Munros above Glen Etive, 3-5 October'20

A blog post from one of our mountain adventures in the Scottish hills and mountains. We were hiking either side of Glen Etive, up Ben Starav, Sgurr na h-Ulaidh and neighbouring Munros. Dave Buckett and Christine Menhennet were leading, here's Dave's tale of the weekend.

Munros above Glen Etive

Day 1 - Ben Starav and neighbours

Oh decisions ! We'd been avidly watching forecasts and, after meeting up on Saturday morning, we decided to do our planned route in reverse, now starting by heading up to Glas Bheinn Mhor and continuing in a clockwise direction ending the day with a descent down Ben Starav. This was due to the weather being predicted to begin turning wet from around midday.

Good steady progress was made through the rough grass and bog towards the bealach between Stob Coir' an Albannaich and Glas Bheinn Mhor, from where a turn westwards we hiked on a fine path twisting uphill and clambering over some rocks to gain our first Munro by midday.

Our next aim was to summit Beinn na Aighenan, a detour from the main Ghlas Bheinn Mhor - Starav ridge of a few hours with a fair amount of descent and reascent. On route the predicted rain began to fall with darker skies coming in from the east. Beinn nan Aighenan bagged and we were back on the main ridge and with summits all round below any cloud. We made our way up Ben Starav's narrowing east ridge to gain our final Munro summit of the day. A long day but well worthwhile and 3 tricky Munro peaks in the bag !

Day 2 - Meall nan Eun and Stob Coir' an Albannaich

After heavy rain on Saturday night, Sunday beckoned with a mixed forecast. On this day we were heading for the two Munros north of yesterday's group - Meall nan Eun and Stob Coir' an Albannaich.

We began on the fine, if rather soggy, track heading northwards towards Glen Ceitlein. Once in the glen, the track gradually disappears and we were heading up rough ground with the waterproofness of our gaiters being tested by wet bog and grass. There were a few burns to cross on the way and once we'd gained Meall nan Eun's ridge, strong winds began to pick up with rain being added to the mix ! Upon reaching Meall nan Eun, lunch was tucked into - a silent affair with our backs to the wind and rain.

Leaving Meall nan Eun, there's an unavoidable wee bump between it and our next Munro, Stob Coir' an Albannaich. It's called Meall Tarsuinn (twisting hill) and although it reaches above Corbett height, it's not a Corbett - there's not quite enough re-ascent. But in weather like today, with the effort required to get over it, it certainly felt like it should be in the list ! To the next bealach, there's a steep ascent up Stob Coir' an Albannaich's small cairn from where a quick photo snap or two were taken before, we began our descent. We opted to navigate south to the bealach between Stob Coir' an Albannaich and Glas Bheinn Mhor and then re-trace yesterday's route back to Glen Etive.

Day 3 - Sgurr na h-Ulaidh and Beinn Fhionnlaidh

What a difference a day makes ! With a smaller group than the last two days and without the company of Christine, I was heading up Munros on the opposite side of Glen Etive. It was a great day, sunny and dry with warmth when in the sun and pretty cold in the shade. Sgurr na h-Ulaidh and Beinn Fhionnlaidh were the Munro summits being aimed for.

Most people approach these peaks on separate days from Glen Creran and Glen Coe, but heading in from Glen Etive allows for them to be bagged in one day. After heading in on fine forestry tracks, it's pretty tough progress from this direction. With a fit team, we made good progress up to the col between the Munros and made the first peak, Sgurr na h-Ulaidh before lunch and in fine conditions.

After returning to the bealach, there are a few options to head up Beinn Fhionnlaidh - we chose a tricky traverse on steep grass heading around Beinn Fhionnlaidh's eastern side and below its crags to gain its ridge. As we hiked the ascent up Beinn Fhionnlaidh's summit, we enjoyed amazing autumn views - a fine way to finish our extended weekend of Munro bagging !

More photos by Dave Buckett, Christine Menhennet and some of the participants are here on Flickr.

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