parked my car on an area of waste ground, on the north side of A82 east of the bridge over the Allt na Muidhe. (Grid Ref, NN119563) It is on a bend in the road which makes access and egress a bit tricky with the fast flowing traffic on the main road. However the waste ground is frequently used by hill walkers tackling this Munro and the Corbett, Meall Lighiche.

Once geared up and the sunblock on I set off west along the A82, round the bend and across the bridge over the Allt na Muidhe where there is no verge. Fortunately just beyond the bridge I left the main road and followed the tarred, private road towards the properties at Gleann-leac-na-muidhe. This involved passing some Highland cattle and their calves but they gave me no problems.

The tarred road later changed to a vehicle track as it crossed the Allt na Muidhe and continued up the opposite side of the stream. I must have been in a bit of a dream as didn’t see the signed path to avoid the holiday cottages and as I passed them I spoke to the owner, who was doing his Saturday clean. He was a fellow hill walker and accepted my explanation and we had an amicable conversion.

After the holiday cottages I came to the farm buildings and once beyond them I left the track and commenced the steep ascent towards the north ridge of Aonach Dubh a’Ghlinne, zig zagging my way uphill with skylarks and wheatears darting out of the grasses. Higher up there was some rocky outcrops to avoid but after some hard work I eventually reached the ridge where I had my views of Bidean nam Bian and the Corbett, Beinn Maol Chaluim.

It was then an easy walk to the summit of Aonach Dubh a’Ghlinne, a Corbett Top, which was followed by a short descent to the col with Stob an Fhuarain. From here I followed a path to the summit of this Munro Top. Another descent, then a steady climb, still on a path, took me to the summit of Sgor na h-Ulaidh. Here I had my lunch in the sun with other walkers around, while more arrived and left.

After lunch I headed over to Corr na Beinne and descended an eroded path to the west of West Gully. Lower down it became a bit tricky and some scrambling was involved as the rock was wet and mossy in places. This took me to the Bealach Easan from where I descended to Gleann Leac na Muidhe and returned to the start, this time taking the by-pass route round the holiday homes.

previous ascent

Sgor na h-Ulaidh Munro fifth ascent 994 metres

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Aonach Eagach and Pap of Glencoe

22 May 2010

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 41. Time taken - 8.5 hours. Distance - 10 kilometres. Ascent - 1280 metres.

The availability of two cars and a reasonable forecast saw me en-route to Glen Coe to climb the two Munros, Meall Dearg and Sgorr nam Fiannaidh, the two Munro Tops, Am Bodach and Stob Coire Leith and the sole Corbett Top, Aonach Eagach.

We left a car near Glencoe Village and drove back up the glen. There was no space left in the small rocky car park on the north side of the A82, at the start of the ascent for Am Bodach, so we parked in the main car park which was starting to fill up with walkers, tourists and tour bus passengers.

A short walk along the A82 took us to the path leading onto Am Bodach and the commencement of a steep climb. On previous visits I headed across to the Allt Ruigh and climbed through Coire an Ruigh to the col between Sron Gharbh and Am Bodach. However on this occasion I made a direct ascent of Am Bodach which involved a couple of simple scrambles and was easier than I had expected. It was warm on this ascent but fortunately some cloud prevented the sun from appearing or it would have been an uncomfortable ascent in the heat.

On arrival at Am Bodach the ridge ahead came into view and we walked to the top of The Chancellor to plan our next move, as did another walker who was obviously put off my this challenging descent as he never appeared on the ridge. In fact several folks made the ascent of Am Bodach but never went any further.

The down climb of The Chancellor was fairly obvious, albeit tricky, but with a bit of patience and concentration we successfully completed this first obstacle. It was then a relatively easy stroll to the summit of Meall Dearg with views down into Glen Coe.

Ahead of us were the Aonach Eagach Pinnacles and once committed to this ridge walk there were only two options, continue or return. Forward we went taking in the Pinnacles which involved down climbing, gullies and scrambling. Progress along the ridge was slow, as was to be expected, but the pace was not any different from those walkers in our proximity. The ridge wasn’t difficult, despite a couple of tricky sections, but after a couple of hours it was over and all that was left was the easy ascent of Stob Coire Lieth and Sgorr nam Fiannaidh.

The sun made an appearance during the afternoon but there was a slight breeze which helped to cool things down. From the remains of the trig point on Sgurr nam Fiannaidh we continued west before heading towards the col with Sgorr na Ciche, The Pap of Glencoe. This descent was over loose boulders and scree until we reached the heather which made for easier foot work.

From the col there were several paths leading to the summit of Sgorr na Ciche and I took a more direct route which involved a bit of easy scrambling. From the summit we had views of Glencoe Village, Loch Leven, the Ballachulish Bridge, Mamores and Ben Nevis.

After a short rest here we descended by an easier route back to the col and a worn path to the car left near Glencoe village. Thankfully we didn’t have to walk back to the Three Sisters Viewpoint Car Park and on the drive there we gave a lift to a couple whom we had met a few times on the ridge and who had descended by the Clachaig Gully.

previous ascent Aonach Eagach

Meall Dearg Munro fifth ascent 953 metres
Sgorr nam Fiannaidh Munro fifth ascent 967 metres
Sgorr na Ciche Graham second ascent 742 metres

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Beinn Bhreac, Beinn Molurgainn and Beinn Mheadhonach

26 June 2009

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 49 & 50. Time taken - 7.75 hours. Distance - 21 kilometres. Ascnet - 1577 metres.

The Grahams, Beinn Bhreac, Beinn Molurgainn and Beinn Mheadhonach are located to the west of Gleann Salach and are bounded on their south and east sides by Loch Etive. The B845 runs through Gleann Salach and is reached from the A828 Oban to Fort William Road at North Connel or further north near Barcaldine.

I parked my car at the highest point on the B845 and commenced the ascent of Beinn Bhreac first. It was a sunny morning and very breezy which kept me cool and the midges and clegs at bay. The walking was on a mixture of grasses and vegetation with some wet sections but fortunately it had been dry recently. The route to the west top of Beinn Bhreac was rather undulating with lots of knolls to work my way round or go over. On reaching the west top I had views out to the Islands of Mull and Lismore and back to Connel.

The highest point of Beinn Bhreac was still around a kilometre away so I headed over to a col and climbed towards the summit, annoying a Golden Plover with my presence. From the summit of Beinn Bhreac I continued east and in a northern corrie, out of the wind, there was a large amount of deer. Once they were aware of my presence they took off and I could hear the hinds barking at their young.

At a col I descended south disturbing another Golden Plover and some more deer before reaching a further col. From here I climbed to the summit of Beinn Molurgainn. There were two small cairns so I visited both as I had no idea which was the highest. From here I had views of Beinn Trilleachan, Ben Starav, Beinn Eunaich, Beinn a’Chochuill and the Ben Cruachan mountains.

I descended Beinn Molurgainn heading for the undulating ridge between it and Beinn Mheadhonach. Near the col with Meall Dearg I had to cross a deer fence before commencing the ascent of a gully on Meall Dearg. While on this ascent my attention was drawn to a barking noise and I spotted a hind to my left standing on a rock. The warning was obviously to its calf which was lying concealed nearby. I kept a lookout for the calf but to no avail but the hind, which remained beside the rock, continued its frequent barking even once I was out of sight.

I reached Meall Dearg and then worked my way round some knolls. The area had been planted with trees but many of them appeared dead or their growth was stunted. Once above Lochan Bealach Carra I found some shelter from the wind and had a late lunch. Thereafter a fence had to be crossed before I could commence the ascent of Beinn Mheadhonach. The route was quite exposed to the strong wind and I took a bit of a battering as I tried to find the easiest route over rocks and grasses. Eventually I made it to the summit area but had a deep fissure to cross, followed by a smaller one, neither of which were a problem. The views from the summit cairn of Loch Etive, Connel and Mull made all the effort worth while.

The descent was down the west ridge over the 619 knoll and later to a small stream before reaching the River Esragan. Here I encountered a slight problem. The river was in a deep gorge with trees on either side. I didn’t want to follow the south side of the river as it would eventually take me lower down the glen and away from where my car was parked. I therefore had to head upstream and the only suitable crossing point was just above the junction of three streams where a roe deer spotted me and ran off. The water was low so no wet feet but it was followed by a gradual ascent through long vegetation including some bracken to a deer fence. Once across the deer fence I was then able to make a more direct approach to my car and the end of a successful but hard day bagging three new Grahams.

Beinn Bhreac Graham first ascent 726 metres
Beinn Molurgainn Graham first ascent 690 metres
Beinn Mheadhonach Graham first ascent 715 metres

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Beinn nan Lus, Beinn nan Aighenan, Beinn Eunaich and Beinn a’Chochuill

30 – 31 May 2009

photos taken on day one

photos taken on day two


Map - OS Landranger 50. Time:
Day One - 7.25 hours.
Day Two - 12.5 hours.
Distance:
Day One - 19.5 kilometres
Day Two - 29 kilometres.
Ascent:
Day One - 1100 metres.
Day Two - 2080 metres.

Beinn nan Lus is a rather inaccessible Graham located to the east of Loch Etive and south of the Ben Starav group of mountains. Climbing Beinn nan Lus from Glen Etive involves a climb over the bealach between Ben Starav and Glas Beinn Mhor before reaching the north side of Beinn nan Lus. Alternative approaches are from Victoria Bridge to the east and Taynault in the south. I settled for the Taynault start.

Day One

On the A85 east of Taynault a single track road led to a Country Park and Inverawe House. Shortly before these properties a vehicle track headed through the forest to a newly constructed large car park. This area is also used for archery and red flags fly if this sport is progress. I left the car park and continued on foot through the forest on the vehicle track that runs along the east shore of Loch Etive. I soon had views up the loch to Beinn Trilleachan, Ben Starav and beyond to Buachille Etive Beag.

The track was rather undulating. The farm at Glennoe was reached before an ascent round the west side of A Chruach followed by a descent to the house at Inverliver, situated at the end of Glen Liver. A couple of swans had been swimming up the loch and were in fact faster than me. A chap in a boat was fishing just off the shore as his boat slowly chugged northwards.

At Inverliver Bay there was another pair of swans this time with three cygnets. Beyond the bay there was more climbing before descending to the bridge over the River Kinglass and then a right turn to walk up Glen Kinglass on the north side of the river. It had been sunny and warm since I set out but the heat was now quite stifling. The glen was covered in bluebells.

At Narrachan Bothy I stopped for a late lunch. The bothy had a solid roof but was devoid of any door or widows. A piece of corrugated iron was used as a makeshift door. Rather than eat in the dingy bothy I sheltered from the sun under an oak tree.

Once fed I continued along Glen Kinglass with the rocky south face of Beinn nan Lus to my right. It didn’t seem possible to climb the Graham from this glen until I ventured further east where there was less rock. I left the vehicle track and crossed some boggy ground to a gate in a deer fence. This enclosed area was very overgrown with lots of hollows hidden by dead grasses and this made walking difficult. It was here that I became aware that I was suffering from the heat. I had to stop frequently to take on water and on one occasion felt quite ill. I considered whether I should return to the bothy to recover but after ten minutes or so I was able to continue but at an even slower pace.

