Hills: Beinn nan Aighenan and Glas Bheinn Mhor
Date: Friday 15th April 2022
Company: Myself and Ann-Marie
Distance: 20.7km, Ascent: 1550m
Time: 8Hrs 30Mins

Ann-Marie kindly picked me up at 4.15 yesterday morning before driving to Glen Etive for an ascent of Beinn nan Aighenan.

I last ascended Beinn nan Aighenan in September 2003 when I was sufficiently young and fit to ascend not only Beinn nan Aighenan but also Ben Starav, Glas Bheinn Mor, Stob Coir an Albannaich and Meall nan Eun in a single outing.

For this ascent of Beinn nan Aighenan, we parked in a car park near the start of the track which descends towards a bridge over the River Etive, at Coiletir.


The MWIS West Highlands forecast had advised of negligible wind and 80% cloud-free Munros by late morning so we were expecting the weather to improve in a few hours time.

Ben Starav:

As we progressed along the track, seeing Stob Dubh instantly brought back memories of its relentlessly-steep ascent. I ascended both Stob Dubh and nearby Beinn Trilleachan in January 2011. Seeing Stob Dubh also made me realise that I had not ascended any hills in/from Glen Etive since January 2011!

Stob Dubh:

On reaching the bridge we stopped to take some photographs before following an over-sized unsightly track leading towards current hydro scheme works.

River Etive:

Glen Etive was one of the most beautiful glens in Scotland. The current destruction in the glen associated with the numerous hydro schemes is criminal. Whoever approved these schemes, and the associated destruction of one of Scotland's most beautiful glens, should be stripped naked, tied to trees and left for the midge to devour. The damage in this glen better be put right once the works are complete!

Hydro scheme works:

On reaching the end of the unsightly hydro works track, we took to the hillside following a narrow path alongside the Allt nam Meirleach. It was disappointing to see the cloud base falling rather than ascending above the summits. It was however still early and there was time for the weather to yet improve.

Following the track alongside the Allt nam Meirleach:

We eventually passed beyond the gorge and continued on and up to the bealach.

Looking back along the Allt nam Meirleach gorge:

A short distance below the 766m bealach:

On reaching the bealach we were into the cloud.

At the 766m bealach between Ben Starav and Glas Bheinn Mhor:

From the bealach we descended c.150m to the col where we deposited our rucksacks before commencing our ascent of Beinn nan Aighenan. My trusty old Macpac Ascent is still going strong after 20 years of use.

Rucksacks left at the col before commencing our ascent of Beinn nan Aighenan:

The ascent of Beinn nan Aighenan was pleasant without the weight of our packs. The views were however sub-optimal. During our ascent we passed a couple of other walkers who must have started walking earlier than ourselves.

Ascending Beinn nan Aighenan:

Into the mist during the ascent of Beinn nan Aighenan:

A short distance below the summit we passed another walker who I thought looked familiar. We just said a passing 'hello' before continuing on to the summit.

Loch Etive and Stob Coire Dheirg appearing below the clouds:

On reaching the summit we stopped long enough to take a few photographs before returning back.

At the summit of Beinn nan Aighenan:

A short distance below the summit we again met the walker who looked familiar and we stopped for a chat. I mentioned that he looked familiar and thought that we had met previously. The walker, George, remembered that we had met on Creag Meagaidh four years previous. If you are reading this George, it was really nice to meet you again.

Descending Beinn nan Aighenan:

Looking back to Beinn nan Aighenan:

During our descent of Beinn nan Aighenan we passed several more walkers who were making their way up the hill.

After collecting our packs we ascended back to the bealach between Ben Starav and Glas Bheinn Mhor. During the ascent to the bealach, I suggested extending our day to also ascend Glas Bheinn Mhor. I was however conscious that Ann-Marie had driven four hours to reach Glen Etive and also had a four hour drive back after our walk. The chance of an extra Munro was however too good to miss .

Looking back to Beinn nan Aighenan:

At the bealach we stopped for a drink before commencing our ascent of Glas Bheinn Mhor via Meall nan Tri Tighearnan.

Ascending Meall nan Tri Tighearnan:

During our ascent of Meall nan Tri Tighearnan, the cloud briefly lifted above the summit of Beinn nan Aighenan.

Beinn nan Aighenan from Meall nan Tri Tighearnan:

After traversing Meall nan Tri Tighearnan we commenced our final ascent of the day to the summit of Glas Bheinn Mhor.

Descending from Meall nan Tri Tighearnan towards Glas Bheinn Mhor:

Alas, on reaching the summit of Glas Bheinn Mhor, it was also capped in cloud. The MWIS forecast was as believable as Boris Johnson!

At the summit of Glas Bheinn Mhor:

Descent from Glas Bheinn Mhor towards the 738m col:

The final section down to the 738m col required due care as it is steep and rocky.

Descent from Glas Bheinn Mhor towards the 738m col:

Looking back at the steep, rocky descent:

The walk back out to the car was not particularly pleasant. The track in Coire Odhar is rough going. During the walk out, the weather continued to deteriorate instead of improving so much so we had to put on our waterproofs.

Coire Odhar:

During the descent we passed a lovely waterfall named The Robber's Waterfall.

The Robbers' Waterfall:

Looking across to Beinn Trilleachan:

It was nice to eventually reach the car and get our boots off.

I need to return to Glen Etive in the not too distant future as I have still to ascend Ben Starav, Stob Coir an Albannaich and Meall nan Eun to complete Round 2.