Buachaille Etive Mor

Difficulty: Hard

Distance: 13km

Ascent: 1180m

Time: 8hrs

Technicality: Mostly walking with a small amount of easy scrambling at the start of the descent.

Terrain: Mix of good paths, faint mountain tracks, ridges, scree and a small amount of down hill rock steps

Navigation: Hard. You will need to be confident with a map compass in all but the best weather.

Parking: There are numerous lay-bys in the area but recommend you use the Cnoc nam Bocan one listed at start of the route. View on Google Maps. 

Accomodation: SYHA Glencoe for a cheap but comfortable bed. Red Squirrel Campsite is great for tent dwellers.

Food & Drink. Chachaig is the place to be. 

Map: Harvey Superwalker xt25 Glencoe

1. NN 212 559. Park at the Cnoc nam Bocan car park. Take the track on the Sourthern side and walk SW up the brief steepening, cross the small stream and walk into the Lairig Gartain for about 2km.  Use the obvious river crossing to the left and head steeply uphil and into Coire Altruim. At around NN 201 534, there is a stream junction. The path here can be a bit scrambly and easy to lose sight of. Aim left, then regain the path which gradually pulls back right as the steepness eases out. The top of the valley is a key spot where snow patches may hold after winter. 

2. NN 201 529. From the belach of Coire Altruim, bear roughly W to Stob Coire Altruim, and following the well walked path up and over it and on towards Stob Na Broige. You will cross an exposed feeling ridge line that has some great photo potential on the return! The path is straight forward to follow but does split on occasions to avoid the most exposed sections. 

3. NN 190 525. From the summit of Stob Na Broige, retrace the path back to the belach of Coire Altruim. From there, head NE up the steep pull to Stob na Doire. This section can well feel intimidating in the cloud, so keep focused and have faith. The path is well trodden and should be easy to follow. The summit of Stob na Doire can feel like a pin head sized peak, very exposed and wild. It's a great example of where to take a quick bearining, especially in the cloud, before blindly heading off. There is steep ground on all sides. 

4.NN 207 532. After either revelling in the wildness, or overcoming your emotions, on the summit of Stob na Doire, be sure to check your bearing and head downhill due North and then NE towards the soft ridge of Fedan Ban. Keep an eye out for the pools at NN 213 542, where the path swings right, roughly to the East. Keep an eye out for the marker cairn at around NN 216 541, which is where you will descend after visiting your last summit of the day, Stob Dearg. From the bealach, head East/North East up the track to the summit of Stob Dearg - the summit of the iconic peak you will always see as Buachaille Etive Mor. The path can be a little broken in parts and hard to follow in poor vis but you should be ok with a bit of caution and focus. As you near the top, take care not to be fooled into stopping too soon at a false summit!

5. NN 222 542 When you've visited the summit of the Red Peak, return back to the bealach and keep an eye for the descent cairn you should have passed on the way up. 

6. NN 216 541. From the cairn, carefully pick up the descent point into Coire na Tulaich. Be aware that up until April/May, this section can hold onto winter snow. It can be deep and make the descent very tricky and dangerous. Even without snow, a cautious approach is best. The route down can be a little scattered for the first 100-200m, after which it will become clearer and easy to stick to. The path throughout is rocky and tiring. Take time, have some energy and keep a careful footing. You should never have to tackle anything more than an awkward step, so you shouldn't find yourself outwitted by the mountain. After a while, you will emerge from the rocky coire and somewhere around 218 550, will enter what feels like the dry riverbed. This is the correct route. Throughout the descent, you should always be heading in a roughly NE direction. When you do eventually reach the road, keep to the path immediately below it. This path will take you back to the recommended start point car park without the danger of walking on the road. A dedicated soul will clear some litter. You will be glad you parked near the end of the route!