Buachaille Etive Beag:
Stob Coire Raineach - 925m
Stob Dubh - 958m

Friday 17th November 2017

Weather/Conditions: Awesome late aumtumn conditions, strong sunlight on the hills then dark cloud, snow showers and strong wind on the ridge. Dusting of snow on top, but not too much which is as well because I forgot my ice axe!
Distance/Ascent/Time: 8km / 930m / 2h 22m
Accompanying: Alone

This was a day primarily to get to my 1000th lifetime Munro on the Saturday, the following day. I was sitting on 997 Munros, so that actually got me out the door but still not until late morning.

The light was brilliant in Glen Coe, with the first dustings of snow and powerful autumn light turning brown dirty flanks to gold. The weather was one of the most memorable parts of the day - that, and also the speed I got around these hills. I didn't feel as though I was moving too quick, nor was I particularly trying. The final slopes to Stob Coire Raineach were in a gale and I tried to stay upright in the wind. I passed a guy who'd just been to the top, and who like me, was also struggling to keep upright! I got to the cairn, just a photo, turn around and down again.

It interests me that in my job (working on the hills) I see how wind affects people differently. Some are obviously impervious to it, but it really affects some people. If I get blown a foot or two to the side by the wind, it doesn't really change where I want to go or what I think. Through working on the hills it became clear to me that it really sends alarm bells off for some folk.

Stob Dubh was equally windy, and sometimes I'd manage to get in the shade of the ridge for a break. Snow showers would come in over Bidean and send wind blasts ahead of them - an effect that you can probably feel better on the sea than on the mountains, where topography affects the wind patterns so much. I always remember it at Dumbarton Rock, where wind comes straight in off the sea, and you could feel the accelerated wind firing between the boulders with an increasing roar.

Anyway, Stob Dubh was gained without issue (worries about the ice axe in the car were entirely unfounded), but I forgot again which cairn was the summit. It's the first one you come to. I went to the far one anyway. Wouldn't be the first time. I shot a quick summit pano then straight off, on my way down to the car.

Again, I wasn't really trying to move quickly, it just ended up being that way. I wonder if the bad weather and wind actually made me move quicker because it stopped me hanging around for a break and a look at the scenery. Which granted you'd imagine these conditions would slow folk down, I'm quite happy with that.

I headed down the track from the bealach, quick easy miles with such a good track. Rain was now falling. I was back to the car 2h 22m after setting out, I realised afterward a full 25% faster than Naismith's Rule. And I wasn't even trying!! That's brilliant. I was even home to Ballachulish well before dark, an quick two Munros if ever there were, and would set me up for lifetime Munro 1000 on Ben Vorlich, Loch Earn, the following morning.

360° Panorama

Stob Dubh
Times (Time relative to 0.00)
(0.00) 11.23am Car park
(0.57) 12.20pm Stob Coire Raineach
(1.34) 12.57pm Stob Dubh
(2.22) 1.45pm Car park
Written: 2017-11-24