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Captain Slow and the hidden gems of Etive

Captain Slow and the hidden gems of Etive


Postby Borderhugh » Sun Jun 12, 2016 9:19 pm

Munros included on this walk: Beinn Fhionnlaidh, Sgor na h-Ulaidh

Date walked: 09/06/2016

Time taken: 5.3 hours

Distance: 18 km

Ascent: 1550m

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Having missed the epic weather last weekend :cry: , I was chomping at the bit to get out and escape to the hills.

With some more big hill days coming up, I have been working hard on my fitness partly as a result of my recent experiences in the Fisherfield, where I was found wonting and been labelled Captain Slow by Fife Flyer :lol: Admittingly I have been procrastinating about my fitness for a long, long time so thank you Martin for giving me that needed jolt! :clap:

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Here's me looking fresh as a daisy on Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair :lol:


Like no doubt everyone else this week, I had been avidly scouring the forecasts all week knowing that the amazing spell of weather wasn’t going to last :( I took the executive decision to head out on thursday for somewhere with a good visibility and the 2 munros on the west side of Etive fitted the bill. The big idea was to reassess the weather in the evening and decide my activities from there.

My day on thursday had started well. My flight from London was on time for once :clap: and they had even fed me breakfast. :D After picking up my wheels in Corstorphine and raiding Tescos and Decathlon in Edinburgh Park for supplies, I was on my way by 10.30.

My progress had been good up until this stage but was checked somewhat when I got to the A84 where a steady train of campervans and cars thought it was reasonable/courteous to drive at 30mph and test my patience. :( On the bright side the weather was getting better and better. :o

On the way up I thought I would try out my new compact camera which I had bought to lighten the load as lugging an SLR does have its disadvantages. I can’t remember the last time I saw a cloud free summit on Beinn Dorain so I had to snap that one for prosperity.

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Beinn Doran


As ever the Buachaille was looking totally resplendent!

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Buachaille Etive


The day’s excitement levels went up a few gears as I rid myself of campervans and turned into the awesome Glen Etive. :D

I got to the small parking area at Invercharnan at around 12.45. It was reading 21 degress on the dashboard. After the usual fannying around in the car park, packing, getting changed etc. I away just after 1pm in my shorts, a first for me on the munros. 8)

Today I was following Steve Fallon’s route. He recommends the use of a bike for the initial 3km section through the forest but instead of pushing a bike up hill, I opted to walk, which was a good call as its not a big cycle. As I ventured up the track, the sun was beating down and in no time I was sweating like bilio. After a few minutes, I encountered a 4X4 that was hastily coming down the track leaving a wide dust trail in its wake. Even though I turned away as he passed me, I still got completely 'dusted' and had to clean my shades. I did utter word bastard under my breath! :shock:

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Looking up Glen Ceitlin


As you follow the track that winds up and around the forest, the views start to open up in front of you and behind you. I could start to see today’s targets which are really well-hidden from the road, Sgor na h-Ulaidh and Beinn Fhionnlaidh; the latter is largely hidden by its eastern top.

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Beinn Fhionnlaidh at the back


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Todays targets


It would seem most people do these 2 munros separately. I decided long ago this was going to be a 2er. First up for me was Sgor na h-Ulaidh.

Once beyond the deer fence you follow a faint grassy path which runs sort of parallel to the burn, Allt nan Gaoirean.
Straightaway it was boggy and undulating but thankfully easy going. After about 5 minutes, I encountered the only person I was going to see for the rest of the day. He had turned back and didn’t give me any reasons why. After bidding him farewell, I made good progress up the glen and thankfully avoid the bog difficulties :lol:

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Looking back


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Eastern side of BF


After about 20 mins the ‘path’ peters out. At this point I decided to make a beeline for the bealach up on my right.

There was a burn on the way which made for a welcome cooling down. The instructions (which I was reading for a change!) were telling me to locate some fence posts and a scree path. Once I saw something that resembled a scree path, I ventured up the start of the climb. I found it easier going on the grass at the sides. The route up this flank of the mountain is tiered, is easy going with a nice few scrambles here and there. On the way up I had been recalling other people’s walk reports about this mountain and was trying to remember why they had come unstuck on this one. It didnt seem that hard to me.

