Taking the wife up the Buachaille...no pun intended.
by ciderpeter » Mon Jul 02, 2012 7:39 pm
Route description: Buachaille Etive Mor
Munros included on this walk: Stob Dearg (Buachaille Etive Mor), Stob na Broige (Buachaille Etive Mor)
Date walked: 18/06/2012
Time taken: 7.9 hours
Distance: 18.62 km
Ascent: 1110m4 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
The journey passed quickly as we chatted about the day before and how perfect it had been and before we knew it we were being greeted by the impressive mountains of Glencoe. I decided it would be a good point for the first couple of pictures of the honeymoon...
The evening subsequently saw us unpack and have a wander by the loch, before treating ourselves to some good grub at the Clachaig Inn.
Waking up on Monday it was a relief to see some good weather out the window rather than the rain of the last few days and it also made a change to hear something other than overflowing waterfalls! Gemma said it looked a good day for a walk - result! I didn’t hold out much hope of it being a big walk and expected to be going up to Steall Meadows or the Lost Valley. When I went downstairs and saw the laptop with a route up Buachaille Etive Mor I would be lying if I said I wasn’t suddenly a bit more interested!
Bags packed and off we went to the car park at the foot of the Buachaille. Typically we would be climbing during the hottest part of the day, but at this stage it looked like it would be a fantastic if not sweltering day - with the route ahead to the first Munro summit clear.
Navigation is easy in decent weather, with the path being fairly obvious all the way although a tad hard under foot in places and after a day cooped up in the car - Todd seemed to be enjoying himself except for when he cut his foot on some rock. A quick wash and it soon scabbed over and he was happy as Larry again! He is certainly one tough cookie!!
We covered ground ridiculously quickly - evidently still buzzing from the wedding on Saturday. The top part of the ascent is pretty steep - this wide angle shot gives a good idea of just how steep it is - but the views back across the Mamores and Nevis are stunning. The route from here is as difficult or as easy as you want to make it, we opted in this weather for a few easy scrambles to the side of the path. Todd seemed in his element on the hard rock and within no time we had made it to the bealach which is quite nicely at about 880m, leaving a relatively short - although in the heat fairly large climb up to the summit of Stob Dearg.
Plenty of stop offs to admire the 360 degree views of the mountains around us.
The route to the summit is fairly deceptive - just when you think you are at the top a bit more appears and just when you think you are there again, a bit of ridge juts out to another cairn. It was one of few mountains where you enjoy each of the false summits and the bits between each get more and more interesting as you get closer! The true summit is the first place where you get a real view of why BEM looks so impressive from Glencoe and Rannoch Moor. You look down to a plateau of flatness at the bottom of the mountain, with very little between you except air! It also from here gives a great view of just how straight the road to Glencoe is!!
And here we are - the summit cairn of Stob Dearg, looking back along the first part of the ridge. What a beautiful day and what fantastic views all around! Considering I have yet to have a clear view from any Munro, you can imagine how chuffed I was!
And then across Glen Etive.
Followed by a big panorama, not sure how this will look when uploaded though as it is fairly wide - 360 degrees from the summit.
Alas we were not the only souls on the summit - in fact we saw the only four people we saw all day here. They gladly obliged in taking a picture of the newly weds, and also insisted on taking one with their cameras as they thought it was so bizarre to see such a thing?! I thought it was all newly weds were supposed to do?
A slightly more casual shot of the two of us, Todd was in no mood for posing it would seem!
And here are our newly found friends on the summit! Not sure if they are members on here?
The other people we saw were only planning on doing the first Munro, and so were we... but I managed to convince Gemma to go along to the first ‘lump’ after the bealach for lunch (so false intentions at all, promise!). Before we set off though, a couple of other views - first towards Loch Leven and the bridge...
And then across the desolate Rannoch Moor. I couldn’t get over quite how flat it looked across the Moor!
Finally (with the help of his mum sat behind the cairn!) I managed to convince Todd to strike a pose for a photo... One of my favourite sun stars strikes again!
And so we left the summit, with the intention of returning to the car for a lazy afternoon in Glencoe. Here I am looking back along the ridge to the first Munro summit.
So off we trudged in our little convoy, me at the back constantly catching up having taken some pictures. This is the first time along the ridge when you can see the full Buachaille ridge stretching out in front of you. The second Munro some 4-5km away! Secretly I wanted to do the full thing, but I knew Gemma didn’t so I was resigned to coming back at some other point to finish it off...
At the 902m cairn, the views to Nevis are just as impressive, as are those along the ridge, which now looks invitingly close. I think this is what led to wifey’s next decision - we would do the whole thing. Get in! With very little nagging from me as well, I guess she must be a keeper!
It was at this point that Bidean Nam Bian caught my eye at the back of the Three Sisters. I had never seen it before but was amazed at how inviting it looked over Glencoe. I looked at the map and realised it was the tallest of the Glencoe mountains and suddenly this became my next target for the week - after finishing this ridge that is!
