Our blog - An Stuc recci, 16 Jul'18

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

An Stuc recci

16 July 2018
Checking alternative routes on An Stuc in the Lawers range. Steven Fallon was leading....

We have a guided event on the 1st August entitled "Lawers Raid" where we aim to bag all 7 Munros in one day. The trickiest section of the intended route is the descent down An Stuc, which is a Grade 1 rock-scramble. I thought I'd aim out on the hills to check out for possible alternatives to this.

I arrived at the Lawers Inn, parked in the south car-park and paid £5 in the bar around lunchtime. The place was quiet, it was a Wednesday. A gentle jog along the road took me past where I used to park by a ruined cottage - this was now being turned into a house, so alas you can't park here any more !

To the Horn Carver, then up the path behind this and around the farm above, I was then in thick undergrowth, the air being quite humid. Higher up and out of the vegetation, Meall Garbh and Meall Greigh stood infront, their slopes lushly covered green. An Stuc was out of view. I followed paths up to a small hydro dam, then bounded over grass and rush northwards with An Stuc and Ben Lawers gradually coming into view.

At this stage An Stuc didn't look particularly intimidating, but the route to the col between it and Meall Garbh needed to be picked carefully to avoid crags around Creag a'Bhuic. Once up to the col, the fun began ! Which way up ? - I took a lovely route just south of the main direct scramble, which took me onto a grassy bank just above a slightly awkward step. Upon surveying this from above, I concluded that this route is fine in the dry, but would be horribly slippy in wet conditions.

Onto the summit I met a couple of girls who'd just arrived from the opposite direction - we had a chat and then went our separate ways - they went down the scramble and I went north-west in search of an easy descent. I found it - an excellent runnable route which descended around 100m, then turned east to follow a very faint path (probably sheep-trod) below the crags of An Stuc's northern face. Care is still needed on this route tho, as a slip below the crags could have serious consequences !

Back up An Stuc again, this time direct up the rock-scramble route, I again met the two girls, this time negotiating their way gingerly down over the loose rock, nervous but laughing. Up to the summit, then direct down the scramble route, I passed the girls one last time before I aimed back around Creag a'Bhuic. Crossing one of the burns below, I was stopped in my tracks by an otter - we breifly stared at each other (I don't know who got the greater shock), before he dived into the water and disappeared. Of course I couldn't get my camera out quick enough and even though I hung around for ages (ok maybe 15mins), he wasn't for showing himself. Amazing !

Back down to the roadside and eventually the hotel, I enjoyed some refreshment in the beer-garden in sunshine. What a great way to spend an afternoon.

The route up/down An Stuc, including alternatives and map, is detailed on the website in the Ben Lawers range page.

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