The Buchaille (again) Stob na Broige this time

12 10 2010


The stunning Buchaille

And so it was on Sunday I managed to cadge a lift from Tony and Peter to Glen Coe. With winter weather looming and the temperature dropping day by day, it was possibly my last chance to get up North Buttress again this year solo. The plan was to do North Buttress then head to Stob na Broig and have my lunch almost at the top and then retrace my steps back to Curved Ridge and downclimb, cross Rannoch Moor and head to the Kingshouse to meet up with Pete and his Dad for a lift home. Another Munro avoided and two of the best scrambles in Glen Coe done on the way. Well, the plan almost came together, just not quite.

Left at half seven and shared the back seat with Jake (a cute wee Jack Russell). Also managed to share Jakes coat on the way and it turned my Mountain Equipment fleece into a white mohair jumper, great. occasionally Jake would look at me, lick my face apologetically and curl up in my lap again for another nap. Great wee dug. He at least opted not to share his dinner with me on the way back, throwing up instead all over the cream leather upholstery.

Got dropped at Lagangarbh and the guys headed on to do something else – no doubt I will have to do it some time too in the future. Made my way along the path and headed to North Buttress. By the time I got to the base of the climbing proper, my hands were getting cold and the wind had started to get up. I had some chocolate, buckled everything up and readied myself to climb.

For those of you who have not done NB in favour of Curved Ridge, I have to say, I much prefer NB. It doesn’t have the same open feeling about it or the spectacular views of Rannoch Wall and Crowberry Tower, however what it lacks in majesty, it more than makes up for in sheer vertical exposure on steep,  steep rock for its grade. Add to this the lack of feeling in my hands due to the cold, and the rising wind blowing across the buttress, I knew from the first chimney that this was going to be slighty more demanding than normal. I just love this route, and if im honest, it scares the bejesus out of me every time I do it as there is absolutely no margin for error.

Breathtaking exposure from North Buttress!

As I made my way up the series of chimneys the wind swirled and buffeted me from around Crowberry and suddenly the situation intensified threefold. As my hands grew colder and colder and I rose into the clag, I began to seriously wonder if I had done the right thing. At this point however, there was only one way to go, up.

I moved on, pausing only once to get a picture on my iPhone of the situation.
As I exited the main climbing difficulties and landed on the rounded crags above, I was relieved to get onto more level ground but disappointed that the climbing was done now until my descent of Curved Ridge. No sooner had I gasped a sigh or relief, I encountered the next obstacle, wet slippery rock and wind which was threatening to blow me sideways. I pressed on aware that a slip here on this rock would see me back at the start some 1500 ft below.
I was pleased to see the summit in the mist above me. I got there (not having to avoid it this time as I have already not been to the top of it before), sat down and had some more chocolate and water.
Fed and watered and having had a wee chat with a nice bunch of guys at the top, I headed on towards Stob na Broig, not entirely sure how easy it would be to find it in these conditions. The cloud had completely enveloped the Buchaille (Stob Dearg) and I had no idea what it would be like along the ridge to my goal.
As I dropped down to the bealach at Coire na Tulaich it was apparent that the clag was only gathering around the summit of Stob Dearg and a wee bit on Stob na Doire (the highest point funnily enough but not the Munro due to its proximity to Stob Dearg). enthused by the good weather, I plodded on.
I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed this walk. The views are fabulous, and once you are on the ridge it is a lovely easy walk in gorgeous surroundings. I even avoided the top of Doire just to prove a point!
Met some really nice people on the way too. I got to about 10 feet from the top of Broige and sat down to have my lunch. Got some strange looks from the guys sitting in the shelter cairn at the summit as i wrapped up the remaining 2 sandwiches in my cling film and packed my rucksack again to head back across the ridge without taking in the veiw from the summit! Brilliant!
The plan was to head back towards the Buchaille and, if the clag lifted, I would head for Crowberry and down CR. The wetness of the top of NB still fresh in my mind, the dream trip of up NB and down CR would have to be considered when I got to the bealach. A great walk saw no change in the weather it was sunny and beautiful, but also no change in the clagged top of Stob Dearg.
Avoiding the summit of Stob na Broige

I hung about at the cairn indecisive. And I waited, and waited. No change.

Bugger it, I thought, I’ve had a great day, let’s get down to the Kingshouse in the sunshine and get a pint of Guinness. Pete called to tell me he was heading off the summit of his Munro and it would be a couple of hours till they made it back along Glen Coe to the Kingshouse.
I headed down the tourist path to Lagangarbh.
As I made my way along the West Highland Way path to the pub, I stopped to try out the panorama function on my new camera (see above). I packed my camera away, picked up my rucksack and headed for the white spot in the distance.
I loved it today. Really loved it.
Footnote: Thanks Tony for the lift, it was a rare treat to have a couple of pints in the Kingshouse before heading home!



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