After lunch at 902m, we carried on, soon realising why this ridge is so popular - it is a delight to walk and each turn leads to magnificent views of the surroundings the mountain that you are walking on. Just after lunch we found a nice pool for Todd to have a drink from and this is the first time when you can really appreciate the shape of Stob Dearg and begin to see why it looks like a pyramid from the road. It is bizarre that from the front it always looks so dark and gloomy - yet from here it looks pink!
As you keep walking you continue to realise how spectacular BEM is. And I think as the afternoon went on (we didn’t start walking till 10am so by now it was getting to mid afternoon) the colours and views continued to improve.
The 120m climb to Stob Na Doire is a killer and I don’t think the phrase that was used by my wife can be repeated here, but it was something along the lines of “what a *blank* of a hill” lol. The legs were feeling every up hill step now, but the packet of fruit pastilles we had kept us going. The late decision to do the whole ridge wasn’t in the plans when we packed food so we were carefully rationing what we had. The second highest point on the ridge does seem somewhat an inconvenience when you are tired and have to drop down 150m the other side as well!! You do however get decent views along the remainder of the ridge and it was good to know that this was most of the hard work for the day done!
This Munro top is fairly triangular as well - as the steep drops down to Glen Etive and the shot from just beyond the bealach where we would later descend to the valley show.
I think it is safe to say that at Stob Coire Altrium, with just 50m climbing to go, at least two of our party were well and truly pipped!
And it is easy to understand why when you look back along the ridge at how far we have climbed and come!
But just a few minutes later we are done! The summit of Stob na Broige looking out to Loch Etive. Unfortunately for the pictures, now looking directly into an ever dropping sun!
And across Buachaille Etive Beag to Ben Nevis.
With the day getting old we had a short stop at the summit and another fruit pastille (as well as plenty of complaints that none of them were black anymore which is apparently the best flavour) to mark our second Munro of the day and second Munro as Mr and Mrs, we soon departed back along the ridge to the bealach (40m of climbing) where we could descend into the Glen and then walk back to the car - although it still seemed a hell of a long way off at this point!
As we walk back, Todd admires the ridge that he has now conquered. This is one of those mountains that you always admire when driving through Scotland and we can now all say we have climbed the whole thing... no easy feat!
Back at the bealach, the path is obvious, but somewhat loose. Although later in the week on Bidean Nam Bian I would discover that this is actually a decent path down so I shouldn’t have complained too much.
As we descended I spotted this dragon fly on a rock... it climbed up onto the top and as Todd approached I remember saying “Don’t let him eat it” just as *crunch*, he stood on it. Lol. To be fair he did look gutted afterwards at what he had done... And no he didn’t eat the evidence!
Towards the bottom of the descent old hawk eye as I now call her, spotted a deer in the bottom of the valley. This was the first deer we had seen from outside the car and this early in the day so we were both chuffed!
Time for a couple of staged shots of the wife, first one in some nice long grass...
And then one whilst we take a breather at the beautiful River Coupall. This place was completely unexpected but absolutely stunning and we both took our boots off for a dip in the river - whilst Todd who seems to be scared of water watched on. After a hot days work in sweaty boots I don’t think there is any better feeling!
Approaching the road the day was nearly over and there was time for just one more shot looking back along the side of Buachaille Etive Mor.
A truly great day on the hills - after an incredible wedding day we couldn’t have asked for a better way to start the honeymoon. Incredible weather, incredible views and the best company I could have asked for. Both sufficiently tired to earn ourselves another meal at the Clachaig I would say!
We later went back up deer spotting and I got the standard shot of the Buachaille by night. A beautiful end to a beautiful day... hopefully this would be the theme for the honeymoon!
And if anyone is interested, you can see pics of the first of the best days of the rest of our lives here... the theme was a bit bizarre as Lake District meets Scotland meets Disney.
http://photolakedistrict.smugmug.com/Pu ... &k=NqM8SsH
by johnkaysleftleg » Mon Jul 02, 2012 8:16 pm
Brilliant report and pics, can't wait until I'm in striking distance of the big Buachaille in October.
by clivew » Mon Jul 02, 2012 8:38 pm
by mrssanta » Mon Jul 02, 2012 9:12 pm
by Peter277 » Mon Jul 02, 2012 9:36 pm
by Gavin99 » Mon Jul 02, 2012 9:48 pm
by skuk007 » Mon Jul 02, 2012 10:36 pm
Great honeymoon venue, wish I'd have thought of that.
by Fudgie » Mon Jul 02, 2012 10:51 pm
by Ferguson1518 » Wed Aug 29, 2012 11:28 pm
I hope the rest of your honeymoon went well. If I remember correctly you were going up Plockton ad we suggested going via Arisaig, Mallaig & Skye.
I've been watching Trail/TGO etc for your photograph, but so far nothing.
You are both in some photos I posted on Flickr
- don't know how to set these up as live links, but if you paste them into your browser you should get there.
If you would like full size copies let me know
- Mountain Walker
- Posts: 1
- Joined: Aug 29, 2012