Another week, another couple of Munros in the bag. I felt as though I hadn’t been in Glencoe for some time so I set my sights on Buachaille Etive Beag, the smaller brother of my favourite mountain; Buachaille Etive Mor. It was another Wednesday with the sun shining and I can definitely say I made the most of it. A thoroughly enjoyable climb with some spectacular views over Glen Etive, Glencoe and down to Rannoch Moor.
Buachaille Etive Beag
Category – Munro(s)
Height – 925 metres (3,025 ft); Stob Coire Raineach & 958 metres (3,143 ft); Stob Dubh
Location – Glencoe
Difficulty – 7.5/10
Approximate Timing – 5 – 6 hours
Pronunciation – Stop Kora Rannach & Stop Doo; Booachil Etiv Bek
Buachaille Etive Beag is gaelic for “the small herdsman of Etive” and as mentioned above, Buachaille Etive Mor’s smaller brother. The 4km ridge is made up of two Munros; Stob Coire Raineach (peak of the corrie of ferns) & Stob Dubh (black peak). It’s the next mountain along the road from Buachaille Etive Mor, looking nearly identical to it’s illustrious neighbour. To get to the starting point, take the usual road towards Crianlarich (follow the A84 from Stirling and through Callander, Strathyre and Loch Earnhead. Join the A85, passed the cut off for Killin and head along that road). You’ll pass by where you would park for Ben More & Stob Binnein. Pass through Crianlarich and join the A82, heading North through Tyndrum, passing the Dalrigh cut off you would have taken for Ben Oss & Beinn Dubhchraig.
When you pass Tyndrum, stay right on the A82, don’t take the left to Oban, Ben Lui & Beinn a’Chleibh. From there, follow the A82, through Bridge of Orchy and through Rannoch Moor. You’ll then see Stob Dearg emerge as you make your way towards the Kingshouse & Glencoe. Pass by the Buachaille and you’ll see Buachaille Etive Beag come in to sight. Pass the first car park on the left (it gives you a view point of the mountain) and continue on to the next car park on the left… across from the Beehive Cairn. The path begins from there.
From the car park, take the path leaving from the corner. Buachaille Etive Beag doesn’t look quite as impressive from here but as height is gained, you get a spectacular view of the Aonach Eagach Ridge. Continue following the path as it leads up to the left and towards the Bealach between the 2 Munros. Before long, the path steepens and becomes more like a staircase. It’s easy to follow but I found it to be quite a sore climb from there. After what seems like an eternity of steps, the path forks just before you reach the cairn on the Bealach. It doesn’t matter which one you do first, but I opted for the longer journey first (Stob Dubh) which is the path to the right. From here you’ve got another steep ascent to the North top which is marked by another cairn at 902 metres.
From here, you’ll get a view along the ridge to the summit of Stob Dubh. If you look to the left, you’ll notice the Buachaille Etive Mor ridge is almost parallel and identical. As you continue along the ridge, it gets progressively narrower. If you don’t have a head for heights, I strongly suggest not looking down either side. There’s one final short, sharp ascent to the summit of Stob Dubh. Continue a little bit along from here, there is a beautiful view down Glen Etive to Loch Etive & the Munros behind the Three Sisters in Glencoe. Take your rest, obligatory summit photo and appreciate the view before retracing your steps all the way back down to the Bealach.
Stob Coire Raineach
Once you reach the cairn at the Bealach, continue along the path and begin the ascent to Stob Coire Raineach. Distance wise, it’s not very long but it is steep. The path isn’t always clear but follow what looks like a path and it’ll soon reappear. I’m sure there are a variety of routes up. It shouldn’t take long before you reach the summit. Again, for the best view point continue along a bit further for panoramic views to Rannoch Moor and Glencoe. Do what you need to at the summit and then it’s time to begin the descent. Return to the Bealach once again, make sure you take care on the descent as it is steep. If visibility is poor, try find the route that you ascended. Apparently a few of the apparent paths lead to the steep and craggy slopes. Follow the steps back to the well constructed path and back to the car park.
As I mentioned at the start, I found it to be a thoroughly enjoyable hike. With the sun beating down, it was difficult with the steep ascents at points but over all it was 100% worth it. Out of both, I found Stob Coire Raineach to be more difficult due to how steep it can be, both on the ascent and descent. Don’t get me wrong, the stairs up to the Bealach was difficult as well.
As always, there’s photos below, let me know what you think! And check out my YouTube video of the hike; Buachaille Etive Beag. If you enjoy reading my hiking reports, you can subscribe to my mailing list below and receive updates for every post, when they’re uploaded. No spam, just adventures and stories!
Thanks for reading,