A blog of our mountain adventures in Scotland, hiking, biking, rock-scrambling and more !

West of Etive

16 March 2016
The high pressure dominating over the country for the past few days, I thought I'd better put admin to the side for a bit and get out and check the snow conditions for our group at the weekend. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it !

photo 1 Setting off early to avoid the rush hour traffic of Edinburgh, I drove up over the Black Mount and into Glencoe. Stopping by the roadside several times on the way, I just had to take some photos of the superb mountains, sugar-coated summits glistening in the sunshine.

Down in Glen Etive I arrived at the start of the hike, chatted to a couple of other folk, then headed off, jogging up the forestry track. Much of the forest had been felled and although some of the area looks unsightly, the southern side of Beinn Fhionnlaidh now comes into view quicker than before. Looking at the eastern crest of this mountain, I wondered nervously about route choice - snow was banking up and with the mild temperatures, I didn't think a direct ascent would be advised. So, I chose Sgorr na h-Ulaidh to do first, that way I could see more of Beinn Fhionnlaidh and make a more educated decision on routes.

photo 2 Ground was a bit damp with all the snow melting, but waterproof socks meant I was immune. Up to the south-eastern flank of Sgor na-h Ulaidh, and onto patches of snow and ice, the going was pretty easy and Jake and I were on the summit quickly. What a view ! Ben Nevis to the north, Vorlich and Ben More to the south-east, Cruachan south and even out to Mull - wonderful.

A return down the way I'd come up proved slightly more challenging. On the way I was constantly checking out the eastern flank of Beinn Fhionnlaidh and my earlier thoughts were confirmed - I really shouldn't go direct up !

photo 3 So once down at the col between the two mountains, I contoured around Beinn Fhionnlaidh's eastern shoulder, staying on grassy terrain underneath the craggy rock outcrops. Onto the sunny south side, a hike took me and Jake up onto the mountain's snow covered crest. We caught up a guy putting on his crampons for the last 100metres or so of ascent - I persisted with my Inov-8 Mudclaws and Jake has his own built-in crampons (his claws) ! A couple of easy scrambles and more snow and we were up on the summit taking in more superb views. Wow !

An about turn and jog downhill (great fun), I was back down to the roadside pretty quickly. In fact, total time for the to get up and down both hills was 3:25hr, not my fastest time, but not far off it !

The route taken is on Strava.

Some more photos are up on Flickr.

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