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It's always sunny in Etive!

It's always sunny in Etive!


Postby Jaxter » Wed Mar 29, 2017 6:11 pm

Route description: Stob Coir'an Albannaich and Meall nan Eun

Munros included on this walk: Ben Starav, Glas Bheinn Mhor, Meall nan Eun, Stob Coir an Albannaich

Corbetts included on this walk: Beinn an Lochain

Date walked: 25/03/2017

Time taken: 10.5 hours

Distance: 24 km

Ascent: 2000m

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This report was compiled with the aid of a thesaurus as I ran out of words to mean awesome :lol:

The forecast was fabulous for the weekend, and although my Helensburgh orchestra had their spring concert on Saturday morning, I was still determined to use the day. That being said, turning off the A82 to Helensburgh in the morrning was almost impossible with the views I had :lol: After treating the good people of Helensburgh to a mixture of Verdi, Butterworth and Sibelius, I had a well-earned cup of tea and a cake before heading for Arrochar.

The Cobbler looking inviting
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Everything looked breathtaking and I resisted the urge to stop every couple of minutes for a photo. Arriving at the layby just past Loch Respin there was just space for me to squeeze on the end and I managed to change out of concert dress into appropriate mountain attire without exposing myself too badly, like the classy bird I am :lol:

Beinn an Lochain - Saturday 25th March
6.3km
673m ascent
3 hours 30 mins


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



Hopping elegantly... :roll: across the burn, I squelched my way gradually upwards towards a large boulder where the steep climb onto the ridge began, fortunately less wet.

Loch Respin
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There was a clear path winding around, between and up the rocky ridge of the mountain. I'm always amazed at how properly rocky the Arrochar hills are. A few awkward moments but nothing difficult as I made my way along the ridge.

The views were tremendous and I had to keep stopping to snap away. Soon I was into the snow, although it wasn't troubling in any way. I met a guy on his way down and stopped for a chat. A good 15 minutes later at least we were overtaken my someone else heading up and some time after that I parted ways with my new pal with a warning about the dodgy bit. "You'll know it when you see it" he said :shock:

I passed another guy heading down who also warned me about the dodgy bit. I could see a big cliff ahead, but there was nothing troubling as the path wound its way up.

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Precariously balanced rock :shock:
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At the top of a steep snowy slope, I caught up with Speedy from earlier and a couple of others. After exchanging the customary "how amazing is this weather" noises, I asked when the dodgy bit was coming up. "You just came up it" they said... :lol:

The ridge was fantastic fun, nothing scary, but the path went close enough to the edge and narrowed enough to be interesting. Arriving at the top, the views were astonishing in all directions.

Second summit, Beinn an-t Seilach and Inverary
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Cruachan, wind farms and Nevis
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The Cobbler, Beinn Ime and Beinn Narnain
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Loch Fyne and Mull in the distance
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Out to sea
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I stood and chatted to Speedy and after a while we were joined by another guy from the other direction. We admired the views for a while before the other two eventually headed off and I wandered across to the second summit. Not sure which was actually higher.

The Paps of Jura just visible
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The usual…
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Towards Beinn Donich and the Rest and be Thankful
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Nevis, zoomed
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Last view of Cruachan (for today)
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Cobbler, Narnain and Vorlich?
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Beinn Donich along with last week’s claggy conquests, The Brack and Cnoc Coinnich
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After drinking in the views one last time, I figured I should head down and find somewhere to camp. I met two people on their way up who had avoided the dodgy bit by contouring around the mountain. We chatted for a while before going our separate ways. I would cover twice the distance if I didn't talk so much :lol:

The dodgy bit was a bit more hairy on the way down but made it safely down and the rest of the ridge would have been easy enough if I hadn't kept being distracted by views.

Fun with shadows
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Days like this feel so much better after weeks of poor weather!! Clearly my sun dance did the trick.... 8) 8)



Back at the car, everything was stowed and I tucked into a can of sweet fuzzy orange Scottish nectar as I negotiated the roads back through Arrochar and towards Rannoch Mor. A few photo stops...