It therefore took be some time to ascend through the fenced area and at the top end I couldn't find an escape route so I had to climb over the fence. Underfoot conditions improved and I slowly climbed towards Beinn nan Lus watched by a few deer. Several pairs of cyclists were headed down the glen after their day out in the mountains. Seven hours after setting out I arrived at Beinn nan Lus's summit cairn. I had views of the mountains around Ben Starav, Stob Gabhar and Beinn Eunaich as well as the Graham, Meall Garbh, which I had climbed last year.

I still wasn’t feeling one hundred per cent so I decided to look for a suitable site for my tent. It was quite rocky in and around the summit so I descended the north side of the mountain and soon found a suitable camp site. The evening was spent eating my meal and drinking lots of tea and coffee while reading a magazine. Several times I heard deer barking and saw some on the horizon. When the sun disappeared in the west it was time to retire for the night.

Day Two

I woke early. It was a lot cooler and while lying there watching the sun rise I decided to get up and head off for the Munro, Beinn nan Aighenan. I had a bite to eat, packed my gear and set off downhill to the Allt Hallater just below Bealach Cumhann. Once across this stream I dumped my pack and climbed to the south ridge of Beinn nan Aighenan where I disturbed some feeding deer and very noisy Golden Plovers. I then climbed this ridge to the summit cairn arriving on the top before 7am. It was very pleasant on the summit with a more reasonable temperature, well at least for me. I had views of the sun reflecting on Loch Tulla to the east, of the surrounding mountains and of my night’s camp site.

I returned to collect my pack and followed the path down the east side of the Allt Hallater. In places it wasn’t that obvious as I ended up following an animal track before regaining the path. As I approached the vehicle track in Glen Kinglass the path seemed to disappear amongst the bracken. Once in the glen I set up my stove and had a second breakfast. A group of seven walkers were on the other side of the river and appeared to be heading for Beinn Suidhe.

It was now warm, despite it only being just after 9am. I walked down the glen for a short distance to a bridge over the River Kinglass. Although the water was relatively low the bridge crossed the river at a deep rocky section. The wooden slats didn’t appear to be very reliable so I held onto a wire hawser as I carefully crossed. I then walked over some wet ground to the Allt Dhoireann before crossing it. The group that I had seen earlier were wandering around and in fact were just above me headed in the same direction and away from an ascent of Beinn Suidhe. I've no idea what they were doing as I never saw them again.

Once across the Allt Dhoireann I climbed up the side of its west bank. The map showed a path but it wasn’t much more than a mark in the grass lower down and invisible higher up. It was now very warm with no wind and I frequently stopped to drink from the burn. There were several small tributaries as I headed to the top of the Lairig Dhoireann and onto the Corbett Top, Meall Copagach. Here there were views of Ben Lui and the Munros, Beinn Eunaich and Beinn a’Chochuill.

On the west side of Meall Copagach, I came across a sheep on its back and frothing at the mouth. It appeared stuck in that position as it was trying to right itself and give birth so I managed to get it on its side. However I doubt very much if it would have survived. There was now a slight breeze but no longer any running water so I needed to ration myself. I climbed over Beinn Eunaich’s East Top, another Corbett Top, and later stopped for lunch and boiled some of my valuable water for a cup of tea.

I later continued along the ridge and saw a deer looking down into Coire Odhar but on spotting me it ran off. It was hard work in the heat climbing to the summit cairn of Beinn Eunaich where I had views across to the Ben Cruachan group of mountains. There were two guys on the summit, the first I had spoken to on this trip. I didn’t linger long here and headed down Beinn Eunaich’s stony west ridge meeting another walker going in the opposite direction.

There was now a breeze and once at the col I commenced the ascent of my final mountain on this trip, Beinn a’Chochuill. After the initial climb the gradient eased and it was an gentle climb to the summit cairn. I met several walkers heading in the opposite direction. From the summit I could see the snow on Ben Nevis and the mountains of Mull, Jura and Arran.

After drinking the last of my water I commenced the long descent of Beinn a’Chochuill’s west ridge. I was low down before I was able to find more water unfortunately in an area where there were lots of sheep, lambs and some deer but needs must. Once I had replenished my water supply, I continued on the descent and reached the vehicle track east of Glenmore Farm. A short walk took me to the farm and then it was a four kilometre undulating walk back to my car.

On arrival there I drank the warm water that had been left in my flask from the previous morning. At least it wouldn't have been polluted by animals.

Beinn nan Lus Graham first ascent 709 metres
Beinn nan Aighenan Munro fifth ascent 960 metres
Beinn Eunaich Munro fifth ascent 989 metres
Beinn a'Chochuill Munro fifth ascent 980 metres

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Meall Garbh

15 November 2008

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 50. Time taken – 7 hours. Distance - 17.75 kilometres. Ascent - 1270 metres.

The Graham, Meall Garbh, is located south of Glen Kinglass a long walk from Victoria Bridge to the east. Having been part way along this glen to climb Beinn Suidhe earlier in the year, I was aware that at least one bridge had been washed away and that in wet conditions the river crossing would be difficult, if not impossible. Heavy overnight rain meant that I would have to climb Meall Garbh from the south involving loss of height as I headed over Meall Beithe to get to the base of this Graham.

At the head of Loch Awe on the A85, west of Dalmally, the B8077 headed towards Glen Strae. Just before the bridge over the River Strae I parked at the side of the access road to Duiletter Farm. Signs indicated that the road was private and that vehicles were not permitted beyond this point.

I walked up the private road and took the left fork beside a new building. Beyond, some ponds had been built, probably for fishing, although on my return they were being used by ducks. I passed through a gate in the deer fence, where the road through Duiletter Farm rejoined the track, and continued to just before the bridge over the Allt Dhoirrean. Here I went through a couple of gates and up the west side of the Allt Dhoirrean following a path or All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) tracks, as sometimes the were separate but at other times they merged. However on the whole it was wet and boggy whether the path or ATV track was used. A few side streams had to be crossed but there was no real problem despite the volume of water.

As height was gained the underfoot conditions improved but it became rather windy and just before reaching the Bealach Dhoireann the rain commenced. At the Bealach there was a small cairn with a shelter for one so I took a break here trying to hide from the wind and rain. The area had become engulfed in cloud but it occasionally broke and I could see the best route to the col below Meall Beithe. This involved climbing towards the north ridge of Beinn Lurachan rather than a more direct approach due to rocks and the steepness of the terrain. This crossing was rather difficult as I was exposed to a strong gusting wind, rain and occasional hail.

On reaching the col between Beinn Lurachan and Meall Beithe I managed to get some shelter from the wind as I climbed to the summit of Meall Beithe, which is only eight metres lower than Meall Garbh. The rain was now more intermittent and I headed down the north-east ridge of Meall Beithe loosing around 250 metres of height to a wet and boggy col. I crossed a fence then it was a steady climb to the rocky and windy summit of Meall Garbh. Here I had views of the Grahams, Beinn nan Lus and Beinn Suidhe and the Munro, Beinn nan Aighenan.

The return was by the approach route although I did not re-ascend Meall Beithe but worked my way round the east and south side to the col between Meall Beithe and Beinn Lurachan. At the foot of Meall Garbh I met a group of seven walkers, one being a Marilyn bagger. Normally I don’t meet anyone on the Grahams so to meet seven is rather unusual especially on a less popular mountain.

Meall Garbh Graham first ascent 701 metres

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Beinn na Sroine

19 September 2008

photos taken on walk

Map – OS Landranger 50. Time taken – 2 hours. Distance - 4 kilometres. Ascent - 440 metres.

The fine weather which had been predicted for several days had still not materialised so I decided to climb this Graham which would only take a couple of hours.

I set off from the A85 Tyndrum to Dalmally Road at the edge of the forest, grid reference NN245287, where there was a rough piece of ground to park on, just off the main road. The start was through long bracken, over a fence and a short steep climb to more open hillside. This I discovered on my return could be avoided by going a few metres further west and following deer tracks onto the open hillside.

The going was fairly tough through long vegetation with a steady gradient but as height was gained the vegetation became shorter and the walking easier. It was damp with low cloud rising and falling but visibility in the cloud was okay. I came across a deer hind which initially stood still and watched me as I took its photo. I then realised that, another deer was nearby, probably its calf but well enough developed to be as big as its mother. When I moved the hind barked and they both ran off across the hillside.

I continued the climb, which had eased slightly, onto the summit ridge and was on the lookout for the radio mast and trig point. I spotted the trig point but there was no sign of the radio mast until I got closer and saw that all that was left was its concrete base and some metal stanchions. Here I took a short break hoping that the cloud would lift to no avail so I returned to my car by the ascent route.

Beinn na Sroine Graham first ascent 636 metres

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Beinn Suidhe

13 July 2008

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 50. Time taken - 5 hours. Distance - 15.5 kilometres. Ascent - 625 metres.

A car park is located just south of the termination of the public road that runs from the A82, Glasgow to Fort William Road, at Bridge of Orchy to Victoria Bridge. This car park is the usual start for the Munros, Stob Gabhar and Stob a’Choire Odhair.

I took the rough path from the car park to the road south of Victoria Bridge and followed a few walkers along the West Highland Way. Just beyond the bridge they continued north while I took the Estate track that headed west along the north side of the Abhainn Shira. This is also a Right of Way to Loch Etive. I passed a club hut where the Munro baggers head north to climb the above mentioned mountains. However I continued west along the side of the river. A signpost indicated that I should leave the vehicle track, which leads to Clashgour Lodge, and follow the path along the riverside. Fortunately the path was reasonably dry and the river low, although at this point it was fairly deep and slow moving. The river embankment had been eroded in several places and there was even a bridge to nowhere, the route ahead having been washed away.

Further west the bridge over the Allt Gabhar, which had only been built in 2001, was now closed due to serious erosion and was lying at an angle. The stream was very low so easily crossed as was the Abhainn Shira using some stepping stones. I also had a third river crossing, the Allt Suill na Curra, which wasn’t a problem. Further west the Clashgour Footbrige, which I could have used to cross the Abhainn Shira, had been repaired in 1997 and was in reasonable condition.

Beyond this swing bridge I wanted to leave the track and ascent Beinn Suidhe. There was a deer fence so I decided to follow it, initially over some boggy ground before I was able to commence the climb. There was a stile over the fence but I thought the unfenced area would be easier to negotiate. I followed the fence as it went below Tom Liath and came across a large number of grouse, obviously a family. The grouse rose a few at a time and unfortunately some crashed into the deer fence. At least one was killed which was rather disappointing and is one of the downsides of these deer fences.

I climbed between Tom Liath and the North Top of Beinn Suidhe following an All Terrain Vehicle track. At its highest point I climbed steeply up the west side of this North Top, through and over some rocks. Once on the North Top I had better views of Stob Gabhar and Stob a’Choire Odhair and of the Glen Etive Munros. A slight descent followed before the final climb to the summit of Beinn Suidhe where deer were feeding on its south side. In addition to the views already described I could see Loch Tulla, the Bridge of Orchy Munros, Ben Lui and the Ben Cruachan group of mountains.

