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Bidean nam Bian

Bidean nam Bian


Postby Stretch » Wed Jun 17, 2009 10:22 pm

Route description: Bidean nam Bian

Munros included on this walk: Bidean nam Bian, Stob Coire Sgreamhach

Date walked: 30/05/2009

Time taken: 9 hours

Distance: 11 km

Ascent: 1316m

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First go around with this walk report business so I hope it's helpfull.

Bidean nam Bian

May 30th, 2009

Time = 8.5 hours with plenty of photo breaks.

Well I've been living in Scotland for two years now and I have to say this weekend brought the best weather I've seen to Scotland in that time; I'm still peeling from the sunburn. This was my first trip to Glencoe and since I didn't know I could wild camp in Glen Etive I decided to stay at the Red Squirrel. What can I say about the Red Squirrel Campground? Well the midges weren't too bad and I didn't mind the fact that I could take a shower if need be, but the drunk rowdy campers roaring through the campsite at midnight messed up my beauty sleep. Anyway...up at 7am and ready to head to the car park to start my walk...only there is a problem...the drunken campers had all parked their cars in a circle around mine when they came in the night before. So, what to do? Only thing I knew to do, disturb their slumber by knocking on tent doors...1st tent a success...sorry for waking you (well not really) but could you by chance let me out of here?

Arrived at the car park, chugged my OJ, took a good look at what I was getting into, and at 8:30 started up the trail.
The march begins!.jpg


Only spotted a few people back down the trail below me and it wasn't until I got up Stob Coire nan Lochan that I saw another person as I took the north ridge up which the route description states is 'a better way up'. The walk up the valley was nice, not too harsh on this new munro baggers' legs.
Path up to Stob Coire nan Lochan.jpg


The trail levels out as you reach the base of Stob Coire nan Lochan and so I sat a spell and took in the already spectacular views. From here I could see the well used trail up to the left of the ridge, but my goal was to head up the north ridge as the site suggests. I have no previous scrambling experience, but I would hardly call this a scramble, you basically just head up large boulders as you get closer to the top. The views back to Glencoe village were very nice. One thing though, there is hardly a path up this side until you actually reach the base of the ridge, just make your own.
Below Stob Coire nan Lochan - head to the right to gain the north ridge.jpg


From here I got my first glimpse of Ben Nevis, having never been to Fort William...
Ben Nevis coming into view with the Aonach Eagach in the foreground.jpg


The north ridge of Stob Coire nan Lochan with Glencoe below.jpg


11am and I'm up Stob Coire nan Lochan. Chatted with a group of 3 guys about Bidean and the walk up its adjacent slope. I'm fairly new at this I said, 'nothing to worry about' they say. Explained to them why an American was wearing a Chelsea shirt and then set off for the munro.
Bidean nam Bian from the summit of Stob Coire nan Lochan.jpg


Path up to Bidean nam Bian.jpg


Didn't take this rookie too long to reach the summit of Bidean and the path up was fairly straightforward. Was met by about 8 others in total on the summit and we all took turns posing for photos.
A busy Bidean with Nevis in the background.jpg


I've climbed Ben Macdui and a few of the Cairngorms, but this was a new experience for me and the 360 pano pretty much sealed the deal for me, I knew that I had made a great decision leaving the states to come study in Scotland.
The Buachaille's and Schiehallion from Bidean.jpg


Lunchtime and more chat about my blue shirt.

Time for the next munro, so around 1pm I headed down the ridge and made my way up to Stob Coire Sgreamhach.
Stob Coire Sgreamhach.jpg


Feelin pretty good at this point, but I did notice the rather daunting looking path, or what remained of a path, down the gully between these two munros. The first bit was filled with snow and the remaining bit was down a steep scree slope. One thing was certain, I would have to come off the mountain at some point...but lets get up to Sgreamhach first.

