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A Day On The Big Buachaille

A Day On The Big Buachaille

Postby Relayer2112 » Tue Jun 28, 2011 2:30 am

Route description: Buachaille Etive Mòr

Munros included on this walk: Stob Dearg (Buachaille Etive Mòr), Stob na Bròige (Buachaille Etive Mòr)

Date walked: 24/06/2011

Time taken: 7 hours

Distance: 23.26 km

Ascent: 1272m

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Late last October I had my first crack at this magnificent mountain complex. It did not go well. Towards the top of Coire na Tulaich I was starting to get very nervous about the condition of the snow - amplified by the coire being an infamous avalanche hotspot, so I decided to about turn, and head back down. It's always gutting to walk away from a mountain, even more so when - to be honest, with a bit more winter experience under my belt now (including professional instruction), the snow would probably have been alright on that particular day. Knowledge is most definitely power in winter. So, I had essentially turned back out of fear than from an unreasonable risk.

To some degree, it shook my confidence in going out myself. The rest of my outings since then have always been with others, for one reason or another - however, when a clear weather window presented itself on Friday and nobody else was free, I decided it was time for the rematch. In summer conditions, I could hardly fail.

So, at 0400 it was time to get up, and down to catch my train to Glasgow at 0520, to get the 0700 Citylink 916 bus. The ride up wasn't particularly promising, looked to be a lot of low cloud around. It wouldn't pose any nav problems, but being a photographer, it did mean my chances of getting any good photographs would be very slim if it didn't lift as forecasted. As it turns out, BEM was free of cloud all day, from the moment it came into view. The bus driver kindly agreed to drop me off at Altnafeadh rather than at the ski-centre, saving me about an hour of walking.
So, it was off up the coire, fairly steep going in places, but I felt great. It felt good to see where I had turned back before, and walk right past it. The very lip of the coire was certainly interesting, ended up with some nicely sliced hands from razor-sharp bits of granite - note to self, consider wearing gloves next time.

Topped out, and headed up to the peak of Stob Dearg.

Larger size - http://www.stuartcolephotography.com/picture/img_6805-edit-4.jpg?pictureId=10200258
(Note, these are still very much reduced - the original images ranged from 13 to 33 megapixels and in raw form took up about 500MB each. If I can find somewhere to host the 20-30MB optimised full-size JPEG files I'll post them maybe. They are of course available as prints from my website.)

Next, to Stob na Doire:

Larger size - http://www.stuartcolephotography.com/picture/img_6836-edit-2.jpg?pictureId=10200303

Stob Coire Altrium - the least favourite of my image from that day. I'm not really happy with the light on the background mountains, the Mamores and Ben Nevis etc. One of the problems with shooting landscapes in broken cloud, you end up with funny light sometimes. I might have another bash at processing it and see if I can come up with something better.

Larger size - http://www.stuartcolephotography.com/picture/img_6858-edit-2.jpg?pictureId=10200307

And finally, Stob na Broige, and my favourite image from the day, a sweeping panorama looking down Glen Etive and across to Bidean nam Bian.

Larger size - http://www.stuartcolephotography.com/picture/img_6876-edit-3.jpg?pictureId=10200313

Having now completed all 4 peaks, I took a nice break on Stob na Broige to relax and enjoy the warm, calm day and basically enjoy the environment I was in rather than just thrashing along from one peak to the next. At 1400, I started back along the ridge to my descent point - about halfway between Stob na Broige and Stob Coire Altrium. I would be descending down to Glen Etive, and had to be careful not to descend too soon to avoid the crags at the bottom of Stob na Broige. Map and compass out for a bit, I got to exactly where I needed to go and was down at the valley floor in about an hour and a half. The descent, I must say, was a bit brutal on the knees - but then, it always is.

Now being down in Glen Etive, I had about enough time to walk back to the ski-centre to catch my bus and head home. However, I noticed a bit of traffic heading up and down the road and hit upon a cunning plan. I stuck my thumb out. Within 20 minutes of hitting the roadside in Glen Etive, I was sitting in the Kingshouse enjoying a well earned post-hill dram of Ardbeg Uigeadail, followed by steak and ale pie with a beer, and plenty of time to catch my bus.

The perfect end to a near enough perfect day.
Posts: 25
Joined: Jan 8, 2011

Re: A Day On The Big Buachaille

Postby jester » Tue Jun 28, 2011 10:47 am

Always a good day to be had on the Buchaille. I take it the photos are stitched panoramas?
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Munro compleatist
Posts: 487
Munros:117   Corbetts:13
Grahams:7   Donalds:3
Sub 2000:9   
Joined: Mar 1, 2008

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