Stob Dubh Buachaille etive beag glencoe artist

My ears pricked up at the hallowed phrase on the weather forecast… “a ridge of high pressure…”


Glencoe artist hills mountains sketching painting

Sketching from on high

Throwing together everything I needed for a quick overnighter up a mountain, I picked out the Buachaille Etive Beag as a destination for a leg stretch and a spot of sketching. Less well known than the majestic Buachaille Etive Mor (Great Herdsman of Glen Etive), I was looking for a walk that wouldn’t absolutely exhaust me; seeing as my legs aren’t particularly hill-fit at present.






It was a gorgeous day; sunny with a wee breeze to keep the midgies at bay, fantastic visibility and well maintained paths up to the two Munro tops. My backpack weighed in at around 15kg…not exactly lightweight; but paper weighs a lot! As usual I took more art supplies than I needed, but rather that way around than the other.

Bidean nam Bian from Stob Dubh - pencil sketch Julie Arbuckle

Bidean nam Bian from Stob Dubh – pencil sketch

It was really warm – I slapped on the Factor 50 and sweated and panted my way up. Heart pounding and the weight of my rucksack slowing me down considerably, I got a few funny looks from people descending the hill with tiny packs – veritable mountain goats skipping down the track. I felt more akin to a mountain hippo…

ben nevis glencoe lochaber hillwalking highlands scotland

Ben Nevis from the “Wee Bookle”

I found a small patch to pitch my tent not too far from a water source – sadly not on the very top of the hill as it was a bit too breezy, but with a fair view all the same…

wildcamping etive terra nova Glen Coe

Early Morning Cloud rising Glen Coe

wildcamping glen coe etive tent

Resting in the tent









I was treated to a pretty decent sunset – the view from the top of┬áStob Coire Raineach down Glencoe is fantastic – although I was almost paralysed by the beauty and ever-changing light. I felt like there was no way my sketches could do this justice. I did try, though I was scunnered to find I’d left my watercolours down at the tent. Gloves, hat and scarf on in addition to ALL my clothes, as the wind was coming from the north and had a fair bite to it.

Aonach Eagach sketch - graphite on paper Julie Arbuckle

Aonach Eagach sketch – graphite on paper Julie Arbuckle

Loch Leven Sunset

Loch Leven Sunset

Stob Dubh and Glen Etive evening scottish hillwalking

Stob Dubh and Glen Etive

Sunset from Buachaille Etive Beag

Sunset from Buachaille Etive Beag

Picking my way back down to the tent, my knee started giving me jip. I may have to start walking with sticks! I seriously considered packing up and descending back to the carpark by torchlight, but sense prevailed and I battened down the hatches to try to get some sleep. The wind sang and I swear I could hear murmuring voices adrift on it through the night.

When my alarm went off at 5am ( I had set it to catch the sunrise), my knee was still louping and the clag had descended, obscuring any view. So I burrowed deeper into my sleeping bag and caught another couple of hour’s sleep.

Camping on the Bealach wildcamping terra nova

Camping on the Bealach