I had the mountain to myself and had lunch at the summit taking in the views. Afterwards I returned to the bealach with the North Top and descended steeply to the south side of Tom Liath and to the Allt Suil na Curra over some rough and uneven ground. I located the fire break in the forest to the east of this stream, crossed a deer fence and followed traces of a path to the forest track that ran along the length of the fire break. The forest track was followed until it reached open ground before entering another small forest. Large locked gates needed climbing. On leaving the second forest it was a short descent to the car park where I had left my car earlier that day.

Beinn Suidhe Graham first ascent 676 metres

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Buachaille Etive Beag

30 June 2008

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 41. Time taken – 7 hours. Distance - 8.5 kilometres. Ascent - 930 metres.

Dave and Joyce make an annual pilgrimage to Scotland from their home in the USA for their summer vacation. During their holiday they like to have one day climbing a Munro. They have been doing this now for five years and I have been fortunate to lead them on four previous occasions. The first year they climbed Ben Lomond on their own but on all these trips they have never had a summit view. They have experienced low cloud, rain, hail and even some snow.

I decided this year we would try Glen Coe so I collected Dave and Joyce from their accommodation in Fort William and headed south on the A82. They had driven through Glen Coe several times and stopped to admire the magnificent mountains but never set foot on them.

We parked at the car park on the A82 east of The Study and close to the foot of the path leading to the Lairig Eilde, which is a Right of Way to Glen Etive. We walked up this Right of Way but before crossing the Allt Lairig Eilde left it and headed across some rather bogy terrain and climbed to the bealach south-west of Stob Coire Raineach. Sections of this path had been improved but more bog was encountered higher up.

The mountain tops, which were clear when we set off, were now cloud covered and as we reached the bealach it started to rain. Dave and Joyce were a bit disappointed but not surprised as a result of their previous experiences in the Scottish mountains.

We climbed fairly steeply to the 902 Point on Buachille Etive Beag, during some intermittent showers, before the gradient eased and we walked to the summit cairn of Stob Dubh. Dave and Joyce had climbed another Munro without a view from the summit. A cold wind was blowing so we returned along the ridge until we found a sheltered area to partake of lunch. After lunch and as we prepared to set off again the cloud started to break and we had brief, albeit not very clear views, into Lairig Gartain, Glen Etive and Loch Etive.

The descent back to the bealach was by the upward route but the weather was slowly improving and when we reached the bealach Stob Coire Raineach was clear of cloud and it was also lifting off the nearby summits. Dave and Joyce were therefore happy to climb Stob Coire Raineach in the hope of a summit view. It was a stony ascent but well worth the effort as the top was still clear when we reached the summit cairn. We had views of the Blackwater Reservoir and Buachaille Etive Mor as well as the route we had walked that day.

A few photographs were taken at the summit before we returned to the bealach and followed that morning's upward route back to the start. Dave and Joyce have now climbed eight Munros with one summit view but I think they were pleased that they had broken their duck.

previous ascent Stob Dubh

previous ascent Stob Coire Raineach

Stob Dubh Munro fifth ascent 958 metres
Stob Coire Raineach Munro fifth ascent 925 metres

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Beinn Donachain

25 May 2008

photos taken on walk

Map – OS Landranger 50. Time taken - 4 hours. Distance - 10.5 kilometres. Ascent - 710 metres.

It was a bright and sunny morning as I headed along Glen Orchy on the B8074, located between the A82 and the A85. Ample parking was available at Catnish Picnic Area around five kilometres north-east of the A85.

At the south end of the picnic area a footbridge crossed the River Orchy. However a locked gate prevented access and a warning sign stated that the bridge was closed as it was unsafe. The bridge appeared to me to be quite stable so I decided to use it and was surprised to find that some wooden planks and bolts had been recently replaced. Maybe the estate owner doesn't want picnickers straying across onto his land. Once on the other side of the river I walked down the riverbank through some oak and birch trees. The path at times was rather boggy and was obviously used by deer.

I emerged from the trees into newly grown bracken making it difficult to find the stalker’s path that headed uphill. I eventually located it but it wasn’t in great condition but at least the recent dry spell meant less boggy sections. Once beyond the crag at Creag Ghlas I left the path and headed steeply uphill following a fence until it changed direction.

My route continued uphill with good views back to Ben Lui and to Beinn Achaladair in the east. It was rather windy and as I gained further height the Corbett Beinn Mhic Mhonaidh came into view. I passed Heart Loch and another lochan before reaching a deer fence. A section of wooden slats in the fence made it possible to climb it, before following an old fence almost to the summit of Beinn Donachain. The summit cairn was located on a now almost nonexistent drystane dyke. From the summit I had views of the Ben Cruachan group of mountains, Beinn Eunaich and Ben Starav.

There was a rather cold breeze on the summit so after a few minutes I commenced the return by the route of ascent, well nearly as I cut out some re-ascent by going round the south end of Heart Loch.

Beinn Donachain Graham first ascent 650 metres

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Meall Tairbh

24 May 2008

photos taken on walk

Map – OS Landranger 50. Time taken – 4 hours. Distance - 12 kilometres. Ascent - 690 metres.

The start of this Graham was the Inveroran Hotel which is reached by a single track unclassified road from Bridge of Orchy on the A82 Glasgow to Fort William Road. There was ample parking opposite the Hotel, which is on the route of the West Highland Way.

I set off south on the West Highland Way which was already busy with early morning walkers. I couldn’t find the west-most path shown on the map that left the WHW and headed towards the 546 Point. There was also a large expanse of ground, not marked on the map, that stretched from near the Hotel towards Coir Orain, that was fenced off with a deer fence protecting newly grown trees. I headed for the top left hand corner of the fence at times following animal tracks and beyond the fence towards the 546 Point with ever improving views of Loch Tulla and the Achaladair mountains.

Prior to reaching the 546 point I did join the path that came in from further east and I followed it to this high point passing some TV aerials near the summit. I now had additional views of Bridge of Orchy, the route of the road and rail line to Glasgow, as well as Glen Orchy. Thereafter I followed the twisting ridge to the summit of Ben Inverveigh. Although at a height of 639 metres it is not classed as a Graham as it does not have the stipulated 150 metres of re-ascent being around 10 metres short.

I descended the south-west ridge of Ben Invereigh before dropping down to near Lochan Coir Orain. Nearby I found a Wheater’s nest containing a number of eggs. From here it was a steady climb to the summit cairn of Meall Tairbh with views across to the Glen Etive mountains. The earlier cold breeze had eased and the high cloud was beginning to break up with glimpses of the sun. A few deer were feeding near the summit.

The descent was by the north-east ridge disturbing a few small deer herds. Lower down I followed some animal tracks towards the Allt Tolaghan and the road back to the Inveroran Hotel.

Meall Tairbh Graham first ascent 665 metres

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Stob Coire Sgreamhach

23 May 2008

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 41 Time taken – 6 hours Distance - 9 kilometres. Ascent - 1020 metres.

I needed to climb this Munro to complete another round of the Munros. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t as fine as it had been during recent weeks with some light rain, a cool wind and low cloud.

The starting point for the ascent of Stob Coire Sgreamhach was the main road that runs through Glen Coe, the A82, at the viewpoint, just west of Allt-na-reigh. I followed the path down to the bridge over the River Coe, then up through plantations and along the side of the Allt Coire Gabhail. This path was rather rough in places with steep drops to the stream. Higher up it crossed the stream before climbing to a wide valley, known as the Lost Valley.

I crossed the stone based valley and took the path that continued up the glen on the west side of the Allt Coire Gabhail. Higher up the path became rather steep and badly eroded as I entered the cloud base. Not long after that I came to a section of snow and a chap who had decided to call it a day due to the lying snow and cloud as he didn’t have an ice axe. I also was without an axe but decided to continue to ascertain for myself what difficulties were ahead.

The first section of snow wasn’t too difficult to cross but thereafter it was impossible to see what was above. I made two attempts at climbing towards the ridge. The first time I got to a gap beside a crag where the snow bank was higher than myself so I had to back out. I tried to go round the snow bank and crag but it took me in the wrong direction. I tried going round the other side of the crag, crossed another snow field but without an axe it was too dangerous to continue. I left the snow field and climbed some steep and rough ground the top surface of which was rather wet, probably due to snowmelt, causing the turf and rocks to fall away. I was able to avoid further snow fields and eventually reached the bealach between Stob Coire Sgreamhach and Bidean nam Bian, well slightly to the west, as it was impossible to arrive or leave the bealach at the cairned point due to a large build up of old snow. From the bealach I climbed to the summit cairn of Stob Coire Sgreamhach.

There was little point in remaining at the summit so I about turned and headed back to the bealach, well to the point I had marked for my return and commenced an awkward descent. I met three walkers from the Czech Republic who were headed for Bidean nam Bian. On one of the snow fields I met a young couple who after consulting me on the conditions higher up sensibly decided to turn about as the female appeared new to the sport and it wasn’t worth the risk of putting her off hill walking by risking this ascent. Later on I cleared the cloud and followed the path back to the main road as the cloud base rose and the weather improved.

I was pleased to have made it to the summit in rather challenging conditions as I have now completed four rounds of the Munros. This will leave me clear to concentrate on completing the Grahams and a second round of Corbetts.

Stob Coire Sgreamhach Munro fourth ascent 1072 metres

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Beinn Sgulaird

6 October 2007

Time taken - 6 hours. Distance - 12 kilometres. Ascent - 1190 metres.

The start of this walk was an old section of the A828 Ballachulish to Connel road, west of a new bridge over Loch Creran at Creagan. There was a small lay-by just north of Druimavuic which was convenient for parking.

We set off along the road towards Druimavuic for a few metres before following the track on the north side of the house which led to open hillside. The map showed the track ended here but in fact it continues over Coire Buidhe. The track was followed for around 400 metres where a small cairn marked the walker's path to Beinn Sgulaird.

This path took us to the 488 metres point and into the cloud and light rain. A short descent followed, a fence was crossed, and we regained the height we had lost. The ascent continued with the roar of the stags now a lot closer but the weather was against us seeing anything.

The 863 metre point was reached where we changed direction and descended to a bealach before climbing over Meall Garbh. The descent from Meall Garbh consisted of some loose rock which was also damp and slippery. Thereafter the final ascent of Beinn Sgulaird, in rather windy conditions, was made to the fairly large summit cairn where we found some shelter for lunch.

After a short break we walked along the north ridge of Beinn Sgulaird before descending a gully which was a mixture of rock and vegetation. Lower down I decided that it appeared easier to keep to the north side of a small stream but this involved easy scrambling round some rocks but the vegetation was wet and slippery. However the stream flowed into a narrow rocky gully which was impossible to cross so we were forced to continue on the north side until a suitable crossing point was found. It was a pity that visibility was so poor as the gully appeared to be very impressive with frequent small waterfalls.

