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East Mamores 4 - My Best Day in the Hills (So Far)

East Mamores 4 - My Best Day in the Hills (So Far)


Postby ScotFinn65 » Thu Dec 17, 2020 1:16 pm

Route description: Binnein Mòr and Na Gruagaichean, Mamores

Munros included on this walk: Binnein Beag, Binnein Mòr, Na Gruagaichean, Sgùrr Èilde Mòr

Date walked: 07/06/2019

Time taken: 9.3 hours

Distance: 23 km

Ascent: 2043m

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Depending on what edition you look at, there is a picture of Sgurr Eilde Mor (taken from Sgor Eilde Beag) in the SMC book "The Munros", 2013 revision (page 74). There are a lot of fantastic pictures in this, and many other, books but I felt this looked achievable for me. I fell in love with this picture and that was what finally inspired me to take up Hillwalking more seriously. I promised myself that one day l would go and stand there. This was to be that day. :crazy:

WARNING! Losts of nice pictures :roll:

This was my final planned walking day of my 2019 first visit to Scotland (I am based in Finland these days). The previous days were a bit mixed and yesterday the Big Bookle was a bit clagged-out. Today was promising something different 8)
[Yes, I am very slow with my write-ups] :lol:

I drove up from Glen Coe after breakfast and parked at the start of the route, in the car park, at the church in Kinlochleven.
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Church in Kinlochleven, the starting point car park


I was a little apprehensive as l was going solo and this was probably the longest day with greatest ascent which l had planned, to date. I had done the other Mamores recently and left the eastern 4 to be done as a circuit from Kinlochleven. The forecast looked promising, l packed my bag, put my boots on and started through the forest path toward the waterfall. First follow the sign for the Eilde Path and turn right before the path to the waterfall.

It would be quite easy to take a wrong turn after the first couple of hundred metres with so many eroded paths twisting through the woods but I found my way after one wrong turn (that is predicted in some of the walk reports).

The path is quite eroded but climbs gently over tree roots and loose rocks until it gets out of the woods after about 1km.

As this is a sea level start, the anticipation of reaching 4 Munros means there has to be ascent. However, the hillside was gentle and the path was clear. Taking the first look back after exiting the forest, the views back to loch Leven and the Pap of Glen Coe were opening up and would only get better as the day progressed.
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Exiting the forest path and view back to Loch Leven and Pap of Glen Coe

As I continued, I was able to look back once again to the beautiful clear vista of Loch Leven and surrounding areas. No apologies for showing the same view :lol:
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Loch Leven in the sunshine

The track got even better as I reached the junction with the track heading back to the old Mamore Lodge. Soon after this Loch Eilde Mor came into view and I new that it would not be long until I got my first glimpse of the target Munros.
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Track flattens out for a bit and Loch Eilde More comes into view

On the final part of the track before the level Coire an Lochain I encountered my first fellow walker of the day. An elderly gentleman had taken a breather and we had a short chat about our intended routes for the day. I couldn't help but think that he would finish rather late but again it showed me that each to their own pace :)

I took the opportunity to look over to the south and toward the north side of the Aonach Eagach and Bidean nam Bian towering behind and further east to Criese
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Bidean and Aonach Eagach

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Views across to Glen Coe hills

Continuing forward, I came to the point in the path where the descent from Sgor Eilde Beag meets the outward track. This would be my point of reference for later in the day where I would complete the circuit and trace my track to the end.

From here, my plan was not to follow the WH route but approach Sgurr Eilde Mor from the south each (I prefer to do a circuit rather than ascend and descend the same route, wherever possible). So I took the path to the right and headed for the Lochain. Soon Eilde Mor revealed itself and I was not disappointed.
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First view of Sgurr Eilde Mor

The views lived up to all my expectations. As we all know, most days in Scotland result in clag covered summits with a panorama of the inside of your glasses :crazy:

Walking around the lochain to begin my ascent to the summit of the first Munro, Binnein Beag also came into view. I just had a wonderful feeling at this point and it made the walking such a joy. Great weather and great views make light feet 8)
09_20190607_111133.jpg
Eilde Mor, Lochain and Binnein Beag


I started the ascent by the south east path. The path came and went as I went over some rocks but never anything serious or requiring hands-on. Taking a breather often to take in all the views, I was amazed how clear the panoramas were across to the south and the whole Glen Coe area, in this case.
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South over Glen Coe over the shoulder of Sgor Eilde Beag

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Loch Eilde Mor - again

The journey continued and soon I was on top of my first Munro of the day. What views I was blessed with. Without doubt, far and away my clearest day on the Munro tops, so far.
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Summit cairn with Big Ben in the background

Beginning the descent to the glen between the Munros, the patch is a twisting and turning scree slide. This is not difficult but I imagine it would be quite annoying on descent. The extent of the descent and re-ascent was a bit underestimated but again, not difficult walking. Luckily the views just continued coming.
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Descent and next target Binnein Beag (Binnein Mor on left)

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Close up of CMD Arete

It was here I met my second walker of the day. This time the guy was doing some circuit walk of the Lochs by waling around Sgurr Eilde Mor and then over to the Black Water. It seemed quite a different approach to the day and unusual to find someone out next to so many Munros but had different targets. Again, each to their own. It is amazing the number of different approaches to walking in the Scottish hills :clap:
As I approached the lochan at the foot of Binnein Beag, I seemed to be undecided how best to approach the ascent route. I had a feeling I was supposed to go around the lochan but there was a path going up the east side too. Following that path, I made my way up a similar slope to Sgurr Eilde Mor. From here I got great views of my next target Binnein Mor.
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Half way up Binnein Beag looking to Binnein Mor

