When I stepped outside the hut on Sunday morning, the cloud was down to about 600m on the Buchaille, and it was trying to snow. It also looked pretty grey and gloomy over Rannoch Moor, but there were some patches of thinner cloud and the odd hint of blue sky, which looked promising for later.
Over breakfast we came to the conclusion that, the best weather would be found towards the coast today. A number of our group were set on Ben Starav, but we thought there was a good chance of cloud at that height, so we decided on Beinn Trilleachan which at 839m is significantly lower, and hopefully would remain below the cloud base.
The drive down Glen Etive is always inspiring with so many famous peaks on view. Unfortunately, the wooden fence surrounding the house at Dalness is a blot on the landscape, but once past this eye sore, stunning views continue.
The end of the road has changed quite a bit since they started logging trees in Glen Etive Forest. There’s a gate across the road, a new car park and the old pier has been modified, so the timber can be shipped out via Loch Etive.
It’s great to see the bare hillside emerging after being hidden for so long. When I first came to this part of Scotland in the mid 60’s, the forests along the A82 and in this area were just being planted, never in my wildest dreams did I expect to see them being felled!
We took the boggy path along the edge of the forest until we reached a height of about 200m, then turned left and climbed the south west shoulder of the hill. The going was quite steep with very little sign of a path, as we found our way through the low rocky out crops until we reached the first top, Meall nan Gobbhar.
Although the going was steep, we were both finding it easier than the last two days, the views were excellent, and the weather was better than we’d expected. There were occasional snow showers blowing across the glen, but fortunately most of them missed us on Beinn Trilleachan.
The ridge now became easier to follow; keeping well clear of the impressive drops above the Trilleachan Slabs we made our way to the rocky peak at of 767m. From here we descended 70m through broken slabs, which looked awkward from above, but turned out to be quite straight forward, to a bealach.
Form the bealach it was just a plod to the summit. The temperature was now dropping steadily, as a cold wind brought in more cloud and snow showers from the north.
It was too cold to linger on the top. So, anxious to get out of the wind we ate a quick snack then started down. As we returned along the summit ridge, the cloud gradually covered Ben Starav, making us feel rather smug about our choice of peak for today. Once off the ridge we were reasonably sheltered, so we meandered contentedly down through the crags until we reached the forest edge, which we followed back to the road.
Another brilliant day!