A busy weekend not only saw us with a group on the Five Sisters of Kintail, but also another of mixed ability further south on the eastern side of Glen Etive.
The forecast on the MWIS turned out to be fairly depressing, however some bright spots appeared in the skies as the group arrived and gathered in the small car-park by the day's start. The group was being led by myself accompanied by Manny Gorman - of Corbett-bagging record fame (you can read about his record on his blog here) ! Kit together and off down the track went went.
The way no longer goes through the ground by the Coileitir croft buildings as a large deer-fence has been errected, but instead follows the line of the fence - a bit wet underfoot for the day's start. Beyond this, we crossed over the burns using the bridges, then aimed uphill on the obvious path on Ben Starav's northern shoulder. Occasionally we stopped and took in the fine views looking back up Glen Etive, but nearing the summit we entered thick mist and a fair breeze. Our youngest member, Tom aged 10, reached the summit first ! Once everyone arrived, we all gathered in a sheltered area for lunch. A group discussion led us to split the group into two. One group would continue over the next two Munros with myself, the other group would aim to the col with Manny, then return on the path aside the Allt nam Meirleach with its fine waterfalls.
Beyond Ben Starav's summit there's a fine spur with some easy scrambling if sticking to the crest. Weird rocks thereafter with an unusual line of quartzite running through - in photos it looks like a waterfall. Six of us reached the col and turned to Beinn nan Aighenan. An hour was all it took thereafter to reach this Munro's summit again in mist, then an about-turn for our last prize of the day - Glas Bheinn Mor. At last, a summit not in mist, our efforts had been rewards and we took in the superb views all around - the light catching Etive Mor was simply beautiful.
After radio-ing down to the other group to find out all was well, a gentle walk back on a fine path took us most of the way down. Near the bottom, the path now much fainter, dived straight into thick ferns and woods, so we opted for a river crossing instead and were smartly back at the roadside.
On our second day we were heading to Stob Coir' an Albannaich and Meall nan Eun. Both Manny and myself are used to doing all 5 Munros in a loop and not familiar with the direct rise up Stob Coir' an Albannaich. So our route finding was to be tested !
As in the previous day, we gathered at the small car-park and headed down the track. Heading north-east this time, we came off the track by the bridge and headed up the hill, picking a fairly good line. There was a bit of scrambling on the way, and the sunshine lifted everyone spirits. Stopping at around 300m, it was decided again to split the group into two, one group aiming for both Munros, the other folk enjoying the one Munro at a more leisurely pace. Stob Coir'an Albannaich's summit stubbornly stuck in mist and only lifted once we were well down. Fine weather lasted thereafter all the way to Meall nan Eun and back downhill. The walk out along Glen Ceitlein is lovely and calm, with Beinn Fhoinnlaidh dominating the view ahead. Back at the roadside we all met up again, with those who lurked behind being treated to tea in Manny's campervan.
Between the two days walking, myself and a few of the group stayed at Glencoe Independent Hostel - well recommended !
More photos of the day are on our Flickr site.