Date: 14th August 2016
Distance walked: 14.6kms (8.8mls)
Myself and Karen had originally intended to do these two earlier this Summer but for a variety of reasons it didn’t happen. We drove up Glen Etive and we both made mention of the blue sky and the fact it was forecast to be a good weather day, a rarity in Scotland. Having reached the parking area we were surprised by the number of cars already parked up, even as we got booted we saw several other cars struggling to find space on the steep grassy verge.
Initially headed down toward River Etive before making an ascent up Glen Ceitlein and towards the first objective of Coirean Riabhach. It was a good path initially but it seemed to disappear as we got higher and as usual I just went straight ahead rather than heading around the hill. As luck would have it we found the path again and in good time found ourselves on our way towards Meall nan Eun making sure that I stayed well right of the bealach at 633mts. After drinks and a quick snack (banana and double decker) we continued to climb but in these perfect conditions (sunny with a small breeze) we made good progress. We managed to work our way around the rocks and reached the summit of Meall nan Eun at 1.20pm.
Despite the clear conditions we didn’t hang around for very long and walked off in a Westerly direction towards Meall Tarsuinn. We initially dropped down to about 790mts before then re-ascending to reach top of Meall Tarsuinn. We continued and dropped down to the 754mts bealach marked on the map before Stob Coir an Albannaich. The banter was flowing and the time and the ascent seems to pass without too much effort. We reached the summit of Stob Coir an Albannaich at 3.10pm and had some more food. The pork pies made an appearance and when I offered one to Karen she was a little wary after her illness in Cairngorms a month earlier. After her initial reluctance Karen finally accepted and there were no rep0rted side effects.
After leaving the summit we headed down across a rocky terrain but not too steep. We were looking for the good wide path off the Southern shoulder of the Munro which we had clearly seen earlier that year when we had been descending off Glas Bheinn Mhor. We plodded around for a bit and after a few minutes we found the excellent path which would take us to the 738mts bealach between the summits and our route back to the car. As we descended I could see another couple of walkers, the first we had seen all day despite all the cars we had seen earlier that morning in Glen Etive. We reached the bealach and turned right on the initially dry and solid path adjacent to the Allt Mheuran. After the first couple of kilometres the path just became a bogfest for the next kilometre. My boots had been fairly dry to this point but they were now soaked, as were my feet. As we got closer to the car the dreaded midge started to make an appearance so we started to make plans to get into the car quickly. Walking sticks were tucked away and Karen got car keys at the ready. As we reached the car at 5.50pm Karen opened the doors, we threw the backpacks into the boot and ran into the front seats. We then looked at each other and just laughted. We de-booted in the front seats and were off soon after.
A really good day. Weather held out and views were decent if not spectacular. Having arrived back at Ballachulish we went straight to the pub (again) and replenished the spent calories. Thankfully Karen has offered to take my boots and place them into the drying room at her B and B so tomorrow they should be reasonably dry. Tomorrow ‘hidden Valley’ excited.