Not a massive 007 fan but I did really enjoy the film Skyfall and if memory serves me correctly 007’s family home is located in the beautiful Glen Etive- probably somewhere on “The Road to Nowhere”. Now, when I watched the film I recognised the Glen but not the location of where the house actually was (I don’t frequent Surrey too often ;)).
I can understand why this wasn’t filmed here because if it were, 007 would have lost out on being the star attraction- Starav would’ve taken over and won the accolades ;) obviously tongue in cheek here but heading down the Nowhere Road, the bulk of Starav dominates the horizon and draws you down the Glen.
Rising majestically to over 1000 meters, it’s not one for a quick half day operation, combine it with Glas Bheinn Mor and its gives a full day adventure with soring ridges and amazing panoramas with nearly 1400m of ascent.
The cracking late Autumnal weather was set to continue and the forecast was for the brief overnight mild spell to be blown away with cold crisp blue sky weather taking its place as the day progressed- definitely an improving forecast. With this in mind we decided on clockwise method of attach, gaining Glas Bheinn Mor first then hopefully enjoying the high level traverse in some sunshine……. Mmmmmmmm
Arriving at the start of the walk around 0830 (transportation via My Little Pony Princess mobile) and it was rather raw, windy and cloud hung onto the tops with no blue skies to be seen!!
We headed off and the 4-5km walk into Coire Odhar was rather challenging! The (very boggy) path was partially frozen and when you didn’t lose your feet down a bog you were skating over lots of ground ice (micro spikes should’ve come out earlier!). The wind hadn’t died down and it was cold and not very enjoyable (even less enjoyable should you have a big metal device implanted in your foot- apologies G!). Breakfast break at the bealach and we assessed our options. The plan was to get onto the ridge which stayed above 750m for the next 5km to Starav and beyond! Obviously this would be perfect in the forecast blue skies, however in the current conditions where the cloud level was at around 750m and the winds rather blustery, it meant a cold wet miserable day in the clag L
We decided to crack on and if things didn’t improve perhaps head off the ridge and back home- it really is a route to be kept for a good day with the views you get up here! Malt loaf and tuna sandwiches eaten and we felt a little better heading up a much better path towards Glas Bheinn Mor. Soon the summit was reached and still no sign of the blue skies. The camera was placed back in the bag (it was icing up!), microspikes fitted (note we had full crampons and ice axe but condition assessed we placed the micrspikes on- amazing how much snow had disappeared from the previous week!) and goggle placed on face – it was freezing! The predicted drop in temperature was happening – maybe a sign of things to come….. On we went, a few ups and downs and finally reached Bealachan Lochain Ghaineamhaich where the map showed a descent option.
It was here that the day turned on its head. A day of two halves. The wind started to drop and the gloom started to lift. Within 10 minutes breaks were appearing. Mountain views were whisking past in small windows in the cloud. Further south we caught glimpses of white sun hit mountains.
We decided on summiting Starav and so glad we did. On the climb up to Stob Coire Dheirg we met the only people we were to meet on the round. They had just come off the summit where they reported the views were nil but it was nice to get out. We headed on and gained height. Our timing couldn’t have been more perfect. As we reached Stob Coire Dheirg we were greeted by our Brocken Spectres to herald a fantastic few hours ahead. The camera was back out and the shifting mists and blue skies offered great views all around with fog bows and spectres accompanying us for the next few hours.
Lingering on the summit we eventually made the 1000m descent knowing we would be hit and miss on whether the head torches would be required. The walk back down was a panoramic joy (if not so joyous on the knees!) with the lowering light casting shadows up and down Glen Etive and the Glencoe Mountains. Dusk came and was on its way out as we reached the car. Perfect timing again and a grand adventure. I think 007 may have enjoyed this too…
Some thoughts and reports from my outdoors activties...