Round Buachaille Etive Beag

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This walk will suit those mountain lovers who don’t have the time, energy or inclination actually to go up a mountain. It is also for anyone who loves being in wild, dramatic scenery without serious risk to life and limb. Having said that, there is a health warning:

THIS ROUTE HAS SOME STREAM CROSSINGS THAT MAY BE DIFFICULT, DANGEROUS OR IMPOSSIBLE AFTER HEAVY RAIN.

Please bear this in mind when planning the walk. Fortunately by going anti-clockwise, this route tackles what is potentially the most difficult stream crossing after just 1km of walking, where the stream is forded by stepping-stones. If the crossing is difficult, go back – the walk will be there another day. (As you retreat, rejoice in the fact that you aren't on the last leg of the clockwise version of the walk, with one inaccessible kilometre ahead to the finish and twelve kilometres behind to reverse!)

The route completes a circuit of Buachaille Etive Beag, which translates as The Little Herdsman of Etive. (The Big Herdsman is Buachaille Etive Mor, the superb peak that dominates the approach to Glencoe from Rannoch Moor).

Leave the A82 and head south-west up Lairig Eilde, slowly gaining height on a good path. After 1km the first stream crossing is reached. If safe then the whole walk will probably be OK, notwithstanding any sudden rainstorm. The walk continues easily up the lairig (a pass between mountains) before levelling out and dropping down more steeply towards Glen Etive.

A descent to the bottom of the glen is avoided by a neat little short cut, saving a loss of height and extra walking distance. The short cut gives access to the path heading up Lairig Gartain from Glen Etive, heading back towards the A82. The path rises gradually, giving good walking.

After levelling out the descent begins. This section is likely to be muddy and after heavy rain it could be unpleasant, though those who walk frequently in the Pennines or Peak District would wonder what the fuss is about!

The A82 is extremely busy most of the time, but the traffic is avoided by taking the line of the old road. This too can be muddy in places, but is preferable to sharing the road with two 44-tonne artics, both going in opposite directions. The old road takes us neatly back to our start point and includes good views of Stob nan Cabar, which is the north peak of Buachaille Etive Beag.

Scotland - Highlands and Islands - Highland - Glen Coe and Loch Leven

Features

Great Views, Hills or Fells, Pub, River, Toilets, Waterfall, Wildlife, Woodland