Haven’t put in a walk report for a while. Been away on my travels in Canada over the summer and the weather hasn’t been that inspiring since my return. But I wanted to try out my latest my acquisition – a one person campervan. So after a brilliant day on Ben A’Chreachain and Beinn Achaladair I headed up to the Kingshouse and met Katie out the back. After putting up her tent we had dinner and then popped in to the hotel for a pint and a game of Scrabble. It was all very quiet apart from a large party celebrating something or other in the dining room.
At about 7am I sent Katie a text to say that I was putting the kettle on. Disaster! The gas had run out! So in she comes in her down jacket out of the frosty morning and no tea! So it was back to the hotel for a coffee in front of the fire.
Then off down Glen Etive to tackle Ben Starav. There were already quite a few cars parked in various places at the side of the road but I spotted a space that was just big enough. Whilst preparing to reverse into it some ******* came down the road and nipped in to the space. If you are reading this – thanks very much. As Katie said later some people just need manners. But we managed to find a place a bit further on and set off back up the road to the footpath that leads down to the bridge.
All went swimmingly until we reached Coileitir and then the mud bath began. We reached the burn and crossed without too much difficulty – although Katie did manage to get tangled up in a tree. Then we headed up along side the burn – very muddy in the lower parts but much better higher up - til we reached the bealach. The sun picked out the hills and gradually crept up the glen behind us until we emerged into bright sunshine on the ridge for a bit of a sit down and a little something. No tea though due to the aforesaid lack of gas.
The next steep section brought us to the narrow rocky ridge where I tried to stick to the ridge line while Katie took the lower path and met me at the end for the final push up to the summit of Ben Starav. To be honest we didn’t go to the summit. The cloud came in and we had already ticked Ben Starav a few years ago. Our plan was to descend the south west ridge to Loch Etive so we cut the corner and continued on our way. The undulating ridge was great with views down Loch Etive but the descent was truly awful – wet slabs, heather, bog, mud, you name it, we walked –or perhaps slithered would be a more accurate description - through it. We were very grateful to reach the shore of the loch – wonderful seaweedy smells. The descent had really slowed us down so the sun was setting as we walked along the track by the edge of the loch. The mountains behind us were silhouetted against the sky whereas those in front were lit up by the last rays of the sun.
The path deteriorated again and we paddled along to the bridge over the Allt Mheuran. By this time Katie was treating the expedition as a cross country race and I chugged along behind putting in the odd sprint to catch up. The moon was just emerging over the hills behind us as we reached the van. Then back to the Kingshouse for Katie’s tent and back home.
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