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Stob Coire an Albannaich & The Bull!

Stob Coire an Albannaich & The Bull!


Postby mountain coward » Sun Jul 05, 2009 2:33 am

Munros included on this walk: Meall nan Eun, Stob Coir an Albannaich

Date walked: 02/01/2011

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During our stay in June at our usual flat in Fort William, we had a few Munros to finish off in the area – two of which were Meall nan Eun and Stob Coire an Albannaich down Glen Etive. For some reason, I wasn’t looking forward to these, mainly as I couldn’t think of a non-steep route off the latter hill and, as mentioned in one of my other posts, I wasn’t having a good trip for ‘steep’! :(

I got up in the morning with a feeling of dread and quite a reluctance to get going. Still, 1015ish saw us parked in Glen Etive by the track that goes to Coiletir and the river bridge – there were already a lot of cars parked. The views from the river bridge are lovely – the river always looks nice here, so I stopped briefly and took a couple of pics.
River Etive & Ben Starav.jpg
River Etive(looking upriver).jpg
Then on around to the mouth of Glen Ceitlin.
Ben Starav from Glenceitlin House.jpg
Glen Ceitlin head.jpg


As we rounded the corner into the Ceitlin, into sight loomed a mountain with the most horrible nose I’ve ever seen. It had a narrowish ridge up it, was horrifically steep and had crags near the top of the ridge! I was convinced from the descriptions I’d read that this was the end of our first hill, Meall nan Eun! My heart sank into my boots and I went very, very quiet indeed (a fact which didn’t go unnoticed by Richard who knew very well what it meant but couldn’t see where I was looking).

There was a reasonable track going up the glen by the river which we followed through a peaceful herd of cows and their calves -or so I thought, not taking much notice at the time – my eyes were firmly fixed on hell-ridge! I looked at the left flank of the hill – didn’t look to be a way up there... looked to the right flank – didn’t look to be a way up there either. More gloom, stress and silence from me. :(

As we continued up the valley to the start of the climb, the path seemed to be going away from the nose of hell-hill and towards some rockier but much easier looking stuff to the right of it. When we were about half way up this, and much further away from the awful hill I thought it must be time to consult the map. Much to my enormous relief, when I studied the map properly, the hill in question was only Corbett height (Meall Odhar or something) and we didn’t have to do it at all! Meall nan Eun was straight ahead and the path was heading towards easy but steep grass to a col between it and Tarsuinn.
Mealls nan Eun & Tarsuinn.jpg
Unfortunately, I think I was already rattled by then...

It was a very steep climb indeed but we were soon, out of puff, on the col and to our left was an extremely easy-looking gentle grass slope to the summit on our left – Meall nan Eun.
Meall nan Eun-comforting!.jpg
Tarsuinn in front...
We were probably up and back in about 20 minutes and heading over Tarsuinn-in-the-middle – an easy and gentle hill.

When you descend from Tarsuinn to the next col you then head for the left-hand of two easy grass rakes up to the ridge of Stob Coire an Albannaich.
Stob Coire an Albannaich.jpg
Tarsuinn in front again...
This was soon ascended but I wasn’t keen on the sight of the very steep and pretty narrow nose of the Stob (like I say, I was having a very bad trip nerves-wise).
Stob Coire an Albannaich nose.jpg
Much bigger, steeper and sharper than the photo makes it look!
We had a quick rest and set off up it – the path was a bit loose and will soon become unpleasantly eroded. It led straight to the summit cairn however and the ridge then got much wider.

I still wasn’t comfortable about how to get down from the Stob as I certainly didn’t fancy the end of the hill to the north which lands (quite literally) on top of Coiletir (small cottage). Nor did I fancy what I’d seen of the route to the col of the Allt nam Meirleach which I’d seen when I did Ben Starav to Glas Bheinn Mhor the other year. That was short but very steep and loose scree – not a fave of mine.

I decided that a route much more to my taste lay down a little ridge which curved round to the north-east from the end of the summit ridge. I’d been looking at that on the way up and had seen a flat patch part-way down with an easy-looking grass rake between the slabs back to the corrie under the summit. We took that – it was a great route (providing you left it down the grass rake – the bottom of the ridge would be far too steep to be recommended I’d think). We weren’t the first to descend that way but it looked like it would be a deer-trod if anything.

