The Bidean nam Bian walk -
6 miles if full circular completed
Rough going over some sections.
Gaelic = 'peak of the mountains'
Care required in winter especially in avalanche conditions.
Dangerous crags, buttresses - and cornices in winter.
Great care required in
Two Munros and a
Length: about 6 mile circular route
Start: Car parks NN171569, 500yd west Alt na Righ cottage in Glencoe
Surface: Rough track, ill defined in places, scree, boulder fields
Hazardous Narrow path in a deep gorge near start of walk
Navigation: Fairly easy in clear weather.
Very difficult in poor visibility - if inexperienced in poor
weather navigation, do not attempt.
Bidean nam Bian is the highest mountain in Argyll and is hard to see
from the road as it lies at the heart of a complex system of buttresses, ridges and
corries. Due to its complex nature the views are stunning throughout the walk. The descent
from Bidean on this route is via a narrow, steep ridge composed of boulders - followed by
another descent with a little scrambling.
Once comitted to the summit ridges there is no easy escape.
If in doubt about the weather or your ability - don't attempt this one.
From the carpark walk down the slope toward the river Coe to find a track leading left.
Follow this track to cross a bridge over the river Coe and continue up the slope be a deep
gorge. The track here is narrow, uneven and in some parts unstable at the edge - take great care here.
Soon the ravine becomes less deep and a huge boulder choke markes the place to cross
the burn (wet feet here if much water) to continue on the SE side of the burn until the
'Lost Valley' is reached.
This is a level partly grassy area where the McDonalds
are reputed to have hidden their cattle. Continue to follow the bed of the burn until you
see a track heading up the slope on the right - follow this up the Valley (proper name
'coire Gabhail) to the headwall .
In winter this is usually a steep snow climb where ice-axe and crampons are essential.
Climb up the headwall to reach the col. NN 151 537.
Turn left (ESE) here to climb 400ft the boulder strewn ridge to the summit of Stob
Coire Sgreamhach NN151537, 3510 ft.
Great views here to Buachaille and Glen Etive.
To the NE is the long narrow ridge of Bein Fhada, to the East is Stob Dubh at the end of
the Buachaille Etive Beag, and to the NW the summit of Bidean nam Bian - your next
Return by the ascent route to the col then continue 600ft up the steepening ridge over
a number of dips - and one very narrow section - to the summit of Bidean nam Bian,
NN144542, 3772ft, where 3 ridges meet.
This is the highest point in Argyll. Views here to Sgreamhach, Fhada, Glencoe, Glen Etive
and Loch Etive.
The descent begins - probably the most demanding part of the
From Bidean nam Bian head down the NE ridge - difficult going over a 'heap' of broken
rock and boulders which form the narrow descending ridge. This drops down to about 3200 ft
before climbing again to reach Stob Coire nan Lochan, NN148549, just a few feet lower than
Bidean. During this descent, avoid being led out to the left onto the enormous buttresses
which for the walker are unclimbable.
From Stob Coire nan Lochan there are excellent views down to the Ballachulich narrows
and bridge. The famous ridge of Aonach Eagach to the north on the opposite side of Glencoe
is well seen from here.
The access to the next descending ridge is hard to find now - head initially almost
EAST and pick your way down the ridge, avoiding all difficult crags by detouring to the
right each time. The track veers round slowly to a more North easterly direction to reach
a rounded grassy area with small lochans, about NN 155551, 2600ft. In front of you and to
the left are some rocky outcrops - turn left before these rocks to follow a small burn and
scree to reach the foot of some waterfalls. Below the waterfalls and following the main
burn is a track, poorly defined at first and eventually becoming a knee jarring
Follow this path all the way down to the river Coe where another bridge leads to the