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Views on the way up


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Slabby ascent


It took me 2 hours in all to get to the summit cairn. Its a great viewpoint for the mountains to the north such as Bidean NB and Beinn A Bheitir, close to the edge of a steep drop :shock:

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Approaching the 1st summit


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The gully


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BF and Beinn Trilleachan behind


After a 5 minute fuel stop, taking in all the surrounding hazy mountains and testing out the timer features on my camera, I decided to push on to No. 2, Beinn Fhionnlaidh, which involves dropping back down to the bealach and then the glen. As a word of caution, when you drop off the summit of Sgor na h-Ulaidh, its very easy to pick up a well-defined path, like I did, that leads to Stob an Fhuarain. When you come off the summit, you need to bare right on unobvious ground.

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Looking over to Bidean Nam Bian


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Looking SW and Beinn Sgulaird


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Summit selfie Captain Slow


It took me about 20 minutes to get back to the bealach and then a further 15 minutes to get across the glen to the base of BF, which looks impenetrable.

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Looking at my descent route


As you skirt and climb southeast around its eastern top wondering where the hell you go up, you start to see the chinks in its armour.

From here it’s a slog up a combination of very steep grassy slopes and around rocky outcrops. After about 100m of scrambling, you come up into a small coire where you are instructed to head south to meet some fence posts. From here it’s a relatively easy climb up heather and crags to the eastern top. I found the ascent easy going :)

Just before you reach the eastern top, you start to see the top of BF over to your right and you pick up a path that makes its way to the ridge. From the ridge you pick up a stony path which takes you to the summit area. Just before the summit, there is a final scramble which Steve Fallon describes as easy and tricky in one sentence. I couldn't see what the fuss was about! :roll:

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Approaching the summit area


It had taken me precisely 2 hours to get to encircled trig point on top of BF. Unlike Sgor na h-Ulaidh its summit is wide, bouldery and rocky with superb views in all directions. Where there were patches of grass, I was thinking this would make a great spot for a summit camp.

From the summit, I headed back down east the way I came and then traversed across the southern side of the eastern top down towards Meall nan Gobhar. Here you pick up a goodish path. I found this easy going but in places it was a tad slippy and I nearly became a cropper once or twice. :lol: Thank god for poles!

The path follows a burn down; in places it looked very dry.

2016-06-09 18.02.39h.jpg
Dried out burn


The path eventually drops to wet ground again and then across the Allt nan Gaoirean, which had an interesting bridge which I limbered over. I can imagine this will make for a hazardous crossing at other times of the year.

2016-06-09 18.09.24h.jpg
The bridge


2016-06-09 18.12.17h.jpg
Looking back


From here on it was a case of rejoining the track at the deer fence and descending down the track back to the car.

Thankfully for me the haze had shifted off some of the mountains and Ben Starav & Co. were looking particularly dapper :)

2016-06-09 18.16.48h.jpg
Looking across to Starav again!


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Looking up at the back of Buachailles


I made it back to the car in good time at 6.30pm. Having drunk close to all of my 3 litres, I was glad of some further refreshments. :D

2016-06-09 18.49.18h.jpg
Bru with a view!


In summary these are 2 great hidden gems which in my opinion deserve a better write up. I will definitely be back to these 2 again.

Here's hoping for some better weather next weekend :crazy:
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Borderhugh
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 328
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Location: Stirling :)

Re: Captain Slow and the hidden gems of Etive

Postby Borderhugh » Sun Jun 12, 2016 9:36 pm

2016-06-09 16.16.17h.jpg
View of 1st Summit from climb up BF


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Looking back down the way I came in


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The small coire halfway up BF


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1st sight of the summit of BF


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Looking across to 1st summit


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The summit area of BF


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BF Summit


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BF Summit trig


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Side of BF


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Across to Starav


2016-06-09 17.21.57h.jpg
BF ridge to eastern top


2016-06-09 17.21.52h.jpg
Looking across to 1st summit from top of BF
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Re: Captain Slow and the hidden gems of Etive

Postby Alteknacker » Sun Jun 12, 2016 9:50 pm

Nice one, BH. These 2 are certainly cracking hills. If you do them again, consider doing them when there's a coating of the white stuff - the walk and the views are sensational.

