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Perfect Scrambly Weekender in Glencoe

Perfect Scrambly Weekender in Glencoe

Postby weaselmaster » Mon May 08, 2017 12:25 pm

Munros included on this walk: Creise, Meall a'Bhuiridh, Sgorr Dhearg (Beinn a' Bheithir), Sgorr Dhonuill (Beinn a' Bheithir), Stob Dearg (Buachaille Etive Mor), Stob na Broige (Buachaille Etive Mor)

Date walked: 07/05/2017

Time taken: 22.25 hours

Distance: 43.8 km

Ascent: 4542m

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As regular readers will be aware, my "head for heights" has not been great in recent times, perhaps on account of lack of scrambling practice as we've been almost exclusively doing Grahams in the last year or so. An invite to Bod & Val/Brian & Sue's weekend "do" in Glencoe coupled with Sick Kid's new found enthusiasm for Munro Tops lent itself well to getting a bit more "rock action" under my belt. We'd enlisted the offer of company/assistance on the Saturday from Scoob and Fi to tackle Curved Ridge and thought Sron na Creise would be a good warm up for that the day before. A fine weather forecast was very welcome :D

Drove up on Thursday after work and camped behind Kingshouse. Not overly busy - we did help out a lady who had arrived for a camping weekend without tentpegs, which would have been a challenge in the stiff wind blasting from the north-east. Fortunately I had 8 spare with me which sorted her out. We enjoyed the a walk along to the bridge to have a look up at Buachaille Etive Mor and the Sron of Creise - Curved Ridge did look somewhat steep from down here.

ImageP1150524 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1150527 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1150529 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1150533 by Al, on Flickr

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

Up reasonably early and packed the tent away. We'd decided just to leave the car where it was and make a crowline over the heather for the western end of the Sron. Normally this would be a bogtrot, but the very dry April allowed us to get across with dry feet - always a bonus. We reached the end of the shoulder coming down from meall a'Bhuiridh, crossed the stream and set our sights on a grassy area on the Sron. After reaching this we had a wide choice of routes up, with the terrain becoming rockier as we gained height. I'd read some reports which suggested there were as many options up the Sron as you wished, and we picked a moderately interesting line. There's sometimes a path and as you get higher the options diminish - just before the top there's a craggy block which we turned on our left. Summit of the Sron reached, an enjoyable wee morning.

Creise in the morning sun
ImageP1150535 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1150536 by Al, on Flickr

Tomorrow's target
ImageP1150537 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1150541 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1150543 by Al, on Flickr

View back to Kingshouse
ImageP1150545 by Al, on Flickr

The Bookil and The Ben
ImageP1150547 by Al, on Flickr

Final rocky section before summit of the Sron
ImageP1150548 by Al, on Flickr

We continued on to the Munro Top of Stob a'Ghlais Choire and stopped for lunch out of the wind. Down in Glen Etive we watched a puff of smoke appear, which spread frighteningly quickly to be a sizable wildfire - fortunately it seemed to be stopped in its progress by a bend in the river. With the vegetation being tinder dry at present there will be many such fires, as we were to encounter on the Sunday. Pressing on for Creise, there was still a lip of snow topping Glas Choire. We skipped along to Creise then onwards to her second Top of the day, Clach Leathad which offered fine views down to the River Ba and where I've been camped last weekend. from here we tracked back to the joining ridge with Meall a'Bhuiridh, meeting a couple of guys at the summit, then down the shoulder of Creag Dhubh to join our outward path. A glorious day.

Looking along to Meall a'Bhuiridh
ImageP1150551 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1150552 by Al, on Flickr

(Small) fire in Etive
ImageP1150556 by Al, on Flickr

Stob a'Ghlaise Choire
ImageP1150558 by Al, on Flickr

Meall a'Bhuiridh
ImageP1150560 by Al, on Flickr

Clach Leathad
ImageP1150561 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1150564 by Al, on Flickr

Coming down Creag Dhubh
ImageP1150568 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1150569 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1150570 by Al, on Flickr

We drove up to the Squirrel where Bod and val had set up a carpet and birthday balloons, awaiting the arrival of their tent with Brian & Sue. A beer in the sun, dinner and a brief evening in the Clachaig with various friends - we left early as neigher of us wanted to be doing Curved Ridge under the weather. I was moderately anxious about what was in store, whilst Allison and Scoob were insisting I'd be fine.

