Bidean nam Bian from Stob Coire Sgreamhach

Bidean nam Bian and Stob Coire Sgreamhach

Hillwalking route up Bidean nam Bian and Stob Coire Sgreamhach from Glencoe

Starting at Loch Achtriochtan and ending up with a descent through eery 'Lost Valley', this is a wonderful route to bag the Glencoe Munros of Bidean nam Bian and Stob Coire Sgreamhach.

Route outline


Bidean nam Bian, 

Stob Coire Sgreamhach

Ascent 1300m (4260ft)
Distance 10km (6m)
Time 4:30hr
Start Loch Achtriochtan
Grid Ref : NN139567
Finish Three Sister's car-park
Grid Ref : NN171569
easy hard
easy hard
easy hard
ok fab

Starting from the western end of Loch Achtriochtan in Glencoe a fine constructed path leads uphill past some beautiful waterfalls onto the high rocky crests of Bidean nam Bian and Stob Coire Sgreamhach. There's some easy bits of rock-scrambling to enjoy here and there, but nothing difficult or graded. The descent from Stob Coire Sgreamhach down through the 'Lost Valley' is quite strange with the river disappearing underground only to appear again further on.

Being so high, the views from Bidean nam Bian's summit are stunning and vast on clear days. Care is need on some sections, particulary the boulderfield at the top of the 'Lost Valley'. Beware if heading out in snow-covered conditions, Bidean nam Bian is renowned for winter hillwalking and climbing accidents.

Route map

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Route description

1. Getting to the start in Glencoe

Aiming uphill from Loch Achtriochtan

The start point is at the western end of Glencoe, just beyond Loch Achtrioachtran where there's a large parking area on the south side of the A82 by the bridge to Achnambeithach cottage.

If you have two vehicles, then leave one of them at the finish point, the Three Sisters car-park, around 4km east up Glencoe. This will avoid an hour or so of walk along the A82, which can be fairly unpleasant in the holiday season or busy weekends.

2. Bidean nam Bian

Approaching Bidean nam Bian's summit from the north-west

From the car-park, head west and cross the bridge over the River Coe. Go through a gate and start walking southwards on a well constructed path that keeps above the west bank of the Allt Coire nam Beithach.

The path heads uphill towards a waterfall (fine photo-opportunity) beyond which the ascent steepens.

Into Coire nam Beitheach and sticking to the west side of the burn, the path reaches some scree and zig-zags up to the crest of the northern arm of Bidean nam Bian where views dramatically open up.

Now on the crest, follow a path southwards along this ridge as it gradually rises. There are some easy rocky sections and boulder to clamber over before Stob Coire nam Beith is reached - a minor top on Bidean nam Bian.

After a slight drop and one final push while sticking to a path, the two heights of Bidean nam Bian 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 nam Bian's summit are amazing on a clear day.

3. Stob Coire Sgreamhach

Descending Bidean nam Bian towards Stob Coire Sgreamhach

Leave Bidean nam Bian's summit and head south-east along a ridge following a path. Narrow at first, and with some easy scrambling, the crest widens further on as height is lost.

Reach the bealach between Bidean nam Bian and Stob Coire Sgreamhach and since this is where you'll return to, this might be a good place to drop-off rucksacks. There views from here are impressive, particulary down the Lost Valley to the Aonach Eagach.

On an obvious path, head up more bouldery ground eastwards, taking care not to be drawn by some lose paths too far northwards. Not before long ascent easies and it's onto Stob Coire Sgreamhach's crest, and then the summit cairn .

4. Return to Glencoe

Crossing the Allt Coire Gabhail at the foot of the 'Lost Valley'

Return to the bealach , then with care, head down Coire Gabhail - loose steep ground higher up leads to boulder-field, then a constructed path lower down. The path is initially quite steep, but levels out giving fine walking/running is enjoyed down a gradual gradient crossing occasion burns. 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. Once over, remain on the path on the west side of the river, there are several points with drops into the gorge below, so take care ! Reach a gate through a deer-fence and follow the path through regenerated woodland down to cross the River Coe via an army constructed bridge over the deep and narrow gorge.

If you've not organised transport, follow the remains of the old road, then the Millenium Path aside the A82 back to the start-point.

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