Walking the Munro Stob na Broige, Glencoe
Some Munro baggers become addicted to their pursuit and, once started, tick off as many as they can in quick succession. The really dedicated Munro baggers will walk several rounds of the 282 Munros – and there is one person, Steve Fallon, who has walked 15 rounds. I am a bit different.
I see Munro bagging as a great things to do when time allows. I like to walk a different Munro each time I go out walking but I do not walk Munros exclusively. I enjoy too many other outdoors pursuits to focus on just Munros!
I do, however, love walking the Munros and have totted up more than 100 summits over the years, although in the last year I have rarely climbed a mountain, let alone a Munro. (A small matter of triathlon racing got in the way!)
A weekend of outdoors fun
Last weekend I accompanied the G-Force to the Festival of Ice at the Ice Factor in Kinlochleven. (He did really well, if you are wondering, coming fourth place in the vets category.) While he climbed in the earlier stages, I headed to the Nevis Range Witches’ Trails to practise my cyclocross skills on the Broomstick Blue route. By the third loop of the 7k trail I had mastered keeping my feet on the pedals and not being such a cyclocross scaredy cat! I finished the morning off with a run around the same route.
I returned to the Ice Factor to see the climbers in action in the top quality dry tooling competition.
The opportunity to walk a Munro
The Festival of Ice after-party meant Sunday started with a hangover. Luckily, we’d booked into the amazing B&B Allt na Leven where a superb cooked breakfast gave us the motivation – and energy – to go climb a Munro.
Having not walked a mountain for a while we chose a Munro that was a single summit and would hopefully be walked in less than five hours. Stob na Broige is often walked as part of the Buchaille Etive Mor ridge but on the day that I summited the Buchaille via Curved Ridge I very much needed to get off and back down to lower ground! Read about my climb of Curved Ridge.
The walk starts from close to the main Glencoe road and at a height of around 300m. This means there is only around 650 metres of climbing to reach the 956m summit. This is great for a Munro bag!
Walking in winter sunshine felt great and the walk in along the glen is beautiful. All around are the high mountains of Glencoe and the rushing sound of fast-moving streams and burns. The climb itself starts in earnest after a river crossing but it is rarely steep. Generally there is a path and this winds its way upwards.
There are a couple of scrambling bits but nothing too challenging and we made fairly speedy progress even when we reached the snowy top.
I love walking in snow in my warm winter boots (Asolo or La Sportiva being my chosen favourites just now). This was the first snow of this season for me and it was fantastic to be walking where no other footsteps had gone before us.
The trail heads up to a lower peak before going down a little and undulating towards the top of the end of the ridge at Stob na Broige. The views were utterly incredible with autumnal landscape lower down, topped by the many white peaks.
Summit and the return
We enjoyed sunshine and clear views at the top – the vista over Glen Etive is truly breath-taking – but the weather was threatening to clag in and within 15 minutes of leaving the top we were walking through a snowstorm. It shows just how quickly conditions can change in Scotland and I was reassured to know I’d packed extra clothing layers and crampons.
We didn’t need the crampons but I did use my lightweight Rab Primaloft jacket as an extra insulating layer for the downward walk. Read my review of eight great lightweight insulated jackets.
Then, just as the clouds had descended on us and bringing snow, so they lifted and we found ourselves walking most of the rest of the return route in sunshine again. I usually prefer a circular route but on this occasion the out-and-back route gave amazing opportunities for taking in the landscape and views in both directions. Glencoe is always stunning.
The final march along the glen again was in on-off rain but our mood was high having walked our first Munro of the 2103/2104 winter season.