We crossed the corrie back to the Tarsuinn col and decided to descend the vast area of slabs which come down from the front of Tarsuinn back to our original ascent path from the glen. The slabs were at a very gentle angle, dry and grippy so this worked out great – I was still relieved to get back to our original path though.
Glen Ceitlin.jpg


As we neared the herd of cows, I noticed some other walkers giving them a hugely wide berth – they were half-way up the slope of Stob Dubh! I laughed about it to Richard and he just said, ‘No doubt they’re avoiding the bull’. I said ‘There wasn’t a bull, just cows and calves’. He assured me that, not only was there a bull but, on the way out, I’d led him straight past its nose – literally about a foot away – so close he had time to study its nose-ring! I’d been so het-up about my ‘hell-hill’ that I’d never even noticed him! :lol:

A note to anyone afraid of passing bulls – it is best to give them a wide berth but, if you don’t look directly at them (i.e. challenge them), you should be okay, especially if he’s with the girls! Do keep an eye on them out of the corner of your eye though – they do get bad moods occasionally!

We arrived back at the car with plenty of time before we adjourned to the Clachaig for our tea (and beer in Richard’s case) so I decided to drive down to the loch and take some photos as it was a lovely afternoon.
Ben Starav range and lochan.jpg
Dramatic Ben Starav.jpg
Ben Cruachan fm Loch Etive.jpg
Glen Etive midway lochan.jpg
G Etive sheep transporter.jpg
Last edited by mountain coward on Sun Jan 02, 2011 1:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Stob Coire an Albannaich & The Bull!

Postby kevsbald » Sun Jul 05, 2009 9:46 am

Nice report - I have still to do these so will be good to read again before I set off. What a load of bull!
I was surprised the nose of SCnAlbanaich was so pointy.
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Re: Stob Coire an Albannaich & The Bull!

Postby canisp » Sun Jul 05, 2009 10:06 am

An interesting read :D :D

mc wrote:As we rounded the corner into the Ceitlin, into sight loomed a mountain with the most horrible nose I’ve ever seen

I thought the above was going to be the Corbett Stob Dubh, a steep brutal non stop 800 metre ascent, a bit like Kirk Fell, and i know how much your looking forward to that one :lol:

mc wrote:He assured me that, not only was there a bull but, on the way out, I’d led him straight past its nose

Was it a highland bull, (i’d always believed they are too unpredictable and dangerous to be free roaming :!: :?: ), i’ve only ever seen two and both times they were penned in fields, they are half as big again as an average highland cow :shock:
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Re: Stob Coire an Albannaich & The Bull!

Postby cjwaugh » Sun Jul 05, 2009 10:31 am

GReat pictures and report MC cheers :)
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Re: Stob Coire an Albannaich & The Bull!

Postby mountain coward » Sun Jul 05, 2009 9:37 pm

canisp wrote:An interesting read :D :D

mc wrote:As we rounded the corner into the Ceitlin, into sight loomed a mountain with the most horrible nose I’ve ever seen

I thought the above was going to be the Corbett Stob Dubh, a steep brutal non stop 800 metre ascent, a bit like Kirk Fell, and i know how much your looking forward to that one :lol:

Yeah but at least the Kirk Fell nose walk doesn't have crags at the top... although it does have steep scree - another pet hate of mine! I've looked in horror at Stobh Dubh for ages - think I'd have to do that from the back - if at all!

mc wrote:He assured me that, not only was there a bull but, on the way out, I’d led him straight past its nose

Was it a highland bull, (i’d always believed they are too unpredictable and dangerous to be free roaming :!: :?: ), i’ve only ever seen two and both times they were penned in fields, they are half as big again as an average highland cow :shock:


Highland cattle are really quiet normally so you'd probably be perfectly safe there, despite their size - they're the most peaceable of all cattle breeds! It wasn't anyway - it was black so possibly an Aberdeen Angus (which don't have horns)...
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