walkhighlands

Buachaille Etive Beag: short and straightforward

Route: Buachaille Etive Beag

Munros: Stob Coire Raineach (Buachaille Etive Beag), Stob Dubh (Buachaille Etive Beag)

Date walked: 01/04/2024

Time taken: 5.5 hours

Distance: 8.7km

Ascent: 950m


BuachailleEtiveBeag-2024-04-01.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


I'd been looking for an opportunity to go to Glen Coe to ski after a disastrous season at Glenshee, and finally got the opportunity to spend 3 days there. Because the forecast was good for the first day and then poorer for the next two, I decided to do the relatively short walk up Buachaille Etive Beag on the first day as my first introduction to the hills of Glen Coe.

I drove to the car park opposite the cairn by the A82, stopping off at the Handy shop in Comrie for one of their over-filled rolls - just one this time, after the mistake on my previous walk up Meall Glas and Sgiath Chùil when I practically had to force feed myself to eat two of them. I was lucky to get the last place in the car park, and set off in the sun on the path up Lairig Eilde at 11.40 am. After a fairly short distance, a path branched up the hill towards Màm Buidhe, the bealach between the two peaks. This was reasonably steep, but the path was very well made and contained a lot of stone steps, making the climb much easier.

Steps.jpg
Stairway to heaven...

The sight of the rocky Stob Coire Raineach rising up steeply above the path was striking, and looked a potential challenge.

StobCoireRaineachFromBelowBealach.jpg
Stob Coire Raineach rises up, seen from near bealach

There were a few meadow pipits on the way to provide extra interest. After just over an hour, I reached the bealach, which seemed a very pleasant place in this weather, providing a large seating area of flat rock. I spotted a bird of prey flying between the hills - perhaps a buzzard? From here, Stob Coire Raineach looked much less daunting, but Pt902, the peak towering up opposite at the start of the ridge leading to Stob Dubh, looked quite a climb. The photos don't do justice to how steep they looked.

Pt902FromBealach.jpg
Pt902 seen from bealach

There were a few paths up Stob Coire Raineach, but it was quite straightforward and I got to the top after 25 minutes from the bealach.

StobCoireRaineachSummit.jpg
Stob Coire Raineach summit

The top of Stob Coire Raineach was broad and flat, so it's necessary to move around a bit to get the best views. Thanks to the good weather, the views were really good, and being more used to the hills in the east and south, the steepness of the hills and the gouges between them were striking.

StobDubhFromSCRSummit.jpg
The final destination, Stob Dubh, seen from Stob Coire Raineach summit

AonachEagachFromSCRTop.jpg
Aonach Eagach and Glen Coe

BideanNamBianFromSCRTop.jpg
Bidean nam Bian

BenNevis.jpg
Ben Nevis

StobCoireRaineachTopViewSW.jpg
View along Buachaille Etive Mòr towards Ben Starav and Loch Etive, and (on right) Stob Dubh

It was very interesting to see Buachaille Etive Mòr, divided from Buachaille Etive Beag by the trench of Lairig Gartain, for the first time from the side, and get a better idea of what it's like. That is definitely one to tackle sometime.

BuachailleEtiveMor1.jpg
Buachaille Etive Mòr

While sitting on a rock for a snack just down from the summit, my neighbour from the car park, who had set off shortly before me, stopped to chat. He had headed up towards Stob Dubh first, but after seeing a couple of other people turning back from trying to traverse the big strip of snow leading up steeply to the ridge, decided for lack of crampons to leave it for another day. Certainly, seen from across the gap, the snowfield did look dodgy without crampons.

I headed down to the bealach and carried on up the other side. When I got to the snow patch, as I was putting on crampons, someone else passed by and said that she wouldn't bother with crampons unless she had to. By the time I'd got them on, she was past the snow. The snow crossing was easy, and after taking the crampons off again, I was soon at the top, Pt902. The climb had been less taxing than it had looked from the bottom. The wind was stronger here (although not too bad), so I needed an extra fleece.

