Stob Dubh (Buachaille Etive Beag) - 958m
Stob Coire Raineach (Buachaille Etive Beag) - 925m

Friday 9th October 2009

Weather/Conditions: A lot of cloud (but clear summits) and a lot of wind with occasional rain. Dull weather start to end.
Distance/Ascent/Time: 8.1km / 900m / 4h
Accompanying: Michael

The main objective for this weekend was to climb some of the peaks around about Glen Shiel, and at the top of the list was the South Glen Shiel Ridge; well known among hillwalkers as being one of the few places you can knock of seven Munros with relative ease. The South Shiel ridge was scheduled for the Saturday, so on the Friday, Michael and I split up the journey north by climbing two Munros neither of us had done on the Buachaille Etive Beag.

Stob Dubh

The weather was hardly ideal, and the wind was very cold when we stepped out of the car on the A82. After ten minutes of preparation, we left the car park, following a well built track upwards. The key here was speed, and so we packed light and moved fast - the best way to go in my opinion. It was 3pm and darkness fell at 7pm, so we'd have to get a move on.

To my surprise, a staircase of boulders led us all the way to the summit ridge. The path was similar to those on the likes of The Cobbler or Ben Lomond. It's been very well constructed, but isn't for someone that prefers to climb by their own route. Lower sections were still being constructed, so we occasionally went cross country. Otherwise it was an easy ride all the way to Mam Buidhe, the bealach separating the two Munros.

On the ridge, the wind had picked up and the going was tougher. We went for Stob Dubh first, being the further away Munro and therefore the one to get out of the way. A sketchier path took us up to 900m where the ridge levelled off and a narrow ridge took as the rest of the distance to the summit. Stob Dubh is an impressive mountain, and very steep sided for being such an accessible Munro. It looks beautiful, but offered no great challenges on the ascent. Of course, it is surrounded by the even more impressive mountains of Glen Coe and the views are spectacular for the effort required to reach it. We got it on a dull day, but there were always views worth seeing. Glen Coe is always magnificent, whatever the weather.

Stob Coire Raineach & Descent

From Stob Dubh, we traced our steps back to Mam Buidhe where Michael dropped off his bag, then headed up towards Stob Coire Raineach. A short ascent brought us to the summit at 5.40pm. It was becoming noticeably darker while we stood at the top, but we'd have ample time to descend. Few words other than moody could describe the views. It was complete melancholy; Glen Coe and Rannoch Moor both sulking beneath the thick cloud. Then we heard a siren coming from Glen Coe - a few blue flashing lights could be seen and for a moment we wondered whether there had been an accident. Some light drizzle fell too.

On a lighter note, Stob Coire Raineach was my 50th Munro. We stayed at the summit for a while, sometimes making calls, watching the police/ambulance lights in the valley below, or shivering from the cold. When it was getting a bit miserable we left for the bealach below; a couple of nice scree runs and steep ground on the way.

Michael picked up his bag at the bealach then we followed the path back down in the direction of the car. The stags were making a racket, with their distant roars sounding throughout the glen. Very atmospheric. Lower down, we picked up the pace and arrived at the car park four hours after starting out having ran the final hundred metres.

360° Panorama

Stob Dubh
Times (Time relative to 0.00)
(0.00) 2.55pm Car Park
(1.05) 4.00pm Mam Buidhe
(1.40) 4.35pm Stob Dubh
(2.25) 5.20pm Mam Buidhe
(2.45) 5.40pm Stob Coire Raineach
(3.00) 5.55pm Stob Coire Raineach (left)
(3.15) 6.10pm Mam Buidhe
(4.00) 6.55pm Car Park

Written: 2009-10-12