walkhighlands

Black Panther climbs the Black Peak

Route: Stob Dubh, Glen Etive

Corbetts: Stob Dubh

Date walked: 20/04/2019

Time taken: 6 hours

Distance: 13.3km

Ascent: 1046m

Glen Etive is famous for its imposing quintet of Munros, known generally as Ben Starav group. These are fantastic, rocky mountains with sharp ridges and steep flanks. Peaks worth climbing and savouring. But Glen Etive also harbours no less than 4 Corbetts which, despite not reaching 3000feet, offer fine shorter days with amazing views.
Two years ago we visited Beinn Trilleachan. Drowned in bog and sucked dry by millions of midges, we still have good memories from this one. A great viewpoint to Ben Starav across Loch Etive.
Earlier this April, we climbed Beinn Maol Chaluim. Fine hill as it was, we were mesmerized by the steep bulk of its neighbour, Stob Dubh, the Black Peak. Seemed the right mountain for Black Panther:
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We vowed to come back soon and tackle the menace. The question remained of the best route choice. WH route traverses the whole length of the mountain, as described: "This imposing Corbett rises impressively from Glen Etive and gives a grand hillwalk when tackled by its northeast ridge." SMC Corbett guide suggests a quicker option, very steep pull from Glen Ceitlein. We liked the WH option and decided to do the whole ridge traverse. No regrets, this is the superior way of climbing Stob Dubh :D

Track_STOB DUBH 20-04-19.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


Glen Etive is notorious for finding parking spaces, we were lucky to find good off-road spot near Alltchaorunn bridge:
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The bridge gate was closed but not locked:
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It was another warm day and we took extra water and left winter fleeces behind. When we started, the morning was very hazy. The quality of the views improved later on but Kevin still moaned about "so much haze, not good for pictures, blah blah". I simply chose to ignore his complaints. I have recently bought a new compact camera (to replace the old camcorder which is ancient and has too many compatibility issues with my PC) and I was desperate to test it properly for the first time!
The initial path to Alltchaorunn is usually very wet, but thankfully, after a long spell of dry weather, today it was dry. Even avoided climbing the stile over the nearby fence. We stopped for a few minutes to photograph the waterfalls, but the light was wrong and there was little water in the river to make the rapids interesting:
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The more interesting sight was right in front of us. Is this where we are going to climb (gulp!)?
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Stob na Brioge across Glen Etive:
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We crossed Allt a'Chaorainn (bridge) and continued through the forest plantation, in the shadow of An Grianan. The forest track was muddy even now, so I can imagine how bad it would be in wet weather! Snorkel required :lol: :lol:
We passed through a gate to gain access to the open slopes below Coire Dubg-Bheag. Here, pathless but grassy ground leads to the eastern end of the long ridge.
That doesn't look too bad...
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Views on the way up were already very nice, and this was just the beginning of a wonderful traverse...
Beinn Mhic Chasgaig, our last unclimbed Corbett in Glen Etive:
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We reached a small saddle between An Grianan and the main ridge. I wanted to take a detour to visit the former, but Kevin who was in a hurry to gain the higher ground, suggested we could leave it for the descent. As it turned out, we took a different descent route and missed this little outlier altogether. Not that I'm going to cry about it :lol:
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This hill is steep, but all scrambling is AVOIDABLE. Of course, we didn't avoid the scramble-ish sections :roll:
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The ridge proper starts at about 500m, where the steep angle eases off and the long, delightful traverse begins:
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Buachaille Etive Mor and An Grianan:
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Ready to test my new camera:
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Still a bit hazy but the neighbouring mountains looked splendid:
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We started the traverse on easy, grassy ground, rising gently towards the middle top, Beinn Ceitlein.Again, all scrambling can be avoided and walking is relatively easy. As we progressed, I sniffed even better playground in front of us:
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Looking west from the main ridge, to Buachaille Etive Mor, Beag, Bidean nam Bian and Beinn Maol Chaluim:
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We spotted people higher on the ridge, but were not in a hurry to catch up with them. Quite the opposite: we lost some time on the big playground of easy scrambles:
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Panther in her element:
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I didn't really care that we were the slowest walkers on the ridge, it was all about having fun and enjoying the traverse. For some it might seem that the ridge of Stob Dubh goes on forever, but not for us, we were too busy to notice :lol: But at some point, I spotted what looked like a distant mountain behind our hill and said:
"I wonder what is that pimple on the ridge?"
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Soon I realized, that the "pimple on the ridge" was actually the true summit of Stob Dubh! We still had a long way to go but who cares if you're walking in such splendid surroundings!
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We kept stopping for more and more photos, it didn't matter that the day was hazy, it was good enough for us! This really is a fantastic ridge, worth taking on slowly especially on a sunny day when other Etive hills are visible:
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Kevin on the top of Beinn Ceitlein:
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From Beinn Ceitlein we could see the final drop and reascent to the summit:
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We continued over the bealach to tackle the final ascent. We met two groups of walkers returning from the summit, but didn't stop for a longer chat as we were on a mission!
Getting steep but again, no compulsory scrambling:
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Looking down from half way up the final ascent. It is steep and rocky, but nothing technical. Don't look down if you suffer from vertigo!
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At last, a short walk over grass doted with rocks leads to the summit area...
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...which I would call one of the most amazing viewpoints I have ever visited. Shame about the haze in the air, but even that didn't spoil the day. Lucy celebrated her 95th Corbett. Yay!
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For us, it was no. 157 but the number didn't really matter. We were mesmerized. First, a wonderful, long walk along a delightful ridge, now crowned with a long break on a superb summit with first class vistas. What can better a day like that?
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Kevin spent far too much time playing with his camera...
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...but I, too, found the views hard to resist and simply couldn't stop snapping!
Panoramic view west:
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South to Starav group:
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Beinn Trilleachan, Beinn Fionnlaidh and Beinn Sgulaird to the south-west:
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Bidean anm Bian and the Buachailles:
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Beinn Maol Chaluim:
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We sat on the summit for what we thought was ages, admiring the views and discussing options for the next two days. I fancied a bike & hike on Monday. For Sunday, we chose something shorter and more local, as driving for 4-5 hours every day literally DRIVES Kevin mad (he's got enough driving every day at work, he says).
Eventually, we packed up, took wee Lucy and started the long yet very enjoyable walk back along the ridge.
Looking back at Stob Dubh:
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One more panorama of Big Buachaille:
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Instead of retracing our steps to the steep section by An Grianan, Kevin suggested we could leave the ridge a bit earlier and descend easier grassy mountain side just past Coire Dubh-beag. I liked the idea as my knees were already sending me their usual signals that steep descending would be painful. So now it was time to say goodbye to the ridge and look for less acute angle of descent.
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It was a good idea in the end, the slope provided quite easy walking, a bit wet here and there, but generally, good for knees :D
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We joined the original line just above the gate in the fence and finally, returned through the forest to the path leading back to Glen Etive. I was surprised when we reached the car and Kevin checked his GPS, that it took us only 6 hours to do this double traverse. WH walk description suggests 7.5 - 8 hours. We thought we were very slow and wasted a lot of of time on the way up, scrambling over boulders and taking countless stops for photos, not to mention a long break on the top. Does it mean that we are not as old and not as slow as we think we are??? Is there life in the old bones yet?

