Wednesday, 7 December 2011

A trek through Glen Etive to Loch Etive

We recently spent an incredible weekend up in Glen Etive near Glencoe. We were blessed with awesome weather and managed to get two reasonable yomps under our belts in the three days we were there (the other was spent roaming the loaclity taking some snaps).

Glen Etive reflection
A Lochan reflection in Glen Etive
November could be expected to be a bit hit and miss with regards the weather but we couldn't have had it better, it was foul as I drove up Glen Etive but by the time the rest of the blokes arrived about an hour or so later the clouds had parted exposing all the peaks around the valley.

Glen Etive Landscape
The landscape of Glen Etive
We left the car park in the morning with the view of getting yomping cross country down Glen Etive to the Loch to take some time lapse footage some time late in the day. We took maps and the trusty Satmap Active 10 but really just sidled down Glen Etive with no real route in mind. A couple of days earlier we'd been bagging Munros so a few of us were keener for some lower level stuff. We started by hugging the River Etive which was pretty impressive and picturesque not coming across another soul. We had to take a right when we hit a tributary that would have given us seriously wet feet, ankles, knees and waist and head towards the road. This actually ended up taking us across a small footbridge but we still had to hit the road eventually.

Flowing Etive
 A flowing River Etive
River Etive Flowing
River Etive

We continued up here until we came to another road which led to a bridge across the river we'd just followed. We wanted to try to get up the hillside on the eastern side of Loch Etive as we thought we'd get a better view. This proved to be far tougher then we'd anticipated but I've not laughed so hard in some time.

Golden View down Glen Etive
A Golden View
Once over this bridge we were guided around a property where it started getting really boggy and was tough tough going. This didn't get any easier and before long we had a river to cross, which was no great shakes and we decided to take a spot of lunch here in the middle of the tributary.

Dry River Bed
Crossing the dry river bed
Once over the river the bog turned to marshland and was just wet up to about the ankle. We persevered and headed back down to the river we'd crossed as there was a dry bed which would at least have furnished us with some better footing. It didn't as it turned out and only served up larger doses of humour. We decided to get off the river bed and back onto land - into a patch or gorse where we couldn't see the way through or way out. this led to dead end after dead end and cries of help were heard all around - these were met with cries of hysteria.

A marshy Glen Etive
A look over the marshes of Glen Etive to Loch Etive
Once reunited on the far side we decided unanimously that the ascent up the hillside was a painful idea and that we'd be better off catching the shot from the edge of Loch Etive. This therefore meant that we had to cross the river again. There was no bridge however which was going to prove to be a touch tough as there was no clear way it could be crossed without a bit of an inconvenience unless we walked back up to the bridge which no one was really keen on. One of the boys spotted a wide part of the River Etive which he thought looked relatively shallow and went for it.

Crossing Rive Etive
Crossing the River

It was only when he had crossed it that he realised that he'd only crossed the river to the same side that he'd ultimately started from - he was confident his boots had held out though and his feet were still dry. In the end half of us were down to our pants and the others risked it with gaiters on. It was cold but brief and relatively painless.

River reflection
A river reflection

We were not long before we were back on the road and heading for Loch Etive. We timed it pretty much bang on and got the sun disappearing over the horizon. At the same time a canoeist appeared at the far end of the Loch, not sure where he'd been but he was met by a seal proving that there was access from the sea to here albeit being a touch of a hike.

Loch Etive
Loch Etive

Once we'd got the footage we required we kicked off on the lengthy hike back up the road. It was too dark now to go cross country again - that would have been painful. What seemed like a fair age later we were back at the car park. Not the most conventional of days walks but totally varied terrain and what seemed like an awesome adventure in an incredible part of the world, it was totally stunning.

View Glen Etive Walk in a larger map


Alan R said...

Couldn’t have been nicer apart from a wild camp to catch the dawn. Some very nice images there. Well done. Good trip.

The Weekend Dude said...

Hi Alan,

We were so blessed with the weather it was amazing and what a part of the country, I was expecting great things but was blown away. Whilst we didn't catch the dawn unfortunately (the previous nights whisky prevented that) we did hammock it for the weekend. It's always quite tough reintegrating with civilisation after such a weekend.

Byeways said...

Brilliant pictures (and narrative!). I understand your sentiments: it looks like the kind of trip where you'd be in no hurry to start the return journey.

The Weekend Dude said...

Cheers, yeah gutting to leave but a great one chalked off. Feel like I've got a tough challenge on now to find a better spot for the Scotland trip. Any suggestions by the way would be very much appreciated.

The Camping Trail said...

Amazing pictures! Such places still exist? It looks practically undisturbed and enchanting. I wish I could see them in person too. It looks magical and something made out of movies or a painting.

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