Glencoe Munros - Bidean nam Bian & Aonach Eagach Ridge
Meall Dearg (953m, Munro 211)
Sgor nam Fiannaidh (967m, Munro 187)
Bidean nam Bian (1150m, Munro 23)
Stob Coire Sgreamhach (1072m, Munro 65)
running : 6:15hr, walking : 8hr*
*Naismith's rule : 4km/h distance + 600m/h ascent
Main route summary
A great route with well defined paths over high level ridges, alongside sharp gorges and through a hidden glen.
The Aonach Eagach is mainland Britain's narrowest ridge, with several sections of exposure and where a good deal of scrambling can be enjoyed.
There are dead-end paths where people have walked only to find the route comes to an abrupt end and some tricky moves, so some local knowledge does help (you can hire one of our guides
to lead you along the ridge).
The ridge is not recommended in the wet and is a serious undertaking in winter conditions.
Bidean nam Bian is the vast mountain on the southern side of Glencoe above the fames 'Three Sisters'.
It is also the highest peak in Argyll, therefore the views from the main summit are vast and stunning.
Coming down from Stob Coire Sgreamhach can be testing, but brings you down into the fabulous 'Lost Valley' - a spooky place where the MacDonalds hid from the Campbells during the notorious masacre of Glencoe.
Most people split this route over two walks (described below in 'Alternative Routes'), but it is perfectly possibly for fit and competent walkers to bag all 4 Munros in one outing.
Doing this entire route anti-clockwise allows any morning dampness on the Aonach Eagach's north side to be dried off.
The day is finished off with some fast steep downhill scree running and a pint back at the Clachaig Inn.
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The A82 passes through Glencoe a few miles east of Ballachulish.
There are various car-parks in the glen, though in summer parking can be a real problem due to this area's fame and dramatic beauty.
Bidean nam Bian
Stob Coire Sgeamhach
- At the western end of Glencoe, just beyond Loch Achtrioachtran there's a parking area, leave this, cross the bridge over the River Coe, go through a gate and start south on a well built path.
- The path heads uphill toward a waterfall and then follows the burn up, keep to the west side and continue up steep ground.
- The path reaches some scree followed shortly thereafter by the crest of the northern arm of Bidean nam Bian.
- Follow a path south along this ridge over easy sections and boulders to Stob Coire nam Beith, then after a slight drop and some more ascent while sticking to a path, the two heights of Bidean are reached.
- The summit is the easterly top, on which a small pile of boulders make a cairn.
Being the highest point in Argyll, views from Bidean are amazing on a clear day.
Down to the road via the Lost Valley
- Leave the summit and head south-east along a ridge, narrow at first, widening further on as the descent increases.
- Reach the bealach, then head up more bouldery ground to a crest, turn towards the north-east and the cairn on Stob Coire Sgeamhach is arrived at.
- Return to the bealach, then with care, head down Coire Gabhail - loose steep ground is followed by a boulder field, then a new path is picked up.
- Fine walking/running down a gradual gradient crossing the occasion burn, the Allt Coire Gabhail is crossed and you're into the Lost Valley - a strange but wonderful place where the river disappears into the ground.
- The path continues down the east side of the glen and further down, the river needs to be crossed - if in spate, retreat back up the glen a bit, into the trees where the crossing is easier.
- Remain on the path on the west side of the river to reach a new gate through a deer-fence and follow the path down to cross the River Coe via an army constructed bridge over the deep and narrow gorge.
Sgorr nam Fiannaidh
- Directly uphill next on paths, cross the A82 to a small car-park below the eastern end of the Aonach Eagach ridge.
- A path leaves this lay-by and climbs steeply for around 150m, then drops a bit to meet up with a river - a good place to top up your water-bottle.
- Continue uphill on a worn path and grassy ground to reach the north-east arm of Am Bodach and some fine views over the Mamores to Ben Nevis.
- Continue up on some boulders then grass to Am Bodach's cairn.
- The next bit is tricky and sets the scene for the ridge -a sharp drop of 20m on rock, which can slippy if wet - keep to the crest which does a zig then zag to reach the safety of the path.
- No difficulties thereafter to reach the bealach then uphill to the ridge's east Munro, Meall Dearg.
- Continue north-west on the obvious path downhill on the crest of the ridge.
- A narrow gap is followed by a climb of 15m up a chimney, then continue along the distinct path on ridge's crest, some slight difficulties on the way.
- Eventually the difficult secton of the ridge is reached with drops on both sides.
Keep to the ridge on the north side and hug the two pinnacles, DO NOT take any paths that look as if they by-pass the obstacles - they're dead ends !
- You'll now be confronted with a short steep exposed rise, there's no option but to head straight up it - it's easier than it looks !
- That's the real difficulties over with, continue along the ridge with some more slightly tricky bits to reach Stob Coire Leith.
- The path continues along the ridge over easy ground to a bealach, then goes up some scree bits and boulders to the cairn on Sgorr nam Fiannaidh.
Superb views in all directions, particularly back along the ridge just done.
- Return to the bealach, then head south-west on good running screes.
- The screes are replaced by wet grass and a path is picked up to follow directly back to your car below.