Our blog - Above Glen Etive, 12-13 May'18

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

The Munros above Glen Etive

12-13 May 2018
Three days of guided hiking, bagging the 7 Munros either side of Glen Etive. Kevin Woods and Emma O'Shea were leading....

Day 1 - East of Etive, Starav to Glas - Kevin

The spring-like weather has continued through May, meaning days of warm sun and blue skies. Perfect. It made our weekend trip to Glen Etive very pleasant with stacks of time to sit on the tops, chat, and watch the day go by.

The East Etive weekend also starts with a bang - the first summit of the trip is Ben Starav, with its 1050m treadmill to the summit. And it is relentless, and a good effort from everyone to make it up. The summit was warm and calm, so we enjoyed some of the best views of the weekend, the panorama down the length of Loch Etiveand beyond.

Leaving Ben Starav, we enjoyed some scrambling over Stob Coire Dheirg, which gives some nice moments of Grade 1 scrambling on solid granite. Eight of us took the trip to BeinnnanAighenan, dropping rucksacks for the out-and-back. It was still and warm, and the hill was a bit further than it looked.

Then backtracking from Aighenan, we regained the ridge to knock off Glas Bheinn Mhor, the third and final Munro of the day. The ambience of the day was gently social with all kinds of folks out in the good weather. It was a warm descent back to the road. We followed the course of the AlltMheuran past EasnamMeirleach - the Robber's Waterfall, framed by Ben Starav's snowy crown and flanked by Scots Pines. It might have been a hot descent on sore legs, but it was stunning as well.

Day 2 - East of Etive, Albannaich and Eun - Emma

It was a damp start with promise of blue sky ahead as we drove down Glen Etive to the starting point. A slightly smaller group than the previous day set off towards our first Munro - Stob Coir' an Albannaich, with the mist soon lifting.

We were soon climbing up the steep craggy slopes which eased off above 500m to leave a very pleasant walk along a wide grassy ridge to the summit. The views were again magnificent, with an ever widening panorama opening up as we climbed and the final ridge to the top was rimmed by a huge collapsing cornice, giving the day an almost Alpine feel.

After sometime enjoying the summit we headed down and across the glaciated terrain to Meall nan Eun, our 5th Munro in 2 days. This part of the Etive hills has an incredibly wild feel and still remains relatively pathless for Munro country. We enjoyed some entertaining panoramic photo taking around the summit cairn with Julia having everyone running around the cairn whilst Moss, our 4 legged friend lay in the sunshine watching us all!

A leisurely descent followed, past some fabulous glaciated granite slabs and a gentle walk out down the glen to rejoin our outward route. A fabulous day in the mountains.

Day 3 - West of Etive, Fhionnlaidh and Ulaidh - Kevin

The West Etive trip takes in a pair of relatively obscure Munros, Beinn Fhionnlaidh and Sgurr na h-Ulaidh. Occupying a quiet and rough corner of land, they can be approached from multiple angles; Etive, Coe or Creran. The Etive approach has a great advantage in that they can be logically linked together.

Along for the day we had Vicky, David and Orion from the East Etive trip, as well as Christine, John and Mark. The weather was fantastic as with the previous days: light winds and clear summits. Forestry tracks in the lower glen give way to rough grass, and we firstheaded up onto BeinnFhionnlaidh. This mountain has a track developing; more so than I remember. Its summit is a great viewpoint, though it looks a long way down to the saddle below Sgurr na h-Ulaidh! We descended Beinn Fhionnlaidh and saw David off, before traversing to reach the base of Sgurr na h-Ulaidh. This area of mountains fascinates me for it's a great example of partially-metamorphosed schist. You see similar rock types in the vicinity of Glen Nevis and Kentallen; anywhere that there is underlying schist exposed to the heat of a granite core. It also makes stunning solid rock for climbing on, something I wasn't shy to sample!

Sgurr na h-Ulaidh was a good slog up, and it's south-east ridge has a couple of little scrambling moments. These mountains are quiet, though: paths are few and far between, as are other people. We headed back down the ridge and onto the lower meadows bordering the forest. After a cloudy period, the sun was out again and we headed into the forestry for the final kilometres to the cars.

More photos by Kevin Woods, Emma O'Shea and some of the participants are here on Flickr.

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