Once of the opposite side of the stream we were able to head in the direction we required, through some long vegetation which was full of hollows. The cloud base was very low at around 100 metres but eventually we came to a shieling where we crossed a stream and followed a wet and boggy path, which had been used by cattle. This involved a climb of around 40 metres before descending to the farm at Taraphocain. Here we saw a couple of hinds on the road and heard the roar of nearby stags.

We followed the tarred road back to the old A828 and a short walk along this road led to the lay-by where I had left my car.

previous ascent

Beinn Sgulaird Munro fifth ascent 937 metres

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Bidean nam Bian

30 September 2007

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 5.25 hours. Distance - 9.5 kilometres. Ascent - 1220 metres.

It had been a few years since I had ascended the Munro Bidean nam Bian and was wishing to check out a couple of the routes. I parked in the large car park on the south side of the A82 at the Pass of Glencoe just east of the helipad. This is a popular car park and is frequently full of cars belonging to walkers, climbers and tourists. In fact it appears to be a regular stopping point for tourist buses to allow their passengers out to take photographs of the mountains.

From the car park I descended to the River Coe and walked west along the north bank until I reached the footbridge which I used to cross the river. I then followed the footpath that headed into Coire an Lochan. This path has had a lot of work carried out on it and is a steady climb and with the rocks used as steps it was like climbing stairs for long sections.

Higher up the condition of the path deteriorated with loose scree and boulders but I continued up the south-east side of the stream, through rocks to a grassy corrie with a few lochans. The weather was difficult to predict as the cloud base continued to change, sometimes I saw the summit of Stob Coire nan Lochan and other times it was in the cloud.

At the grassy corrie I crossed over and climbed onto the ridge between Gearr Aonach and Stob Coire nan Lochain before climbing the north-east ridge of Stob Coire nan Lochain, which was rather stony and narrowed in places. On reaching the summit cairn there were no views due to the cloud cover so I left the summit and headed for Bidean nam Bian.

It was a relatively easy descent to the bealach which was followed by a more challenging ascent of Bidean nam Bian involving some loose rock and paths where the loose stones had been cleared by walkers and erosion. There were no views during the ascent although I was aware of the rocky outlines to the west. I eventually reached the summit cairn still in the cloud.

I returned to the bealach between Bidean nam Bian and Stob Coire nan Lochain which was a bit awkward as was the descent from the bealach towards Coire Gabhail. The cloud lifted for a while and I could see my route ahead and the rocky outcrops I had to avoid. Lower down I found the path again but it had been badly eroded by small landslides.

Once in the glen I stopped for lunch while I watched and listened to a nearby stag as he kept his hinds together. He was constantly on the move so no wonder they start to loose weight during the rut.

After lunch I descended the path on the west side of the Allt Coire Gabhail to the 'Lost Valley', where the Clan MacDonald hid their cattle. It is now full of small stones with a large boulder at the bottom end concealing access and egress. Beyond this boulder I had to scramble over large rocks until the stream, which had been running underground reappeared. Thereafter I followed a path at the side of a steep embankment back to the River Coe and the short stroll to the car park.

Bidean nam Bian Munro fifth ascent 1150 metres

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Buachaille Etive Mor

29 September 2007

photos taken on walk

Time taken – 9.25 hours. Distance - 13 kilometres. Ascent - 1250 metres.

A group of five ladies from North Fife had planned a weekend away from their husbands and young families and decided upon an ascent of Buachaille Etive Mor. Some of the ladies had climbed Munros before but they didn’t feel confident enough to do it on their own, hence my involvement.

We met outside the Kingshouse Hotel at the southern end of Glen Coe and drove the short distance north to Altnafeadh on the A82. Here on the south side of the road there is some off road parking and a lay-by on the opposite side. Both were filling up quickly with walker’s vehicles.

Once organised we walked down to the River Coupall and crossed it by the footbridge, passed the Scottish Mountaineering Club Hut at Lagangarbh, and towards Coire na Tuilaich. Higher up, the stream flowing out of the corrie was crossed and we continued up its west bank.

The path was busy with walkers and a photographer carrying a large amount of equipment. Well he appeared overburdened with gear until we took a short break and one of the ladies produced her flask. I’m not sure if I had seen such a large flask on the hills before, 1.8 litres of hot water for her tea breaks. She also had enough milk to keep the whole party in coffee and tea for the day. Well I got the blame as in my list of equipment required for the day walk I had added some emergency food to the list. This lady had taken it to heart and had enough food for more than one overnight stop. Well it gave her friends and myself a bit of a laugh as she frequently produced the flask offering everyone a cuppa.

The path up into Coire na Tulaich had been improved over the last few years and now headed a bit further to the west, away from the gully scree before rejoining the original route at the bealach west of Stob Dearg. It was then an easy walk to Stob Dearg’s summit although the ridge does narrow a bit just before the summit cairn.

A few photographs were taken at the summit but due to the low cloud there were no views so we returned to the bealach and climbed the north ridge of Stob na Doire before descending to the bealach between it and Stob Coire Altruim where we stopped for lunch. The cloud did clear a bit and we had brief views into Glen Etive and the Lairig Gartain.

After lunch we ascended Stob Coire Altruim en-route out to the second Munro of the day, Stob na Broige. Just before the summit of Stob na Broige I heard a ptarmigan and on making a search of the area saw three sitting on a rock. Another group photograph was taken at the summit cairn.

On the return along Stob na Broige’s north-east ridge the ladies spotted what I think was a stoat which may have been the reason for the ptarmigan's calls. The stoat quickly disappeared so there was no opportunity for a photograph to identify it.

At the Stob Coire Altrium/Stob na Doire bealach we descended a rough path and then some wet rocks to the Lairig Gartain. One of the ladies found this tough going but was still smiling so she must have been enjoying the challenge. By this time we had descended out of the cloud.

The path along the west side of the Allt Gartain was rather boggy in places which one of the ladies found to her cost as she fell into it. On the lower stretches of the Lairig Gartain there were frequent roars from several stags in the area.

It had been a fairly long day for the ladies as they had left home early in the morning. They had accommodation booked at the Clachaig Inn for a well earned rest and no doubt a glass or two of wine.

previous ascent

Stob Dearg Munro seventh ascent 1022 metres
Stob na Broige Munro sixth ascent 956 metres

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Sgorr a'Choise and Meall Mor

24 August 2007

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 5.75 hours. Distance - 12.5 kilometres. Ascent - 1080 metres.

The starting point for the ascent of these two Grahams was the village of Ballachulish just off the A82 west of Glencoe Village. I found a suitable parking space within the village and headed up passed the local school and into Gleann an Fhiodh. It was mild with the cloud low down on the lower hills but on the higher mountains only the tops were cloud covered, which seemed a bit odd.

I followed the path up the glen until it came closer to the River Laroch where I put on my overtrousers as the long vegetation was wet. The river was easily crossed and I made a rising traverse to a low point on Sgorr a'Choise's south-west ridge, which I had spotted while walking up the glen. The terrain was quite awkward to cross but I reached the ridge beside the edge of the forest, which could just be seen in the low cloud.

Here there were traces of a path and the ridge was marked by some old iron fence posts. The ridge was narrow in places but there were no difficulties and I eventually reached the summit cairn of Sgorr a'Choise, where I took a break.

It was now windy with some light rain and visibility was fairly poor so I needed a few bearings to descent the south-east ridge, over a knoll and down to a wide bealach. Fence posts marked the initial stages of this route and once at the bealach I was out of the cloud. This was only short lived as I was soon back in the cloud as I commenced the steady climb onto Meall Mor. A fairly level ridge was reached and I followed a faint path along the ridge to the summit cairn.

With no views I returned along the ridge and followed a bearing towards a forest where I hoped to find a route through the trees. On this descent I came out of the cloud and could see a few fire breaks in the forest, one of which I aimed for. However the fire break soon became impossible to follow and for the next twenty minutes or so I struggled through the forest, watching the compass at the same time, until I came out at another fire break which actually turned out to be an All Terrain Vehicle track. This track led to and stopped at the radio mast at the top end of the forest. It would appear that this ATV track came in from the Glen Coe side of the hill and may be useful to others following this route.

At the radio mast I crossed the deer fence by a stile and followed the edge of the forest towards the old quarry east of Ballachulish where a path led me back to the village.

Sgorr a'Choise Graham first ascent 663 metres
Meall Mor Graham first ascent 676 metres

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Beinn Sgulaird

19 July 2007

photos taken on walk

Time taken – 6 hours. Distance - 12.5 kilometres. Ascent - 1190 metres.

The start of this walk was the old section of the A828 Fort William to Oban Road which runs between Inver and Druimavuic. A few metres north of Druimavuic there is an unmarked parking area on the east side of the road.

I left my car in this parking area and walked the few metres south to a vehicle track that ran up the north side of Druimavuic through a forest and onto the open hillside. The vehicle track, which was shown on the map as stopping at the forest edge actually continued up the north side of the Allt Buidhe though Coire Buidhe and over the bealach between Creag na Cathaig and Beinn Sgulaird. I used this track, which at times was fairly steep and varied from rough stone to grass, rather than the normal west ridge approach. At the bealach I was watched by several hinds from the lower reaches of Beinn Sgulaird.

I left the vehicle track at the bealach and commenced the climb of Beinn Sgulaird traversing below its 863 point and joined the ridge at the col between the 863 point and Meall Garbh. I was now in cloud as I climbed through and over some boulders before I reached the cairn which marked the summit.

It was still cloudy but I sat at the cairn eating lunch hoping that the cloud would lift. I did get some views of Loch Creran and of wild goats just below the summit but the cloud never really cleared sufficiently for any decent summit photographs. I left the summit and returned to the col where I met two chaps from Bolton who were en-route to the top. They were fortunate as by this time the cloud had lifted.

My return was over Meall Garbh and the 863 point before a steady descent of the west ridge with good views of Loch Creran and out towards the Island of Lismore. On reaching a fence, which I crossed, a climb of around 40 metres was required to the 488 point. From here the descent continued down the ridge to the vehicle track I used on the upward route. It was then only a short distance back to my car.

Beinn Sgulaird Munro fourth ascent 937 metres

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Beinn a’Bheither 

25 June 2007

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 6.5 hours. Distance - 10.5 kilometres. Ascent - 1286 metres.

The start of this walk, to climb the two Munros of Beinn a'Bheither, was from the village of Ballachulish on the south side of the A82 just west of Glencoe Village. A minor road lead to the local primary school where there is very limited parking unless the school playground can be used outwith school days.

We walked up Gleann an Fhiodh for around a kilometre before leaving this path and climbing the north-east ridge of Sgorr Bhan. Initially it was a bit wet and boggy but higher up it was drier and there was an obvious walker’s path. Further on the ridge became narrower with some easy scrambling. There was also a cold wind blowing and the cloud was floating around the summit.

