Mountain of the month June 2019: Ben Starav, Highlands, Scotland, UK

After the success of our weekend in Arran we couldn’t believe it when yet another promising weather forecast preceded a planned weekend up in Scotland. After flying from Bristol to Glasgow we picked up a car and headed north. With less than 72 hours available we were keen to make the most of the good weather predicted for the first day  of our trip as there was wind, rain and thunderstorms predicted to arrive on the second evening.

Optimistically we’d brought the kit for wild camping with us and gamely packed it into our bags as we set off from deep in Glen Etive. Ben Starav and its neighboring munros seemed like just the right mix of adventure and we’d had a tip off about a good place for a wild camp.

We used the route from the ever dependable walkhighlands.co.uk and added in an ascent of Beinn nan Aighenan given that we were in the area! This was made considerably easier by leaving our camping gear at the bealach as the only real route was an out and back. With the threatened bad weather failing to materialise we set up camp just down from the main ridge and enjoyed a beautiful light evening with deer for company and curry on the menu.

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Fair to say at least one of us found the ascent of Ben Starav fairly hard work

 

The ascent of Ben Starav had been fairly punishing and we weren’t feeling physically optimistic about completing the circular route including a third munro; Glas Bheinn Mhor. We went to sleep having made a pact that we would only think about it if the weather did a complete 180 from the predicted forecast. Begrudgingly we had to admit that when we popped our head out the tent in the morning we couldn’t have asked for better weather; the tops were clear and there were even signs that the sun would put in an appearance. 3 munros it would be.

Not only were the views back to Ben Starav and down into Glen Etive beautiful the descent along good path (not marked on all maps) from the bealach after Glas Bheinn Mhor tracked alongside a burn with increasingly tempting spots for a wild swim dip. A brutally refreshing dip in a turquoise pool under a sunny sky was the perfect end to one of my favourite #mountainofthemonth to date.

We were on the hill for less than 24 hours but it felt like an absolute tonic. Discovering wild camping this year has been a fantastic experience and one that has quickly earned its place in my outdoor activity repertoire.

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Looking over Loch Etive towards Beinn Sgulaird

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