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

Another fine morning. Bod et al were planning a walk up the coire to Stob Dearg starting at 10.30. We'd decided we'd meet at Altnafeadh at 9 as parking was likely to be an issue (it was at 9, with all the top spaces already taken, so I don't know where the larger party got parked later on). We set off along the track, taking the left hand split in the path. There were a number of other folk heading the same way including a group of 4 young lads in shorts. And a collie dog. More of that later.

ImageP1150573 by Al, on Flickr

Great Gully
ImageP1150574 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1150575 by Al, on Flickr

Hat time
ImageP1150577 by Al, on Flickr

Feeling a little apprehensive, we stopped just beyond the water slab and put hats on - tales in the bar the night before of various WH folk getting rocks coming down on them made that seem sensible. We could make out most of our route keeping to the left of Crowberry ridge, with several groups already ahead of us. The Collie dog - to our surprise - continued to climb along with us. I wondered if it was lost - it did look very thin - but it belonged to a guy in a group of three behind us. He'd apparently done Curved Ridge years ago and seemed to think the dog would manage it or wait for him. We continued up, with bursts of scrambly bits - good hand holds made these enjoyable. We reached a steep section with a gully down to the right - the dog group had cut ahead of us, but it was clear the dog - now looking terrified - would be going no further. We ended up having to stay put on a steep section for 5 minutes or so, whilst the owner managed to drop down to our right and set up a belay to abseil the dog down. Pure bloody stupidity in my opinion and inconsiderate to other walkers - it would have been easy to start freaking whilst held up on the steep section - I had been very careful not to look down and just cuddle the rock.

It's up there!
ImageP1150578 by Al, on Flickr

Scoob & K9
ImageP1150579 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1150580 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1150581 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1150582 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1150583 by Al, on Flickr

Couple of climbers on Central Buttress
ImageP1150584 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1150585 by Al, on Flickr

With no canine obstructions, our progress was more straightforward. The scrambling was fairly sustained with the occasional more challenging bit, but again good holds were evident. We reached the "crux" which is an open chimney type feature that fortunately slopes in which makes ascending it easier. Again good holds on the right. Nothing much of note after that section - Allison and the Scoobs had decided they were going up Crowberry Tower. I felt no inclination to do this, having satisfied myself with Curved Ridge itself. I continued on up to the summit of Stob Dearg, stopping to take pictures of the intrepid threesome as they stood on the Crowberry platform along with the shorts boys. Enjoyed my piece at the summit, feeding some to the rather portly raven that goes round all the summit-lunchers. A couple we'd been talking to gave him a large piece of pear, which he promptly flew off with and devoured.

A group ahead at "the crux"
ImageP1150586 by Al, on Flickr

Weird clouds over Beinn a'Chruilaste
ImageP1150587 by Al, on Flickr

Scoob going up the Crux
ImageP1150588 by Al, on Flickr

Not long now - Crowberry Tower to Right
ImageP1150589 by Al, on Flickr

Crowberry Tower
ImageP1150591 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1150592 by Al, on Flickr

The "shorty" boys
ImageP1150593 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1150596 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1150598 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1150601 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1150602 by Al, on Flickr

We intended to continue over to Stob na Broige (useful for second round numbers) and took a gentle amble across. Peering down into Coire na Tulaich we could see what might have been the Bod party wending their way up far below. We continued on over the impressive Stob na Doire with some grand views down Glen Etive. What a marvelous day out. We were talking to the couple we'd spoken to at the top of Stob Dearg - they were relatively new to hillwalking and had been advised to do Curved Ridge as preparation for the Aonach Eagach. They were surprised to be told that Curved Ridge was significantly more challenging than the Aonach or indeed most of the standard routes up the Skye Munros. Well done them :D I'd finished my water on the second Munro summit and had to wait til we were quite a way down Coire Altruim before i could get a top up as everywhere was so dry.

Stob na Doire
ImageP1150603 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1150606 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1150610 by Al, on Flickr

Towards Glen Etive
ImageP1150611 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1150615 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1150616 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1150618 by Al, on Flickr

Lindy & Mark
ImageP1150619 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1150622 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1150625 by Al, on Flickr

Back at the campsite we spoke to various other folk - Seana & Dougie had been up a route on North Buttress, Bod and Val had enjoyed their day out. Great to be able to sit out in the warm sun with no midges. We had a few drinks in the company of whisky buff Geo Addison before heading to the Clachaig which was jumping, it being Saturday Music Night. We sat outside and ended up in the lounge bar which was virtually empty rather than the mobbed Boots bar. Jogged back to the tent at midnight along a moonlit track.

