Back in July, needing a short walk somewhere near Ballachulish before meeting a friend, I settled on Beinn a' Chrulaiste. Sitting across from Buchaille Etive Mor as it does, it looked to be a superb viewpoint. And not just of its immediate Glencoe neighbours, but hopefully over to the Mamores as well.
In the event, I woke up so early at Crianlarich that it was 6.30am when I started up from Altnafeidh. Now I know where Altnafeidh is, it's easy to find, but I was a bit befuddled that morning trying to find it on my map. Basically, the other end of the hill from Kingshouse, I decided, and hooray, there was the big layby. (I've not stopped in Glencoe much - can you tell?! - because of the crowds. Maybe this winter...)
Setting off from the layby, it ain't 'alf green and boggy for something called 'Rocky Hill'.
001 Steep rise to Stob Beinn a Chrulaiste by Emma Kendon, on Flickr
As I walked up the steep, boggy, muddy ascent, I ran into a couple of guys coming down, with bedding and a camera tripod. They'd had a superb sunset and sunrise on the top, and early as I was, the beam on tripod-man's face did make me wish I'd been even earlier too.
At the Stob, there was a tent, its inhabitants presumably still inside.
007 Campers on the Stob by Emma Kendon, on Flickr
This was where John Parminter had taken his beautiful wintery shot for the cover of his "Fifty Finest Mountains", which I'd seen the night before.
154 Book cover with Glencoe hills from Beinn a Chrulaiste by Emma Kendon, on Flickr
For me though, the Etive hills weren't yet in the most interesting light, so once I was high enough to see over the top of Beinn a' Chrulaiste's own lumps and bumps, I was looking north. An increasingly rewarding view of the Mamores and the Ben was unfolding with the crispness of the morning.
016 Mamores pano by Emma Kendon, on Flickr
014 Binnein Mor - pointy Binnein Beag to Sgurr Eilde Mor by Emma Kendon, on Flickr
Underfoot, the grass and wet started to give way to more blocky rock here on 'Rocky Hill'. This ground was a joy and it's also pretty level from here to the top.
017 Blocky rock by Emma Kendon, on Flickr
I was still really taken with the view of Ben Nevis and the nearer bulk of Binnein Mor, and was enjoying the little An Gearanach ridge in between.
020 Ben Nevis behind Binnein Mor in front by Emma Kendon, on Flickr
At last, behind me to the west, the sun was beginning to pick out Glencoe's peaks, starting with Sgorr Dhearg of Beinn a'Bheithir.
022 Sun picks out Sgorr Dhearg by Emma Kendon, on Flickr
That's a horseshoe I fancy, though I think one of the paths is closed for felling at the moment - might be open again in 2020.
Meanwhile, the cloud had lifted from the Ben until it and the Mamores were bathed in sunshine.
024 and cloud lifts from the Ben by Emma Kendon, on Flickr
025 Sunny Mamores by Emma Kendon, on Flickr
It was lovely, there was no one around - just me, golden plover, some goats and loads of time to take it easy.
026 Calling golden plover by Emma Kendon, on Flickr
028 Goaty rear by Emma Kendon, on Flickr
I stayed to the right of the goats, and the trig came into view.
030 Easy rocky terrain to the summit by Emma Kendon, on Flickr
Up at the trig I had a good long linger. It was a little bit gusty, so there are some shaky panos, but here's a flurry of B a'C's summit views. I was enjoying my little Glencoe hideaway!
032 East to Schiehallion and Ben Lawers range by Emma Kendon, on Flickr
033 SE to Grampians Beinn A Chreachain Beinn Achaladair and Beinn An Dothaidh by Emma Kendon, on Flickr
034 Trig and summit cairn by Emma Kendon, on Flickr
035 Over the cairn to Schiehallion by Emma Kendon, on Flickr
036 Easins and east above Glen Spean by Emma Kendon, on Flickr (and Blackwater Reservoir)
037 Trig Mamores and Ben by Emma Kendon, on Flickr
038 Blackwater Reservoir and Easins by Emma Kendon, on Flickr
039 Morning over Rannoch Moor by Emma Kendon, on Flickr
040 Due south to Meall a Bhuiridh - Black Mount - ski by Emma Kendon, on Flickr
And finally, what I mostly came for - a B a'C view of the Buachaille.
041 BEM and rucksack by Emma Kendon, on Flickr
Lovely.The rising sun started to show up its pinky rhyolite detail, in all its volcanic, dramatic beauty and magnificence.
045 Sun rising on Buchaille Etive Mor by Emma Kendon, on Flickr
together with its friends & sisters...
044 BEB with Bidean nam Bian behind by Emma Kendon, on Flickr
050 Glencoe pano with trig by Emma Kendon, on Flickr
048 Glencoe hills by Emma Kendon, on Flickr
...until finally it was bathed in full sun.
052 Full sun on Glencoe by Emma Kendon, on Flickr
And so, time to head back down. I opted for back the same way because I wanted the views and couldn't really be bothered with the bog above Kingshouse. The goats had taken over the flank of the hill, some munching away quite happily as I crossed their path, some running, and one big billy with just one horn rearing up to show his pals who's boss.
(This is him on the left after they'd got the message):
055 Goats and BEM by Emma Kendon, on Flickr
Down in the grass was what I think is an oak eggar moth, but I stand to be corrected/educated ...
057 Furry face by Emma Kendon, on Flickr
056 Furry brown moth by Emma Kendon, on Flickr
Back down, the cars had started to arrive, and so had the opportunist little chaffinches.
065 Chaffinch by Emma Kendon, on Flickr
I left them to it and, way too early to meet my friend, headed round to Castle Aaargh (very weird and touristy set up) and then an explore of the (much better!) Ballachulish slate quarry, which was established just two years after the Glencoe Massacre and where a common blue came and landed on an appropriate info board.
067 Castle Stalker pano by Emma Kendon, on Flickr
083 Common blue worn with pride by Emma Kendon, on Flickr
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