Continuing upward, I could now also get clearer views toward the western Mamores and Ring of Steall.
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Some of the Ring of Steall

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Binnein Mor and Ring of Steall

Continuing forward, the summit cairn again gave more views all around.
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Binnein Beag Summit Cairn


I descended again to the lochan at the foot of Binnein Beag but this was where I expected the day to get a little bit more difficult. I could not find a defined path from this side to the summit of Binnein Mor in any of the maps or preferred routes. I had used the Ultimate Guide series quite a lot in my planning and there was a recommendation to go straight up the corrie and cross to the NW spur from behind the twin lochans in the corrie.
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Looking back to Binnein Beag, with Grey Corries in background


This turned out to be quite pathless but quite pleasant walking. The slope was a bit more challenging but nothing extraordinary at this point. However, after the lochans and the find push onto the ridge, the gradient became quite severe and pushed my to walk across the slopes and back and forth. The Bealach na Ba road seems to be the best way to describe it.

Anyhow, I made the ridgeline with incident. Now came my heart flutters. In some of the walk guides it says that the summit is a bit airy and the ridge might not be to everyone's taste. This had me worried. I haven't developed a head for exposure yet and worried this would be on the border of my capabilities or desires. I pushed upward and followed the path as much as I could until a short and easy scramble took me up to the final part of the summit ridge and along to the cairn, The views were stupendous :shock:
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Binnein Beag from Binnein Mor and again, the outline of the Grey Corries. Loch Treig Munros further behind


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One more, just because I love it

I was so delighted with views and so chuffed with myself making all the way here, I almost forgot about the rest of the route. I made my way across the Binnein Mor ridge to the South Top.
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Binnein Mor Summit Cairn with Sgorr Eilde Beag and Blackwater in the background

As I descended to the south Top, there were some great views of the Ring of Steall now.
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Ring of Steall from Binnein Mor South Top

As I approached the low point in the ridge to Na Gruagaichean, I left my bag down in some rocks, as my exit would be across to Sgorr Eilde Beag and down to join the approach route. The walk along the ridge to Na Gruagaichean was very pleasant. There were a few rocky outcrops and some boulders to negotiate but again, the distance was easy and the weather made the walking an absolute pleasure.

I also neglected to mention up to this point that I had not encountered another living soul. (not even sheep or deer :D ). This would continue right up until I reached my car again. :shock:
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Na Gruagaichean summit cairn with RoS and Ben Nevis in background

After the summit of Na Gruagaichean, I made my way back to my bag. I meant to leave it at the low point but the low point never looks the same from both sides :roll: So I had a little bit more climb than anticipated.

From here I made my way across the hillside to the edge of Sgor Eilde Beag. Here was where I got my photograph that I had been inspired by. Looking back to the first Munro and the Lochan. I was living the dream. Just like the picture in the Munros book 8)
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Sgurr Eilde Mor and Lochan from Sgor Eilde Beag

From this point, I simply took the zig zag path down the side of Sgor Eilde Beag to join the outward path. The walk continued to be pleasant without any complications. My time was 9hr 20mins for the 23km and just over 2000m ascent.

I have to say, this was my most satisfying day on the hills, so far and quite a feeling of elation. You can probably tell by some of the pictures :lol:
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One last view on the way back.



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ScotFinn65
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Re: East Mamores 4 - My Best Day in the Hills (So Far)

Postby R1ggered » Sat Dec 19, 2020 4:39 pm

Great report. The next best thing to not getting out on the hills is to read excellent reports like this. having done those hills myself its good to enjoy them again via your report. :clap: :clap:
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Re: East Mamores 4 - My Best Day in the Hills (So Far)

Postby ScotFinn65 » Tue Dec 22, 2020 7:00 am

R1ggered wrote:Great report. The next best thing to not getting out on the hills is to read excellent reports like this. having done those hills myself its good to enjoy them again via your report. :clap: :clap:


Thanks R1ggered. I feel the same and reading reports on this forum have been a large part of my preparation for walks. They have even become a part of my weekly reads. I thoroughly enjoy them.

I just wish l was as consciousness as other people as l am about 2 years behind in my write ups :roll:

I am very glad if l can give back a little of what WalkHighands has given to me. :D
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ScotFinn65
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Re: East Mamores 4 - My Best Day in the Hills (So Far)

Postby Graeme D » Tue Dec 22, 2020 11:05 am

Cracking TR and set of pics. These are great hills. I did part of this route in deep snow and the rest of it on a typical mixed bag autumnal day. Looking back from the summit of Binnein Mor, it looks like you have to walk a million miles to get past the loch and onto the path back down towards Kinlochleven but what a walk it is! :D
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Re: East Mamores 4 - My Best Day in the Hills (So Far)

Postby ScotFinn65 » Mon Dec 28, 2020 4:43 pm

Graeme D wrote:Cracking TR and set of pics. These are great hills. I did part of this route in deep snow and the rest of it on a typical mixed bag autumnal day. Looking back from the summit of Binnein Mor, it looks like you have to walk a million miles to get past the loch and onto the path back down towards Kinlochleven but what a walk it is! :D


I must admit, l am not a winter walker. :wink: l find the walking hard enough without half a metre of snow.

Thinking of the walk back from the furthest point is always mentally challenging. However, on this day, it was a pure pleasure 8)
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Re: East Mamores 4 - My Best Day in the Hills (So Far)

Postby Anne C » Mon Dec 28, 2020 5:05 pm

Great read - what a day you had for that round! :clap:
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