A varied low-to-mid level trek around the Etive group of mountains bounded by Rannoch Moor, Loch Etive and Glen Kinglass, mainly on good paths and tracks.
The outward eastern route follows a section of the West Highland Way (WHW) over the shoulder of Mam Carraigh to traverse Black Mount to Kings House and the foot of the Devil's Staircase.
The north-western section ascends between the towering Buachaille Etive peaks through the Lairig Gartain, a fine old pass route linking Glen Coe and Glen Etive with a beautiful mountain view towards Loch Etive from its summit.
The south-western section hugs the eastern shore of Loch Etive as far as Ardmaddy, flanked by Ben Starav and Beinn Trilleachan.
The southern route returns along Glen Kinglass and ascends to a superb central section with a splendid mountain view to the north, reaching Loch Dochard and the Abhainn Shira.
An extraordinary spell of weather for March mandated the investment of resources for a Scotland backpack: very warm sunny weather by day and freezing nights, only slightly marred by a thick haziness to the some of the mountain views. No complaints though, this was a splendid backpack with virtually nobody around, just a handful briefly in the vicinity of the Buachaille: from halfway up the Lairig Gartain to the end of the trip we saw only one walker, who was doing a similar route in reverse. Even the Black Mount section of the WHW was deserted. Very little snow remained on the mountains, just scattered pockets on the uppermost slopes and the odd corrie edge fringed with white.
Full report & photos