Wet & Windy on the Buachaille

Jan 15th, 2011 | By | Category: Personal, Winter Walking

Today was one of those rare days when it’s just not fun any more!

This was my first day walking over on the west coast this winter, and I was keen to make a great day of it. The plan was to head up the impressive Coire na Tulaich, along the top of Buachaille Etive Mor, drop down into the Lairig Gartain and back along the top of Buachaille Etive Beag. Well, that was the plan anyway!

To be fair, the weather forecast was far from promising with gale force winds and heavy rain but, when you’re in Scotland with the purpose of walking, you don’t really want to spend the day sat in the car. Having said that, looking up at the mountains from Glen Coe, a coffee shop did seem to be quite an attractive option. However, having psyched myself up I left the protection of the car to venture into the wilds. After only 10 minutes, I discovered that my waterproof trousers seem to have evolved into something with properties more similar to a sponge – far from a pleasant sensation.

The next issue arose at the base of Coire na Tulaich where the usual route crosses a stream. However, due to the intense rainfall, what is normally an insignificant stream had become a raging torrent of white water. So I found myself clambering up thick heather slopes, looking forward to reaching the snow line. Once up on top, the strong westerly winds hit with force, combining with the heavy rain to make progress both slow and painful.

The winds had scoured large areas of the top, leaving areas of very wet snow and incredibly slippery ice amongst the jagged rocks. The ice meant that crampons were a must, but this wasn’t ideal when trying to walk over rocks in a strong winds. By the time I got to Stob na Doire, the wind and rain combined with the lack of any view at all had chipped away at my resolve. So it was with a degree of disappointment that I decided to cut short the day and head back the way I’d come.

Sorry for the lack of photos, but it wasn’t worth bothering!


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