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  Shepherds of Etive  

Click to view the route on interactive OS 1:50000 maps Click to view the route on Google Earth (requires plug-in)

Buachaille Etive Mor and Beag



Munros

Stob Coire Raineach (925m, Munro 263)
Stob Dubh (958m, Munro 200)
Stob na Broige (956m, Munro 205)
Stob Dearg (1021m, Munro 109)

Ascent

1875m (6150ft)

Distance  

19km (12m)

Time

walking : 8hr*, running : 5:10hr,
 *Naismith's rule : 4km/h distance + 600m/h ascent


Main route summary


The Shepherds of Etive - Etive Mor and Etive Beag guard the eastern approaches to Glencoe.

The northern summit of Etive Mor, Stob Dearg, often just referred to as 'the Buachaille' rises dramatically above Rannoch Moor and is very popular with climbers, hill walkers and scramblers. Etive Beag is smaller than Etive Mor, but is similar in shape and appearance to its bigger brother.

Because of the hills' popularity and with The West Highland Way passing nearby, parking can be problematic at weekends.

start/finish Altnafeadh
(grid ref : NN221563)

profile
maps/guides  OS Landranger 41 OS Explorer 384 Pocket Mountains - Central Highland

GPS data download GPX file of this route

Google Earth  download KML file of this route

terrain
easy Grassy approaches, then mainly rock and scree difficult
navigation
easy Fairly straightforward testing
effort
stroll Some steep rocky ascents long day
scenery
ok Superb views particulary from Stob Dearg and Stob Dubh stunning
 
meanings Buachaille Etive Mor/Beag :
  'big/litte shepherd of Etive'
Stob Coire Raineach :
  'peak of the bracken coire'
Stob Dubh :
  'black peak'
Stob na Broige :
  'peak of the shoe'
Stob Dearg :
  'red peak'
main route outlineprint route
Getting there
  • The main parking area for the Etives is by the farm buildings of Altnafeadh on the A82, 4km west of Kingshouse Hotel.
  • This can be very busy in summer and at weekends, therefore additional parking is available 1km further west of Altnafeadh.
  • If heading up Curved Ridge, then limited roadside parking is possible 2km east of Altnafeadh on a corner.


Etive Beag - Stob Coire Raineach
  • From the main car-park at Altnafeadh, walk westwards along the road to the other car-park. A right-of-way sign-post points the way down the Lairig Gartain, from where a path starts.
  • Get on this path, which can be fairly sodden and crosses some occasional bog. Follow it along the northern bank of the River Coupall for 2km.
  • A burn flows down from the Mam Buidhe pass on Etive Beag and there is a path heading up the east bank of this. Follow this path, which becomes fainter further up, up to the bealach.
  • Turn right (north-east) and follow a worn path through scree and small boulders to Stob Coire Raineach's summit. Excellent views, so stop for a bit and take them in !

Etive Beag - Stob Dubh
  • From Stob Coire Raineach's summit return to the bealach.
  • On a very obvious path, start climbing south-west up grassy and occasional sections of loose gravel. The ground levels out at c900m, from where it's a straightforward walk taking in the fine views all around.
  • The base of the last climb up Stob Dubh is reached and the ground narrows to a scrambly crest. No real difficulties are encountered, but there is a real airy feel to this section of the route.
  • Upon reaching the summit cairn, you'll find the views down Glen Etive are blocked by a minor top, so continue south-west for a few metres over some boulders to a smaller cairn for amazing views down Loch Etive and beyond.

Etive Mor - Stob na Broige
  • Return to the Mam Buidhe bealach, then head back down to the Lairig Gartain following the burn you came up.
  • Upon reaching the glen floor, cross the Lairig Gartain path and drop down over tussocky ground to the River Coupall. Even after rain, I've never found this river difficult to cross.
  • Once across, directly ahead is the peak of Stob Coire Altruim with a burn coming down from the coire to the left.
  • On the west side of this burn a well worn path climbs up into the coire. Follow this path up. It's loose in bits and, particularly in wet conditions or in snow, will require some case to clamber over rocks.
  • Up onto the ridge at the higher of the two bealachs that separate Stob Coire Altruim from Stob na Doire, a faint by-pass path contours around the south side of Stob Coire Altruim's summit.
  • Alternatively, on an obvious path, you could head up to the summit cairn on Stob Coire Altruim then continue south-west along the crest.
  • Both of these routes converge and continue along the crest. One short last pull up over some gravel and stone will get you on Stob na Broige's summit cairn, where some beautiful views await.

Etive Mor - Stob Dearg
  • Head back to the bealach beyond Stob Coire Altruim, then continue on a worn path over a bump to drop to the lower bealach.
  • Aim north-east directly uphill along a path on the crest. Initially the ground is grass covered, then onto scree and rock higher up. A small cairn sits on Stob na Doire.
  • Turn north and lose some height by dropping down on more loose gravel and over some boulders and rock. Further down the crest widens and a worn path is followed over undulating grass covered ground to the small cairn sitting above Coire na Tulaich. This cairn is marking the route down, but there is still one more peak to bag - Stob Dearg, the highest Etive peak.
  • The terrain changes dramatically from grass to pink loose rock and scree. A very obvious path zig-zags up to the crest and is followed to the summit.
  • Once here, you can glow in the knowledge that you've left the best view-point to the end of the day. A vast panorama is enjoyed from this summit, with Rannoch Moor below and Schiehallion pointing up far in the distance.

Return
  • Return to the cairn above Coire na Tulaich.
  • In winter the descent from here may be corniced over and ice descending techniques will be called upon. Otherwise, although the descent may look difficult, it's not.
  • A fairly straightforward scramble is required down the initial drop into the gully, then keep to the left side (west) of the burn, from where scree makes for a fast descent.
  • A rough path is picked up and followed down to the coire and out to the hut at Lagangarbh, from where a short walk will return you to your car.




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