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Etive on a wet weekend

Etive on a wet weekend


Postby weaselmaster » Sun Oct 21, 2018 9:46 pm

Munros included on this walk: Beinn Fhionnlaidh, Meall Glas, Meall nan Eun, Sgor na h-Ulaidh, Stob Coir an Albannaich

Corbetts included on this walk: Beinn nan Imirean

Date walked: 21/10/2018

Distance: 52.1 km

Ascent: 4185m

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Rain. Lots of it. This weekend's plan was a trip to Glen Etive with a coda in Glen Dochart. Once again the forecast was for rain and wind, frustrating after a pretty reasonable spell during the week. With the nights drawing in we made it up to the northern end of the glen as the light was fading - a reminder that very soon we'll be arriving in the dark, always stressful if you haven't a clear plan where to camp. Anyway, we chose a spot that was clearly popular with the masses during the summer, going by the well-worn path from the layby to a serviceable plot beside the river. Very little traffic passed during the evening, the glen quiet apart from the roar of stags on the hillsides.


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Allison needed Beinn Fionnlaidh for her numbers - I decided we should tag on Sgor na h-Ulaidh and the Simm/Hump of Meall a'Bhuiridh. I don't think she was especially thankful for that idea. We parked at Invercharnan and set off through the (largely cleared) forest. Arriving at the edge of the tree-line we turned up to the right, following an ATV track initially onto Meall a'Bhuiridh. Clag down to around 400m, drizzle in place - yeah. Picked up a very wet monocular someone had left on the cairn. We continued northwest to the bealach (of the robber's stone) and prepared to make our way up Ulaidh. There seemed to be quite a lot of crag bands, and visibility was compromised by clag. However we found a path winding up alongside a line of fence posts - having climbed this mountain now from three different approaches I can confidently say this is the easiest and most pleasant.

Top of Meall a'Bhuiridh
ImageP1200840 by Al, on Flickr

Quartz line points to Ulaidh
ImageP1200841 by Al, on Flickr

Ulaidh
ImageP1200842 by Al, on Flickr


On reaching the summit my plan had been to continue high to Corr na Beinne and drop down its southern shoulder, but given the lack of visibility and high windspeed I felt it prudent to retrace our steps and take a lower level linking route to Fionnlaidh. We continued along the fenceline on soaking wet grass - here I managed to slip and land flat on my back. Or what would have been flat on my back had I not been wearing a rucksack. Instead, it was more like a turtle being plonked down on its convex shell - my neck hyperextended back and although my head didn't hit the ground I did get a jolt and felt mildly concussed. Basically, whiplash. I can only remember falling like this once before, it's not pleasant.

Summit Ulaidh
ImageP1200843 by Al, on Flickr

Fionnlaidh
ImageP1200844 by Al, on Flickr

View back to Ulaidh
ImageP1200847 by Al, on Flickr

We continued towards Fionnlaidh. My original plan had been to head up Coire Reidh to reach the 841m top but as we were coming from a different direction now, a change of approach seemed sensible. Not up the craggy nose, maybe just to the south of that. Although quite steep there proved no impediment to this ascent route and we gained the crest of the ridge. From here it was simply a matter of continuing along the back of the mountain to reach the summit - a couple of little scrambly bits on the way. Good views of the surrounding mountains, particularly those in Glencoe now that the sun had appeared. To the south lay the glistening slabs of Beinn Trillichean and Loch Etive beyond.

Heading up Fionnlaidh
ImageP1200848 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200850 by Al, on Flickr

To summit of Fionnlaidh
ImageP1200851 by Al, on Flickr

Trillichean
ImageP1200852 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200854 by Al, on Flickr

Our descent was to be down the southern flank of Fionnlaidh, following a fenceline then contouring round to Meall nan Gobhar before picking up a path and heading back to the forest track. I was pleased to see the rickety old bridge has been replaced with something more substantial. Good view of Starav as we returned to the car.

Starav
ImageP1200856 by Al, on Flickr

This was the old bridge (in 2013)
Imagebridge! by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200858 by Al, on Flickr


I wondered where we'd pitch for the night - I didn't fancy the spot at the head of the loch which tends to be busy with tents and campervans. Drove round to what would be the start of tomorrow's hills and found there was enough flat ground to pitch behind the parking place. That'll do. A very bright moon floodlit the glen until around midnight when the clag descended and the rain began.

Meall nan Eun and Stob Coir an Albannaich were on the menu for Saturday. I'd previously done these (twice) as part of an anticlockwise circuit of the Starav five and had abiding memories of an awful descent down Glen Ceitlein on tired legs. Today we'd reverse that route, head up Ceitlein and descend along the Allt Mheuran, maybe adding in Glas Bheinn Mhor.
Neither of us had any energy - maybe a result of my whiplash as far as I was concerned. We were also sheltered from the wind and it seemed oppressively hot and clammy in our waterproofs. We plodded grimly through the mirk and mud, gaining height slowly as we headed up the glen. Somewhere we lost the track, such as it is and meandered around in Lairig Dhochard looking for a way up the foothills of Meall nan Eun. Reunited, eventually, with the path, we reached the summit - blustery and chill where exposed to the wind and rain. No places to shelter for lunch, we pressed on towards Meall Tarsuinn where we did find some shelter.

