I’d been putting-off one single hillwalk for some time, and none of the other Munros south of the Great Glen have quite the reputation of the Aonach Eagach, reputedly the narrowest and trickiest ridge on the British mainland. However, the opportunity to tackle it came up on a Thursday afternoon in a WhatsApp chat with other IGR folk, and so I found myself being picked-up at 6:30 in the morning by Ross, then meeting Thejas before driving north to park in the three sisters carpark in Glencoe. The forecast was for the weather to be very hot as the day went on, and we’d hoped to be able to complete most of the ascent as early as possible in the day.
The first summit, Am Bodach, required a steep climb which was made uncomfortable by the rising heat. We started around the same time as another group who we would end up encountering many more times as the day went on. I would later realise I recognised one of them as a regular Bog & Burns runner. From Am Bodach to the first Munro things were relatively straight-forward, though getting off this top could have proved a challenge in worse conditions, requiring some relatively tricky down-climbing, scrambling over a fair amount of exposure. The trick here, and for the rest of the day was to pay attention to the rock in front of you and not the air behind and below you.
The first Munro, Meall Dearg (952m) gave us our first view out and across the ridge and the so-called “crazy pinnacles” which joined this Munro to the next. We had a mild amount of alarm at this point when a group overtook us with ropes and climbing harnesses. We’d later work out that there were a few groups on the hill with guides, and many of these were in groups with rope.
There are two summits along the ridge to be climbed, the pinnacles, and both required considerable scrambling to summit. We ended-up in queues of people for a fair part of the day, which sometimes moved quite slowly if one member of a party ahead was struggling. At one point a woman ahead of us was in tears. The scrambling was generally very enjoyable, I thought, and we made our way across the ridge without incident or undue complication.
From the end it was a final steep climb up to Sgorr nam Fionnaidh (after a quick trip over the top at the end of the ridge), and we were ready to start the long and fairly gentle descent to Glencoe village. The descent started over fairly loose scree, but eventually becomes grassy (and, had it rained in the last month, no doubt also boggy). We stopped in Glencoe for ice-cream and then caught (a rather expensive) bus back to the car.