The Scotsman’s Hill – [# 97 & 98]

Stob Coir’ an Albannich (1044m); Meall nan Eun (928m)

  • Pronunciation:              Stob Korrer Nalabaneech; Miaowl nun Yeean
  • Translation:                   Peak of the Corrie of the Scotsman; Hill of the Birds
  • Total distance:              16.8km
  • Total time:                    6hrs 12mins
  • Total ascent:                 1391m
  • Weather:                       Overcast but dry all day.
  • Start / end location:   Approximately 3km from the head of Loch Etive just opposite Coileitir cottage marked on the map. [OS Map Sheet 50 – Grid Ref: NN 137 469]
  • Map:                              A map of route can be found here – it may take a few moments to load into a separate window. The map displays on most browsers, but not unfortunately Internet Explorer.

Looking towards Glas Bheinn Mhor (L) and Ben Starav from Beinn Chaorach

Today found us travelling down the extremely atmospheric and beautiful Glen Etive en route to a clutch of five Munros situated at the bottom end of the glen near the head of Loch Etive. Our objective was the two more easterly Munros of this bunch.

Elaine approaching the top of the gash leading to Beinn Chaorach

Just a few kilometres prior to reaching the shores of Loch Etive we parked up at a small cut-off on the single-track road that lay adjacent to the track that serviced Glen Ceitlein. After kitting up we took this track and followed it over a bridge that crossed the River Etive. Almost immediately after crossing the bridge we turned left and followed the track NE for a couple of hundred metres until a gate on the right hand side gave us access to a small woodland of deciduous trees and where a faint path could be followed along the course of a burn. This burn tumbled steeply down the hillside from Beinn Chaorach high above.

On the bedrock pavement of Beinn Chaorach with the summit of Stob Coir an Alabannaich in the background

At the top of the woodland a wooden section in the deer fence acted as a make-shift stile and once we were across provided us with access to the open hillside. Following the course of the burn ESE up the hill made for a very steep ascent, which actually looked pathless from below. However, it turned out that there was a rather indistinct path that wove its way up the very steep sided hill. During our ascent we heard the call of the first cuckoo of the year – another distinctive sign that spring has arrived in the Highlands.

Cameron on the summit of Stob Coir an Albannaich

Around 700m the gradient relented a good deal and we were able to begin to enjoy our surroundings with some welcome views southward to Ben Starav and round to Glas Bheinn Mhór. The clouds bumped along the tops of these and the other surrounding higher peaks – obscuring the summits from our view.

Before reaching the top of Beinn Chaorach we crossed a huge section of wonderfully exposed slabs of bedrock, which formed angled pavements eroded of any topsoil. Large boulders were strewn across the slabs in a seemingly random pattern.

Looking to Meall nan Eun from Stob Coir an Albannaich

On the descent from Stob Coir an Albannaich

As we circled anti-clockwise around the top of Coire Glas only a little snow remained that clinged to the upper corrie rim. We continued up the broad westerly ridge that extended down from Stob Coir an Albannaich and in no time were standing on the summit at 1044m or 3,425ft. The summit cairn was quite interesting, as it appeared to have been a “conventional” stone cairn that had been filled with soil, which enabled little grassy tussocks to take hold to form a living cairn.

From the summit we descended down the east ridge to a point where it levelled briefly before it followed its downward course. At this leveling in the ridge we turned north and plunged steeply to the col between Albannaich and Meall Tarsuinn (875m), and then continued ENE up to the summit of this intermediary top. Over the other side a small drop then took us to another col before a final ascent eastwards saw us reach the summit of Meall nan Eun at 926m or 3,038ft. Near the summit a Wheatear (a bird just slightly larger than a sparrow) flitted about the boulders: bouncing its tail up and down very much like a pied wagtail does.

Elaine approaching the summit of Meall nan Eun with Glas Bheinn Mhor in the background

Elaine at the summit cairn of Meall nan Eun

Meall nan Eun was a rather non-descript mountain because of its whale-back profile and the fact that it is sandwiched in amongst much more lofty neighbours such as Stob Garbh immediately to its east.

From the summit our descent followed the NW ridge down into Coire Riabhach where we then had a long walk down Glen Ceitlein along the north bank of the Allt Ceitlein burn until we reached the River Etive. By the River Etive we picked up the land-rover track back towards Coileitir, then the bridge over the Etive and finally to our waiting car.

On our drive back up Glen Etive we stopped for a while to watch a bunch of kayakers negotiating the waterfalls on the River. It had been an excellent day in the outdoors for mountaineers and kayakers alike.

About Cameron Speirs

Born and brought up in the Scottish Highlands, Cameron, has been interested in outdoor pursuits since he was a wee lad. Over the last few decades he has climbed extensively in the Italian Dolomites as well as summiting the Matterhorn and several other 4000m alpine peaks. Closer to home he has spent many wonderful weekends mountaineering and biking in Snowdonia, Cairngorms, Glen Coe, Skye and Lochaber.
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