Eventually we reached the summit of Sgorr Bhan, a Munro Top, but with no clear views we continued along the curved ridge to the summit of the Munro, Sgorr Dhearg. It was still a bit cloudy with a cold wind so we descended Sgorr Dhearg’s west ridge where we met some fellow walkers going in the opposite direction.

Once at the bealach between Sgorr Dhearg and Sgorr Dhonuill we climbed to the summit of Sgorr Dhonuill where we sought some shelter from the wind for lunch. Afterwards we returned to the bealach and descended towards Gleann a’Chaolais, which was a bit boggy in places and where it was warmer as the sun was now out. At the tree line we found a relatively new path which we followed through the trees to the car park at the foot of the glen where we had left a vehicle.

Sgorr Dhearg Munro fifth ascent 1024 metres
Sgorr Dhonuill Munro fifth ascent 10001 metres

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Stob Coire Raineach

14 May 2007

photos taken on walk

Time taken – 2.75 hours. Distance - 5.5 kilometres. Ascent - 670 metres.

The starting point for this walk was the A82 Crianlarich to Fort William Road east of the Pass of Glencoe and the new road bridge which was recently completed at The Study. At this point there is a car park which is capable of taking around a dozen cars.

It was a fairly bright morning when I set off from this car park and followed the footpath up the Lairig Eilde. In under a kilometre I left this route and took a wet and boggy path towards the bealach between Stob Coire Raineach and Stob Dubh. Sections of this path had been repaired and higher up I passed the workforce, a male and female.

Once at the bealach it was a relatively easy ascent up some stone and scree paths to the summit of Stob Coire Raineach. Here I took a break but a short time later the hail shower that was affecting the surrounding mountains struck so I packed up and headed back by my route of ascent.

The hail shower was short lived but I had another couple of showers on my descent. I stopped on the way down and spoke to the path maintenance couple before continuing the descent to my car.

Normally this Munro would be climbed in conjunction with Stob Dubh but I needed to be in Kintail later in the day so it was just a quick jaunt up Stob Coire Raineach, which is part of Buachaille Etive Beag.

Stob Coire Raineach Munro fourth ascent 925 metres.

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Meall a’Bhuiridh and Creise

19 April 2007

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 5.5 hours. Distance - 9.5 kilometres. Ascent - 1075 metres.

This was my client’s third attempt to climb Creise. Her first visit, with another guide, the group only managed to ascend Meall a’Bhuiridh and on the second occasion we only got as far as Coire Pollach due to the snow and wind. On this occasion I had considered climbing Creise by its north ridge but the client preferred the easier route over Meall a’Bhuiridh.

We set off early from the deserted White Corries car park and followed an eroded path up the side of the Allt nan Giubhas into Coire Pollach. It appeared there was some work being done to improve this ascent route by the creation of a new path.

It was windy with some spots of rain when we set off from the car park but as we entered the corrie the wind speed had decreased. We kept to the west side of the ski paraphernalia and climbed towards Meall a’Bhuiridh my client hoping to avoid this summit by by-passing the top and heading onto its ridge with Creise. However the rocky terrain prevented this and we were forced to head to the summit of Meall a’Bhuiridh which suited me as I wanted to go to both tops.

As we left this summit cairn and headed for the Meall a’Bhuiridh/Creise ridge we were engulfed by low cloud. It was also windy in places as we crossed the ridge and headed up through rocks onto Creise’s south ridge. At this point the cloud started to break up and we had some spectacular atmospheric views in particular of the mountains surrounding Glen Etive.

It was only a short walk to Creise's summit cairn but we decided to visit both cairns, which are around 200 metres apart although the map showed the southerly cairn to be the actual summit.

We found some shelter, from the cool breeze, for some lunch, sitting looking across to Meall a’Bhuiridh. Thereafter we set off for the return to the White Corries car park following the route of ascent. It was a pleasant and warm afternoon which was as per the forecast.

Meall a'Bhuiridh Munro fourth ascent 1108 metres
Creise Munro fourth ascent 1100 metres

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Garbh Bheinn

7 September 2006

photos taken on walk

Time taken: 4.75 hours. Distance: 7.5 kilometres. Ascent: 825 metres.

The start of this walk was the B863 Glencoe to Kinlochleven road just east of Caolasnacon and the bridge over the Allt Gleann a'Chaolais. Traces of a path led up the north west ridge of Garbh Bheinn.

The midges were out when the wind dropped. We also had some spots of rain before the cloud lifted and for the rest of the day we had sunny spells.

It was a steady, unrelenting climb to the summit of Garbh Bheinn where there were good views down Loch Leven to Ardgour, the Mamores and Ben Nevis and out east. We were also able to spot a few mountaineers negotiating the Aonach Eagach ridge.

As we had two cars we descended the north east ridge of Garbh Bheinn. It was initially relatively easy, despite there being no path but lower down it became steep and rocky which forced us further east through lots of bracken which hid several rocks and hollows so the lower part of the descent was quite difficult and I wouldn't recommend it.

Eventually we reached the West Highland Way and followed it back to Kinlochleven where we had left a car.

previous ascent

Garbh Bheinn Corbett second ascent 867 metres

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Beinn a'Bhuiridh

6 September 2006

photos taken on walk

Time taken: 3.5 hours. Distance: 7 kilometres. Ascent: 850 metres.

The starting point of this Corbett was the A85 Tyndrum to Oban road just east of the Cruachan Power Station. Here a path leads to the railway underpass and then a slab and brick path, which wouldn't look out of place in a well maintained garden, led to a small power station. Beyond that the path was overgrown, wet, steep and eroded in places as it headed up the east side of the Falls of Cruachan. The noise from the Falls could be heard but the overgrown foliage hid the stream.

The path subsequently reached the access road to the Cruachan Dam and I followed the road to the east side of the dam. Just beyond this point I left the path that led towards Stob Diamh and climbed up the grassy and in some places rocky west side of Beinn a'Bhuiridh. A couple of cairns marked the summit but I also took in the east knoll hoping for some views towards Dalmally while I ate my lunch. Unfortunately there was a lot of cloud blowing about.

The earlier cloud which covered Ben Cruachan now engulfed my hill and it started to rain and there was a cold breeze so I commenced the descent by the upward route. The rain later ceased and the cloud lifted and I had good views down Loch Awe and brief glimpses of the hills on the Island of Mull.

Beinn a'Bhuiridh Corbett second ascent 897 metres

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Sgor na h-Ulaidh and Meall Lighiche

6 August 2006

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 7.75 hours. Distance - 16 kilometres. Ascent - 1270 metres..

It was another cloudy and drizzly morning when I set off from the main road through Glencoe, near Achnacon and walked up the track to the farm at Glean-leac-na-muidhe. Just beyond the farm buildings I left this track and climbed steeply onto the Aonach Dubh a'Ghlinne ridge where I hoped for some views. However I was out of luck as it was still cloudy with occasional showers.

I walked along the ridge to its highest point at 845 metres, which is classed as a Corbett Top, before descending to a bealach and climbing the Munro Top, Stob an Fhuarain. This was followed by a further drop before the final climb to the Munro Sgor na h-Ulaidh. The cloud at this point started to break up and I had views of my next hill, the Corbett Meall Lighiche.

As I descended the west ridge of Sgor na h-Ulaidh the cloud started to clear completely and I had views of the previous day's hill, Beinn Fhionnlaidh and the Aonach Eagach ridge to name a couple. The descent to the bealach with Meall Lighiche was a bit tricky as it was steep, the rocks were slippery and there was some loose scree.

The going was slow but I eventually reached the bealach and a relative easy climb onto Meall Lighiche where there were good views of Beinn a'Bheither, Glen Creran, Island of Mull, the route along the Aonach Dubh a'Ghlinne as well as the hills already mentioned.

The burns were in spate in the morning so I returned to the Sgor na h-Ulaidh/ Meall Lighiche bealach rather than descending the north ridge as this would have involved a river crossing. From the bealach I descended to the Allt na Muidhe and followed the path down its east side and back to the track used that morning.

Sgor na h-Ulaidh Munro fourth ascent 994 metres
Meall Lighiche Corbett second descent 772 metres

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Beinn Fhionnlaidh

5 August 2006

Time Taken - 4.75 hours Distance - 13 kilometres. Ascent - 1025 metres.

I parked my car in Glen Etive beside the bridge over the Allt Charnan and walked the short distance along the road to the entrance to Invercharnan. I went through a small wicket gate and passed the house. I have been here on a few occasions and this was the first time that I have found the property occupied.

Once beyond the house I entered the forest and followed the vehicle track until it emerged from the forest after nearly three kilometres. It was misty with light rain and once onto open ground I descended to the Allt nan Gaoirean where the corrugated iron bridge was in poor condition. Once across the stream I followed one of its tributaries to Meall nan Gobhar and climbed to Beinn Fhionnlaidh's East Top. The rain was a lot heavier now and it was a bit breezy. Visibility was poor due to the low cloud.

From the East Top I descended a short distance to a bealach following some old fence posts, before climbing to the summit of Beinn Fhionnlaidh which involved some easy scrambling.

There was no point in remaining at the summit as the weather was unlikely to change so I returned by the upward route. It was still drizzling with low cloud when I arrived back at my car.

Beinn Fhionnlaidh Munro fourth ascent 959 metres

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Stob a'Choire Odhair and Stob Ghabhar

10 May 2006

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 7 hours. Distance - 14 kilometres. Ascent - 1225 metres.

It was a lovely sunny morning when we set off from the car park just south of Victoria Bridge, walked the short distance to Forest Lodge and along the vehicle track on the north shore of the Abhainn Shira.

On reaching the Climbing Club Hut we took the path up the east side of the Allt Toaig but by now it was very warm and I had to take off my extra clothing. Once beyond the stream that flowed down from the bealach between Beinn Toaig and Stob a'Choire Odhair we headed up Stob a'Choire Odhair. It was a fairly steep and tough climb in the heat but higher up it became slightly easier as the path began to zig zag up the hillside. Beyond these zig zags a faint path went through some stony ground to the summit cairn of Stob a'Choire Odhair. Here we had good views of Rannoch Moor, the reflections in Loch Tulla and of our next hill, Stob Ghabhar.

The descent from Stob a'Choire Odhair was down its west ridge to a bealach and some lovely cold water out of the Allt Toaig, chilled by the snow melt. Traces of a path guided us up the ridge towards what is known as the Aonach Eagach, but it was tough going in the heat. The last few feet onto the Aonach Eagach was over a snow bank.

On reaching the Aonach Eagach, which is narrow in places, but nothing like its bigger brother further north, we followed it over a couple of knolls until the final ascent of Stob Ghabhar, which is marked by old fence posts.

The views north from the summit cairn, including those of Ben Nevis, Creise, the Glen Etive and Glen Coe hills were tremendous, compared to those to the south which were a bit hazy. Here we relaxed and enjoyed our lunch sunbathing.

Eventually we set off again following the fence posts which keep to the line of the south-east ridge. There is also a faint path which led all the way back to the Allt Toaig, the crossing of which was reasonably easy as there wasn't a lot of water in the stream. We then followed the path and track used on the upward route back to the start.

