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Ben Starav Trio - A sunny solo sojourn

Ben Starav Trio - A sunny solo sojourn


Postby GillC » Sun May 15, 2016 8:22 pm

Munros included on this walk: Beinn nan Aighenan, Ben Starav, Glas Bheinn Mhor

Date walked: 15/05/2016

Time taken: 10 hours

Distance: 20.6 km

Ascent: 1954m

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After a whistlestop trip round the Corrour 3 yesterday, culminating in Quomans compleation on Ben na Lap, I headed for Glen Etive to camp. I was considering Ulaidh from this side or up to my remaining trio at Starav. Checking the routes etc, decided the weather was lending itself to a good long day,,so the trio it was. Off to bed early.

John and I had done Albannaich and nan Eun back in the winter under full snow cover and I had wanted a day long enough now to do Starav, Glas Bheinn Mhor, incorporating Beinn nan Aighenan together. Woke up at 3:40am, getting lighter, popped out the tent,,then back in, then decided to just get up.

Rustled up a wee porridge and a cuppa tea. Packed everything away, except the tent, a day blowing in the sunny breeze would save me airing it when I got home :clap:

All sorted and headed off at 5am.

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Brightening skies behind the Wee Bookil


Down the track towards Coiletir with the sun starting to come up over the Glencoe hills and shed its pinky glow on Starav above.

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Sunlight on Starav from the River Etive


The track diverts easily behind Coiletir, much of the bog had dried up in the recent warm conditions but I remembered it being a lot worse in the winter. Took advice and carried on right round the cottage and back to the track. This means there is no chance of missing the necessary bridges for crossing the river.

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Handy wee bridge


The ascending climb up to Starav is one of those I have eyed suspiciously on several occasions but for some reason today, it actually didn't look too daunting. Once over the river, I watched a few stags wandering a short way up the track. Let them move off before climbing a little higher and meeting the path cutting up to the ridge.

The track at the riverside continues up to the col for a direct route to Aighenan.

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Wonderful colours at Robbers Waterfall

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Sun breaking the neighbouring tops


I decided to keep my head down, dont look up too often and just plod my way up the path. Zig zagging well enough to break up the slog. The sun was still coming up so the hills around changed every few minutes in the brightening light.

Not much else you can say about the shoulder itself but it certainly opens out the views to the ridge above and the way round to Glas Bheinn Mhor with the obvious low point of the col out to Aighenan. Still a fair bit of snow hanging in the corrie but you could see the clear ground on top.

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Higher stretches of the shoulder up Starav

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Seeing through to Aighenan


When I'm out on the hills on my own, I send timestamped txts to John, letting him know my progress, never sure when they will get through but it can help narrow down the range of location, should anything unsavoury happen :shock: I had sent 2 last night and one when leaving this morning, but no signal meant they hadn't gone. Quite a way up, heard the phone beep to indicate a signal, sure enough, messages now sent.

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Starav to the right leading off to the ridge

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Mad rocky section up to the summit

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Down to the head of Loch Etive


Around 7:30am, as the summit came into view, at the top of a very rocky black section I wasn't expecting :lol: , I could hear a click click clicking, what was it? :? Looking up, there was a solo female coming down. Stopped for a chat, Sarah had been on a high bivvy camp on the ridge. Discussed the cold night, she had felt it quite badly at the top, chilly enough at ground level outside the tent. :roll:

After a long chat, said our goodbyes and I headed off. Arriving at the summit at 8:20am, glorious views all around.
The shattered cylindrical trig gave way to a smallish cairn. Planting myself down, I simply soaked up the views, had a second breakfast, and managed to kill nearly 45 mins just "being". looking down Loch Etive, over to the Cruachan range, Ben Lui, Glencoe, Bidean and beyond.

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Top of Starav at 8:20am

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Down Loch Etive

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Over to Cruachan range

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Looking out along the ridge

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Over to Bidean nam Bian


Headed off a few minutes after 9am, Full views of the ridge and out to Aighenan.

The ridge beyond Starav, heading round to Stob Coire Dheirg is wide, grassy on top but with snow hanging heavily over Coire Dearg on your left. The only snow I walked on today was just at the end of this, about a 12ft neck of crunchy white stuff.

