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Three Steps to Heaven

Three Steps to Heaven


Postby HalfManHalfTitanium » Tue Oct 10, 2017 3:16 pm

Route description: Buachaille Etive Beag

Munros included on this walk: Stob Coire Raineach (Buachaille Etive Beag), Stob Dubh (Buachaille Etive Beag)

Date walked: 06/10/2017

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The sun was coming up behind the hills as I drove through Onich towards Glencoe.

ImageIMG_7132 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Close up of the dawn light on Aonach Dubh and Stob Coire nan Lochan.

ImageIMG_7135 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

The early light had a magical quality. I decided to take a few minutes to look around a lovely little area - the Glen Etive road bridge over the River Coupall. Sron na Creise loomed beyond the trees.

ImageIMG_7136 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Stob Dearg above the river

ImageIMG_7137 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Looking down from the bridge

ImageIMG_7141 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Autumn fungus among the trees

ImageIMG_7124 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Stob Dearg from the nearby moorland. It was nice to be able to pick out the line of Curved Ridge, one of my all-time favourite scrambles - just left of narrow, left-hand shadowed gully below the peak. (Easier to spot if you click the maginfying glass thing on the Flickr image).

ImageIMG_7142 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

My walk started from the car park opposite the "Beehive Cairn".

ImageIMG_7256 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

I found that the ascent of Stob Dubh from the Beehive falls into three very distinct stages. The first part of the route is along the good path leading to the Lairig Eilde. From this path I had great views of Stob Coire Sgreamhach.

ImageIMG_7149 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

There is a clear fork in the path, and the second stage of the walk leads off to the left to climb steep slopes. Thanks to a superbly-constructed path, I found this easy.

I had been worried about doing this walk after a lot of knee pain on Helvellyn a few days earlier. In fact, I found this ascent much less painful than the more gradual ascent from Glenridding to Red Tarn.

Surprisingly soon, I found myself at the end of the second stage of the ascent. The path levelled out and I was looking across the dip of Mam Bhuidhe. I think Mam Bhuidhe means Yellow Pass, which seemed appropriate to the rich golden colour of this grassy saddle. In the background are Stob Dearg and Stob na Doire.

ImageIMG_7154 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

I was wondering whether to turn left for Stob Coire Raineach first, or right for Stob Dubh. The day had that "glassy" look that you get in autumn, which to me means that the weather is about to go downhill.

The map suggested that Stob Dubh would have the better views, so I turned right and went for that one first, to enjoy the views in the sunshine while I could.

This third stage of the walk to Stob Dubh was pure heaven. I followed the path easily up to the 902m bulge on the ridge, which has its own little cairn. From here there was a view forward to Stob Dubh and the Bidean nam Bian massif.

ImageIMG_7176 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

In fact the 902m cairn itself had wonderful views in every direction - this is looking back to Stob Coire Raineach and across the valley of the River Coupall. The flat top of Ben Alder is in the centre horizon.

ImageIMG_7184 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

To the south-east, the first few wisps of cloud of the morning were billowing up around Stob Ghabhar.

ImageIMG_7181 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Ahead of me was the enticing path along the ridge towards Stob Dubh.

ImageIMG_7174 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Another distant peak came into view. I think this is Ben Lui.

ImageIMG_7192 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

About half-way along the ridge - this is the view forwards.

ImageIMG_7187 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

And the view back...

ImageIMG_7194 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

More distant 'blue remembered hills' - An Stac and Ben Lawers in the dip below Stob na Doire.

ImageIMG_7246 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

A little further on, I got my first tantalising glimpse of Ben Starav and Loch Etive.

ImageIMG_7196 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

The view north from the final ascent to the summit cairn.

ImageIMG_7199 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

The mossy summit cairn came into sight.

ImageIMG_7202 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

From the cairn I had a sensational view of the "massive massif" of Bidean nam Bian.

ImageIMG_7207 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

This was an equally interesting view though - the remote and rarely-seen valleys to the west of Stob Ghabhar, with their regular slabs of rock catching the sunlight. The ridge at the front is part of Stob na Broige.

ImageIMG_7209 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Buachailles Little and Large from the cairn.

ImageIMG_7205 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Beinn Fhionnlaidh, Sgurr na h-Ulaidh and Stob an Fhuarain

ImageIMG_7226 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Glen Etive

ImageIMG_7213 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

More faraway hills - Ben More and Stob Binnean

ImageIMG_7218 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

The view north from the cairn. From left to right the most prominent points on the skyline are Aonach Mor, Aonach Beag, the two summits of Na Gruagaichean, Binnean Mor, the Grey Corries with Stob Coire Cluagrigh above Sgurr Eilde Mor, the twin "Easains", Chno Dearg, Beinn a'Chlachair, the Geal Charn group and Ben Alder.

ImageIMG_7211 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

A wider view of the Glen Etive / Appin hills.

ImageIMG_7208 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Clouds floating past Stob na Broige and the Blackmount.

ImageIMG_7227 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

And more shreds around Bidean and Stob Coire nan Lochan.

ImageIMG_7238 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

The clouds blew past...

ImageIMG_7243 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

The sunshine now felt positively warm. I walked over to the other cairn, then went on a bit further along the ridge to some nice seat-like boulders. From here, the view into Glen Etive was even better. I sat here looking at this view for at least half an hour in total tranquillity.

ImageIMG_7236 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Eventually I set off for Stob Coire Raineach. The ridge was just as enjoyable in the opposite direction, but as I started up Raineach, the long-expected cloud cover started rolling in over Bidean.

ImageIMG_7248 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

The more gloomy weather suited the views from Raineach. This is looking down into the depths of Glencoe.

ImageIMG_7254 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Across Rannoch Moor, with Ben Alder and Schiehallion on the horizon

ImageIMG_7252 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

As I set off down towards the Mam Bhuidhe bealach again, the cloud was building and the air turning chill. I felt very lucky to have seen such views in all directions, in the limpid autumn air. A brilliant route on a brilliant hill - and no knee pain at the end of it!

ImageIMG_7251 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr
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HalfManHalfTitanium
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Re: Three Steps to Heaven

Postby Malkie » Tue Oct 10, 2017 6:24 pm

Really stunning photos it makes me wish i was there.
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Re: Three Steps to Heaven

Postby Mal Grey » Tue Oct 10, 2017 10:56 pm

Wonderful images!
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Re: Three Steps to Heaven

Postby HalfManHalfTitanium » Wed Oct 11, 2017 8:12 pm

Thanks Malkie and Mal Grey!

(Difficult to get bad photos, with views and weather like that!)

cheers

TIm
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HalfManHalfTitanium
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Re: Three Steps to Heaven

Postby Alteknacker » Mon Nov 27, 2017 3:26 pm

As other have already commented: absolutely fabulous pics :clap: :clap: :clap:
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Re: Three Steps to Heaven

Postby litljortindan » Mon Nov 27, 2017 11:07 pm

Cracking photo of those Stob Gabhar glens, not seen that before I don't think. Good that your knee problem stayed at home too. Had Showaddywaddy and Eddie Cochrane in my head when reading this!
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Re: Three Steps to Heaven

Postby HalfManHalfTitanium » Tue Nov 28, 2017 2:28 pm

Thanks litljortindan! Yes - seeing this different perspective on Stob Gharbar was a surprise to me too.

Afterwards, I was interested to spot this report by past my sell by date, at https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=47001 with some nice photos of going up this less-known side of Stob G.

Tim
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