‘Not as Described’

20th February 2019

We wandered up Coire Ardair this morning expecting a few rain showers, not the ‘Full Goretex’. Which is what we got. And since there were two of us out on a personal/professional development type of day, we decided – eventually – to go somewhere a little different. A path less trod.

Initial plan on our morning online risk assessment (yes, we have to do that sort of thing) was to go into Easy Gully for a prod around, but there was already a group of winter mountaineers (under instruction?) about to wend their way up it so had a quick conflab about possible alternatives.

In our infinite wisdom we decided on Bellevue Buttress, or more accurately, the bottom of it.

(Above) En route to Bellevue Buttress. A snatched photo down onto the Easy Gully group approaching the quarry-like entrance to this popular low grade gully.

Visibility deteriorated further as the wind and rain increased.

The initial attraction of our chosen destination was beginning to wear a little thin. Bellevue = beautiful view, seemed a more than somewhat ironic translation in the circumstances.

(Above) A dim and distant glimpse of the Inner Coire from near the base of Bellevue Buttress.

I’m reminded of other similar optimistically named locations in the Scottish mountains. My favourite has to be the ‘summit indicator’ on Ben Macdui in the Cairngorms.

(Above) The Ben Macd(h)ui ‘summit indicator’ located close to the trig pillar on Britain’s second highest mountain. The accurate direction of some of the mountains visible (allegedly) from this spot. Ordnance Survey also have this place marked as a tourist ‘viewpoint’.

I’ve been to Ben Macdui’s summit far too many times (sometimes at night, but that doesn’t count) and only once had a proper view.


I recall standing at the indicator on countless occasions gazing in the direction of, say, where the (nearby) Devil’s Point should be, and just stared into a thick grey void. Pentland Hills thataway….An in-joke, perhaps?

The inextinguishable optimism of chaps from the Cairngorm Club of Aberdeen back in 1925 has to be admired though. Or maybe their wry sense of humour?

Bellevue Buttress ≠ belle view. At least not today.

We beat a hasty retreat from Bellevue Buttress down to the normally simple burn crossing, where one of us managed to make a bollox of it in the swollen waters and had a wee wade. Oh, joy!

(Above) Archive photo of Bellevue Buttress on a good day.




Comments on this post

  • David Bell
    20th February 2019 7:09 pm

    Thanks for an amusing and interesting story again. I hope we all get something better before too long.

    • meagaidhadmin
      20th February 2019 7:24 pm

      “….something better before too long.” Could be some wait, David!

      Many thanks for your comment.

  • Emily Thompson
    20th February 2019 8:44 pm

    Well the conditions might be making me unhappy but the SAIS Blogs are keeping me smiling. Thanks for persevering even though winter has vanished

    • meagaidhadmin
      20th February 2019 9:18 pm

      Hoping for the best (but maybe reconciled to the worst?)

      Thanks for your comment, Emily.

  • Stan Wygladala
    20th February 2019 9:25 pm

    Thank you for a most amusing blog.
    And…..there are no such thing as coincidences, but…..I live in Belvoir Rd!
    And…..after many visits to the Ben Nevis summit in winter I went for the first time in September and was totally amazed to find the Observatory shelter thingy was 30 ft up in the air. I always believed it to be at ground (snow level).
    And…… I was equally amazed to find that the Ring Of Steal had a well trodden path all the way round. I had never seen it except under snow.

    • meagaidhadmin
      20th February 2019 9:40 pm

      Haha, excellent response, Stan!

      Re. Belvoir. But you also have tricky issue of pronunciation to deal with. Is it ‘beever’, or ‘bell-voir’ down your way? (Locals in the Vale of Belvoir in the East Midlands pronounce it ‘beever’.)

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