Nice morning for a hillwalk
ImageP1200859 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200861 by Al, on Flickr

Glen Ceitlein
ImageP1200862 by Al, on Flickr

Nearing summit Meall nan Eun
ImageP1200863 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200864 by Al, on Flickr

The rain and clag didn't let up as we made our way up to Stob an Coir Albannaich - a steep and sharp-edged climb to the summit. Wandering from there to the bealach with Glas Bheinn Mhor was a maze of bog and mist - glad when the clag finally lifted enough to see where we were supposed to be going. Plans to include the third Munro summit had evaporated in the relentless rain - it had taken longer than expected already, due most likely to our shared zombie state. So we began the traipse down the valley, knowing that the "field of bog" awaited us at the bottom. Passing along by the river near the deer-fence we happened upon a rather beautiful memorial stone to Clare Clube and her daughter (later, Google told me she'd been an American poet who'd died in a plane crash in Nairobi, the quote on the stone taken from the text she sent her husband 10 minutes before she was killed). Quite some feat to haul a huge lump of marble up to where it sits.

Albannaich
ImageP1200866 by Al, on Flickr

Water, water everywhere
ImageP1200867 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200868 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200869 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200870 by Al, on Flickr

We managed to traverse the field of bog and returned to the car. I'd left the tent in place - always a bit risky when near a road, but with the weather being foul I guessed there'd be little passing traffic. And indeed all was intact - relief at not having to pitch in the rain, we could just crawl inside and make a start on the tea. An uncomfortable night - the rain never stopped and I couldn't get comfortable due to my sore neck.

Another dreich morning - we drove down the road to Auchessan and prepared to set off up Meall Glas. Not a mountain that's close to my heart - having climbed it twice, both in winter conditions, it brought my first encounter with proper white out (and GPS freeze) which nearly led to me stepping to my doom. On the second visit, I lost my camera on the way over from Sgiath Chuill, we had to manage seriously scary cornicing on Beinn Cheathaich then I crahed my car on the way home in pouring rain - like I say, not many fond memories! Today would be different though :lol:


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The rain had almost stopped when we parked and set out. Sgiath Chuill wasn't on the agenda today (been there 4 times already) but the Corbett, Beinn nan Imirean might be - that was up to Allison. We began on the tarmacked road out of the farm, then decided to avoid crossing the river and stayed on the west side of the swollen stream, plodding through bog and tussock until we finally merged with the path, if it can be called such. Slow and soggy progress was made towards Meall Glas. We paused for lunch on its lower slopes, just in time for the clag to come down and the rain to start. This mountain definitely doesn't like me...

ImageP1200873 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200874 by Al, on Flickr

Sgiath Chuill
ImageP1200875 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200877 by Al, on Flickr

Meall Glas
ImageP1200879 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200880 by Al, on Flickr

By the time we reached the top, neither of us particularly cared about going over to Imirean, wet and cold it seemed like the best idea to get back to the car. But as we descended the rain abated and we were close enough to Imirean to resent having passed up on it at some later date. So we headed across, making for a group of quartz boulders on the flanks that resembled ossified sheep. A not particularly demanding ascent led us to the summit then quite a pleasant return to the car. Please, for next weekend, can we have some dry weather :wink:

Imirean
ImageP1200882 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200883 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200885 by Al, on Flickr

Glas & Chuill
ImageP1200886 by Al, on Flickr

Fungus of the week
ImageP1200887 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1200888 by Al, on Flickr
User avatar
weaselmaster
Wanderer
 
Posts: 1745
Munros:205   Corbetts:192
Grahams:65   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:175   Hewitts:31
Wainwrights:15   Islands:28
Joined: Aug 22, 2012
Location: Greenock

Re: Etive on a wet weekend

Postby battie72 » Sun Oct 21, 2018 10:20 pm

The pictures don't make it look as hellish as it actually was.... :roll: :roll: :roll:
User avatar
battie72
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 88
Munros:56   Corbetts:159
Grahams:29   Donalds:17
Joined: Aug 27, 2012
Location: Sunny Gourock by the sea!

Re: Etive on a wet weekend

Postby yokehead » Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:16 pm

I don't know, some folk are just fair weather walkers, can't see much to complain about! :) Seriously, wonderful perseverance, well done, and I like the 'alternate' routes. Or a touch of madness perhaps, better still? :wink:

I saw that memorial last year, the letters hadn't been painted, so hard to read. Thanks for the information, I had meant to research but clean forgot.

weaselmaster wrote:Please, for next weekend, can we have some dry weather

Now you've put the kybosh on it saying that, maybe you should let folk know where you're planning to go so they can go elsewhere! :lol:
User avatar
yokehead
 
Posts: 697
Munros:68   Corbetts:9
Grahams:1   
Hewitts:87
Wainwrights:23   
Joined: Nov 13, 2008

Re: Etive on a wet weekend

Postby weaselmaster » Tue Oct 23, 2018 7:26 pm

yokehead wrote:I don't know, some folk are just fair weather walkers, can't see much to complain about! :) Seriously, wonderful perseverance, well done, and I like the 'alternate' routes. Or a touch of madness perhaps, better still? :wink:

I saw that memorial last year, the letters hadn't been painted, so hard to read. Thanks for the information, I had meant to research but clean forgot.

weaselmaster wrote:Please, for next weekend, can we have some dry weather

Now you've put the kybosh on it saying that, maybe you should let folk know where you're planning to go so they can go elsewhere! :lol:


Cheers! It’s Perthshire this week, I believe snow and high winds are on the cards :roll:
User avatar
weaselmaster
Wanderer
 
Posts: 1745
Munros:205   Corbetts:192
Grahams:65   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:175   Hewitts:31
Wainwrights:15   Islands:28
Joined: Aug 22, 2012
Location: Greenock

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