Nothing to worry about on this ascent, just pick your way up and follow a fairly good path.
The views across to the Buchaille's on this summit were amazing and Sheihallion was well in view. From the other direction Loch Etive glistened in the sun.
Buachaille Etive Beag-Buachaille Etive Mor-Schiehallion.jpg


Ben Nevis and the Lost Valley.jpg


Bidean nam Bian and Stob Coire nan Lochan from Stob Coire Sgreamhach.jpg


After explaining my choice of appearal to three very nice guys from Glasgow who thought I should be in a nice green and white tshirt I figured now was a good time to tackle the descent down to the Lost Valley. 6 of us gathered around the start of the nastiest section and one after the other set off, mostly on our butts for the first 20-30 yards until the steep slope turned to scree. First time on scree, didn't really trust the boots, but in about 15 mins I was down from the ridge to a much easier section of the path.
The way down!.jpg


The Lost Valley.jpg


I was amazed at how flat the floor of the valley actually is...almost as flat as a football pitch, and it was easy to see how cattle could have been hidden here at one time...I doubt I would ever come looking for old Bessie up this way.
Floor of the Lost Valley.jpg


Once you emerge from the Lost Valley its just a short walk back to the car. 5pm and I take a look back at what I've accomplished. As I think back on this walk I remember how nervous I was on the two ridges at first, but after seeing the Cullin in all thier glory 2 weeks later I don't think it was that big of a deal. Still, I have a lot of respect for the hills and with enough planning this is a great walk and I'd do it again.

As for my blue Chelsea tshirt...well, I picked the Blues as my team, for no real reason, back in 06 when I visited the UK for the summer and I've got a good friend who lives 5 mins from Stamford Bridge...don't see any reason to switch allegiances at this point. One thing I will say about the people you meet on the munros...they were all very nice and helpful, and when I explained to them that I wasn't a random American touring the UK, and that I was a post grad studying Scottish history, they took me in as one of their own which I greatly appreciate.

Now back to the Red Squirrel for dinner and some cold brews.

7am, Sunday the 31st...car not blocked in...off to Buachaille Etive Beag 8)
Last edited by Stretch on Mon Apr 12, 2010 7:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Stretch
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Re: Bidean nam Bian

Postby canisp » Wed Jun 17, 2009 11:12 pm

An excellent first report with a great set of photo’s :D it looked like the perfect day out.

Stretch wrote:As for my blue Chelsea tshirt...well, I picked the Blues as my team

Well er… never mind nobody’s perfect :wink:
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Re: Bidean nam Bian

Postby bootsandpaddles » Thu Jun 18, 2009 7:59 am

Brilliant pics. I would always recommend wild camping - no showers but then you can be sure of peace and quiet and some wonderful views in the morning. Also some campsites are very expensive e.g the one on Loch Morlich, where you are paying for all sorts of things you don't want such as washing machines, children's play areas etc etc I once saw a woman doing the ironing on a campsite!!!!
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Re: Bidean nam Bian

Postby Stretch » Thu Jun 18, 2009 8:19 am

Thanks guys, my tent is a bit too big for the rucksack so I've been setting up not too far from my car. I had already set up at the Red Squirrel by the time I drove down Glen Etive to take some photos...15 pounds for 2 nights :( . Sligachan on Skye was only 10 for two nights...but it was more or less a midge-hotel.
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Re: Bidean nam Bian

Postby Paul Webster » Thu Jun 18, 2009 8:33 am

A stunner of a first report... great pics - enough to may anyone addicted to the hills :D

Stretch wrote:From here I could see the well used trail up to the left of the ridge, but my goal was to head up the north ridge as the site suggests. I have no previous scrambling experience, but I would hardly call this a scramble, you basically just head up large boulders as you get closer to the top.


It's that well used trail that the route abandons that is scrambly higher up, not the recommended but pathless way to the north ridge. I prefer the latter route as it passes above the rock-climbers cliffs and gives good views, but I admit it is perhaps a little eccentric to leave a big path and go another way :D

blue Chelsea tshirt

Will forgive as long as not Man U (I will make no comment / preference on Celtic v Rangers)

15 pounds for 2 nights

You need to find a mate to camp with, usually cheaper with 2.
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Re: Bidean nam Bian

Postby Stretch » Thu Jun 18, 2009 9:17 am

Cheers Paul, the north ridge was certainly worth it and it actually introduced me to a bit of mini-scrambling you could say, since you have to climb some rather big boulders nearer to the top.
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