This report on an early backpacking trip is quite lengthy, with about 70 images, including copies of the diary entries transcribed by Nick. You may wish to click on an image and speed through the slideshow.
I was joined on this trip by Ruaridh, John (RIP), Dave, Nick, and Roger, who we picked up in Glasgow for the journey to Glencoe. We thought nothing about squeezing the six of us with backpacks into my Cortina Estate, the first of many vehicles generously provided by my employer.
Here are Nick's notes on getting there:
Diary entries are inserted at the end of each day's pictures. Today (Saturday) we clambered up to the Aonach Eagach ridge directly from near the Clachaig Inn - a fairly abrupt way to start a three day backpack.
Dave readjusts prior to ascent
Roger takes a rest in view of Loch Leven
The Pass of Glencoe from Sgor nam Fionnaidh
Party time on Sgor nam Fionnaidh
Looking ahead, along the Aonach Eagach ridge
Loch Leven and Sgorr Dhearg
Negotiating Aonach Eagach
I remember Roger getting scared here. I had to go back to carry his rucksack for him over the scrambly bits; I didn't suffer from vertigo then.
Looking back along the ridge
Roger admires the view towards the Mamores
The start of the descent towards the Devil's Staircase, with Buachaille Etive Mor and Beag
By the time we pitched camp above the Devil's Staircase it was 7pm. Here's what Nick wrote about that wonderful day in the mountains:
Here's our approximate route - 11 km with 1400 metres ascent.
Sunday morning saw us rise in a leisurely manner at our spot near the head of Allt a Choire Odhar-Bhig.
An assortment of tents were deployed, including models by Saunders and Vango, plus two Karrimor wedge tents, designed for mountain marathons but comfortable for backpacking. I still have the wedge, and I know Frank Brierley (a work colleague) also had one (we got 'seconds' for half price - £14 - at the YHA shop near Piccadilly); there were two on this trip - perhaps someone will remind me as to who was using the other one.
The Mamores, from the top of Devil's Staircase
Buachaille Etive Mor from the top of Devil's Staircase
The view to Glencoe from Altnafeadh
Early morning at the climbers cottage at Altnafeadh,
with the snowy coire we were to ascend in the distance
Ascending Buachaille Etive Mor
The steep snow slope in Coire na Tulaich
Rannoch Moor from Stob Dearg, with Nick
Aonach Eagach and the Mamores from Stob Dearg
Dave near Stob Dearg summit
Stob Dearg and Rannoch Moor
A view back to the Devil's Staircase
Bidean nam Bian and Loch Leven
Looking back to Stob Dearg and beyond
Roger's scree running causes a landslide
We then made our way to a camping spot in Lairig Eilde, where Ruaridh composed the following diary entry:
Here's our approximate route - 13 km with 1200 metres ascent.
Dave took over the diary writing on Bank Holiday Monday, complaining that his entry was necessarily short, in sympathy with his short rest breaks.
The camping spot was fine
Here, John admires the view from the minor summit at 2523' on Beinn Fhada
There was a good view down Glen Etive to Loch Etive
Ruaridh, on Stob Coire Sgreamhach, with Bidean Nam Bian
The view north, with Ben Nevis
Resting on the summit of Bidean nam Bian
The diary refers to self-timed pictures, but Roger must have taken this one
Descending the Stob Coire ridge from Bidean nam Bian
Roger admires the Aonach Eagach ridge, with Ben Nevis beyond it
The view south/west
Looking back to our route of descent
Looking down to the Clachaig Inn, and a patch of burnt heather
Glencoe, and Aonach Eagach
Back in Glencoe
The final scanned slide shows my car next to a significant area of burnt vegetation. We had heard fire engines the previous day, but we hadn't realised that they had been called to 'rescue' my precious company car!
Dave managed to scribble the following diary entry before all six of us squeezed back into the car. It was a great relief to those on the rear seats when Roger disembarked in Glasgow.
Here's our approximate route - 12 km with 1200 metres ascent.
Here's the whole round - 36 km with 3800 metres ascent, including six Munro summits, though at the time maybe only four of them were recognised as such.
I hope you enjoyed reading that as much as I enjoyed putting it together...