Ben Starav

Ben Starav and neighbours

Hillwalking route from Glen Etive up Ben Starav, Beinn nan Aighenan and Glas Bheinn Mhor

A fine route above the eastern shores of Loch Etive, passing waterfalls and leading up to Ben Starav and its immediate Munro neighbours, Beinn nan Aighenan and Glas Bheinn Mhor.

Route outline


Ben Starav, 

Beinn nan Aighenan, 

Glas Bheinn Mhor

Ascent 2000m (6560ft)
Distance 21km (13m)
Time 8:30hr
Start/finish Nr head of Loch Etive
Grid Ref : NN137469
easy hard
easy hard
easy hard
ok fab

A fine hillwalking route following decent paths aside rivers and along mountain crests and ridges. On the way to bagging the three Munro summits of Ben Starav, Beinn nan Aighenan and Glas Bheinn Mhor, some fine waterfalls and impressive rock features can be found.

Route map

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Route description

1. Getting to Coileitir

By Coileitir, Beinn Trilleachan in view

On the A82 that travels from Tyndrum to Fort William, east of Glencoe and just west of the access for the Kingshouse Hotel, there is a junction signposted "Glen Etive". From this junction a narrow, single track road heads southwards down the glen.

The River Etive through glen is a favourite with canoists, so can be busy when wet ! The area is now also famed for Skyfall and sadly infamous for 'dirty camping'.

Head down the narrow road through the glen for 16km to where there is a small hut that looks like a bus-stop shelter and a track heading down off left, barred by a chain. There is some roadside parking here, though rather limited.

2. Bealachan Lochain Ghaineamhaich

Following the Allt Mhearan to Bealachan Lochain Ghaineamhaich

From the roadside, head down the track towards the River Etive and cross the bridge over it. Immediately after the bridge, there is a junction in the track - keep right.

Follow the track towards the building of Coileitir , which is now enclosed by a high deer fence. A path follows the edge of the fence around the buildings and meets the track again on the opposite side.

The track becomes a path and splits - keep to the right, cross some wet ground and head down towards the River Etive. After following the river bank for a short distance, the path reaches the Allt Mhearan, where a few metres upstream there are two bridges to cross.

Once over onto the south side of the Allt Mhearan, follow a wet path to the lower slopes of Ben Starav's northern shoulder to where the path splits .

The path on the right climbs directly to Ben Starav's summit (see the East of Etive route in Alternatives below). Instead take the path on the left which heads due south following the course of the Allt nam Meirleach upstream. The path climbs gently for around 3km to reach Coire Lochain Ghaineamhaich.

Above the coire, the climb becomes steeper, but the path remains obvious as it travels to Bealachan Lochain Ghaineamhaich , the col between Ben Starav and Glas Bheinn Mor - a fine place to pause where are several erratic boulders to shelter behind out of winds and perhaps leave rucksacks on fine weather days for the there-and-back route to Ben Starav.

Nearing Bealachan Lochain Ghaineamhaich, looking north down the Allt nam Meirleach

3. Ben Starav

Quartzite line on Stob Coire Dheirg

At Bealachan Lochain Ghaineamhaich, turn west and beyond the col's boulders, a path can be seen heading up the grass-covered rounded shoulder ahead leading towards the minor summit of Stob Coire Dheirg. Follow this path as it makes its way uphill.

After climbing around 100m, the ground on the right begins to fall away more steeply. Another 100m higher and the grass-covered terrain is left behind for an ascent up loose stones and scree, where to the right, ground drops steeply away to the coire below. Ahead a pronounced white line of quartzite dramatically slices through the rock on Stob Coire Dheirg's eastern face. The path twists and turns for the final 50m or so to the summit of Stob Coire Dheig .

From the summit of Stob Coire Dheig, turn south-west and follow a narrow, rocky ridge line. There are drops either side into corries below, the northern drop to Coire an Fhir Leith is significantly steeper than the southern one to Coire an t-Sneachd, and any difficulties or airy sections on the ridge can be bypassed on a faint path on the southern side.

The ridge climbs up to another minor summit , un-named on maps, but marked by 1068m spot height. Beyond this, while crossing a wide flat area, follow the rim of Coire an Fhir Leith north-west to the summit of Ben Starav , crowned by a large untidy cairn, from where views are vast.

Approaching Ben Starav's summit

4. Beinn nan Aighenan

Beinn nan Aighenan from Bealachan Lochain Ghaineamhaich

On Ben Starav, about turn and retrace your steps back down to Bealachan Lochain Ghaineamhaich .

Upon approaching the bealach, look for a couple of paths contouring off right. Follow either path, they both converge laterand travel down over grass towards the col below Beinn nan Aighenan.

On the other side of the col, terrain becomes more rough with lose stones and some rocky slabs. Head uphill on an obvious path that zig-zags as it climbs trying to avoid a few slight difficulties. Higher up you'll pass a small lochan (really just a big puddle), indicating Beinn nan Aighenan's summit is not far. Good views from the small summit cairn , with a particularly fine outlook to Ben Cruachan northern aspect.

Approaching summit of Beinn nan Aighenan

5. Glas Bheinn Mhor

Descending Beinn nan Aighenan

Return on the path to the bealach between Beinn nan Aighenan and the main ridge towards the col . Head back up the path for a bit, then come off the path and head directly up the grass-covered slope ahead.

There's a fairly steep ascent with a few short rocky sections to contend with before reaching the ridge that travels west from the minor summit of Meall nan Tri Tighearnan. On the crest, the path that connects Ben Starav and Glas Bheinn Mhor is picked up and followed eastwards.

The path travels uphill to Meall nan Tri Tighearnan , followed by a drop of around 70m to reach the base of the final climb up Glas Bheinn Mor - a hike of around 200m following the path all the way to the grass-covered dome summit , where a small cairn rests.

Glas Bheinn Mor from Meall nan Tri Tighearnan

6. Return

Descending to the Allt Mheuran

If rivers are in spate, then some of the burns by the lower reaches of the Allt Mheuran may be dangerous or even impossible to cross, so possibly best to about turn on Glas Bheinn Mhor, return to Bealachan Lochain Ghaineamhaich and re-trace your steps back to Coileitir.

Otherwise, leave Glas Bheinn Mhor's summit and head east, losing around 100m of height. As ground levels out, the path gradually turns north-east, then starts to drop once more. Although the path from here is fairly obvious, there is some rough terrain to be encountered when nearing the bealach between Glas Bheinn Mhor and Stob Coir' an Albannaich.

At the bealach there are a couple of cairns and a path crossing the col. Turn north-west and follow the rough path downhill keeping to the northern bank of the Allt Mheuran. There are several small burns that cross the path on the way, all just needing a simple step or jump.

After around 3km on from the bealach between Glas Bheinn Mhor and Stob Coir' an Albannaich the path is crossed by more significant burns, with one of these having suffered a fair bit of a rock and landslide).

The path reachs woodland, a fence is crossed and you may come across a memorial stone by the lower falls of the Allt Mheuran. The path now on very soggy ground, travels back to the buildings at Coileir.

Memorial by the Allt Mhearan

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