Loch Long
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Luss Grahams above Loch Long
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Loch Tulla
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Before finding a camp spot next to Loch Ba beneath the Black Mount hills
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Orchy reflections
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I had some fun with twilight and night mode on the camera as I cooked myself up some chow. Cake and a hot chocolate followed (nae guilt on hill days!) before getting out maps and making a plan for the next day.

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Orion and cool headlights with long exposure :D
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Unfortunately I had picked up the wrong sleeping bag in my haste so I put on all my clothes, set an alarm for sunrise and snuggled down, hoping the temperature wouldn't drop tooooo much :shock: At least I'd lose an hour with the clocks going back (never said that before :lol: )

After some fairly broken sleep I was roused by my alarm at 6.30. Bravely poking my head out the tent door I was greeted by a wonderful light show and the beginnings of an absolutely mind-blowingly marvellous sunrise. Worth every second of the chilly night I had just survived!

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In between photos I brewed myself a very welcome cup of tea, tidied up my things and tried (unsuccessfully) to knock the frost off the tent. It was a phenomenal start to the morning.

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I crunched my way back to the car (the bog was frozen :thumbup: ), packed my rucksack for the day ahead and headed down the road…

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…with a brief stop at the Glencoe ski centre for an ACTUAL TOILET :lol:

And a photo stop
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Early morning Bookle
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Turning down Glen Etive, I was struck again by how beautiful it is, but also sad at how popular it had become for camping. I've always had a dream of camping down there but it seems so populated now. Fair enough I guess, it's a lovely location. Will have to find a sneaky wee midweek night to get it all to myself :lol:

I could see majestic Starav ahead as I reached the parking area and found somewhere to stow Blondie. There were a fair few people milling around and no doubt more already on the hill. I turned on my new toy again and headed off down the track, with a very heavy pack!

Meall nan Eun, Stob Coir' an Albannaich, Glas Bheinn Mhor, Ben Starav
Sunday 27th March
24km
2000m ascent
10 hours 40 mins


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



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Across the bridge, I turned left and headed along the valley, the usual return route. However, I was going “backwards” – I was having one of those weird thoughts you have on your own in the hills - a Backwards Starav either sounds like a Yoga pose or something out the Karma Sutra :lol:

An impressive gash
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Glen Ceitlein
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Looking back to splendid Starav and imposing Trilleachan
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As I came out of the shade it suddenly began to get warmer and as I turned headed up Glen Ceitlein I had to shed layers and was beginning to regret not packing my shorts :shock:

The path was good initially before becoming progressively more boggy and indistinct. Drinking from burns as I crossed them and filling up bottles as I went as water was going to be scarce once on the ridge. Continuing up, I eventually was hussock-hopping and was into the snow (and mercifully the shade) as I climbed into Coire Riabhach.

Looking back towards Beinn Fionnlaidh and Sgorr na-h Ulaidh
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This walk is particularly awkward as it is on 2 different maps and Meall nan Eun is on the corner of both and also two sides of the same one :lol: I'm not sure that's an excuse, but my next move wasn't as it turned out, exactly textbook :crazy: I took a bearing and headed up a steep craggy slope. So far so good...

The route description said to pick a way through these crags, which implied there was a way through. Now, had the rocks been dry and had I not been alone I'm sure it would have been possible. But I could go no further, not without taking silly chances that I might not be able to reverse....I had a bad feeling about this….it was time to abort!! :shock: Sliding my way down a few moves I was able to traverse around the base of some crags and find an easier way up! I could see a group of 5 people a way behind me and hoped they wouldn't follow my route :lol:

A sigh of relief, it was an easy walk to the summit of Meall nan Eun. Not a remarkable mountain in many ways, but on a day like this is was a staggering viewpoint. It was also suncream time :lol:

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Stob Coir' an Albannaich, the hill of the Scotsman, looked imposing ahead.
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Towards Cruachan and Beinn nan Aighenan
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Jaxter in da house
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Stob Coir’ an Albannaich
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I scoped out my route ahead, locating the correct rake, and off I went. Over the top of Meall Tarsuinn, I headed down towards my rake. I could see footprints heading up both but decided to stick with the instructions. Who knows what terrible thing would befall me in the wrong one, that they were warning me about :shock:

I had checked that there wasn't a problematic cornice at the top, but as I stood at the bottom of what was effectively a gully, I suddenly thought I ought to be assessing avalanche risk...racking my brains for any info I could remember, I pulled out "if the rocks are sticking out then it can't avalanche" :thumbup: confident again, I headed up.

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It was steep but probably much easier in the snow. Climbing out the top, the views opened out again and turning right up the steep ridge, I plodded my way up the steep final ascent to the summit. I met a couple of people just below the top, my first human interaction of the day. After a brief chat I continued to the summit. Just wow....

An impressive cornice and Bidean on the right
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It was only lunchtime and a glorious day so I looked ahead to to Glas Bheinn Mhor longingly.... I had the daylight and the weather. Would I have the legs?!
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Summit
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Orchy hills, and Lui on right
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Nevis still clear
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Glas Bheinn Mhor, Beinn nan Aighenan and Cruachan in the distance
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Heading off, the views along the ridge were awe-inspiring
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Heading down, the descent to the bealach was tough. Very steep and uneven ground. I vaguely remembered seeing a path when I'd been here before but it only materialised just before the bottom. At the bealach I was now on familiar ground. My objective was done and anything more was just for fun :lol:

I found a wee dribble of water to top up my dwindling supply and started up the initially formidable rocky ridge of Glas Bheinn Mhor. Although there was a good path here, a lot of it was clogged with snow and required scrambly diversions or digging in the toes and clambering up steep snowy slopes. I was having a great time!

Once up the steep bit with the aid of a few sips of Irn Bru, it was an initially easy stroll then steeper climb to the unexpectedly spacious summit.

Back to Stob Coir’ an Albannaich, less impressive from this side
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Stunning Starav
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Cruachan
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Jaxter on the summit
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I had a brief chat with a guy just leaving and turned on my phone to wish my Mum a happy Mother's Day. They were in the middle of cooking a roast dinner :lol: and I found myself contemplating Starav too :shock: "If you could see what I could see right now you wouldn't want to go down either!" I replied to their requests to be sensible :lol:

Again I could assess the leg and knee situation at the bealach so I continued down the ridge, over the wee lump of Meall nam Tri Tighearnan and arrived at the bealach where I chatted to a couple of guys who had just come down from Starav.

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Now, I know as well as you do that the only thing that would stop be going up Starav would be my knee. Fortunately I'd had no such problems up until now, so I stuck on my pink slippers and Duracell Bunny headed off up Starav. There was very little snow initially, and as it got narrower and rockier it was generally avoidable. Just before the narrow bit I stopped for a wee sugar hit for my tired brain more than my legs :lol: before scrambling along the top of the narrow rocky ridge which turned out to be much easier and safer than the snowy bypass path.

The final scramble onto the south top was a wee bit dicey as it was narrow, exposed and snowy. You would fall a long way if you got it wrong!! Fortunately hand holds were plentiful and I made it to the top unscathed and exhilarated. It was an easy stroll to the summit where the views were just astonishing.

Out to Mull
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Loch Etive and Beinn Cruachan
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Cruachan zoomed
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Jura
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I sat down and got out my sandwiches and just enjoyed the views for a while. Daylight wasn't an issue, I couldn't care less about getting home late and I just wanted to savour the moment. Solitude and spectacular views.