You don't say whether you managed the most difficult challenge (pronouncing the names.....) :)
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Re: Captain Slow and the hidden gems of Etive

Postby simon-b » Sun Jun 12, 2016 10:32 pm

Interesting approach to these 2, Hugh. No longer Captain Slow if you're taking on Steven Fallon routes.
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Re: Captain Slow and the hidden gems of Etive

Postby rockhopper » Sun Jun 12, 2016 11:03 pm

Good result - looks like there's been quite a bit of tree felling down there. Think I'd be very happy if I could get anywhere near your time for this walk - certainly not slow - cheers :)
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Re: Captain Slow and the hidden gems of Etive

Postby old danensian » Mon Jun 13, 2016 5:20 pm

Don't worry Hugh - you'll reach "hill-fit" in no time and be chasing Martin.

All that forestry work climbing out of Glen Etive has really changed the feel of the approach - the prospects ahead are always there - challenging you - rather than bursting into view after a forestry track trudge

I'm one of those wusses who did the pair in two outings - in the spring a few years ago - but hey, that's what June days are for.

OD
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Re: Captain Slow and the hidden gems of Etive

Postby dogplodder » Mon Jun 13, 2016 7:28 pm

That wouldn't class as slow in my book. 8)
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Re: Captain Slow and the hidden gems of Etive

Postby Petr Dakota » Tue Jun 14, 2016 7:10 pm

Great report, route and effort too !!! :clap:
Well done Hugh ! :thumbup:
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Re: Captain Slow and the hidden gems of Etive

Postby Huff_n_Puff » Wed Jun 15, 2016 9:14 pm

Captain Slow - you are hereby debarred from ever competing under the SLOW banner again. This is a dreadful warning about believing the words of someone from the flying fraternity, slow this was not.
Yrs
Brigadier-General SLOW

(Having done part of this route a few weeks ago this report was a delight to read - well impressed :lol: :lol: )
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Re: Captain Slow and the hidden gems of Etive

Postby Borderhugh » Wed Jun 15, 2016 11:57 pm

Alteknacker wrote:Nice one, BH. These 2 are certainly cracking hills. If you do them again, consider doing them when there's a coating of the white stuff - the walk and the views are sensational.

You don't say whether you managed the most difficult challenge (pronouncing the names.....) :)


Thanks Alteknacker. I have got a merry list of munros that I want to do in winter and i think these will feature.. They are cracking hills. When I was going up the first one, I was thinking of your efforts over these hills. :)
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Borderhugh
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Re: Captain Slow and the hidden gems of Etive

Postby Borderhugh » Wed Jun 15, 2016 11:57 pm

simon-b wrote:Interesting approach to these 2, Hugh. No longer Captain Slow if you're taking on Steven Fallon routes.


Cheers Simon
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Borderhugh
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Re: Captain Slow and the hidden gems of Etive

Postby Borderhugh » Wed Jun 15, 2016 11:59 pm

rockhopper wrote:Good result - looks like there's been quite a bit of tree felling down there. Think I'd be very happy if I could get anywhere near your time for this walk - certainly not slow - cheers :)


Cheers Rockhopper. Its not always about the times. Its making sure you enjoy it and feel alive. :clap:
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Borderhugh
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Location: Stirling :)

Re: Captain Slow and the hidden gems of Etive

Postby Borderhugh » Thu Jun 16, 2016 12:01 am

old danensian wrote:Don't worry Hugh - you'll reach "hill-fit" in no time and be chasing Martin.

All that forestry work climbing out of Glen Etive has really changed the feel of the approach - the prospects ahead are always there - challenging you - rather than bursting into view after a forestry track trudge

I'm one of those wusses who did the pair in two outings - in the spring a few years ago - but hey, that's what June days are for.

OD


No shame in doing them separately Nigel. That will most likely be the course next time as I start on the Corbetts.
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Re: Captain Slow and the hidden gems of Etive

Postby Borderhugh » Thu Jun 16, 2016 12:02 am

dogplodder wrote:That wouldn't class as slow in my book. 8)


Cheers Dogplodder :D
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Borderhugh
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Location: Stirling :)

Re: Captain Slow and the hidden gems of Etive

Postby Borderhugh » Thu Jun 16, 2016 12:03 am

Petr Dakota wrote:Great report, route and effort too !!! :clap:
Well done Hugh ! :thumbup:


Thank you Petr! I can't get anywhere near your wonderful reports!
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Location: Stirling :)

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