Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Glen Etive: Ben Starav (63), Beinn nan Aighenan (196) and Glas Bheinn Mhor (145)

Walk date: 12/7/14
My Munro #'s: 262, 263 and 264

Pronunciations - translations - heights:

Byn sta-rav - unknown - 1078m
Glas vyn voar - big green/grey hill - 997m
Byn yan yanan - hill of the hinds - 960m

Duration - 09:10 - 19:40
Distance -   21.3km
Total ascent -  1827m
Weather - very pleasant, cloudy but mostly dry
Team - with Paul P
Other hikers: 2 young fast versions of ourselves and one slow old version!

Today's route and track are the blue pairing - the red is tomorrow's!

Hike week 2015 - Day 2 - Sunday

This was a great day which had been overshadowed with a threat of thunder, but that never even nearly materialised this far north.  The worst part of this hike was actually the flat section at the start once the managed path gives out and becomes a full-on bog of squelch!  We later found out that you can skip most of it by staying right up against the river (actually as plotted) before making the turn up along Allt nam Meirleach and ignoring the track into the bog with its dubious promises of a shortcut, but we live and learn!

Once off that bit, there's a river crossing which can be fun (me) or tricky (Paul) depending on your gusto for these things, and then what the book described as 'a brutal ascent' up Ben Starav's long northern ridge.  Having visited every peak in nearby Glencoe before, I didn't think it was that bad.  Having said that, this was where two spritely younger versions of ourselves said their hellos as they left us for dust.  Just wait until they have kids!!!

The top of Ben Starav came quicker than expected and was a fine spot for an early lunch in the still weather, with fine views down over Loch Etive.  Once done, we continued on the crest of the ridge for a while, which was airy but firm, but then saw a tempting good looking path exiting to the south and seemingly toward the next hill, the outlier Beinn nan Aighenan.  The obviousness of the path meant we went for it, but after the initial descent, we found ourselves with no route onward, just a complex mix of rough grass and boulder fields for the next hour!  We were not the only ones to make this mistake as we saw our younger versions later on and they'd done exactly the same!

Once over the rough ground and reacquainted with the path, the route to Beinn nan Aigheanan was fine if not a little scrambly and further than anticipated.  We also got a little rain here but it was finished before the top.  After that the return to the main path and the plod up Glas Bheinn Mhor seemed quick, which was perhaps fortunate seeing that the descent  along Learg Mheuran took quite some time in my mind's eye, and that was only to be followed by our second visit to the bog of delights!

Ah well, a great day really, with that great happy-tired feeling in the legs!

Let the games begin!  Once you've driven a fair way down Etive!

Moody morning clouds over our hills:

Down the Glen:

Nearing the final section to Ben Starav:

Views from Starav over Loch Etive:

Views of the ridge onward from Starav:

Looking back up the ridge and wishing we'd stayed on the good path!

The view over to Beinn nan Aighenan:

On da summit:

Back on the circuit and working on Glas Bheinn Mhor:
Views of Allt Choire Dhuibh:

And back at t'car:

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Monday, September 14, 2015

The Mamores: Stob Ban (140) and Mullach nan Coirean (236)

Walk date: 04/07/15
My Munro #'s: 260 and 261

Pronunciations - translations - heights:

Stob baan - light-coloured peak - 999m
Mullach nan kooran - Summit of the corries - 939m

Duration - 13:10 - 18:30
Distance -  13.8 km
Total ascent -  1210m
Weather - Low cloud, but some good views, some wind and rain but not spoiling things.
Team - Paul P
Other hikers: 8 in 3 groups, all going the other way!

Hike week 2015 - Day 1 - Saturday

Hurray!  It was finally time to stop planning it from a computer and get out there!  With Paul turning up Friday night, we were clear to set off Saturday morning and be hiking by the afternoon.  With the remaining Munro count at 23, there was a lot less choice than previous years of where to go.  This day saw us heading into Glen Nevis to take my last hills there, this nice little circuit in the Mamores.  This year also saw me testing out a Hero camera that my brother got me on a rucksack mount, but we stopped short of jumping off ledges to get some good shots!

The day wasn't exactly part of a glorious summer, so views were limited, but it just felt great to be getting on with it.  I was pleased that my ongoing sciatica pain didn't impact the walking too much (just the sitting in the car!).  I was also giving my boots another try despite the pain they caused me last year with the re-soling reducing the internal space, although this time most definitely with the insoles removed from the start!

A slight bit of confusion at the road saw us park up too early, but we soon found the official start just after where the road crosses the river and this gave us a good path to follow up onto the ridge.  The hills were impressively green and with nice rocky tops, the character of the hills improving along the link between the two and Mullach nan Coirean itself.  

Our only problem of the day came with the descent through the forests.  With my plotted route not really materialising we were left with a slog down forestry paths which zig-zagged boringly through the dense woods.  After that we were rewarded with an intense swarm of midges at the car.  Ah, most definitely back in the west!!  Still, a pint in the Grog and Gruel rescued matters somewhat!

Here we go again!

The good track up-eth!

Fine views for a while back down:

Coming up on Stob Ban:

Somewhere inbetween!

Ah, the vistas!

Honest, it's this way...

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