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Reaching a milestone in rocky Glen Coe

Reaching a milestone in rocky Glen Coe


Postby simon-b » Mon Jul 06, 2015 12:57 am

Munros included on this walk: Bidean nam Bian, Meall Dearg (Aonach Eagach), Sgor na h-Ulaidh, Sgorr nam Fiannaidh (Aonach Eagach), Stob Coire Raineach (Buachaille Etive Beag), Stob Coire Sgreamhach, Stob Dearg (Buachaille Etive Mor), Stob Dubh (Buachaille Etive Beag), Stob na Broige (Buachaille Etive Mor)

Grahams included on this walk: Pap of Glencoe

Date walked: 20/06/2015

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Two days before the June solstice and I was packing my usual summer gear for a trip to the Highlands, plus one additional item; an ice axe. The following morning, I made an early start from Yorkshire and was passing alongside Loch Lomond before noon.

Saturday 20/06/2015: Buachaille Etive Beag

2015-06-20_1118 844km.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


Distance: 8.45 km
Ascent: 943 m
Time: 3.4 h


As I didn't want to be too late checking in to my B and B in Glencoe village, a quick afternoon hike up the Wee Buachaille was in order. The weather wasn't bad, but the clouds were down and views were limited. So rather than post any photos from the day, I've included one of the hill taken two days later on my way to its big brother.

P6220039.JPG
Buachaille Etive Beag


It was up to the bealach, left and into the clag, and onto Stob Coire Raineach. Then, back at the bealach, I encountered a young Scottish couple. "Are you out on your own?" asked the girl, "A bit of 'me' time?" I explained I was there to get my 199th Munro, and had just done it. "Now I'm off for the next one, but not making any claims before the result's achieved", I added.

Despite the lack of views, the ridge to Stob Dubh was enjoyable. I reached the summit, and remembering that my 1st and 100th Munros had both been done in the cloud, it seemed fitting that this one was too. On my way back to the bealach, I met the couple again, who'd just been on Raineach and were now heading for Dubh. The first two people to offer congratulations on a new milestone reached!

Then it was into the car and off to Ghlasdruim B and B in Glencoe, where I was to spend two great weeks, despite some very mixed weather and a little unexpected expense.


Sunday 21/06/2015: Sgor na h-Ulaidh

2015-06-21_0852 141km.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


Distance: 14.1 km
Ascent: 1160 m
Time: 6 h


The longest day of the year, and what do you get? A forecast that suggests a less demanding route, and not staying on the hills too long. So I decided to do Sgor na h-Ulaidh via Stob an Fhuarain both up and down. Aonach Dubh a' Ghlinne dominated the view on the left during the early stages.

P6210024.JPG
Aonach Dubh a' Ghlinne


A steep climb on grass onto the ridge south of Stob an Fhuarain was followed by entry into rain and clag, but an easier path was reached. There was just a bit of need to handle wet rocks on the way up to Sgor na h-Ulaidh, but nothing too difficult. The summit was still a dramatic place in the mist.

P6210029.JPG
The summit of Sgor na h-Ulaidh


P6210031.JPG
Descending towards Gleann Leac na Muidhe


The weather didn't turn too bad, no storms anyway, as I came back down. Then it was back to the village, and a second evening with a pint and a meal at the Glencoe Gathering. Rod Stewart (an Englishman with Scottish parents), Garbage (an American band with a Scottish singer), The Jesus and Mary Chain, Paolo Nutini, Franz Ferdinand... a rather obvious theme behind all the music played here.


Monday 22/06/2015: Buachaille Etive Mor

2015-06-22_0913 147km.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


Distance: 14.8 km
Ascent: 1254 m
Time: 6 h


What more is there to say about this magnificent mountain that hasn't already been said?

P6220040.JPG
Buachaille Etive Mor and Lagangarbh


Anyway, I made my way into the corrie, and began to ascend towards the headwall. It looked a bit ominous, with snow still up there.

P6220042.JPG
Approaching Coire na Tulaich


With just a little scrambling, I managed to pick a way that avoided the snow, and got onto the ridge. Moving up towards Stob Dearg, I went into the cloud. But as I reached the summit, things began to clear - only briefly; there were just glimpses of views.

