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Stob Dubh – glimpses up and down Etive

Stob Dubh – glimpses up and down Etive

Postby old danensian » Tue Oct 08, 2019 4:22 pm

Corbetts included on this walk: Stob Dubh

Date walked: 25/07/2019

Time taken: 7.5 hours

Distance: 15 km

Ascent: 1120m

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This was supposed to be a quick jaunt: stretch the legs, enjoy the views, be back in time for tea.

But the surroundings took control of time and, after a punishing start, I was more than happy to let deadlines and ETAs go.

Driving down Glen Etive, Stob Dubh dominates the view ahead or, to be more accurate, its blunter north eastern slopes fill the windscreen. It’s been another one of those hills that have briefly registered while heading for Beinn Fhionnlaidh, the Munros clustered round Ben Starav, or a route up the indulgently warm slabs of Beinn Trilleachan. Driving home, after a tiring day, its apparent pyramidal perfection has normally prompted, “maybe next time.”

So, there I stood, having crossed the bridge near the Glenceitlein cottage, finally ready to fulfil my appointment with “next time.”

The south west ridge of Stob Dubh from Glenceitlein - raring to go

For what lay ahead, there’s little that can be added to the succinct descriptions in the SMC guide: “steep, dark and intimidating” and “uncompromisingly steep.”

For more than two hours I plodded upwards, a purgatorial experience leavened only by the diversion to avoid the crags at midway. The rhythmic steady and slow, steady and slow became a persistent water-torture drip. Mind over matter was the mantra. “Push on through the pain,” shouts our spin class trainer. Sod you. I’d like to see you do this.

Photographing views back to Loch Etive and Beinn Trilleachan provide the excuse for a rest - or two - or three

Almost there - the slope levels out and the pain eases

However, once at the top, that truism proved all too appropriate: “it’s great when you stop.”

With the majority of the day’s effort now out of the way, it was time to chill, take it easy, and spend time letting the views trigger recollections of visits in years and decades past.

Across to The Ben from the summit of Stob Dubh

Beinn Ceitlein from Stob Dubh - Creise in the background

It was easy to let an hour pass.

Then its neighbour summoned me over. Beinn Ceitlein undulated its way towards the hulk of Creise, suggesting an even more impressive view than the ones I’d just enjoyed.

All the Buachailles from the bealach between Stob Dubh and Beinn Ceitlein

And I wasn’t disappointed. So I lost another hour by falling asleep in the sun.

The upper reaches of Glen Etive from the northern end of Beinn Ceitlein

By now, time was irrelevant: taking it easy was definitely the order of the day.

But, as I still needed to be getting back, the steep grassy slopes of Coire Dubh-mor were negotiated to descend to the headwaters of the Allt a Chaorainn – and the site of yet another lounge in what felt like a most remote spot – and as far from the car as I was going to be.

Down to the watershed between Glen Ceitlein and the Allt a Chaorainn - is it a long way home - no it's just round the corner

Would it prove to be a long way back?

Yes – well it felt like it.

Beinn Fhionnlaidh - and never seems to get any nearer as legs tire

There’s a limit to the length of time the profile of Beinn Fhionnlaidh can motivate you down a long, lonely glen. And then, the final short pull up the track to the road and the car. I’m sure it wasn’t that steep at the beginning of the day.

The sting in the tail - who put this slope here?

Come on. What’s up? Seven and a half hours for a Corbett that’s barely a couple of kilometres from the road?
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old danensian
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Re: Stob Dubh – glimpses up and down Etive

Postby Graeme D » Tue Oct 08, 2019 7:52 pm

Nice one Nigel. You've still got it! :D This one is on my potential list for next week. Thinking I need to get in there one last time before the bulldozers move in. :(
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Graeme D
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Re: Stob Dubh – glimpses up and down Etive

Postby katyhills » Tue Oct 08, 2019 8:16 pm

Nice report, and lovely photos :D
I did it from the same side last May, on a very hot day, having not been out much due to an injury. Just as well there was a good breeze, although it was beginning to get wearing when it looked like the summit was never coming.
It's certainly unremittingly steep, but on a good day, the views are superb. I had a little paddle on the way back out :)
Posts: 357
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Re: Stob Dubh – glimpses up and down Etive

Postby PeteR » Wed Oct 09, 2019 11:38 am

A great hill once you've slogged on to the ridge. Then a great walk to the summit in my opinion. Another of those hills overlooked by more illustrious neighbours.
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