Having felt yesterday to be quite a steep, tough ascent, I reconsidered this opinion on today’s hill. Known as the second munro of the Aonach Eagach ridge, most people do it as part of the ridge walk. Having previously disclosed my dislike of exposure that was never going to happen, and so we found ourselves parking up just outside Glencoe Village initially following the route for the Pap of Glencoe.
Up, up, up, then up some more!
The path initially followed a broad track until a small bridge was crossed and the path narrowed. From here, it climbed, zig zagging up the hillside. It was pretty unrelenting, but the views all around were stunning with lots of neighbouring mountains in sight, dusted with snow.
The path was fairly good with potential to be boggy in wetter conditions. It was rough with some bouldery sections and care was needed. As we gained height we left the Pap of Glencoe path and headed off. Here we met a young man with a drone, all set to film his friends, one of whom was going to paraglide, the other base jump. We couldn’t see then but as they were imminently due to appear (‘5 minutes’), we waited. The drone then lost reception so had to be collected. We waited some more. Another ‘5 minutes’. Finally we gave up as it became apparent nothing was going to happen anytime soon and it was getting a tad chilly!
Continuing up, refreshed after the rest, the relentless slog continued. The path zig zagged some more, becoming more loose with a bit of scree, and I began to dread coming down! As the snowy patches appeared and we gained more and more height, the path became harder to find. I was officially out of my comfort zone as we navigated our way up through boulders. Bruce assured me that when he’d previously been here the path down from the ridge had been really clear!
Not so today, we found ourselves away from where we thought the path might be, crossing some boulders to reroute. The pull continued up for a couple of hundred metres before we found some semblance of path again and a clearer view of where we were headed. The summit ridge was broad and made for far easier walking, ultimately leading to the summit of Sgòrr nan Fiannaidh. Wow! It worth the effort!
The views were absolutely amazing! Snow dusting the summits, even Ben Nevis on full show, there was a stunning panorama of mountains to drink in, alongside views of the Aonach Eagach ridge itself. Would I do it again? In a word, YES! We spent a fair bit of time here discussing the hills we’d done (for Bruce that’s them all) abd just drinking in the scenery.
Finally, suitably chilled, extra layers on, we turned around and began our descent. Having wandered back across the broad ridge, the descent path was very apparent and definitely not the way we’d come up. It was an easy descent, any small snowy patches soft, and we found ourselves getting off the ‘hard’ bit with ease.
Overall, the legs took a hammering on the descent, quads feeling particularly hard done by as it was so steep!
Finally reaching the main path by the bridge was delightful, as were the views. Such a stunning hill and so delighted that Bruce kept me going when I’d happily have turned back! The only thing I’d do differently with hindsight is ditch the ice axe, crampons and spikes! A lot of extra weight unnecessarily. Hopefully it pays dividends in strength over the summer races.