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The Great Outdoors: Buachaille Etive Beag is a paradise for kayakers

© Shutterstock / orxyBuachaille Etive Beag, Glencoe, Scotland.
Buachaille Etive Beag, Glencoe, Scotland.

The summit of Stob Coire Raineach is the smaller of two Munros on mighty Buachaille Etive Mor’s little brother – Buachaille Etive Beag, or the “Wee Bookle”.

The mountain runs parallel with its larger neighbour, and there are similarities between the two from certain angles on the A82.

From down Glen Etive’s single-track road, however, the mountains look like twins – the wee Buachaille’s Munro of Stob Dubh mirroring its counterpart on the big Buachaille, Stob na Broige.

They form the incredibly steep, even sides to a perfect U-shaped glaciated valley, through which runs the Lairig Gartain. Stob Coire Raineach is the summit lying closest to the A82.

As well as being smaller than its neighbour, it lacks the drama and grandeur, and ascents are nowhere near as tough. Although, it is a rocky little peak and there are a couple of good scrambling routes up its nose.

Like all the Munros in Glencoe, it’s an incredibly popular hill. Most often, it is climbed from the large car park across from the massive “beehive” cairn just off the main road.

From there, it is a short haul (0.6 miles) up the Lairig Eilde before a sharp climb south-east to the bealach, from where both summits can be picked off in turn.

Tackling it from the Glen Etive side, however, gives a much more pleasing ascent – even if it does mean starting a couple of hundred metres lower down. It’s a very steep pull up Stob Dubh, but then you have a marvellous ridge walk to Stob Coire Raineach.

The summit of this second Munro is a superb viewpoint for the serrated ridge of the infamous Aonach Eagach across Glen Coe, its jagged pinnacles cut into the skyline like the teeth of a saw.


Pronunciation: Stob Coy-er Ranyach (Boo-akle Etiv Beg)

Meaning: peak of the bracken-filled corrie (Little Shepherd of Etive)

Height: 3,035ft; Rank: 263

OS Landranger Map 41

Summit grid ref: NN191548 (cairn)

Nearest town: Glencoe is 6.8 miles west. Although a small village, it has great facilities. Accommodation options include hotels, B&Bs, caravan and campsites and a youth hostel. There are shops, a petrol station and excellent places to eat and drink.

Start grid ref: NN169513

Distance: 5 miles

Ascent: 3,609ft

Time: 5.5hrs


This route gives – pretty much – a loop, a fine ridge walk and two Munros, all in about five hours, give or take. Start from Dalness, on the single-track road that runs down Glen Etive.

There’s a long, rough layby with enough room for several vehicles. Cross the road and follow a track on to the flank of Stob Dubh.

A worn path takes you up the south-west ridge. The going’s steep, the climb unrelenting.

The final section is rocky but presents no difficulties. The views south from the first summit are spectacular – Loch Etive draws the eye to the coast.

On clear days Mull and the Paps of Jura are seen. From here, the Munro summit is a short distance.

A narrow ridge leads to a point at 902m, and the bealach is easily gained on steeper ground.

Ahead is the rocky, stubby summit of Stob Coire Raineach. It’s another steep ascent over rough terrainbut it’s short. A messy network of paths winds upwards to the summit – it’s a case of picking your line.

The summit is another fine viewpoint. To the east is Buachaille Etive Mor. North-west is the dramatic Aonach Eagach, and beyond that Ben Nevis looming over all.

From here, return with care on the rocky paths to the bealach. Descend south-east on steep grass to pick up the Lairig Gartain and head back to Dalness.

Through beautiful Glen Etive runs a short river of the same name.

It might just be 11 miles long, but the River Etive is considered by kayakers to be one of the best in Scotland.

The section from the road bridge to Dalness in particular is regarded as a classic white-water run. This three-mile section consists of Grade 3 and 4 rapids, falls and plunge pools.

As well as walkers and kayakers, the glen is popular with wild campers – in summer there can be scores of tents lining the roadside and grassy banks of the lower reaches of the river.

While the vast majority of visitors treat the environment with the appropriate care and respect, not all are so considerate.

Sadly, in recent years – particularly after holiday weekends – considerable amounts of rubbish can be left behind, including abandoned tents and sleeping bags.