It was my first week off work since the easing of lockdown, plan was:
a) getting some hill walking in
b) some surfing.
Original plan was to head to Kintyre stopping off for lunch at the amazing Boathouse on Gigha, have a few days down there before heading up to Fort William to finish off the last six of the Mamores.
I was acutely aware that actually the surf was looking better at the end of the week and the weather for hill walking the start, but the van was packed and the table booked so crossed my fingers and off we went.
Fate however had other ideas, when at Loch Fyne the all familiar dashboard warning light illuminated, followed by the van stuttering into limp mode.. brilliant, another injector... five in three years, but that's another forum!
Following the rather sad sight of the van being towed home I mulled over my options. Determined not to have my only week off ruined by this set back I decided to hire a car, go hill walking for a couple days then, hopefully by Friday, pick the van up and travel west. Bag packed and green light from the wife I set off the following day.
Ive had this route earmarked for some time, extending the ring of Steall to include Stob Ban & Mullach nan Coirean. It was doable in a day but with no time constraints opted to camp, plus it would be my first overnight camp on the hills and I was pretty excited by it.
I had planned on starting at lower falls car park, but as getting the hire car had taken a wee bit longer than I'd hoped, I opted parking at Upper to make up some time. The car park was busy as usual, but with such beautiful surroundings completely understandable. I set off mid afternoon with a rough idea on where I wanted to camp, either doing Sgùrr a' Mhàimg that evening or the next morning depending on time. I gingerly crossed the wire bridge with all my camping gear and an expectant audience waiting for the inevitable crash, but made it over without making a scene. The walk up was slower than usual as the bag that felt manageable at home suddenly felt a lot heavier.
But the weather was great and made it up to An Gearanach without any problems.
The forecast had predicted showers before brightening up again, looking over the Grey Corries this looked to be true so didn't hang around too long to make up some ground.
The showers provided a little rest bite from the heat and with Stob Coire a'Chàirn & Am Bodach in the bag my attention turned to setting up camp. I had earmarked an lochan just past the devil's ridge but as I had enough water and the weather improving decided to find somewhere on higher ground to enjoy the fantastic views.
With dinner done, I sat and enjoyed the sunset with a few well earned drams (Seaweed Aeons & Digging & Fire)
I got my head down around 2200 but planned on watching the sunrise the next morning, I set my for 0400 but oh boy was it worth it!
I stuck my head out to be greeted by a perfect cloud inversion with Sgòrr a'Mhaim and Ben Nevis looking absolutely incredible.
I wanted to get moving as I'd finished all my water so said good bye to my halo and got going. I left my bag behind for Sgòrr a'Mhaim and really enjoyed the early morning devil's ridge walk, the views over to Ben Nevis were amazing with the morning mist ebbing and flowing.
I picked up my bag and made my way down to the Lochan to replenish my water supply. Looking up towards Stob Ban the going looked pretty steep, so initiated Yak mode and made a start. The clag was setting in and I was pretty happy with myself for getting up so early to make the most of it, I saw a few other emerging from their tents with no idea what they've just missed.
I made it to the top of Stob Ban in what I've come to call cloud inclusion, something every hill walker has experienced.. With no views to enjoy, but very content with my morning so far, I didn't hang around too long looking at the clag.
The route round to Mullach nan Coirean was thankfully easier going underfoot and the clag made for comfortable walking conditions. The views did start breaking through again as I approached the cairn for the sixth and final Munro of the walk.
The walk down was pretty tough going with the temperature creeping up, I had been considering dumping the bag for the walk from lower to Upper falls car park but as I'd carried it this far opted to finish what I had started. It was a fair old hike back and I was ready for the refreshing dip in the burn to revive myself for the journey home. A tough but throughly enjoyable outing.
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Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.