P6220054.JPG
Blackwater Resevoir and Beinn a' Chrulaiste from near Stob Dearg's summit


After standing on top of that great pyramid, I doubled back ready to take on the rest of the ridge, which was to give a great walk. The part of the mountain hidden by that rocky triangle seen from the road is also superb.

P6220063.JPG
Looking towards Stob na Doire and the rest of the ridge


Stob na Doire went back into the mist just as I reached it, but moving on from there, things cleared and views really opened up.

P6220068.JPG
Moving towards Stob Coire Altruim and Stob na Broige


P6220071.JPG
Glen Etive from Stob na Broige


I left my boot prints on Stob na Broige, and headed back over Stob Coire Altruim ready to descend. A snow cornice blocked the usual decent route into the Lairig, but a little further down the ridge was a cairn indicating an alternative path. This way was free of snow, and soon joined the regular descent route.

P6220077.JPG
Looking down to Lairig Gartain



Tuesday 23/06/2015: Aonach Eagach and The Pap of Glencoe

Simply magnificent!

I was accompanied by Cat, and it was great to have her along. She says it all in her report...

http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=53488

...but I'll add just two photos from the day:

P6230115.JPG
On Meall Dearg. Cat's smiling because she's seen an easier route heading north. Sorry, Cat, we're going west!


P6230151.JPG
Lochs Leven and Linnhe from near the Pap



Wednesday 24 was a rest day, the weather not being so good. Earlier I mentioned an unexpected expense. My GPS had failed, and there was obviously no time to get it repaired before I wanted it again. So I went into Fort William to get a new one. At least the staff member at Nevisport took sympathy due to my situation, offered me a discount, and was very helpful in getting the mapping set up.

Thursday 25/06 2015: Bidean nam Bian and Stob Coire Sgreamhach
Due to issues just mentioned, this is a map of my route plan, not a recorded GPS track:

bideannambian.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


Distance: 10.9 km
Ascent: 1336 m
Time: 6.5 h


This was another of the Gleann Comhan greats I'd long been looking forward to. Also a good day to try out my new GPS, although it was loaded with standard AA batteries, which is why I didn't leave it switched on all the time to record the track. Another thing I brought was my 4 season pack complete with ice axe, which I'd reckoned on needing later for the descent. I parked in front of the 3 Sisters, and set off for Coire nan Lochan.

P6250162.JPG
Ascending between sisters Gearr Aonach and Aonach Dubh towards Stob Coire nan Lochan


P6250163.JPG
Sisters Beinn Fhada and Gearr Aonach


There were no real difficulties during the ascent, and as I went up, so did the clouds.

P6250178.JPG
Looking down a gully while approaching Stob Coire nan Lochan


I reached Stob Coire nan Lochan with great vistas all around.

P6250180.JPG
Ben Nevis and Aonach Eagach from Stob Coire nan Lochan


P6250181.JPG
Glencoe and Ballachulish area from Stob Coire nan Lochan


P6250182.JPG
Bidean nam Bian from Stob Coire nan Lochan


The Bidean looked very impressive as I approached it, but the cloud came down again. On the summit, there were some breaks giving fleeting views, before I moved along the ridge towards Stob Coire Sgreamhach. I was in and out of the clouds, but had plenty of spectacular views down the massifs north face. The second Munro's summit was completely in the mist when I got there, before doubling back towards Bealach Dearg. I dropped out of the clouds and could see may descent route from the bealach towards the Lost Valley - only too well!

P6250191.JPG
Coming down from Stob Coire Sgreamhach towards Bealach Dearg


Earlier, I had seen someone ascending to Bealach Dearg this way over the snow, and they didn't seem to have too much trouble, so I thought it should be fine to proceed. Getting down to the snow of the corrie's edge was tricky on steep, slippery ground. I had the ice axe ready, and had planned on perhaps heel plunging my way down. But once on the snow, I found it too steep to do that comfortably, so I turned and faced the slope, reversing down, employing the spike and kicking steps with the toes. Like this, I would also be in the best position for a self-arrest, had a slide occured. I found I was having to put my free hand on the snow for stability, more than I'd realised I would, so I wasn't wearing gloves. My free hand therefore began to get very cold, but going straight down, I could swap hands so neither of them were on the snow all the time. At last I got off the steepest bit without any accidents, and was able to walk along the rest of the snow field. By this time my hands had got pretty numb!