Regardless how long it takes, this hill is a cracker and it should definitely be done via the NE ridge and of course on a good day, so you can appreciate the views and the full traverse. Another one to add to the list of so-called F Corbetts. And some people wonder why we only climbed two new Munros this year so far. Well, as Kevin said on Carn Mor last month, who need the Munros if you have hills like the Black Peak waiting for you to meow on?

Our next trip was closer to home but still a cracking if shorter day, we revisited a certain rocky Graham. TR to come soon :D

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Comments: 4



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BlackPanther


User avatar
Location: Beauly, Inverness-shire
Interests: Hillwalking, cycling, jogging, mushroom picking and many other outdoor activities, meowing on mountain summits included :P
Activity: Mountain Walker
Mountain: Beinn Eighe
Place: Isle of Skye
Gear: well... my husband ;)))
Camera: FujiFilm Finepix HS10
Ideal day out: Anything - from beach strolls to scrambling up icy slopes. Just bring it on!
Ambition: Tick off all Munros...

Munros: 254
Corbetts: 160
Grahams: 110
Sub 2000: 40
Long Distance routes: Dava Way    Moray Coastal Trail   



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Statistics

2019

Trips: 24
Distance: 410.4 km
Ascent: 20558m
Munros: 7
Corbetts: 15
Grahams: 7
Sub2000s: 3

2018

Trips: 72
Distance: 1239.15 km
Ascent: 65343m
Munros: 42
Corbetts: 21
Grahams: 27
Sub2000s: 17

2017

Trips: 60
Distance: 1128.6 km
Ascent: 55244m
Munros: 24
Corbetts: 26
Grahams: 27
Sub2000s: 6

2016

Trips: 48
Distance: 868.9 km
Ascent: 41748m
Munros: 24
Corbetts: 16
Grahams: 18
Sub2000s: 3

2015

Trips: 57
Distance: 894.2 km
Ascent: 44112m
Munros: 30
Corbetts: 25
Grahams: 16

2014

Trips: 51
Distance: 932.2 km
Ascent: 44288m
Munros: 36
Corbetts: 20
Grahams: 3
Sub2000s: 4

2013

Trips: 53
Distance: 822.6 km
Ascent: 37086m
Munros: 30
Corbetts: 17
Grahams: 5
Sub2000s: 1

2012

Trips: 76
Distance: 955.1 km
Ascent: 44087m
Munros: 37
Corbetts: 18
Grahams: 7
Sub2000s: 3

2011

Trips: 58
Distance: 645.95 km
Ascent: 30393m
Munros: 33
Corbetts: 11
Grahams: 4

2010

Trips: 17
Distance: 215.6 km
Ascent: 9756m
Munros: 4
Corbetts: 8
Grahams: 1

2009

Trips: 2
Distance: 30.9 km
Ascent: 2414m
Munros: 3

2008

Trips: 2
Distance: 35 km
Ascent: 2267m
Munros: 4


Joined: Nov 02, 2010
Last visited: May 17, 2019
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