Stob a'Choire Odhair Munro fifth ascent 945 metres
Stob Ghabhar Munro fifth ascent 1090 metres

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Buachaille Etive Mor

9 May 2006

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 7.5 hours. Distance - 13 kilometres. Ascent - 1130 metres.

I met my clients at Alnafeadh on the A82 and we followed the path up into Coire na Tulaich. Higher up the path has had some maintenance work carried out and it took us away from the usual scree climb. However sections of the path were filled with snow so we had to clamber over some boulders instead.

We eventually reached the bealach between Stob na Doire and Stob Dearg and climbed to the summit Stob Dearg in some beautiful morning sunshine with a slight breeze. The nearby hills were fairly clear but the distant hills had a haze hanging around them.

After taking in the views for several minutes we returned to the bealach and climbed the Munro Top, Stob na Doire and onto a second Munro Top, Stob Coire Altruim. It was then a short walk to our second Munro, Stob na Broige. Here we sat in the afternoon sun having lunch looking at the surrounding mountain scenery.

Eventually we left Stob na Broige and returned to the bealach between Stob Coire Altruim and Stob na Doire. Here a path, initially snow covered took us towards the Lairig Gartain. About half way down there is a fairly rocky section to cross and then a recently improved section as far as the crossing of the Allt Gartain.

The walk down the Lairig Gartain is normally fairly wet and boggy but on this occasion it was reasonably dry. The path led us back to the A82 just west of where we set off seven and a half hours earlier.

previous ascent

Stob Dearg Munro sixth ascent 1022 metres
Stob na Broige Munro fifth ascent 956 metres

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Fraochaidh

6 May 2006

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 5.5 hours. Distance - 10.5 kilometres. Ascent - 850 metres.

The articles I have read in relation to this Corbett suggest climbing it from Ballachulish in the east due to forestation in the west. However as I had climbed this hill from the east on a previous occasion I wanted to try a different approach. It looked like there may be a route through the forest from Glen Duror and the distance was a lot shorter.

The start of the walk was at the end of the public road in Glen Durur, just off the A828 Fort William to Oban road. We then walked east through the forest on a good track with marker posts. At a footbridge we crossed the River Duror and followed a good path, still waymarked, uphill through the forest. At the highest point on this path, after a few minutes of searching, we found traces of a rough and sometimes muddy path, which continued uphill through the forest. The route had pieces of marker tape attached to a couple of the trees to assist in route finding.

Once out of the trees we headed up the ridge which is rather contorted and eventually reached an old fence and followed the fence posts to the summit. Although fairly bright, outwith the forest, we identified some of the surrounding hills, took a few photographs and headed downhill following the ascent route as it was rather windy.

This is a suitable route for climbing Fraochaidh, despite the condition of the path through the upper part of the forest but ensure you know where it emerges from the forest for the return route as it is well concealed by large fir trees.

previous ascent

Fraochaidh Corbett second ascent 879 metres

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Stob Diamh

11 April 2006

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 6.5 hours. Distance - 11 kilometres. Ascent - 995 metres.

It was a wet and windy morning as we headed to Dalmally to climb the Munro Stob Diamh on what is commonly known as the Dalmally Horseshoe. However it was dry when we set off from the junction of the A85 Dalmally to Taynult road with the B8077 road to Stronmitchan.

We followed the track to an old mine and onto the Allt Coire Ghlais where the bridge had obviously recently been replaced. From here we climbed the east ridge of Stob Garbh in a mixture of snow, sleet and rain showers. A lot of the snow lower down had been washed away after the overnight heavy rain and higher up the snow was very wet. To reach the knoll before Stob Garbh we had to negotiate some deep soft snow followed by an easy ascent to Stob Garbh.

Beyond here the snow was very variable with sections of hard packed snow and ice so we needed our crampons. There was also lots of drifting snow and I had to keep an eye on where exactly the cornice started. Visibility was also very variable. One minute I could see the Cruachan Reservoir and the next visibility was very poor in snow showers.

We eventually reached the summit of Stob Diamh but it was too windy to hang around and rather than attempting to complete the horseshoe in the ever changing weather my client was happy to return by our ascent route.

It was very windy returning to the knoll south of Stob Garbh and we were brought to a halt on several occasions. However once off the section of the ridge the descent on the upper section of the ridge was fairly easy through the wet snow and we made good progress. Even the sun came out for a short period to give us good views of Stob Diamh. Lower down the ground was very wet and slippery but once back at the bridge over the Allt Coire Ghlais we followed the track back to the start.

Stob Diamh Munro sixth ascent 998 metres

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Beinn Mhic Mhonaidh

22 January 2006

photos taken on walk

I set off on this walk from Eas Urchaidh, (Falls of Orchy) in Glen Orchy where a bridge led into the Glen Orchy forest.

I followed the track to the Caledonian Forest Reserve where a new footbridge has been constructed over the Allt Broighleachan. Previously you needed to use the ford. Another track, which has recently been extended to avoid the original wet and boggy path, leads to the end of the forest where a new deer fence has been constructed. However they haven't got round to erecting the stile as it was lying nearby. Fortunately a gap existed below the fence at the stream which flowed into the forest at the Shielings, Airigh Chailleach.

Once beyond the fence I commenced the climb up onto the south-west ridge of Beinn Mhic Mhonaidh and spotted three other walkers climbing the south ridge and then making a more direct assault onto this Corbett.

As I reached the ridge, in low cloud, I spotted a hare sheltering from the wind and very light drizzle. It didn't move despite the fact I was fairly close and I managed to take a couple of photographs. Further up I disturbed a single ptarmigan and on the ridge a couple of ptarmigan, which I photographed as well but the cloud prevented a decent picture.

The walk along the ridge was relatively easy with the wind and light drizzle on my back. I soon met the three walkers I had seen earlier and they told me that despite walking the length of the ridge they hadn't found the cairn and they presumed there wasn't one. I doubted that as I was of the opinion that they had missed the summit completely due to the fact that they had headed into the corrie instead of going up the ridge and the summit is at the north-east end of the ridge.

I continued along the ridge and eventually came to the large cairn marking the summit. Visibility was poor here so I descended north-east to the lochan before heading down the south ridge to the Shielings. As I came out of the cloud I think I spotted the three walkers heading into the forest. They will probably never know that they didn't get anywhere near the summit and I presume they will claim it bagged.

Once back to the Shiellings I returned to the forest and followed the tracks I had used in the outward route.

Beinn Mhic Mhonaidh Corbett second ascent 796 metres

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Beinn Mhic Chasgaig

24 December 2005

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 5.5 hours. Distance - 8.5 kilometres. Ascent - 740 metres.

Beinn Mhic Chasgaig is a Corbett on the south side of Glen Etive. Until recently access to this mountain was problematic due to a locked gate on the bridge over the River Etive. The gate is around two metres high and was topped with barbed wire as were the surrounds. The only alternative was to wade the river which wasn't often possible especially after heavy rain.

Recently, in terms of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act, 2003, Highland Council have managed to get the lock and barbed wire removed, well on this gate at least.

Once across the bridge I walked up and through the buildings at Alltchaorunn. I had three standard sized locked gates to cross although one was twice the normal height being topped with wood to prevent deer from jumping over it. This third fence makes access difficult and I don't think it complies with the law of reasonable access. I do have sympathy with the occupier here but he should construct a path around his house and outbuildings and this would resolve any problems caused by lack of privacy.

Once beyond Alltchaorunn I followed the path up the side of the Allt Coire Ghiubhasan which had some lovely pools and small waterfalls. At the junction of streams I found the single planked bridge with wire ropes to assist in the descent to the bridge. However the wire is very thin and I wouldn't want to totally rely on them for support.

On reaching the other side of the burn I found the path that headed up Gleann Ghiubhasan and followed it up the Glen. Here I spotted an eagle searching the hillside for a meal.

Higher up the Glen, I left the Allt Coire Ghiubhasan and followed one of its tributaries towards Coire Odhar before leaving the stream and climbing steeply to the bealach south-east of Beinn Mhic Chasgaig.

The final climb to the summit cairn was in sunshine and on approaching the cairn a lone ptarmigan was spotted nearby. It stood out in its white winter colours as there was no snow in the area.

After taking a few photographs I left the summit and headed south-west to find the stream that descended into a gorge. I stayed on the east side of this steep gorge which subsequently joined up with the Allt Coire Ghiubhasan. I followed my outward route back to Alltchaorunn and along the side of the River Etive to the finish. There were several stags feeding just off the track and were easily photographed.

previous ascent

Beinn Mhic Chasgaig Corbett second ascent 864 metres

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Glen Etive

15 October 2005

photos taken on walk

I parked my car at the head of Glen Etive after the long drive down the Glen. On alighting from my vehicle I immediately heard the roar of the stags so the rut had started. Most of the noise came from the foot of Ben Starav on the other side of the loch.

The walk commenced at the edge of a forest on the north side of the road where a muddy and wet path headed uphill. This path is not marked on the Ordnance Survey map but apparently it is an old right of way linking Glen Etive with Glen Ure and onwards to Glen Creran.

It was fairly warm during the initial climb and once higher up we cut across onto the north-east ridge of Meall nan Gobhar. Several small gullies and granite slabs were crossed while we listened to the noise of the stags in the glen below. Higher up it became noticeably colder with a strong wind as we reached Point 767 which is located just above the Trilleachan Slabs.

During lunch we tried to spot the deer but they were too well camouflaged amongst the autumn colours. Afterwards we descended fairly steeply through some large boulders to a bealach before a steady climb to the summit cairn of Beinn Trilleachan. There was a lot of high cloud around but shafts of light penetrated the cloud and was shining on Loch Etive. (there should be a photograph to view)

We thereafter returned to the bealach, checked the map, and decided to descend the steep gully towards Loch Etive. Initially this was on grass but lower down there was some loose boulders but it wasn't too difficult and it gave us a close up view of the Trilleachan Slabs. Lower down once the angle eased the walking was awkward through long grass concealing holes. This section to the shores of Loch Etive was a bit slow and tedious.

The path along the shore was reached. It was wet and muddy but easier to negotiate than the long grass, and we soon reached the start of the tarred road at the head of Glen Etive. It was then a short walk back to the car passing a stalking party en-route with a young stag lying at the side of the road, which they had obviously shot and dragged of the hillside of Meall nan Gobhar. We had heard shots earlier but hadn't realised they were that close. The stag had been unlucky as the stag shooting season had been due to close in a few days time. There was one less roar in Glen Etive that night.

The drive up Glen Etive towards Glen Coe was stunning with the sun shining on the autumnal colours.

previous ascent

Beinn Trilleachan Corbett second ascent 839 metres

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Little Buachaille

11 June 2005

At the end of December 2004 Barry contacted me and asked if I would take him and his father up a Munro as a gift to his father. During the next few months Glencoe was decided upon and for a first Munro Buachaille Etive Beag, known as the Little Buachaille due to it being lower than its neighbour Buachaille Etive Mor, was decided upon.