I scrambled over the rocks with the path a short way below. Coming down, I mistakenly took a path south, heading down, I quickly realised this was literally going straight down so I opted to turn left, and pick my way over a boulder covered slope to meet up with the path coming over from the top. On and down to Bealachan Lochain Ghaineamhaich.

It's at this point a path comes up to join the col from the left, then off to the right, the track to Aighenan leads down. There are two paths here, the upper leads into a boulder field and is lost, while the lower traverses its way round the side before zig zagging down to the bealach under Aighenan. I was feeling a bit daunted here, B nan A looked a long way off and steeper/craggier than I was expecting :shock: :shock: :shock:

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Eyeing Aighenan suspiciously

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Back up to Starav from the col


The path however, carries on over and picks its way up over the rocks. Looking back to Starav, I picked out 2 people heading down the ridge. After pushing on and one or two false hopes of being at the top, after 1hr 15 from the col, I finally broke out on the summit. 10:45am.

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Summit of Aighenan


A flat topped hill considering the rocky ascent. Took some pictures and had a wander down the path to the other side of ascent. The following 2 were now on their way down to Aighenan too. Had a short break then headed back. Met up with the two young fellas, had a chat and advised them against their plan of Ben na Lap from the back (gruelling ascent) for tomorrow, instead using the easy ascent.

Headed off and back up to the col, another 2 incomers on the boulder field above me, must have taken that dead end path I mentioned earlier lol

Glad that one was out of the way, seemed a long way off.

Turning right, carried on along the ridge on a gentle slope up to the top of Meall nan Tri Tighearnan. I got slightly confused here at the cairn, WH route didn't mention the long slope up to GBM, was I already here? surely not, checked map, check route description, map again. Nope, defo not here lol

The slopes up to GBM looked fairly benign from Aighenan, but from here, it looked a bit relentless, not overly steep, just long. :shock: Not a lot for it, get yerself moving wumman.

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Bit of snow on the ridge


Plodded off and up, and up, and a wee bit more up. About 50 yards from the top, I caught sight of movement out of the corner of my left eye. Looked over, and there was a bloke, head and shoulders worth anyway, coming up the boulders round to the North of the summit. Quick wave and I pushed on (didn't want him beating me to the top :lol: ) On getting there, up he comes, jeans, tshirt and very light pack. He wandered past me, asked how I had come up, said his ascent was rocky. I was about to turn round and ask if he would do the honours and take my summit pic....turned round...and he was gone, heading down the path of my ascent. Strange bloke.

Anyway,,here I was, summit 3 of the day, still sporting fabulous views. There was an icy bite to the wind, despite the full sun, so the fleece had been on and off all day, keeping it on here for a bit longer.

Pics taken, couple of squares of chocolate and I even considered going back over to the other two munros to the east before heading off, was still only 1:15pm :wink:

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Top of Glas Bheinn Mhor

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GBM with Starav behind


Heading off, met another man on his way up, who had just come over from Albannaich etc and was doing the round of 5. As I lost height and could see the track home, the one up to the other two suddenly seemed less appealing, more up?? nah, don't think I'll bother.

Down to the bealach and off left for the track down. The WH route description again mentions the bog, but most of this had dried up so nothing tricky to negotiate. Some lovely waterfalls with crystal clear mountain water.

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Lovely cool waters


The wettest my boots got all weekend was standing by a small waterfall getting a drink from cupped hands. The path makes for easy progress and I only had a short stop to finish the chocolate and admire the views back up to the entire ridge above me.

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Under GBM on the way down


Rounding the last head of land, the car came into view.

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Back over to the path up to Starav


Shortcut across the field to Coiletir, back round the cottage and over the bridge on the deep, slow moving River Etive. Back at the car at 3:15, reeesult. Time to put the tent away, nice and dry, get changed and have a wee sit down for a bit.