Mull again
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Spoiling a view :lol:
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My route so far…
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Not sure what these hills are?
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Terrific Trilleachan
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Eventually it was time to get going; I remembered it being a slog on the way up last time, and despite the views, it was nothing short of torture this time round! The sections in the shade had a fair amount of snow on them which made it easier in a lot of ways but much care was required as a slip in some places would have been seriously bad, probably fatal :shock:

Always time for a bit of fun
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Looking back up :shock:
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A bird.
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Evening light towards Mull
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Glen Etive, my lucky glen
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Slowly but surely I made my way down, enjoying the views and that tired but amazing feeling after a good long day in the hills.

Sun dipping below Trilleachan
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Intense river
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Back at the river, it was an easy walk across the field (boggy), round the house (a mud bath) and along the track, across the bridge and back to the car.

Quite a skyline
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It was a relief to be back in one piece after what was definitely the biggest day in terms of ascent since last June. Knees intact, I was sorting gear as a few more people arrived back to cars. Heading off up the road I could see this starting to happen…
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I made it to The Bookle in time for a superb sunset.
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Home at 10.30, it was a very tired Jaxter that dragged herself through the world’s longest day on Monday. Scottish Summer may have been and gone now, but 100% worth it :D :D
Last edited by Jaxter on Sat Apr 01, 2017 9:42 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: It's always sunny in Etive!

Postby KeithS » Wed Mar 29, 2017 6:40 pm

Two reports for the price of one :lol:

Another great Jaxter adventure. I do think that one day you could take your cello with you for some great summit pictures. After all, someone did take a piano to the top of Ben Nevis.

Great pictures of a great couple of days

Well done

Keith

Thanks for explaining that it was a bird. I would never have worked that out :lol: :lol:
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Re: It's always sunny in Etive!

Postby Coop » Wed Mar 29, 2017 6:42 pm

That read like a seriously long tiring exhausting and taxing day made up for by the fantastic views you had from sun up to sundown.

Well in.
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Re: It's always sunny in Etive!

Postby Andymac75 » Wed Mar 29, 2017 6:49 pm

Looks like you had pretty much an 'EPIC ' weekend. :clap:

Lovely panoramic photos of a Scotland, that looks such a small place on beautiful clear days like those.

I watched a Sea Eagle on Sunday and wondered just how spectacular his/her views were.

2 great days to be in the hills.

But deceptively hot :-P .i was overdressed ,and cooked , half way up Mull

Was blowing a hole out of my ar*e ,and wheezing and panting like an overweight Black Lab .

You had a very memorable trip :thumbup:
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Re: It's always sunny in Etive!

Postby rockhopper » Wed Mar 29, 2017 9:21 pm

Cracking trip and a great time of year to visit Glen Etive - so much better before the midges arrive - cheers :)
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Re: It's always sunny in Etive!

Postby litljortindan » Wed Mar 29, 2017 9:33 pm

Great Stuff. Wish I could still manage this sort of thing.

Not sure what these hills are? = Rum Cuillin
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Re: It's always sunny in Etive!

Postby Mal Grey » Wed Mar 29, 2017 9:44 pm

Wow, wow, wow, stonking photos and what conditions you had.

Getting a bit jealous of so many trips now! :lol: :D
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Re: It's always sunny in Etive!

Postby jupe1407 » Wed Mar 29, 2017 11:18 pm

Brilliant report and photos, especially your sunrise ones at Rannoch Moor and that sunset. Glorious.

Also, it's not always sunny in Etive, for me :lol: :lol:
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Re: It's always sunny in Etive!

Postby rockhopper » Wed Mar 29, 2017 11:30 pm

litljortindan wrote:Not sure what these hills are? = Rum Cuillin

Link here: Generate a panorama

Pano.jpg
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Re: It's always sunny in Etive!

Postby brpro26 » Wed Mar 29, 2017 11:55 pm

Great read for a nightshift....you'll wait a long time to better that weekend. Outstanding(on one leg) achievement.

