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The Small Shepherd matches Big Brother

The Small Shepherd matches Big Brother

Postby GeorgiePorgie » Thu Nov 02, 2017 9:21 pm

Route description: Buachaille Etive Beag

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

Date walked: 14/07/2017

Time taken: 5 hours

Distance: 8 km

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Day 3 in Glencoe and I am now beginning to get sore and stiff after the previous two days’ walking of the Munros. One piece of good news though – the weather looked promising after the early mist cleared from the tops. Today’s objective – Buchaille Etive Beag (BEB) with its Munro at either end of the ridge, Stob Coire Raineach and Stob Dubh.
Reading some of the reports on the WH website, I was pleased to see that most of the reports mentioned the approach path to the main ridge as being good having recently been renovated by volunteers from the National Trust for Scotland who own most of land in Glencoe.
So, with a hearty breakfast inside us at the Kingshouse Bunkhouse, we set off on the relatively short drive to the car park at the start of this walk. A large rounded stone cairn on the opposite side of the road is the marker for the correct starting point location. The mist still prolonged on the tops but would clear from time to time to expose the fine ridge of BEB. Although smaller than its brother, Buchaille Etive Mor (BEM), BEB still warranted respect for its fine location which was central to all other hills around her.

The good path near the start

Looking towards the Lairig Eilde from the lower part of the path

The climbing starts up to the ridge (Am Bodach in the background)

Setting off now, the path is certainly a good one having been improved with plenty of water run-off channels across the path. This path was a delight to walk on and height was gained very quickly. I was also quite relieved that it wasn’t a slog up to the ridge as I was feeling pretty tired. As you gain height, the path has a series of large stepping stones which are easy to negotiate and also having the advantage of gaining height to the ridge quickly.

A lovely stream running down the steep ground

Looking down to the Lairig Eilde from the upper reaches of the path

Deer watching us on ascent

Almost there – the ridge ahead

Within an hour we were now on the ridge between the two Munros. What fine views were observed from here; the Lairig Eilde and Gartain and over towards Bidean Nam Bian, Stob Coire Sgreamhach and Stob Coire nam Lochan. We could also look east and see the mighty BEM ridge, a reminder of how tough this walk was two days previously.

On the ridge marked by the small stone cairn

Looking towards our first Munro – Stob Coire Raineach

The climb up to the first Munro

SCR summit cairn. One done - one to go

Looking down to Gearr Aonach from summit of SCR

The hard work was almost over. Only the relatively easy ascent up a well-worn stony path to the summit of Stob Coire Raineach. This proved an easy enough slog and within a short time we reached the stony cairn at 925m/3035ft. Fine views were experienced from here including the Aonach Eagach, the Pass of Glencoe and the sprawling wilderness of Rannoch Moor. At the summit cairn, a framed picture of a young lad with his school tie wrapped around the frame had been placed by friends and relatives of a young life lost, obviously a favourite location for him when he was alive and I must agree. Having great respect for such a young life lost, I’m not a great fan of these memorials as they tend to litter these lonely summits and in this case, the glass had smashed from the picture frame creating a hazard to both humans and wildlife.

The descent to the ridge mid-way point (Stob Dubh in distance)

Stob Dubh our next target

A closer look at SD showing Loch Etive in background

So, after a short period of refreshment, we then set off for BEB’s second Munro at the far end of the ridge. The descent back to where we reached the ridge earlier was easy enough but what we come down always involves an element of ascending. Ahead of us lay the 902m spot height which was a slog in itself with its loose stones on a well eroded path. After this point it was a pleasant walk along the ridge which did significantly narrow as we approached the final descent to Stob Dubh. This was an easy enough task when no snow is present but in winter conditions or poor visibility this would be a tricky section to negotiate. Reaching the summit cairn at 958m/3143ft, we decided to go onto another cairn which afforded great views down into Glen and Loch Etive and beyond. Also great views previously mentioned above made it a great vantage point.

The summit of SD

Going out to the far away cairn to admire the view

Furthest point before drop down to Glen Etive

Looking back along the ridge to SCR

After much picture taking and refreshment, we then headed back the way we had come to the point where we approached the ridge earlier. Stopping here for one final look we then began to descend on the good path back down to the car park and our waiting cars. On the way down we passed many people still making their way up and still a long way to go. Thankfully the time of the year afforded long daylight hours.

The small cairn marking the point at which we descend from the ridge

After the last 3 days of hard walking, we decided we would have an easy day tomorrow (no more Munros) before we headed our separate ways back to our areas of the country where we live. We decided we would tackle the Lost Valley (Coire Gabhail) but that was another day.
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