Walk – Around Buachaille Etive Beag


Around Buachaille Etive Beag

Start/Finish         Map Reference – NN 188 563

Landranger 41

Car Parking         Close to the cairn at the start point, or at some lay by along the A82 road between

the start point and NN 212 560 where a large car park beside an emergency telephone is situated.  Then final part of the walk is along the A82.

Distance               10 miles/16 km

Time                      6 ½ hours or more


Although this is a circular walk around ‘the little Shepherd of the Glen’, it requires a total ascent of some 550 m. Magnificent views of Glencoe, Glen Etive and Rannoch Moor are available as the route is traversed.  The path is good in places but often indistinct and even invisible at times.


The start of the walk is indicated by a signpost on the south side of the road pointing to Glen Etive, on the opposite side of the road from a large cairn.  For a while the path is well constructed, about 0.5 m wide and easy to follow until the river has to be crossed.  Here stepping stones have to be found which suit the height of the river – and if the river is in spate a suitable crossing place may be difficult to find.  The views back to the Aonach Eagach ridge on the north side of Glencoe are quite stunning.  Beinn Fhada on the right and Buachaille Etive Beag on the left are likely to have large herds of deer high on the slopes at all seasons.  For about 2 km the path meanders as it leaves and returns to that side of the river and height is gained steadily.  The path crosses the river again at a place marked by cairns on either side.  It then continues all the way to the top of the pass which is marked by a fairly large cairn.  The peak of Stob Coire Sgreamhach, part of Bidean nam Bian is directly ahead.


The start of the descent is quite gentle but soon becomes steep – the path soon crosses to the right hand side of the river where it remains until the low point close to Dalness is reached.  Look at the many waterfalls in the steep sided gorge.  When the path arrives at the fenced area a left turn leads down to the river which has to be crossed before continuing on the return part of the walk.  If the river crossing seems difficult the bridge on the Glen Etive road just 200m away will help.


There is a path of sorts close to the right bank of the river but weather and wind have taken their toll and made its use very difficult.  If the path up the right of Buachaille Etive Beag is taken height is gained rapidly and the semblance of a path may be found close under the crags of Buachaille Etive Beag.  Then simply aim for the coll between Buachaille Etive Beag and Buachaille Etive Mor staying far up the fill away from the river and a relatively straightforward route is found.  All the way up to the coll the views back into Glen Etive are magnificent and, of course, the higher one climbs towards the coll the better the views become. Again deer are normally in abundance on both sides of the pass.


The path down is on the left side of the river but it does become indistinct at times – especially in the boggy areas.  Altnafeadh, a small of cluster of buildings and a favourite parking spot on the A82 for climbers of Buachaille Etive Mor and walkers going over the Devil’s Staircase, soon comes into view.  The path heads towards Altnafeadh until about 1 km away from it.  Here the path forks to the left and heads for a large car park besides an emergency telephone.  Do not be tempted to go too far to the left to cut off some of the return journey along the road.  It is extremely boggy with many deep pools that have to be negotiated.


Turn left at the A82 and return to the start point taking care to keep clear of traffic.

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