The Buachaille Etive Mor is firmly established as one of the greatest mountains in Britain. It rises from the vast wilds of desolate Rannoch Moor in a breathtaking display of grandeur and brute strength. It is a wonder that there are not more accidents along the A82 road in to Glencoe, such is the spectacle that grows to dominate the horizon. One is truly into the Highlands as this grand gatekeeper of Glencoe comes into view. Neither Wales nor England have a mountain such as this: it is jaw droppingly beautiful. The peak in question is Stob Dearg, the lofty termination of the Buachaille Etive Mor, which is actually a long ridge of four peaks, two of which are Munros. Seen from the road, it looks formidable, unclimbable, impenetrable.
But there are ways. For the rock climber, Stob Dearg's north and east faces offer a series of dramatic ridges, one of which is a high end scramble - the Curved Ridge. The hikers' route winds it way up a major weakness in its north side: the Coire Na Tulaich. Having inspected the Curved Ridge on the Monday and found it a little too daunting to be soloing without rope, I decided to take the hiker's route on the Tuesday. This was not before a beautiful wild camp on Stob Mhic Mhartuin to the west of the Devil's Staircase. From this lofty perch, I was able to marvel at the sunrise over the Buachailles, the Bidean and watch the clouds play with the distant Mamores, all whilst families of deer roamed the nearby ridges.
If this was spectacular, the Buachaille Etive Mor ridge was mesmerising. A long, undulating and wide ridge that offered spectacular views of the surrounding peaks, with the mountains of Glencoe on one side and the mountains of Glen Etive on the other. Buachaille Etive Mor translates as the great herdsman of the Etive, as it guides the River Etive to the south west and forms a great barrier between these two famous glens. At the south western termination of the ridge was the second Munro of Stob Na Broige, yet another fantastic viewpoint at the end of a day of fantastic viewpoints. The Buachaille Etive Mor deserves its reputation as a mountain of superlatives, surely amongst the finest in the British Isles.