This was a fab day. 10hrs or so of wandering around a cracking set of hills, 3 more blue balloons and a well earned half shandy in the Kingshouse before home. :D
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Last edited by GillC on Tue Jul 05, 2016 6:41 pm, edited 10 times in total.
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Re: Ben Starav Trio

Postby jonny616 » Mon May 16, 2016 2:05 pm

Stunning :crazy: :crazy: :crazy:

Glad you caught the outlying one!
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Re: Ben Starav Trio

Postby GillC » Mon May 16, 2016 2:27 pm

Haha thanks,,,didn't mean that report to be public,,,well,,its hardly a report at all lol
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Re: Ben Starav Trio - A sunny solo sojourn

Postby katyhills » Mon May 16, 2016 5:57 pm

Cracking report and pix GillC! I looked at this last night as these three are on my list for this year, and was so disappointed - so I'm really glad to see your full report today! :D
What a fabulous day you had. The weather has been freakishly good recently - great for those hills which would usually have hellish bogs at this time of year.

I'm saving your lovely report for when I manage to get out to this trio. It will be a brilliant reference for me. The views are tremendous from the Etive hills if you get a clear day. :)
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Re: Ben Starav Trio - A sunny solo sojourn

Postby Borderhugh » Mon May 16, 2016 6:28 pm

Well done Gill. We did these 3 on saturday. Good idea to leave mega early. Our plan was to do the 5 but we got beaten by the forecast. Definitely a day to enjoy those waterfalls! :clap:
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Re: Ben Starav Trio - A sunny solo sojourn

Postby GillC » Mon May 16, 2016 7:06 pm

katyhills wrote:Cracking report and pix GillC! I looked at this last night as these three are on my list for this year, and was so disappointed - so I'm really glad to see your full report today! :D
What a fabulous day you had. The weather has been freakishly good recently - great for those hills which would usually have hellish bogs at this time of year.

I'm saving your lovely report for when I manage to get out to this trio. It will be a brilliant reference for me. The views are tremendous from the Etive hills if you get a clear day. :)



Thanks Katyh,,,,didn't mean it to be published last night lol,,,first report ive done in a while,,,3 this week,,must be getting my mojo back lol Best of luck when you do these,,worthy of a good day.
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Re: Ben Starav Trio - A sunny solo sojourn

Postby GillC » Mon May 16, 2016 7:07 pm

Borderhugh wrote:Well done Gill. We did these 3 on saturday. Good idea to leave mega early. Our plan was to do the 5 but we got beaten by the forecast. Definitely a day to enjoy those waterfalls! :clap:


Cheers Hugh,,was over at Ossian for a compleation on the Saturday, warmed up the legs nicely for this one.
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Re: Ben Starav Trio - A sunny solo sojourn

Postby Tomsie » Tue May 17, 2016 12:37 am

You certainly got a great day out, glad your looking after that tent :wink:
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Re: Ben Starav Trio - A sunny solo sojourn

Postby GillC » Tue May 17, 2016 10:17 am

Tomsie wrote:You certainly got a great day out, glad your looking after that tent :wink:


thanks,,lol great tent for one,,,when youre not clambering over someone to get in lol Buy it off ye!
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Re: Ben Starav Trio - A sunny solo sojourn

Postby quoman » Tue May 17, 2016 7:42 pm

smashing TR again Gill the pictures are braw, Beinn nan Aighenan looks a hard hill from starav but once your down its not that bad. :clap: :clap:
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Re: Ben Starav Trio - A sunny solo sojourn

Postby shuggybhoy » Tue Jun 21, 2016 3:34 pm

Great report GillC, can you upload your GPX route (if you have one), sounds like a great day out and the weather looked braw too.
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Re: Ben Starav Trio - A sunny solo sojourn

Postby GillC » Tue Jun 21, 2016 3:59 pm

shuggybhoy wrote:Great report GillC, can you upload your GPX route (if you have one), sounds like a great day out and the weather looked braw too.

Thanks shuggybhoy. :D. Apologies..I don't have a GPX route but t's a nice simple one on the map. I can add to the report if you like..cheers
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Re: Ben Starav Trio - A sunny solo sojourn

Postby Alteknacker » Wed Jun 22, 2016 11:01 pm

Great stuff - excellent pics of 2 of the best hills around (I don't count Aighenan - I can't like anyone who's done it, since I managed to walk right by it without noticing it :( ).

Completely understand your spending 45 minutes on the top of Starav just being: when the weather plays ball it's one of the finest places to be in the Highlands....
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Re: Ben Starav Trio - A sunny solo sojourn

Postby Coop » Sun Oct 09, 2016 10:04 pm

Brilliant, was going to go to Starav before winter sets in
Now,
Bookmarked to read again next may or june
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