Hills: Ben Starav, Meall Cruidh, Stob an Duine Ruaidh and Stob Coire Dheirg
Date: Thursday 28th July 2022
Company: Myself and Ann-Marie
Distance: 17.9km, Ascent: 1415m
Time: 7Hrs 55Mins


Having ascended Glas Bheinn Mhor and Beinn nan Aighenan in April this year, we returned to Glen Etive yesterday to ascend neighbouring Ben Starav along with its three Munro Tops. I last ascended Ben Starav in 2003 on undertaking a circuit of the five Glen Etive Munros which included a wild camp.

Route:


As per our walk in April, we parked near Coiletir and set off walking along the track leading towards the hydro works. The weather was better than anticipated.

Glas Bheinn Mhor and Ben Starav from start of walk:


Glen Etive hills:


On reaching the start of the ridge, I opted to ascend via the NNE ridge and descend later in the day via the coire.

Looking back along Glen Etive during initial ascent:


The ascent of the NNE ridge was pleasant.

Ascending the NNE ridge of Ben Starav:


Glas Bheinn Mhor:


The only unpleasant aspect of the ascent was being bitten by clegs. Summer is my least favourite season for walking primarily due to biting flies.

Glen Etive:


On reaching a height of around 700m we began to get great views of Ben Starav and of the ridge out to Stob Coire Dheirg.

Stob Coire Dheirg and Ben Starav:


Looking across Loch Etive to Beinn Trilleachan:


The ridge leading to the summit of Ben Starav is rocky with lots and lots of boulders. From a distance it looks challenging, however once on it, it was much easier than it looked from afar.

Lots of boulders ahead:


Final ascent to the summit of Ben Starav:


I had to wait several times during the ascent as Ann-Marie was not feeling great. She considered turning round during the ascent to go back down but the thought of bagging another Munro gave her drive to continue on.

Looking back during final ascent:


Looking back during final ascent:


It was great to reach the summit of Ben Starav which is an outstanding place to be for views along the length of Loch Etive.

At the summit of Ben Starav:


Loch Etive:


Looking towards the Cruachan range from the summit of Ben Starav:


From the summit we next made our way across to the 1068m top.

At the 1068m top:


From the 1068m top, we next made our way down the SSE ridge which leads towards Meall Cruidh and Stob an Duine Ruaidh, two Munro Tops that I had not ascended previously. During the descent, we agreed that Ann-Marie would wait for myself to go out and back to these tops while she had a rest.

Heading for Meall Cruidh and Stob an Duine Ruaidh:


To avoid Ann-Marie having to wait for long, I stepped-up a few gears to ascend Meall Cruidh, Stob an Duine Ruaidh and then back over Meall Cruidh to return to where Ann-Marie was waiting. I managed to ascend both tops and get back within fifty minutes.

At the summit of Meall Cruidh:


Ascending Stob an Duine Ruaidh:


Looking back to Ben Starav and Meall Cruidh during ascent of Stob an Duine Ruaidh:


On reaching the summit of Stob an Duine Ruaidh, I stopped for five minutes to speak with two other walkers one of whom I had walked with previously up a final Munro.

They advised that they had saw me back at the col between Ben Starav and Meall Cruidh and wondered how I could have got there so quickly. My response was, "I flew" . When they saw the NASA cap I was wearing, they said "that explains it" .

View from the summit of Stob an Duine Ruaidh:


At the summit of Stob an Duine Ruaidh:


After saying goodbye, and wishing each other a nice onward walk, I again set off at speed back towards Ben Starav. I then continued-on with Ann-Marie back to the summit of the 1068m top of Ben Starav.

From Ben Starav's 1068m we descended via the E ridge via Stob Coire Dheirg.

Descent towards Stob Coire Dheirg:


To get to Stob Coire Dheirg you can scramble, use bypass paths or a combination of both.

Ridge out to Stob Coire Dheirg:


While I was 99% certain that I had ascended Stob Coire Dheirg previously on undertaking the circuit of five Munros in 2003, I again visited the summit to get that percentage up to 100%.

Looking back to the 1068m top of Ben Starav from the summit of Stob Coire Dheirg:


We had to take care during the descent as the path was very dry with lots of loose grit and gravel.

Passing pinnacles during the descent to the bealach:


Looking back to Stob Coire Dheirg:


We soon reached the bealeach from which we descended via the coire back out to the car.

View from the bealach between Stob Coire Dheirg and Glas Bheinn Mhor:


During the descent we could see the sky darkening and before long we were walking in relentless heavy rain.

Looking back towards the bealach during descent:


Descent:


By the time we reached the car we were drenched. Despite the heavy rain, the car park was still inundated with midge. Gotta love Scotland's insect life . Despite the clegs and midge this was an enjoyable walk .

Well done to Ann-Marie for continuing on to the summit despite not feeling great.

14 Munros now remaining to complete Round 2 and 41 Munro Tops remaining to complete a Full House (All Munros, Munro Tops, Corbetts, Grahams, Donalds and Donald Tops, and Furth).