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Buachaille Etive Beag- Practicing For The Big One

PostPosted: Sat Jul 24, 2021 10:25 am
by Iain R
This weeks choice for artless bumbling on the high hills was The Wee Bookle, mainly because it was one I'd never actually done, despite all the time spent in Glen Coe over the years, and it was a fairly short day, so perfect for hauling my out-of-condition carcass up...

Despite appearing to be something of a plod for the most part, I was assured it was a nice ridgewalk at the top, which in the absence of a scramble, was good enough for me.

With the weather set to be scorchio, an early start was enacted, and I duly deployed from the Big Red Adventure Bus at the carpark at 0700 sharp, with already a few cars parked up (as well as the obligatory campervans). Amusingly, at this point visibility was down to about 50-100yds max, and the drive from pretty much the head of Loch Lomond had been somewhat interesting, with the Land Rover's Jurassic-era windscreen wipers just about keeping a clear field of vision ahead of me...
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Setting off up the well engineered path, I soon left the worst of the clag behind, and set to turning off my brain for the inevitable plod up what is basically just a set of stone stairs for a lot of the way.

Eventually I reached the North Top cairn, and after a brief stop to rehydrate and admire the rapidly appearing view across to Beinn Fhada, it was of up the slope to the ridge leading to Stobh Dubh at the southern end of the hill. Bit a bit more interesting now.
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Soon, I was on the ridge, and striding across it, taking in the wonderful views, rolling cloud still lending a dramatic cast to proceedings. I will let my pal of the hook, as it was indeed a very enjoyable ridgewalk...
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Looking back along the way I'd came

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Obligatory summit shot, Stob Dubh

Then it was back alongbthe ridge tbe way I'd came, back to North Top, and then up the steep trail to Stob Coire Raineach. This was something of a killer, the sun well and truly up by this point and the temperatures climbing steadily. I tried to break the monotony of the plod by finding any short rocky pitch I could to scramble up, and far sooner than I expected, I found myself at the peak cairn. Well ahead of my expected schedule I stopped for a bite of (early!) lunch, amongst such a cloud of bluebottles that I was convinced there was a body lying somewhere... Spectacular views along Glen Coe and across to the tops for miles.

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Summit shot, Stob Coire Raineach. Remember, you don't count as having climbed it if you don't have a cheesey pic of you grinning like an eejit at the cairn or trig point...

This was when I made my first mistake. Being ahead of schedule, I decided it would be a good idea to head down to the edge of the hill, onto Stob nan Cabar. For what point and purpose I do not know, but it didn't look far. The further I went, the more obvious the futility of the endeavour became; I wasn't gaining any further height, I was just eating into my water supplies and time advantage, and giving myself more uphill sections to climb on the way back. So, after a couple of quick snaps, I headed back to begin the descent back to the carpark, and reached the peak of SCR, to find it mobbed, and me then stuck in the people snake back down the slopes. Marvellous, lesson learned.
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The return journey back down the staircase to the carpark was predictably brutal on my knees, and the sun was now well up and beating down. I could not beleive the amount of people I passed just starting the ascent at 1300hrs, on the hottest day so far, with many of them with no onbvious water supply. I did try and point this out to a few of them. I was depressingly unsuprised to pass one of the police MRT Land Rovers going the opposite way on the blues on my way home...

And so home it was, for a well earned soak and a highly appropriate beer...
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