The planned rendezvous point was the Kingshouse just south of the Glencoe range of mountains as I thought it would be relatively quiet at that time of the morning to locate my clients. However I was mistaken as the car park was mobbed by cars and walkers as it was one of the bases for the Wateraid Challenge. However after a couple of enquiries amongst the hill walkers I found my clients.

We drove to the start of the Lairig Eilde where a new car park has been constructed. I presume it is a permanent affair as the old car park has been closed while nearby bridge repairs are carried out and they will take well over a year to complete.

There were six clients in total as we set off in the sun for the summit of Stob Dubh. The route initially followed the Lairig Eilde path before we took a boggy track up the hillside to a stream which we followed. Frequent stops were taken to look at the surrounding mountains as they came into view. Bidean nam Bian looked impressive as did the Aonach Eagach on the opposite side of Glen Coe and higher up we had our first view of Ben Nevis.

On reaching the bealach there were more spectacular views including that of Buachaille Etive Mor. Here we took a break for something to eat taking in the breathtaking views. The clients were enjoying the scenery and I was glad it was a fine clear and mainly sunny day for them. Occasionally there was a cold breeze up on the ridge but it didn't detract from the ideal walking conditions.

The next section leading up to the 902 point was a bit steeper but caused no real problems for my clients before we reached a more level section of the ridge. From this point we once again viewed our final target, the summit of Stob Dubh. One of my clients was a bit concerned about the approach to this summit as it appeared from the 902 point to have a knife edged ridge. However on reaching the final climb they were able to see that it was a lot wider and easier than it first appeared.

On reaching the summit cairn we had a view down Glen Etive and out to the mountains of Mull. Looking back, Ben Nevis was very impressive and the Grey Corries stood out well.

After some more photographs we ate lunch and it was interesting to note that one lady had organised to take plastic plates and cutlery to use to eat their meal. The first time I had seen this on a day walk.

We were later joined on the summit by several of the Wateraid walkers who were explaining to my clients their challenge.

Once we had taken in the views and finished lunch we descended back to the bealach where the clients were given the opportunity to climb the other Munro on Buachaille Etive Beag, Stob Coire Raineach. However they considered that they had done enough for the day and we headed back down the hillside still stopping frequently to look at the views and take more photographs.

About six hours after we set off we returned to our cars. My clients appeared to be happy with their day's outing but they were very lucky with the weather.

previous ascent

Stob Dubh Munro fourth ascent 958 metres

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Glen Orchy Corbetts

6 March 2005

The two Corbetts to the east of Glen Orchy was today's plan. We decided to climb them from Invergaunan in Glen Orchy but they can also be climbed from the A82 Tyndrum to Bridge of Orchy Road.

Janice, Jan, Dougie and myself set off from Invergaunan, entered the forest and followed a track, which later disappeared. However using various fire breaks we were able to reach the edge of the forest, which extends further than shown on the map. It was warm and sunny so we had a leisurely cuppa enjoying the warmth and looking across at the hills of Glen Etive and Bridge of Orchy.

Reluctantly we headed off again, across a low fence into some snow and ice, most of which could initially be avoided. Higher up this wasn't always possible, especially as we kept to the left of a large expanse of rock. However it was an easy walk to the summit cairn of Beinn Udlaidh. Here there is a portable radio mast which is not shown on the map. The reason for this is it is portable so it can be removed at short notice.

After a photo call we strode down to the bealach through the snow and commenced the climb of our next Corbett Beinn Bhreac-liath. Half way up we we stopped for lunch as a cool breeze had developed and there was no shelter on the summit.

On reaching the summit cairns, we visited both. It was impossible to say which was the highest as the summit is fairly flat but the photo session was taken on the the most northerly of the two cairns. We then walked along the long easy angled ridge before it descended more steeply to Invergaunan and our starting point.

Beinn Udlaidh Corbett third ascent 840 metres
Beinn Bhreac-liath Corbett second ascent 802 metres

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Return to Glen Etive

12 February 2005

It was only a month ago since I was in Glen Etive when on that occasion I climbed the Corbett Beinn Maol Chaluim in the company of Janice and Phil.

On this occasion Janice and Phil wanted to climb the Corbett Stob Dubh as they hadn't bagged this one before. This was to be my second visit to this unrelenting mountain.

Snow was lying on the carriageway as we turned into Glen Etive from Glen Coe but as we descended the road became clear. There were a few hardy individuals camped on the banks of the River Etive and at the side of the road a number of deer watched us pass without moving very far.

The starting point for this mountain is the same as that for Ben Starav so there were already a couple of vehicles parked at the start of the day's walk when we arrived, and a few others joined us while we got dressed for this winter ascent.

The track from the road leads to the bridge over the River Etive and once on the opposite side the track splits, one going to Coiletir and the other, which we took, to Glenceitlein.

On reaching this house we crossed some wet and boggy ground before starting the climb up Stob Dubh's south-west ridge. This is an unrelenting climb which was initially on grass avoiding some rocky outcrops. However once above the 500 metre level we also had to content with wet snow and some icy rocks. We had spotted a lone figure above us but as we stopped for a coffee break we never saw him or her again.

Higher up we scrambled through some ice and snow covered rocks and into some patches of drifting snow. The wind was fairly strong at this point and progress to the summit was rather slow as we fought against the wind and spin drift. However we successfully reached the summit cairn of Stob Dubh just as the cloud broke for a few moments, which allowed us outstanding views of the mountains around the Buachaille and towards Rannoch Moor. Despite the freezing conditions and the spin drift we managed to take some photographs, although Janice had a problem with her digital camera, which didn't like the extreme cold.

We only remained on the summit for a few minutes before retracing our steps back down the south-west ridge. This descent was initially relatively easy in the deeper snow but lower down it was wet and slippery and more care was required.

Unfortunately Janice was a faller here as she slid down the hillside for several metres picking up speed. I missed this as I had already crossed over a rocky outcrop in the search for some shelter for lunch. Fortunately Janice was able to stop herself and thereafter joined me for lunch and some time to recover from her ordeal. Phil wasn't too happy in these conditions and continued down to the track beyond Glenceitlein.

Once we had lunch we joined Phil down at the track and thereafter followed it back to the car and the end of another adventure in Glen Etive.

Stob Dubh Corbett second ascent 883 metres

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Winter Walks with no snow

15 - 16 January 2005

The organisers of this weekend residing at the Corran Bunkhouse, Nether Lochaber had hoped for some Corbett bagging in the Ardgour area, a ferry trip from the bunkhouse. However severe storms earlier in the week had caused extensive damage in the area and a decision was taken not to venture into forest areas where fallen trees were likely to block our passage. The forecast of windy weather for the weekend had also reduced the number of baggers to two plus myself.

The new plan for Saturday was the Corbett, Creach Bheinn, and despite the overnight wind and rain we set off to Druimavuic, beside Loch Creran , on the Oban to Fort William road. The old road, which gave access to our starting point, had obvious signs of the recent storm with piles of seaweed on the opposite side of the road from the sea loch but the road itself had been cleared of the debris.

We set off up a track and through a short section of trees in our waterproof gear. Once out in the open the track, which is not shown on the map, zig zags up the hillside on the north side of the Allt Buidhe. Higher up the track becomes less steep with reasonable walking conditions, although it is a bit wet and boggy in places. We were confronted with some rain showers but the main problem was the strong wind, which on occasions brought us to a halt.

Despite these problems we made reasonable progress up the track which, as I said isn't shown on the map, but in fact it goes up and over the bealach above Coire Buidhe. I am not sure where the track goes to but the map shows some Forestry Commission access land on the other side of the hill, but there was no sign of any trees although visibility wasn't that great.

On reaching the bealach we climbed the rocky north-east ridge of Creach Bheinn over Creag na Cathaig into low cloud. The snow that was lying on the hills the previous few days had completely disappeared so ice axes weren't required.

We continued to the 804 Point and out to the summit trig point of Creach Bheinn. Approaching the actual summit was difficult in the strong wind and we had to hold onto the trig point. Phil, who was up from the south of England to Corbett bag and had been in Scotland for over two weeks, was delighted, as it was his first new Corbett in 2005. For Janice this was her second Corbett of the new year and she is becoming a serious and determined Corbett Bagger.

The descent was by the route of ascent as the more direct route down required a river crossing and the water was steadily rising with the amount of rain and snow melt. It was an uneventful descent with my walking friends happy to have reached the summit in the strong wind. We returned to the car as daylight was failing.

It was wet and windy throughout the night and as darkness cleared we could see that the cloud was low down on the hills. The forecast had been for a better day so was it to be another wash out for Phil? He wanted to try the Corbett Beinn Maol Chaluim in Glen Etive as on Friday he claims he didn't reach the summit because his watch stopped. This was an excuse I had never heard before but I suspect he spent too long in cafes drinking pots of tea and started too late in the day to reach the summit and get back in daylight. Janice was happy with Phil's choice as she hadn't been on this hill before.

On reaching the start of the walk in Glen Etive we were surrounded by deer looking to be fed. Janice suggested that we give them some of the fruit scones she had bought but there was no chance of me sharing my scones with deer. They were a gift!

The start of the walk was a steep climb up onto the south ridge of Beinn Maol Chaluim but the cloud base was rising and despite a few rain showers it appeared that the weather was improving. However it was still windy, but not as strong as the previous day. As we ascended towards the 848 Point on the ridge we had views of the surrounding mountains of Glen Etive and Glen Coe although the tops were in cloud.

A slight change in direction and a short descent took us towards the summit of Beinn Maol Chaluim. There were good views across Gleann Fhaolain to Bidean nam Bian, the highest mountain in Argyll, and Stob Coire Sgreamhach, which were occasionally clear of cloud. A bit unusual for the highest mountain to be clear while the tops of the lower hills were still shrouded in cloud. There was very little snow on these higher hills, only in the steep gullies. We spotted a few walkers on the bealach between Bidean and Sgreamhach, either taking the benefit of a snow less day or they were fed up snow and ice climbers.

The final climb to the summit of Beinn Maol Chaluim was very difficult as the wind here was extremely fierce so it was a quick touch of the summit cairn and head off to the lee side of the hill for some shelter and a bite to eat. I did suggest to Phil that he may not want to go to the summit as it would mean that he had climbed two Corbetts on consecutive days not a feat he had managed himself.

The return to the 848 Point was a bit windy but as we descended the south ridge walking became easier. The tops of the Glen Etive hills were still covered in cloud although the cloud base had risen since our ascent. The final descent was a bit steep but we soon reached the road and the end of the weekend's walking.

Phil and Janice managed two new Corbetts during the weekend despite the windy weather. So Phil if you pick the right company we will get you to the summit.

previous ascent of Creach Bheinn

previous ascent of Beinn Mhaol-Chaluim

Creach Bheinn Corbett second ascent 810 metres
Beinn Mhaol-Chaluim Corbett second ascent 907 metres

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Buachaille Etive Mor

23 September 2004

I met Steve Court in Glencoe village and we drove south to Altnafeadh on the A82. This was the starting point for the day's walk, which was to be Steve's first venture into Munro Bagging.

