See Also: Crowberry Ridge Rannoch Wall North Butress Slime Wall Curved Ridge Hillwalking

Curved Ridge

Note: All grid references are from OS Outdoor Leisure 38 - Ben Nevis & Glencoe. 1:25,000

Curved ridge is one of the defining features of the Buchaille that are visible from the roadside. The curving ridge that passes underneath the face of Rannoch Wall is a hard scramble (M) or an easy rock-climb depending on how you look at it but is climbable on all weathers and make an excellent alternative route to the summit.

Curved Ridge is also the descent route from the summit to Rannoch Wall (via Crowberry Gap).

The ridge starts at grid reference 227546 (ish) where Easy Gully opens out into a bowl beneath the start of Crowberry Ridge. From here there looks like there are two curving ridges sweeping upwards underneath Crowberry Ridge and Rannoch Wall - both are polished and either can be climbed, however, the left-hand ridge is the better (normal) route of ascent and is distinguished (apart from being on the other side of a separating gully!) by what looks like a red path ascending it.
These two starts of the ridge meet at a ledge beneath Rannoch Wall.

The Route

The climbing on the route is all in the bottom half where the rock is, for the most part, fairly sound. Care should always be taken however as there are some large handholds on the route which are not actually attached. Always check the holds before you commit yourself to them.

At the start of the ridge the climbing is fairly easy comprising short sections of perhaps 5-10m between large ledges where 3-4 people can gather if need be. There are many lines that can be taken but further up the ridge, crampon marks show up the most common line (at least in winter).

In the middle of the bottom half you'll come to a spacious ledge/terrace immediately beneath a large (and very steep) slab/face. There's a large horizontal crack 2m up but otherwise the face is simple a series of sloping ledges. Here you have a choice! You can either ascend the face directly (Diff) which is very committing and not recommended unless you're an experienced rock-climber or for the scrambler, there's a gully just around to the left of the face. Be careful in the wet as the drop is huge should you take one step too many. Both routes bring you out atop the gully.

For the scrambler the next section is the hardest but for everyone it is the last real difficulty on the ridge (although there is much pleasant scrambling left). Scramblers would be advised to follow the gully upwards until they can't go any further - on your left you'll be able to see where the rock is really polished and there are some vertical flake/crakes with huge holds... ascend here. For fun, the more confident can ascent the slabby rock from further down - no jugs just small footholds and great friction.

After this section you will be afforded your first view (weather permitting) of Rannoch Wall. The ledge here is comfortable enough for a picnic and on a nice view the views are great from here, too.

After another 20-odd metres of scrambling you'll see that it's now possible to cross the chasm that divided you from Rannoch Wall - follow a well used path across to Rannoch Wall - looking up the mountain you'll see a "chossy red gully" with lots of loose rock. This is the nasty-but-fun way to the top. Assuming no-one gets a rock kicked onto their heads this is a really nice scramble. It finishes just about 50m beneath Crowberry Gap.

You can now either follow the red scree path to the summit or circle around behind the sheer face of Crowberry Tower and ascent to its summit by an easy scramble (worthwhile). Descend from the Tower by the same route but instead of returning to the Gap simply scramble upwards over easy rocks to the summit cairn and shelter.