Peter Walker: Track 4162 in area near Stob Coire Altruim, Loch Linnhe to Loch Etive (Britain)
Buachaille Etive Mor (mostly)
Length: 12.9km, Creator time taken: 4h41m, Ascent: 972m, Descent: 968m
Places:Start at NN21005 55543, Stob Coire Altruim, Buachaille Etive Mor - Stob na Broige, Stob na Doire, Stob Coire na Tulaich, end at NN21284 55988 525m NE from Start Logged as completed by 1
Being sick on your holidays is a classic example of a First World Problem, but it's still pretty annoying. After an adventurous trip up Gulvain in Old Testament rain had left me chilled to the marrow, I took a day off during which something gastrointestinal occured that left me uncomfortable venturing more than shouting distance from the toilet. (And uncomfortable generally, to be honest). But the urge to get properly out and about whispered its siren song the following morning, so I fortified myself with Imodium and decided on something not-too-demanding...
That took the form of a tidying-up exercise in Glencoe. Many (30+!) years ago I'd climbed Stob Dearg, the monolithic highest summit of the Buachaille Etive Mor, back in the days when the multi-summitted mountain was a single Munro and some subsidiary Tops. Time and list revision have now upgraded one of those tops to full-blown mountain status, so now was the time to traverse the ridge properly so as to not look like a mere bagger. And so I parked up on the A82 and sallied southwards. The initial walk up/down the Lairig Gartain was lovely...the steep slopes of the two Buachaille Etives rearing up sharply on either side as the path vaguely aped the meandering of the stream occupying the valley floor. Then it was time to take the track up Coire Altruim to gain the ridge, and the wheels came off. It's not that long a climb...maybe 450m of height gain, but it's steep, semi-relentless and scrambly in places, and I rapidly discovered a worrying lack of oomph in the leg department. It was generally taking no more than 10 upward steps at a time in order to develop a whopping great pump in my thighs, and a profound 'long dark tea time of the soul' ensued. Eventually my sorry hide hauled itself onto the spine of Buachaille Etive Mor just above the Stob Coire Altruim / Stob na Doire col (that's is where the path actually comes out...I'm not an amateur) and I contemplated whatever the hell I was going to do next. A stern talking to garnered sufficient motivation to plod over Stob Coire Altruim to the errant Munro summit of Stob na Broige with a very restorative view down Glen Etive. Gaining this top was the absolute minimum objective for the day, and as such I felt a bit better as I wandered back along the ridge. I was still wondering if I'd have the pizazz to manage the steep 200m or so ascent up Stob na Doire, but then I fortuitously met a bloke coming the other way. I'm nothing if not a tart when I imagine there might be an audience (can't afford to look like a tourist now, can we?) and so I ground out the climb at a pace that could optimistically be described as 'steady' but at least I wasn't stopping all the time.
With Stob na Doire underfoot I felt semi-confident that while the Buachaille Etive provides plenty of opportunities to fall to your doom, I was at least unlikely to drop dead of exhaustion now. A very short diversion took in the very minor top of Stob Coire na Tulaich, and from there I made my way over to the head of Coire na Tulaich itself, the 'standard' way up Buachaille Etive Mor. At this point I could have dandered on up to Stob Dearg, the highest summit, but on this day I felt comfortable invoking the 'done that one years ago' privilege and decided against it. (It's an easy walk of around 1km up a 150m ascent if you're interested).
And so down Coire na Tulaich. This may be the usual way up the mountain, but it's shattered, steep and rough and needs definite care, with a few scrambly bits included to keep you honest. (In winter it's an avalanche hotspot with several very serious accidents having taken place). But once it opens out onto the moor at its foot you can take the chance to look back at the awesome mountain you've just climbed, and be grateful that you found a way to get your sickly person out on the hill when it'd have been so easy not to...
...and then, like the hand from the grave at the end of 'Carrie' try not to get run over in the 700m or so you have to walk along the A82. It'd spoil the day a bit.
Uploaded on: Tue, 2 Jul 2019 (22:08:44) Linkback: https://mountainviews.ie/track/4162/ To download GPS tracks you must be enrolled and logged in. See "Login or enrol", top right - quick and easy.
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