Stob Dearg of Buachaille Etive Mor is hands down my favourite mountain. Probably the most iconic and most photographed mountains in Scotland. It featured in the James Bond film, Skyfall, as Bond makes his way to North. I attempted it once (after ‘The Beast from the East’ last year – not a wise move) and only reached the saddle but yesterday, I finally made it to the summit. What a cracking climb, it was absolutely brilliant to have my Dad join me for this one as his first mountain, hopefully it never put him off and he’ll come again! Not to mention Scoob, his dad and sister and Davie Russell. Safe to say the morale was high. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t great though, which is devastating considering the week of scorching sunshine we’ve had but hey-ho.
Stob Dearg – Buachaille Etive Mor
Category – Munro
Height – 1021 metres (3,351 ft)
Location – Glen Etive
Difficulty – 7/10
Approximate Timing – 4 – 5 hours
Pronunciation – Stop Jerrack, Booachil Etiv Moar
Buachaille Etive Mor is gaelic for “the great herdsman of Etive” and can be found at the head of Glen Etive, near Glencoe. “The Buachaille” as it’s more affectionately called forms a ridge that spans nearly 5 miles and has 4 tops. The one we done yesterday, Stob Dearg (red peak), is the largest of the 4 and the one that is predominantly seen from the A82 when driving towards Glencoe and the one featured in the above image. There’s a small off road car park on the A82 at Altnafeadhjust at the foot of the mountain. It’s situated at quite a bend in the road so be careful when entering and leaving. Also, watch your tyres and suspension, it’s not exactly level. Anyway, once your all parked up and rearing to go… follow the path towards the Lagangarbh Hut. It’s the wee white building that sits in front of Buachaille Etive Mor.
Not long after the hut, the ascent begins. I’m not going to lie and say it was easy. Then again, it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. It’s a relatively steep, craggy climb and there’s plenty of scrambling as you reach higher up but its a fantastic climb. The somewhat eroded path isn’t always clear and you do occasionally lose it but stick mostly to the right. There’s a gorge on the left and it gets to some height. You definitely don’t want to lose your footing near that.
You’ll eventually reach the saddle where it levels out for a brief spell and you can take a breather. From there, you head left and continue to the summit of Stob Dearg. If you head right, you’ll end up climbing Stob na Doire and Stob na Broige. Next time, I plan on doing all three and in better weather! Anyway, be careful as you continue left, the path narrows at points and can be dangerous.
You’ll know when you reach the summit, there’s a small cairn and you can’t go any further. With the poor weather, we never had much of a view and had to sneak glimpses when the clouds broke every now and then. I can only imagine the spectacular panoramic views you could get. I’ll see it one day!
Once you’ve enjoyed the view from Stob Dearg, and had a wee snack, head back to the saddle to head back down. If you want the full Buachaille Etive Mor experience, continue straight and climb Stob na Doire and Stob na Broige. If not, be careful on the way down, if you thought it was difficult on the way up, its harder (especially on the knees) on the way back down.
I may be biased because its my favourite mountain but Buachaille Etiv Mor is absolutely stunning. It has the typical pyramidal shape, spectacular views (so I’ve seen from photos) and its an excellent climb. As I said earlier, I plan on going back to complete the three and enjoy it on a nice day. We’ll see when that happens though. I would definitely recommend climbing this beauty but just be careful when scrambling up and down.
Have a wee look at some of the photos below!
Thanks for reading!