Saturday 14th May 2005
Weather/Conditions: A very clear day of visibility about 70 miles. The sun was out with some cumulus clouds about, although blue skies all around. A hot, bright day, although it a little too warm in Coire na Tulaich. Asides one or two biting but quite weak gusts of wind at the summit, it was calm. Overall, a great day for weather.
Distance/Ascent/Time: 6km / 750m / 6h
We were walking by half past 11 or so, taking the small bridge over the river to the trail that lead in. I was a little unsure of how the terrain below the col would be - would it be too steep? It all turned out to be okay and I don't know why I was so worried. It was boiling in Coire na Tulaich, but we followed the (deteriorating) path upwards. Views were beginning to open up but we kept going. After a while there was no path, just scree and boulders all the way up. The terrain steepened and although there were some bits of a path left, it was soon no more and I began finding a way up onto the col.
I climbed myself into a very obscure place where I realised that I couldn't get up, so I'd have to go back and find another way up. Beneath my feet the scree slopes dropped away for several hundred feet and I realised that it was a place I did not want to fall. I was fine though and got up to the col without any trouble. However, a little bit of me was glad that small last part was over.
Now came the last bit, the ridge to the very summit of Stob Dearg. It took a small while, clambering over the boulders - and there were many false summits on the way. I fell at one point, but it resulted in nothing more than small cut. An easy walk over the flat top took me to the spectacular and precarious summit of Stob Dearg - the front of the Buachaille Etive Mor. Amazing views!
Dad arrived soon after but in the meantime I sat and ate lunch while taking in the great views. Several groups came and left although we stayed a while longer, spending the best part of an hour up there.
Upon leaving the summit, we were going to go to Stob na Doire, (the first top on the ridge) however upon arriving at the col we just went back to the car. I had a slight worry about the initial steep descent but it turned out that some of the rock created natural steps which took us down the first section. After that it was all easy, but my feet hurt insanely - I was using old 4-season boots which didn't leave me with the most comfortable feet. Why on earth did I want to go hillwalking after having my feet go through that? In the latter sections it was a very painful descent.
Return through Glen Orchy
Nevertheless, we got down without any trouble and sighted some wild deer too. We packed the stuff up and left soon after - however instead of going straight home we took a detour through Glen Orchy, stopping at three waterfalls for photography. The last was certainly the most impressive. We drove home after that - Marillion and Genesis in the car, all the way.
Stob Dearg (Buachaille Etive Mor)