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We have one very exciting documented walk on Glen Coe, the Curved Ridge scramble.

Curved Ridge scramble

Curved Ridge and Crowberry Tower Grade 2 / 3 under summer conditions Curved Ridge is the most well-known and popular scramble on Buachaille Etive Mor, and arguably the second best in the Glencoe area, after the Aonach Eagach. Park at Altnafeadh and take the path over the footbridge in the direction of Coire na Tulaich (the ‘tourist route’ up the Buachaille).

After a few hundred meters, the path forks; take the left fork, which flanks the complex cliffs of Stob Dearg. Follow this for some way (passing beneath a number of other scrambles such as Broad Buttress), cross a scree and shortly afterwards pass beneath the bottom of the huge Water Slab, with the small stream dropping off a short steep and wet cliff at the bottom.

Cross to the left side (facing) of the slab, and head up until level with the top of it. Ignore the continuation of the flanking path that you’ve been on going off to the left and head steeply, directly upwards, on a well-trodden path through little outcrops, scree and heather. At this point, the lower part of Curved Ridge can be seen well up to the right – the huge vertical face of Rannoch Wall is a good indicator of where it is, if you can identify that. Don’t head up the gully immediately in front (or the ridge to the left, which is a climb) but keep moving diagonally right towards the bottom edge of Rannoch Wall, through some quite steep grade 1 / 2 scrambling moves (harder if wished!)

The route finding looks quite complex from below, but there is a well trodden and scratched way throughout which soon brings you to the bottom of Curved Ridge itself. The first steep rise of Curved Ridge can be identified by a deep gully to its right (Easy Gully), on the other side of which rises Rannoch Wall. Take this head on – grade 2, plenty of holds, and if in doubt just follow the polish! It eases off and there is a less steep and somewhat broken but still intermittently interesting section (grade 1 / 2), then another steeper section. Route finding is easy as the ridge is quite narrow and there is generally nowhere else to go. The views of Rannoch Wall, and over Rannoch Moor itself, are stunning.

After a while a significantly steeper rise in the ridge comes into view, with a deep gully/chimney to its right. This is the crux of the route (grade 3 / mod) and it would be worth considering roping up at this point if you have gear with you. Don’t go into the gully but take the obstacle head-on. There are plenty of good holds, a rightward slanting and rather polished groove being the most demanding bit, after which you top out. There is just a little more easy scrambling to where the ridge peters out beneath the rocks of Crowberry Tower. Straight ahead, to the left of the tower there appears to be an easy walk-off up a grassy gully. However, if you wish to continue scrambling in a similar vein, notice the very narrow and exposed flanking path going right towards the col between the top of Rannoch Wall and the N ridge of Crowberry Tower.

Move across this very carefully (including taking care not to dislodge any stones or rocks, which would plunge straight into Easy Gully) until the col is reached. There is a steep drop on the other side and, clearly, the only way forward is up the tower. It looks rather intimidating from here, but the scrambling is similar to what has already been done (grade 2). As you near the top of the tower (no more than 10 metres from its summit) notice a flanking path going off to the right, ducking under a protruding boulder. This is the way down. Continue carefully up to the left if you wish to stand on the top of the tower, then return the same way and take the flanking path which leads you into the gap between the tower and the bulk of Stob Dearg.

There is a short, steep down-climb, but the holds are there. Then take the obvious easy gully opposite and follow the winding path up to the summit of Stob Dearg, the highest point on Buachaille Etive Mor. From here, it’s possible to continue walking over as much of the ridge of the Buachaille, with its two further summits, as is desired. However, the quickest way down is at the bottom of the initial descent from Stob Dearg – two large cairns mark the col where the ‘tourist route’ comes up from Coire na Tulaich. The first part is steep, loose and very unpleasant – it’s best to keep close to the cliff on the right to start with, then move further left over screes after a couple of hundred metres until a made-up path comes into view down the left side of the valley (looking down) – if it’s clear, the cottage and car park are in view all the way and there is no problem with route finding. It is a knee-wrenching descent, though, and you’ll probably be congratulating yourself for not coming up this way!


We have two further routes that need more information added to them, if you have the details of these routes, please email us at contribute@ukscrambles.com

Pap of Glencoe (Sgorr na Ciche)

The Pap of Glencoe, although only 742m, is a shapely mountain sitting at the head of one of Scotland’s finest glens.

The views from the top are spectacular, and as an added incentive there is a short scramble.

Sron Na Lairig (summer)

Two ways of approach, from Glen Etive near Dalness then north into Lairig Eilde, or from Glencoe (newish car park near NN 188 562?) then SW into Lairig Eilde.

From base of broad ridge scramble upwards.


 

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