Buachaille Etive Beag
Time: 8 hours.
Technicality: Non technical mountain walking.
Terrain: Good paths lower down with mountain tracks for the rest. A boulder field at the start of the descent and some non tracked walking.
Navigation: Good route finding needed through the boulder field. Most of the route is straight forward but will need a bit of confidence in poor visibility.
Parking: Suggest parking at the named car park and having the longer walk at the start of the day. If not, there are others available. Get there early in summer. View on Google Maps.
Food & Drink. Chachaig is the place to be.
Map: Harvey Superwalker xt25 Glencoe
Harvey BMC Mountain map 1:40 Glencoe & Ben Nevis
1: NN 212 559. Park in the layby on the South Side of the A82, cross the road and head west along the
track for about 2km to NN 187 562 where you can cross from the cairn to the start point car park for
Buachaille Etive Beag. You can always park closer to the start but that gives a longer walk at the end.
Take care when looking for a cross point at the river, particularly after or during rain.
2. NN187 562. From the car park, follow the track SW toward Lairig Elide for about 1km before taking
the left turn NN 184 558 and heading steeply uphil towards Mam Buidhe. The path is pretty well built
but does have some loose steps. Take care with walking poles, so as not to churn up the path
boundaries still further. The constructed path becomes more of a track toward the top. Just keep
slogging uphil until you get to the bealach.
3. NN187 544. From the Bealach at the top of the slog, you want to take a left, heading NE up towards
the summit of Stob Coire Raineach. In poor visibility, this section can be tricky to navigate as the path
can also be a bit broken and there are faint tracks in different places. Hopefully, you'll get the views
from the top! You should always be on safe feeling ground, so just follow your nose and keep slightly
right of centre on the way up.
4. NN 191 548 Stob Coire Raineach. As good a place as any for a lunch stop. From here, it's a return
(SW) to the bealach and then on towards Stob Dubh. After the bealach of Mam Buidhe, keep going,
uphill and W/SW following a good track. The route is relatively straight forward to Stob Dubh though
you might find it a steep and exposed in parts.
5. NN 179 535. From the summit of Stob Dubh, head SW. This is a tricky section with route finding as
you will be passing through a boulder field. There are faint tracks here and there at the start. Keep
right, avoiding going too close to the edge and then eventually move back over to the left, sticking to the track as best you can. You'll see the flattening
of rocks where people have walked and might occasionally stray from it, but just keep your eyes
peeled for the signs and regain the track when you can. This section is short lived and before long, the
terrain changes to a more grassy slope. Enjoy it! Keep left as you head down the
slope and pick up the junction of where the path heads NE up Lairig Gartain. (You could always decide to return the way you came from the summit of Stob Dubh. This is a good option if you want a shorter day. Literally just retrace your steps to the car park)
6. NN 175 521. Once you are on the Lairig Gartain path, just it's just a matter of climbing NE through the valley all the way to back to the car park. If you're lucky, you might bump into a herd of deer.