Steve told me that he was a keen cyclist and had competed in triathlons. He was obviously very fit and had been advised by friends that Stob Dearg on Buachaille Etive Mor was a nice mountain to climb whilst on holiday in Scotland.

We set off from Altnafeadh with the tops of the mountains covered in cloud but as we climbed into Coire na Tulaich the cloud began to lift although it remained fairly breezy. The path up into the Coire is fairly eroded but it is presently under repair.

Once above the Coire we climbed to the summit of Stob Dearg, Steve's first Munro. The cloud was sufficiently broken to allow us views out over Rannoch Moor and of the surrounding mountains. Steve took some photographs to mark his achievement.

We returned to the bealach above Coire na Tulaich and climbed over the summits of Stob na Doire and Stob Coire Altrium, both Munro Tops, before continuing out the ridge to Steve's second Munro, Stob Na Broige. Here we had a bite to eat taking in the surrounding vista with Steve becoming addicted to Munro Bagging.

After lunch we returned over Stob Coire Altrium and down the path into the Lairig Gartain. From here we followed the path, which is wet and muddy in paces, down the side of the River Coupall and back to the start on the A82.

Stob Dearg Munro fifth ascent 1021 metres
Stob na Broige Munro fourth ascent 956 metres

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Beinn a'Chrulaiste

5 September 2004

A friend and I left the Kingshouse Hotel and walked up traces of a path on the west side of the Allt Bhalaich before climbing onto the summit of Beinn a'Chrulaiste. The weather was reasonably good with high cloud and very little wind. This allowed the midges to attack us every time we stopped to take in the surrounding views.

On reaching the summit cairn we had a three hundred and sixty degree view of all the surrounding mountains. We made an attempt to name a few but there were too many to put a name to.

Our descent took us back the way we had climbed this Corbett with a return to our cars parked at the Kingshouse Hotel.

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Beinn a'Chrulaiste Corbett second ascent 857 metres

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Loch Leven Corbetts

21 - 23 May 2004

On the Friday afternoon, after pitching my tent at Invercoe, I drove round to Callert on the north side of Loch Leven. I located the starting point of the afternoon's stroll, which was the Right of Way to Lairigmor on the West Highland Way.

At the highest point on this path I climbed up the west ridge of Mam na Gualainn to its trig point which has a memorial plaque to a fallen marine. A new fence has been constructed near the summit but helpfully the fencers have inserted a gate to allow walkers direct access to the summit without the need to climb over the fence.

The weather for a change was clear with some sun and I had good views over Glen Coe and out to the Ardgour hills. However clouds were spreading over the Mamores to the north, so I made a quick exit back to the car.

The following day I drove to Kinlochleven and located the Grey Mare Waterfall Car Park. New paths have been constructed here, which are not on the map, nor signposted. Once I found my path I climbed steeply up to Loch Eilde Mor and onto Meall na Cruaidhe. This path has been badly eroded by what appears to be off road motor cycles churning up sections of the path into bogs and ruts full of water. I felt sorry for the stalkers who had laboured over the years to construct these paths for them to be ruined by irresponsible individuals.

From Meall na Cruaidhe I climbed up to the summit of Glas Bheinn with splendid views of the surrounding mountains. I had decided, if the weather was fine, to continue out to the Graham, Beinn na Cloiche and that is what I did by descending the east side of Glas Bheinn to near Lochan Tom Ailein where I disturbed a large herd of deer. I climbed up onto Beinn na Cloiche where the summit cairn is situated close to a tiny lochan.

After a short rest I descended down the south ridge of this hill and the long walk out along various tracks back to Kinlochleven.

The next day was my final Corbett in this area and I hadn't far to travel. A few miles east of Invercoe is another camp site at Caolasnacon. From there it is a steep climb up the north-west ridge of Garbh Bheinn. Although early in the morning it was already hot and once I reached the summit I was glad of the freshening cool breeze. Again I had good views of the surrounding mountains and a different perspective of the Aonach Eagach with some walkers already traversing the ridge.

Once I had rested and taken in the views I returned back down the ridge to my car and the start of the long journey home after a successful weekend Corbett bagging. Although the weather was fine and sunny at times I never met another sole on the hills, not even the guys who were wrecking the paths with their off road motor cycles.

Mam na Gualainn Corbett first ascent 796 metres
Glas Bheinn Corbett first ascent 789 metres
Beinn na Cloiche Graham first ascent 646 metres
Garbh Bheinn Corbett first ascent 867 metres

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Loch Creran

18 April 2004

The forecast was for the weather to be drier in the west and I had a Corbett near Loch Creran to bag.

Setting off from Druimavuic a track, not marked on the map, was followed to the head of Coire Buidhe. From there a climb up to Creag na Cathaig through fresh wet snow took us to Point 804. However the cloud base had by this time dropped and it was snowing lightly. From Point 804 it was just a short walk along an undulating ridge to the summit trig point of Creach Bheinn.

A return was made to Point 804 in low cloud and flurries of snow before descending its west ridge to Meall nan Caorach and a steep descent back to the start.

Creach Bheinn Corbett first ascent 810 metres

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Stob Dubh

27 March 2004

Met a group of Linlithgow Ramblers in Glen Etive at Ceitlein and walked along the track to the foot of Stob Dubh then a steep climb to its summit. Along ridge to Beinn Ceitlein and return to start via Glen Ceitlein.

Stob Dubh Corbett first ascent 883 metres

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Glen Etive

22 February 2004

The day after our visit to Ballachulish we decided to visit a Corbett in Glen Etive. Driving down the Glen as the sun rose we saw some hardy campers pitched near the River Etive in frosty conditions.

At a small gap in the forest we left the car and headed steeply up onto the south ridge of Beinn Mhaol-Chaluim. Once higher up an undulating ridge took us to the summit where despite a cold north wind we had great views of the surrounding mountains and attempted to identify many of the mountain tops.

The descent was by the upward route and we finished the day with the sun still shining. However it looked like the Spring weather was to be put on hold for a while as cold north winds swept the country bringing snow showers in the north.

Beinn Mhaol-Chaluim Corbett first ascent 907 metres

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Ballachulish

21 February 2004

My next outing was a visit to a Corbett that I had been considering for some time. Hidden behind the two Munros of Beinn a’Bheithir, Fraochaidh was the target.

Together with a group of friends we left our vehicles outside Ballachulish School and walked up Gleann an Fhiodh. It was sunny and frosty but a spell of rain was forecast for later in the day.

Just under an hour later we reached a small cairn, which was an indicator to cross the stream and climb up to the forest edge. The path marked on the map wasn’t found so we climbed through long heather and frozen bog to an old fence. We followed this fence along an undulating ridge to the summit of Fraochaidh at 879 metres and three and a half hours from the start. Unfortunately by the time we arrived the summit cairn was shrouded in cloud so views of the Inner Hebrides were curtailed for a while.

The descent was by the route of ascent and the cloud cleared and the sun came back out so we had a pleasant walk back to our vehicles. A seven hour day in conditions we expect in late Spring, not in mid February.

Fraochaidh Corbett first ascent 879 metres

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Glencoe

24 January 2004

On a Saturday in late January I headed to Glencoe with a group of friends to tackle the Corbett Beinn a’Chrulaiste. The weather forecast indicated that the temperature would drop and frequent snow showers could be expected.

Setting off from the Kingshouse Hotel, an old drover’s inn, we headed up the side of the Allt a’Bhalaich. However our main interest was the splendid views across to the other side of the main road where the White Corrie Munros and the Buachaille (Buachaille Etive Mor) were covered in a thin blanket of snow. Once higher up we turned to climb up the ridge and encountered our first snow shower of the day.

On reaching the summit of Beinn a’Chrulaiste there were good views of the majestic and historical Glen Coe. Although shrouded in some cloud the mountains were magnificent in their coats of snow.

Rather than return by our ascent route we headed further north to take in the twin peaks of Meall Bhalach. From here, through broken cloud, we had views to the north of the Easains, and to the south the Bridge of Orchy Munros.

From the east most peak of Meall Bhalach we descended back to the Kingshouse Hotel to enjoy its warmth and hospitality.

Beinn a'Chrulaiste Corbett first ascent 857 metres

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Glen Etive

22 November 2003

I was in Glen Etive with a couple of friends with the intention of climbing the Corbett Beinn Trilleachan.

A drive from Glen Coe to near the end of the road in Glen Etive, at the head of Loch Etive, saw us at the start of the day’s walk. Initially we walked up an old ‘Right of Way’, which is now almost overgrown, before climbing up onto the Trilleachan Steps. Higher up, we reached patches of wet snow making walking a bit slippery.

Once over the Trilleachan Steps we had to descend for approximately 70 metres through slabs and rocks which required extra care due to patches of wet snow. The final climb through more substantial snow took us to the summit. It was too cold and windy to remain there for lunch so we dropped down to get some shelter. After lunch we returned back to the start taking in the views of the snow clad peaks of the Glen Coe mountains.

Beinn Trilleachan Corbett first ascent 840 metres

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Glen Etive

10 August 2003

As it was Sunday and there was no stalking I decided to climb the Corbett Beinn Mhic Chasgaig. Access from Glen Etive is across a bridge over the River Etive but the bridge is blocked by a locked high gate surrounded by barbed wire obviously to stop hillwalkers gaining entry. What I did find ironic was the fact that a sign beside the bridge welcomed considerate hillwalkers. I don’t think the estate have many problems with hillwalkers as they make access so difficult. Maybe the new access legislation will force the estate to unlock the gate and remove the barbed wire. However I was fortunate as the River Etive was very low so crossing it wasn’t a problem.

My approach took me up a glen where reference books speak about walking through a ravine with a definite Himalayan feel. I didn’t find that. With low cloud and midges biting I couldn’t imagine myself being anywhere else than in Scotland.

The walk was uneventful and as I climbed up towards the bealach the cloud broke and I found myself close to a number of hinds and stags but they quickly disappeared. Once on the summit I managed to get a view which improved as the cloud cleared on my steep descent back down to the river crossing.

Beinn Mhic Chasgaig Corbett first ascent 864 metres

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Glen Coe

9 August 2003

I was in Glencoe to do the Aonach Eagach. When I met, Jean, she told me she had been having nightmares. I thought she was concerned about walking with me again but she was polite and said she was worried about going along the ridge as she had been reading books about its exposure.

We walked up the side of the stream to the bealach and Jean got her first view of the ridge she feared. Once beyond Am Bodach she had her first experience of a steep narrow descent but managed without too many problems.

The walk along the ridge, in humid and sometimes sunny weather was uneventful. Jean was her usual talkative self except when she was negotiating a few awkward sections. On one occasion I was instructing her on a steep narrow descent and on looking back found her right behind me. She didn’t need any advice and was enjoying the walk after the tensions of the previous few days.

Once the ridge was completed we descended down towards Glen Coe village rather than drop down a rather dangerous path that led to the Clachaig Inn.

Meall Dearg Munro fourth ascent 953 metres
Sgorr nam Fiannaidh Munro fourth ascent 967 metres

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