Nearing Stob Dubh on Etive Beag

Shepherds of Etive

Hillwalking route up the Munro peaks on Buachaille Etive Mor and Etive Beag in Glencoe

The rugged mountains and iconic peaks of Buachaille Etive Mor and Etive Beag guard the entrances to Glencoe. Long high-level ridges between Munro summits and some easy scrambing make for a classic hillwalking route.

Route outline


Stob Dearg, 

Stob na Broige, 

Stob Dubh, 

Stob Coire Raineach

Ascent 1875m (6150ft)
Distance 19km (12m)
Time 8:00hr
Start/finish Altnafeadh
Grid Ref : NN221563
easy hard
easy hard
easy hard
ok fab

Etive Mor and Etive Beag are rugged mountains with intimidating profiles, particularly when viewed from Glencoe. Coire na Tulaich and Coire Altruim on Etive Mor have some loose ground and rough slabs that can catch out hillwalkers. Once onto the mountain crests, routes are fairly obvious on worn paths following ridge-lines.

This route can easily be cut into two days, with Etive Beag on one and Etive Mor on the other. If intending to do this, there is a shorter and easier route up Etive Beag starting from a few miles to the west of Altnafeadh and heading up the other side of the mountain, details are here.

Route map

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Route description

1. Getting to Altnafeadh in Glencoe

Etive Beag from the River Coupall

Etive Beag from the River Coupall

The main parking area for the Etives is by the farm buildings of Altnafeadh on the A82, 4km west of Kingshouse Hotel.

This can be very busy in summer and at weekends, therefore additional parking is available 1km further west of Altnafeadh.

If heading up Curved Ridge, then limited roadside parking is possible 2km east of Altnafeadh on a corner.

2. Etive Beag - Stob Coire Raineach

Etive Beag's Stob Coire Raineach from the south

Etive Beag's Stob Coire Raineach from the south

From the main car-park at Altnafeadh, walk westwards along the road to the other car-park. A right-of-way sign-post points the way down the Lairig Gartain, from where a path starts.

Get on this path, which can be fairly sodden and crosses some occasional bog. Follow it along the northern bank of the River Coupall for 2km to where a burn flows down from the Mam Buidhe pass on Etive Beag .

Turn right and follow a path heading up the east bank of this burn. As height is gained, the path becomes fainter, but it can be traced up to the bealach between Etive Beag's two Munro summits.

Turn right (north-east) and follow an obvious and worn path through scree and small boulders to Stob Coire Raineach's summit . Excellent views - time for a stop for a bit to take them in !

3. Etive Beag - Stob Dubh

Etive Beag's Stob Dubh from Stob Coire Raineach

Etive Beag's Stob Dubh from Stob Coire Raineach

From Stob Coire Raineach's summit return to the bealach .

On a very obvious path, start climbing south-west up grassy and occasional sections of loose gravel. The ground levels out at c900m, from where it's a straightforward walk taking in the fine views all around.

The base of the last climb up Stob Dubh is reached and the ground narrows to a scrambly crest. No real difficulties are encountered, but there is a real airy feel to this section of the route.

Upon reaching the summit cairn , you'll find the views down Glen Etive are blocked by a minor top, so continue south-west for a few metres over some boulders to a smaller cairn for amazing views down Loch Etive and beyond.

4. Etive Mor - Stob na Broige

Stob na Broige from Stob na Doire

Stob na Broige from Stob na Doire

Return to the Mam Buidhe bealach , then head back down to the Lairig Gartain following the burn you came up.

Upon reaching the glen floor, cross the Lairig Gartain path and drop down over tussocky ground to the River Coupall. Even after rain, I've never found this river difficult to cross !

Once across, directly ahead is the peak of Stob Coire Altruim with a burn coming down from the coire to your left.

On the west (right) side of this burn, a well worn path climbs up into the coire. Follow this path up. It's loose in bits and, particularly in wet conditions or in snow, will require some care to clamber over rocks. There is one little nasty bit and keeping into the groove on the right-hand-side of this is much safer than the exposed rocks on the left-hand-side.

Up onto the ridge on a flat area west of the bealach that separates Stob Coire Altruim from Stob na Doire, a faint bypass path contours around the south side of Stob Coire Altruim's summit.

Alternatively, on an obvious path, you can head up to the summit cairn on Stob Coire Altruim then continue south-west along the crest.

Both of these routes converge and continue along the crest. One short last pull up over some gravel and stone will get you on Stob na Broige's summit cairn , where some beautiful views await.

5. Etive Mor - Stob Dearg

Heading north along Etive Mor to Stob Dearg

Heading north along Etive Mor to Stob Dearg

Head back to the flat area west of the bealach beyond Stob Coire Altruim, then continue on a worn path over a bump to drop to the the bealach.

Aim north-east directly uphill along a path on the crest. Initially the ground is grass covered, then onto scree and rock higher up. A small cairn sits on Stob na Doire .

Turn north and lose some height by dropping down on more loose gravel and over some boulders and rock. Further down the crest widens and a worn path is followed over undulating grass covered ground to the small cairn sitting above Coire na Tulaich . This cairn is marking the route down, but there is still one more peak to bag - Stob Dearg, the highest Etive peak.

The terrain changes dramatically from grass to pink loose rock and scree. From the top of Coire na Tulaich, a very obvious path zig-zags up onto the crest of Stob Dearg and this is then followed to the summit .

Once here, you can glow in the knowledge that you've left the best view-point to the end of the day. A vast panorama is enjoyed from this summit, with Rannoch Moor below and Schiehallion pointing up far in the distance.

6. Return to Glencoe

Looking down Coire na Tulaich

Looking down Coire na Tulaich

Return to the cairn above Coire na Tulaich .

In winter the descent from here may be corniced over and ice descending techniques will be called upon. Otherwise, although the descent may look difficult, it's actually pretty straightforward.

A fairly easy scramble is required down the initial drop into the gully, then keeping to the left side (west) of the burn, from where scree makes for a fast descent.

A rough path is picked up and followed down into Coire na Tulaich and out to the hut at Lagangarbh, from where a short walk will return you to your car.

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Alternative and nearby routes »

Bidean nam Bian and Stob Coire Sgreamhach

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Peaks : 2 Munros

Ascent : 1300m (4270ft)
Distance : 10km (6m)
Time : 4:30hr

Aonach Eagach traverse

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Peaks : 2 Munros

Ascent : 1200m (3940ft)
Distance : 8km (5m)
Time : 6hr

Buachaille Etive Beag from Glencoe

Like its big brother Etive Mor, Etive Beag appears quite impregnable from the Rannoch Moor approach. However, head around the west side of the mountain and an ascent looks much less intimidating !

Peaks : 2 Munros

Ascent : 940m (3080ft)
Distance : 8km (5m)
Time : 3:40hr


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