The usual early morning feeling of 'Why oh why, am I awake at 4.30am on Saturday?' quickly dissipates as I eat up the A82 on route to Glencoe this morning. As a side point for those driving up from Glasgow, I was impressed with the new bit of road at Pulpit Rock now that its completed. Anything that makes this drive a little more pleasant!
After a cloudy week there was a few hours on Saturday morning where sunshine was promised and there was excellent walking conditions to be found. With no rain having fallen in the last few days the ground was dry, the path excellent and I set off from the Beehive carpark, the sole participant, just after 7am.
This is a well documented route already, so I wont go into too many details of the route as it is pretty straight forward - just follow the well maintained path up. I just wanted to put my photos somewhere!
I reached the top of Stob Coire Raineach within the hour, sitting down to enjoy glorious sunshine and conditions for breakfast at 8am. The views all around were awesome if a little hazy to the south. The Ben was even cloud free although the plateau looked thick with snow. I sat for 20 minutes or so, on my own in the silence of the hills. It never fails to make me feel at peace.
The view northwards along the ridge looked fantastic and after a couple of cups of coffee and a photo session I set off for Munro number two, Stob Dubh. The sun was shining and with such little wind, it was quite warm despite only being 8.30am. There is a quick pull up from the bealach onto the next part of the ridge but from there it is such easy walking to the end of the ridge. Vistas in all directions it feels a bit like the heart of Scotland, Glencoe. Mountains still holding onto a lot of snow, lochs on the valley floors, corries and ridges, undulating hills and rivers. Even though these are the smallest Munros in the area, surrounded by its bigger cousins on all sides, it gives a perfect viewpoint for the likes of Bidean Nam Bian, the Aonach Eagach ridge, Nevis range and down to Glen Etive.
Just before the second top I met a group of three lads who must have set out just after me, heading for this top first. Apart from this group it was the only people I saw on the ridge proper. On reaching Stob Dubh I again sat down and enjoyed the cloud free summit, the warm sunshine and the serenity of being the only one up here. I sunned myself for about 20 minutes, delighted with the weather and the moment.
I wandered back along the ridge to the bealach to start descending and started to meet folk coming up, loads of folk out for the day and it was about to get crowded up here. I was so happy to have been up way WAY before anyone else to experience the little herdsman in all its glory. Although I had planned to take it quite easy on this walk, not being in any particular rush, I still got back, to a now overflowing carpark, just inside 4 hours. By this point the forecasted clouds were starting to make their way from west to east and the blue skies I had the privilege of being under were beginning to disappear. Tunes on in the car home, driving over Rannoch Moor in the sun - a very excellent start to the bank holiday weekend.
The walk itself is not too demanding, so a very good one for folks who just want to do a Munro, I guess this one is overlooked slightly in favour of Big Buachaille, nonetheless it is still great wee day out.
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Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.