P6250195.JPG
Descending into the Lost Valley


So I made it down into the Lost Valley, and carried on with the walk out.

All the Munros on either side of Glen Coe had been conquered, and my thoughts turned to Glen Etive, with plenty of my fortnight in the Highlands still left. But more immediately, a pint and some food was in order!
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simon-b
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Re: Reaching a milestone in rocky Glen Coe

Postby ancancha » Mon Jul 06, 2015 2:17 am

Congratulations on your milestone :clap:
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Re: Reaching a milestone in rocky Glen Coe

Postby dogplodder » Mon Jul 06, 2015 9:45 am

Great collection of hills here! Your descent into Lost Valley makes me think I'll leave this route a bit longer to let the snow melt! Was the snow in the corrie covering the path on to the Big Bookil? 8)
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Re: Reaching a milestone in rocky Glen Coe

Postby basscadet » Mon Jul 06, 2015 6:23 pm

Wow, brilliant mopping up job.. Glen Coe is definatey more atmospheric with some mist about :D

I've done the descent into lost valley in the snow (but I'd forgot the axe :roll: ), so I could really relate to that bit :lol:
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Re: Reaching a milestone in rocky Glen Coe

Postby Fife Flyer » Mon Jul 06, 2015 6:34 pm

Well done Simon & many congrats from me too :clap: :clap:
Was expecting a wee bit more about the AE, I know Cat was :lol: :lol:

I have to say your compleation plan is progressing nicely, your red balloons are in nice little groups - have you decided where you are finishing up?
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Re: Reaching a milestone in rocky Glen Coe

Postby simon-b » Mon Jul 06, 2015 8:55 pm

ancancha wrote:Congratulations on your milestone :clap:

Thanks, ancancha.

dogplodder wrote:Great collection of hills here!...Was the snow in the corrie covering the path on to the Big Bookil?

I was wanting to save some classics for later in the Munro quest, dogplodder, and Glen Coe certainly lived up to that billing. It was the first time I'd been on the Big Buachaille, so whether there's a clear path high in the corrie that was obscured by the snow, I'm not sure. But I was able to find a way onto the ridge avoiding the snow, that involved only a little scrambling, with nothing too difficult.

basscadet wrote:I've done the descent into lost valley in the snow (but I'd forgot the axe :roll: ), so I could really relate to that bit :lol:

Some people have chosen to slide down this year. If I'd been without my axe, BC, I'd probably have put my gloves on, knowing I'd need to handle the snow, and my hands wouldn't have got so cold!

Fife Flyer wrote:Well done Simon & many congrats from me too :clap: :clap:
Was expecting a wee bit more about the AE, I know Cat was :lol: :lol:

I have to say your compleation plan is progressing nicely, your red balloons are in nice little groups - have you decided where you are finishing up?

Cheers, Martin. Cat's report on AE was so good, I didn't think there was much more to add. You'll have noticed the same when I post multi-day reports and you've been on one of the walks! Hopefully your own compleation plan can start progressing again now you seem to be on the mend. For me, no decisions yet regarding a time or place to finish.
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Re: Reaching a milestone in rocky Glen Coe

Postby Silverhill » Mon Jul 06, 2015 10:34 pm

Congratulations on your 200th munro! :clap: You’ve got a good pace going. I hope your second week was as productive. :D
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Re: Reaching a milestone in rocky Glen Coe

Postby rockhopper » Mon Jul 06, 2015 11:09 pm

well done simon - a great start to your fortnight :thumbup:
you certainly know how to make the most of your time up here ! - cheers :)
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Re: Reaching a milestone in rocky Glen Coe

Postby simon-b » Tue Jul 07, 2015 8:43 pm

Thanks, Silverhill. Yes, it was a good 2nd week too.

Cheers, Rockhopper. Those of us from outside Scotland may as well make the best of what it has to offer while we're there.
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