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

We'd swithered what we'd do on the Sunday - I was quite keen to go up Beinn a'Bheither which had been shrouded in clag last time we were up, even though this gave Allison no new Munro Tops. Scoob & Fi were after Sgorr Dhonuill and kindly agreed to come along with us - we decided to head up Schoolhouse Ridge, which Bod had suggested was a nice wee route up. parked at the visitor centre and walked along past the school. We could see another larger group ahead with 3 Collie - however this hill seemed much more suitable for dogs than Curved Ridge :wink: The scramble was enjoyable although over far too soon. The day was roasting, although a chill wind was coming still from the northeast. We paused in a dip before the summit of Sgorr Dearg to have lunch and were horrified to see huge plumes of smoke coming from Glen Etive. This totally dwarfed the blaze we'd seen on the Friday, with plumes of smoke rising to the north of Sgurr na h-Ulaidh and the whole glen south of that full of smoke haze. Would have been a terrible day to be up in the hills caught in the smoke.

Schoolhouse Ridge
ImageP1150629 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1150631 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1150632 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1150634 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1150636 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1150637 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1150638 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1150641 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1150643 by Al, on Flickr

Sgorr na Choise in backdrop
ImageP1150645 by Al, on Flickr

Fire in Etive
ImageP1150647 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1150648 by Al, on Flickr

Sgorr Dhonuill from Dearg
ImageP1150651 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1150655 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1150656 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1150654 by Al, on Flickr

We continued over the summit of Sgorr Dearg and down to the bealach, then up the rocky coire edge to Sgorr Dhonuill. Scoob had shown some interest in the north ridge, to the east of Coire Sgreamhaich, but it looked a bit steep coming off the north end and we decided it would be better ascended than descended. We returned the usual way down into the coire to the forestry plantation and along the forest track to the road. My legs and arms were somewhat nipping with sunburn by the time we got back to the car - still roasting at 5.30. Decided it would be better to have something to eat now than take a chance on getting home at a reasonable hour with the hordes heading back down Loch Lomond, so we nipped into the Co-Op and ate our tea on our camping chairs in the car park. Roads weren't too bad by the time we reached tarbet, with only a half hour's delay at Luss.

Mull in backdrop
ImageP1150657 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1150658 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1150659 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1150660 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1150665 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1150666 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1150667 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1150669 by Al, on Flickr

Sgurr na Ciche
ImageP1150670 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1150672 by Al, on Flickr

What an absolutely cracking weekend, which has gone a long way to improving my scrambling confidence again.
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Re: Perfect Scrambly Weekender in Glencoe

Postby Sick Kid » Mon May 08, 2017 8:48 pm

A truly fab weekend! :D :D :D
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Re: Perfect Scrambly Weekender in Glencoe

Postby scoob999 » Mon May 08, 2017 8:56 pm

WOOF WOOF :wink: :lol:

It's funny but your reports seem to be much better when we're in them :lol: and I particularly like the one of me on the crux looking like spider pig and the Scoob on a stick one on Sgorr Dhonuill :lol:

Seriously though, a great weekend all round and great to have your company for the walks 8)
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Re: Perfect Scrambly Weekender in Glencoe

Postby montie » Mon May 08, 2017 8:59 pm

Excellent report and photaes. Looks scary :-0
Need to pop up one of these routes with you guys :-)
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Re: Perfect Scrambly Weekender in Glencoe

Postby Mal Grey » Mon May 08, 2017 10:01 pm

Some wonderful looking scrambling there - still haven't done Curved Ridge. One day!

Thanks for an excellent report, really gave a great idea of how the routes feel.
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Re: Perfect Scrambly Weekender in Glencoe

Postby Alteknacker » Mon May 15, 2017 10:24 pm

Good read, and some great pics - panos 616 & 660 look positively surreal!

And I'm sure you enjoyed the Curved Ridge really :) .

BTW when I did AE, there was a guy coming off it with a couple of small dogs that had managed the entire route :shock: .
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Re: Perfect Scrambly Weekender in Glencoe

Postby Bod » Fri May 19, 2017 11:20 am

Al, Sure was a special and most memorable weekend both on the hill and off. Lovely to see your pictures and what great views!!! Places to never tire of, and oh and thank you so much again for the Whisky :D :D :clap:
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