Synopsis: from Glenure house follow Etive path to skirt round steep escarpment. Turn this on left heading up steep grassy terrain with occasional path sections. From flat meadow beyond, head diagonally for skyline and continue trending right to avoid steepest parts. After several false summits emerge very close to summit.
Connecting ridge to Meall Garbh is never attained, but is the route in SMC.
Very direct, strenuous and steep; pathless but many feet have been this way.
Good weather anticipated, friend Dave delegated to book B&B and scope out the ferry times to Mull, friend Mikey - local hero joining fer swallae only, friend Bob up to work on his cottage and deciding to come walking instead; a few swallies in Oban and a perfect trip up Ben More to come.
Surely nothing could thwart plan A this time?
Arising in the dark for a hurried breakfast on a very cold morning, I then went out to defrost the windscreen via the heated front window (thanks Ford).
Mikey remained asleep as the three of us set off for the ferry. An unattended booth with a sign saying cars continue to next (non existent) booth was our welcome. I joined a line and then switched to the shorter of the two formed lines.
At this point I was asked "huv ye booked?". Nope. "Well ye'll need tae back up - this line's fer bookins only". Fair enough.
However I was then asked to back up again to let a panel van out. As I drew in behind yet another panel van I could see the thought forming in the ponderous workings of his teuchter heid and was already in reverse before being asked. Finally - and I'm last in line about to pull forward onto the boat, he says "Huv ye got yer ticket?" Nope.
Now I use ferries a fair bit and am used to the roll on pay on the boat variety. A wee bit o a sign or some guidance would enhance the visitor's experience I thought. "Ye'll huv tae run then..." was the ambassador for Cal-Mac's rejoinder.
"Return tae Mull, wan car three peeps please, quick as you like doll", says I or something like that.
"Well you can come back at 11,13.00..." she begins. "No - the last one at 17:00 please" I interrupted.
Plan A in tatters I return to the car, muttering something like, <flame on> "Bloody effing teuchter numpties, I hope the Poles come and take all yer jobs, the English buy all yer hooses at prices ye cannae match, the Welsh come up and romance yer best lookin sheep etc <flame off>
Regulars on munro sites may recall I did a plan B to Sgorr Gaoith a while back. On that day, plan A had been Sgulaird up Loch Creran and not too far from Oban.
Thus began Munro 132 ish.
One of our number, big Boab, had done this one a while back so he led in his car and took us up Glen Creran and then Glen Ure. Not the way the guide book describes. No matter, my newly purchased OS sheet 50 (again) showed this way do-able so off we set. The route was brutal I have to say and very steep. Despite -4 degrees I was regularly to be found, jacket, fleece, hairy shirt undone, peching for breath, sweat lashing off of me with my forehead pressed against a handy near verticality.
If you put a ruler on the map from Glenure house to the top, then apart from a detour round the escarpment directly above the farm, and a general right trending to pass the real steep stuff, that is the route wot we took. I half imagined we would gain the ridge between Sgulaird and Meall Garbh, but after umpteen false summits and with Bob going a different way and Dave a bit behind me, I rounded a rock and there was Bob on his back in the sun next to a massive conical cairn. Job done. 3.5 hours not too impressive but there you go. Off by same route. Lots of pix. No bad fer a phone camera eh?
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