walkhighlands

Bidean nam Bian’s Early Morning Light

Route: Bidean nam Bian

Munros: Bidean nam Bian, Stob Coire Sgreamhach

Date walked: 02/09/2023

Time taken: 7 hours

Distance: 14.75km

Ascent: 1519m

Bidean nam Bian’s Early Morning Light

A late evening arrival and camp at the Glencoe Mountain Resort on the Friday night and a disgustingly early alarm allowed us to get to the, already very busy, Three Sisters car park and walking just after 05:45.

It was just bright enough to get moving without headtorch, helped massively by the excellent footpath. It remains to be seen what performing enhancing supplement Callum had for breakfast, but he was very quickly rocketing up Coire nan Lochan like a man possessed. I was on the other end of the scale, feeling sluggish and half asleep, at best. Therefore, the first 30 minutes were challenging and forgettable.

Before long the sun was rising out of view towards the east and by the time we were nearing 400-500m it had used Stob Coire nan Lochan as a giant canvas to paint the tops a morale boosting pink / red. If only we had got up even earlier, it could have been a special view from the summit.

Shortly before sunriseImage

The sunrise – note Callum’s progress was so fast his legs are motion blurred, not my sleepy brain and incorrect shutter speed
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The van was now a mere dot
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Deer everywhere
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We took the recommended faint path off to the right slowly climbing the grassy slopes of Stob Coire nan Lochan’s north shoulder before heading across its pinnacles towards the summit cairn. This seemed extremely counterintuitive as the main path was excellent underfoot and heading right for the summit. From down here the pinnacles also appeared impassible. On closer inspection, as is often the case, it was a simple well-defined route and a great Walkhighlands recommendation.

The grassy slope
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The pinnacles
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Although the sun had now risen by the time we reached the pinnacle buttress and were making our way to the Munro top of Stob Coire nan Lochan in full light, the view east was exceptional.

Layer upon layer of some of the finest hills in Scotland with light peeking through the (slightly lower than hoped) clouds.

As described
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View down through the pinnacles – van was a long way away now!
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Stob Coire nan Lochan – superb views to no views
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Dropping out of the cloud looking towards the second Munro of the day, Stob Coire Sgreamhach
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I think this was heading up to the first Munro of Bidean nan Bian
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I had managed to convince Callum that a good use of his abundant energy resources would be to make a brief detour from the Bidean nan Bian to its second subsidiary top of Stob Coire nam Beith, which must be far less frequented than the already on route, Stob Coire nan Locahn.

Annoyingly there was no views on Bidean nan Bian, so we didn’t linger for long and set off towards its second top.

On route
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Never seen a hare stay so still for so long
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Once we had retraced our steps and regained the main path we started to head down the east side of Bidean nam Bian and the weather was finally starting to lift. We were hopeful of the cloud disappearing, or at least lifting to above 1100m.

Looking down into Gleann Fhaolain
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Stob Coire Sgreamhach looking mighty fine from here!
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Looking back – spot the mountain runner
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Down into the ‘Lost Valley’, which could be more appropriately renamed the ‘Instagram Valley’
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On the route up Stob Coire Sgreamhach I had thankfully found some more normal energy and it was an enjoyable section, helped massively with the constantly improving visibility.

Before setting off I had thought of including the tops of the first Munro, but hadn’t properly researched the second, and missed out Beinn Fhada and Beinn Fhada NE Top. Will make for a good return in the future, although I am not convinced there is a suitable walkable route down Beinn Fhada without returning down the Lost Valley.

We took a seat just off the summit of Stob Coire Sgreamhach, hammered down our remaining food and enjoyed the peace, quiet, views and buzzards hovering overhead.

Views & buzzards
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Heading down in the Lost Valley
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The route down into the valley was initially quite steep but easy enough in good visibility. As it was now just approaching noon it was beginning to get a bit ‘el scorchio’. We sauntered down the valley as what felt like masses of people made their way up.

Looking back up
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From a distance it looks empty. It was very busy.
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The route out of the valley took a minor detour as there were a group working hard in exceptional heat, horrible bog and unrelenting flies / midges to improve the path – hats off to them!

We returned to Callum’s transport just after 1pm and the car park was like Tesco on Christmas eve – chocka!

Normally one of my favourite parts of the walk is slowly taking off the shoes, getting half cleaned and changed into something comfortable for the drive back, but there were heaps of people chomping at the bit to steal our spot as soon as we drove off. So, this occasion felt like a bit of a rush. Thankfully there is only a few spots in Scotland as busy as here!

Just before setting off home
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All in all, a great day walk, and home well before dinner thanks to the early alarm. Weather would likely have been better with a later start, but the early morning sunrise made up for any missed views – will no doubt return, there’s some leftover Tops to ‘bag’!

Our route

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Thanks for reading
Andy

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Comments: 1



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andygunn23


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Location: Aberdeen
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Munros: 242
Tops: 45
Corbetts: 5
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Islands: 12



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Statistics

2023

Trips: 6
Distance: 124.68 km
Ascent: 8614m
Munros: 12

2022

Trips: 10
Distance: 178.71 km
Ascent: 11324m
Munros: 15

2021

Trips: 6
Distance: 123.1 km
Ascent: 9213m
Munros: 16
Corbetts: 1

2020

Trips: 4
Distance: 75.5 km
Ascent: 5878m
Munros: 8

2019

Trips: 19
Distance: 309.6 km
Ascent: 23228m
Munros: 36

2018

Trips: 20
Distance: 489.9 km
Ascent: 29922m
Munros: 57

2017

Trips: 11
Distance: 286.7 km
Ascent: 13908m
Munros: 33
Corbetts: 1

2016

Trips: 8
Distance: 155.32 km
Ascent: 6040m
Munros: 20

2015

Trips: 9
Distance: 254.25 km
Ascent: 6236m
Munros: 31
Corbetts: 1


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Last visited: Jul 18, 2024
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