Now the ridge came properly into view. The nearer section was quite rounded, but it wasn't obvious how narrow the section leading up to the summit was.

StobDubhFromPt902Top.jpg
Stob Dubh seen from top of Pt902

StobDubhRidge1.jpg
Stob Dubh ridge

As I progressed along the ridge, it turned out that it wasn't as narrow or as steep at the sides as it had appeared, so it was an easy enough walk to the top, although I'd have preferred less wind.

StobDubhRidge2.jpg

StobDubhRidge3.jpg

StobDubhSummitAhead.jpg
Stob Dubh summit ahead

Having been a bit nervous beforehand about walking along the ridge, I was pleased to reach the summit and to have conquered the ridge. I attached my phone to the top of a walking pole to take a photo, but the wind blew it off just at the last moment, with a frightening result.
FallingOffSummit.jpg
Falling off the hill

A short time after I arrived, a group of 4 Italians reached the top, and we took photos for each other - a definite improvement.

StobDubhSummit.jpg
Stob Dubh summit

I then walked the short distance to another cairn at the end of the summit ridge, which was well worth it for the views to the south west. Altogether, the views were impressive.

LochEtive-BenStarav.jpg
Loch Etive and Ben Starav

BuachailleEtiveMor2.jpg
Buachaille Etive Mòr

20240401_151630.jpg
Bidean nam Bian

StobDubhViewSW.jpg
View south west: Beinn Fhionnlaidh, Sgùrr na h-Ulaidh and Stob an Fhuarain in centre distance

StobDubhSummit-SCRFromSWCairn.jpg
Looking back at Stob Dubh summit and Stob Coire Raineach from cairn at end of ridge

I then set off back, passing the Italians who seemed somewhat lightly equipped for the Scottish mountains. Reaching the end of the ridge at Pt902, a raven took off and flew about low over the rocks for a minute before disappearing.

StobDubhFromPt902Top.jpg
Stob Coire Raineach from top of Pt902

Coming down to the snow patch, I didn't bother with crampons this time. I found a relatively short way across it which other people had already used. It wasn't difficult to keep a grip, and in any case, there wouldn't be that far to slide.

After passing the bealach, I sat on a rock out of the wind to eat my filled roll. It was difficult controlling the roll's contents, and quite messy, but the roll served its purpose admirably. Then it was down the path I'd ascended earlier in the day.

AonachEagachFromDescent.jpg
Aonach Eagach seen from the descent

Pt902-StobDubhFromDescent.jpg
Looking back up at Pt902 and Stob Dubh

By the time I reached the path at the bottom, the back of my right heel was beginning to play up a bit, and I was limping slightly when I reached the car park. I'm not sure what had caused it - it wasn't a blister. For once when reaching the car, I didn't feel that tired - it was after all a relatively short walk.

StobCoireRaineachFromRoad.jpg
Stob Coire Raineach seen from the road

By the time I reached the hotel, my heel was much worse and I was limping quite badly, so I had to miss my skiing the next day for the sake of an enjoyable walk. Luckily the following day I did manage to ski (in the cloud - it's Scottish skiing after all) before going home.

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djarvie


Location: Aberdeen
Activity: Mountain Walker
Mountain: Braeriach
Gear: Skis
Member: Scottish Wildlife Trust

Munros: 90
Corbetts: 5
Fionas: 1
Sub 2000: 3



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Statistics

2024

Trips: 2
Distance: 25.7 km
Ascent: 2150m
Munros: 4

2023

Trips: 7
Distance: 150.5 km
Ascent: 8820m
Munros: 16
Corbetts: 3

2022

Trips: 7
Distance: 232 km
Ascent: 10197m
Munros: 22


Joined: Jan 16, 2022
Last visited: May 20, 2024
Total posts: 18 | Search posts