I think the picture of the Impressive Gash is in fact covered in the Karma Sutra...but don't quote me on it. :shock:
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Re: It's always sunny in Etive!

Postby JEfoundmybootsagain » Thu Mar 30, 2017 12:04 am

What a day you got for a long hard trip. Absolutely stunning photos and amazing colours. Worthy of any Colin Prior book. Well jel. :mrgreen:
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Re: It's always sunny in Etive!

Postby Jaxter » Thu Mar 30, 2017 7:37 am

KeithS wrote:I do think that one day you could take your cello with you for some great summit pictures. After all, someone did take a piano to the top of Ben Nevis.

Thanks for explaining that it was a bird. I would never have worked that out :lol: :lol:

Yes, and an anvil up goat fell...I'll have to see what I can do :lol:



Coop wrote:That read like a seriously long tiring exhausting and taxing day made up for by the fantastic views you had from sun up to sundown.

Well in.

Thanks :D Funnily enough i was more mentally tired than physically. And I drank about my weight in water when I got home :lol: fitness may be coming back at last :D



Andymac75 wrote:I watched a Sea Eagle on Sunday and wondered just how spectacular his/her views were.

But deceptively hot :-P .i was overdressed ,and cooked , half way up Mull

What a day to have had a drone!! :D
You on mull? Never.. :wink: :lol:



rockhopper wrote:Cracking trip and a great time of year to visit Glen Etive - so much better before the midges arrive - cheers :)

:lol: definitely. This time of year is awesome for that - days are getting longer but nae beasties :D
Thanks for the link - very useful for days like this when you can actually see :wink:



litljortindan wrote:Great Stuff. Wish I could still manage this sort of thing.

Not sure what these hills are? = Rum Cuillin

Ooooh I've plans to go to Rum already. They look fantastic - thanks! :D



Mal Grey wrote:Wow, wow, wow, stonking photos and what conditions you had.

Getting a bit jealous of so many trips now! :lol: :D

You had your turn the other week 8) :wink:



jupe1407 wrote:Brilliant report and photos, especially your sunrise ones at Rannoch Moor and that sunset. Glorious.

Also, it's not always sunny in Etive, for me :lol: :lol:

Thanks JP :D I think I've lucked out in a Etive so far. 2 trips and 2 scorchers! Must be due a storm soon :roll: :shock:



brpro26 wrote:Great read for a nightshift....you'll wait a long time to better that weekend. Outstanding(on one leg) achievement.

I think the picture of the Impressive Gash is in fact covered in the Karma Sutra...but don't quote me on it. :shock:

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
Just snorted with laughter on a rush hour train. Thanks for that :lol: :lol:



JEfoundmybootsagain wrote:What a day you got for a long hard trip. Absolutely stunning photos and amazing colours. Worthy of any Colin Prior book. Well jel. :mrgreen:

Thanks :D I just couldn't bring myself to leave, a perfect day :D
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Re: It's always sunny in Etive!

Postby malky_c » Mon Apr 03, 2017 8:39 pm

Awsome :D :lol: .

That all looks brilliant. Beinn an Lochain, camping, Glen Etive. Must go up Ben Starav again.
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Re: It's always sunny in Etive!

Postby roscoT » Tue Apr 04, 2017 1:20 pm

Brilliant reports, Jaxter! :clap:

Sunset photos are unreal - and what a day in Etive, bet you slept well that night!
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Re: It's always sunny in Etive!

Postby Jaxter » Wed Apr 05, 2017 9:35 am

malky_c wrote:Awsome :D :lol: .

That all looks brilliant. Beinn an Lochain, camping, Glen Etive. Must go up Ben Starav again.

Thanks Malky - Starav is an awesome hill :D But that slog up or down the shoulder...ughh.... :crazy: :crazy:



roscoT wrote:Brilliant reports, Jaxter! :clap:

Sunset photos are unreal - and what a day in Etive, bet you slept well that night!

Thanks man, yeah like a log :lol: :lol:
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