Wet West Highlands – Buachaille Etive Beag   8 comments

Sunday, and we had what we thought was a slightly better forecast. Showers but with some clearer spells and maybe a chance of sunshine. This was before another spell of heavy rain and winds was due in the afternoon. We were up early and planned on Buachaille Etive Beag as a shorter day with a high start.

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Things started with promise with some shafts of sunlight and the Aonach Eagach clear of cloud and looking magnificent.

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The path to the col between the two summits of BEB is excellent and while steep in places makes for steady upward progress.

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Considering how poor the weather had been the views were pretty decent and we were feeling more encouraged and positive.

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Looking back along Glencoe to the Aonach Eagach.

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The highest point of BEB just skimming the clouds.

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Onwards and upwards.

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At the col the wind was ferocious so we took time out to find some shelter for first early lunch. We figured this was not going to be a day for lingering on the top.

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At this point the views were still of mostly cloud free summits.

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The hand thing again……

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From there, the day went rapidly downhill. What we thought was a passing shower turned to heavy persistent drizzle, driven by a relentless wind. Despite the odd shaft of distant sunlight it was becoming pretty desperate.

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We stopped for the briefest moment on the first Munro of Stob Coire Raineach before heading straight back down.

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It was a deeply unpleasant descent, steep, slippery and in driving rain and gusts that I reckon were pushing 50mph. Several times I had to brace against my poles to stay upright. We paused at the col, considered for the briefest moment whether to carry on to the second and highest summit and headed straight back to the cars.

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We were all soaked and chilled and the wind meant it was not a day to be out on high mountain ridges.

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Again the weather had let us down and we were all a little disappointed to cut the day even shorter than planned. Mark and TTC started their long journey home and it was only 1pm. We headed back to the cottage for hot drinks and afternoon board game (Ticket to Ride, one of the best of the current crop). Looking back I take comfort from the fact that after a difficult couple of years, its spending time with good friends, even on a wet and windy day, is what really matters.

8 responses to “Wet West Highlands – Buachaille Etive Beag

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  1. Can’t remember which is the highest top but the other is far nicer – having said that, I think it was narrower so maybe not nice in a 50mph wind! Are they both Munros? I can’t remember now it was so long ago!

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    • They are both Munros now, this lower top was added in one of the updates (a free one for me as I’d already done it!). The main summit at the other end is higher and much better with a fine ridge leading to it. I’ve done it twice, both in blue sky winter conditions days so didn’t feel the need to climb it again in the rain. Had we known the weather was going to do that we’d have gone up the Pap of Glencoe!

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  2. Got this one on my tick list as I’ve heard its a good one, the second half of that walk looks like a different day, tshirts and shorts lower down and then you with a woolly hat at the end!!

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    • One of the easier big mountains in Glencoe and with a ridge and views to rival the more famous ones. That day was an object lesson in treating big mountains with respect especially in uncertain weather. I always carry proper gear when outside of my tame local hills, spare clothing, as well as a proper survival bothy bag.

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      • I’ve got my first aid kit which I used in anger in the Lakes when my youngest went over on his knee. I bought a survival bag after that as I realised that if he’d have been worse then we may have been stuck up there with him getting cold

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  3. Shame about the weather. Glencoe is one place that really attracts it though. Many a time picked a clear sunny day everywhere else on the way up only to find dark clouds over the moor and glen. Definitely has its own micro climate hanging over it.

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    • On this day, I’m pretty sure if we’d stayed nearer the coast we’d have stayed dry. Rest of the week it seemed the whole of Scotland took a bit of a pasting but we managed to get out all 5 days

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