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Mamores Eastern 4 Munros

Mamores Eastern 4 Munros

Postby Verylatestarter » Sun Aug 29, 2021 6:49 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: 29/07/2021

Time taken: 11 hours

Distance: 19.7 km

Ascent: 2116m

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Start at 8;15
Our fourth yearly visit to Scotland; fitted around the Covid restrictions.
Having driven up from Coventry the morning before and staying in Glencoe, we were hoping to pick up a Munro or maybe the Pap in the afternoon but the cloud base was very low, so we went for a walk in Glen Coe, checking out bouldering opportunities.

Last year we completed the Ring of Steall and added The Binnein ridge to our to do list, as usual we went for the ambitious option and aimed to include the two outliers, Sgurr Eilde Mor and Binnein Berg.

The easy day before allowed us to have a good start, we parked at the church in Kinlochmore at 8;15. The cloud was low, at about 800m but we hoped for it to rise during what was expected to be a long day. We headed East through the woods and then out onto the moorland aiming for the shoulder of Sgor Eilde Berg. Just before the steep zig-zag path up the spur we set off towards the Lochan and the South spur of Sgurr Eilde Mor, there being faint paths over the level area of the bealach we reached the foot of the hill about 10;20. The WH route utilizes the North side of the hill but the route up the South seemed straightforward enough, mainly grass at first then largish boulders, I kept to the East side of the spur just before it got steep and we made the summit at 11;15. The summit cloud appeared to shift and I took a stroll along to the east end of the ridge; the views all around were good but limited by the cloud.
Ben crossing the moor above Kinlochmore

Across the bealach to South spur of Sgurr Eilde Mor,

Loch Eilde Mor through a brief gap in the cloud, note lack of scree on slope

Coire an Lochan from the spur

The last scree before the summit

At the summit cairn

View of summit from East end of the ridge, (blue sky not a special effect)

The bulk of Na Gruagaichean, the last of the blue sky.

After a sit down and snack we made our way down the Northwest side of the hill, down a loose earth shoot then onto scree, zig-zaging back down to the bealach. For me the other route up would have been preferable but this direction took us towards the ledge route and Binnein Berg.

The route from the cairn

Looking down the spur on the descent, Lochan just about visible

The lower slopes of Sgurr Eilde mor

Coire an Lochan

The marshy area of the bealach was dry enough to cross

The path down to the ledge route, just visible of the left hand slope

Sgurr Eilde Mor, North side with extra scree

Exposed slabs to the NE of Binnein Mor, Ledge route

The path leads across the bealach towards Sgor Eilde Beag but the dryness of the ground allowed us to cut across a dip and onto the ledge route with doglegs down into a small valley and then up along the East flank of Binnein Mor. A pleasant walk below the cloud cover and up onto the second bealach, we found a sheltered spot and ate lunch about 12;45.

Ben on Binnein Berg

This could be the summit of Binnein Berg

The ascent of Binnein Berg was short but arduous, being mainly boulder and scree. By 1;30 we were at the summit and encountered three small parties of walkers, we discussed the merits of tackling Binnein Mor and which was the best route, either the scramble of Sron a’ Ghabh Coire or the grassy North ridge . Given that we couldn’t see a route through the clag it was pretty inconclusive. We therefore stuck to our original plan of tackling the grass.

We descended through the boulders of Binnein Berg, kept to the East of the large Lochan and low to the West flank of Sron a’ Ghabh Coire, below the rocky outcrops but keeping to the East of the two smaller Lochans. As the back of the Coire swept round we eased our way up over a steep rocky outcrop and onto an area of steep uninterrupted grass. This proved to be hard work, the worst of the day, and didn’t seem to ease off until we got onto the ridge. We emerged onto the ridgeline in clag.

Ben on the North spur of Binnein Mor

Pyramid rock on Binnein Mor, the higher parts of the ridge comprises of large boulders

'Turned owt nice again' A summit somewhere in the Mamores

In came as something of a surprise to find we were actually on a narrow ridge not some vast expanse of moorland. The slope up toward the summit of Binnein Mor was an easy stroll until we came to the large blocks of Quartzite, which necessitated a little clambering. There was not a soul on the ridge, I suspect that the others on BB had given up or had got well ahead of us; not being able to see more than a few yards and with the sound deadened there could have been coach parties up there but we seemed isolated. We settle down among the summit boulders for a snack at about 3;30.

Narrow ridge, good path, even we couldn't get lost

Ben approaching the summit of Na Gruagaichean

We set off South along the long cloths line ridge to point 1062 and Na Gruagaichean, we strolled along a nice ridge with nothing to look at, past a cairn on a hump and along the grassy ridge until it started getting steeper and rockier. Over the boulders to the summit cairn. At which point we had doubts as to where we were; point 1062 or Na G. It had taken us about an hour since BM but if we had crossed point 1062 we would surely have seen the spur than ran down to Sgor Eilde Berg; everything along the ridge seemed pretty sameish. We got out the compass to get the bearings of the spurs off of the peak we were on; it shown North to be where we expected South to be, but after a few rattles and taps it was clear it was broken. Thinking it through logically’ if we were on point 1062 the right hand ridge would have lead to Na G, the left to S E B (the long way home); if we were on Na G the left hand ridge would be to Leachd na h-Aire, another route we were keen not to try. The right hand path should lead to the bealach with Stob Coire a Chairn. So right it was.

The next surprise came when we started down the steep rocky path to the right; looming out of the clag was an unexpected large green lump. Swiftly resorting to the map I realised there was a dip in the ridge and we were looking at a separate top of Na G, I hadn’t spotted this on any walk reports or photos. We descended to a narrow grassy arête and around a rocky outcrop up onto a grassy plateau which has a spot height of 1041m at about 4;50pm.

Looking down the NE side of Na Gruagaichean, to the arete with the NE top, a rather large lump of hill to miss.

View of the main ridge taken last year from Stob Coire a Chairn; clearly showing the seperate NE top to Na Gruagaichean. It was somewhat cloudier this year.

The summit of the 1041 NE top

The bealach between Na Gruagaichean and Stob Coire a' Chairn. The path dips left at the low point and is difficult to spot, look for the zig-zags below.

The decent West towards Stob Coire a Chairn was straightforward, grass and light scree. We aimed to pick up the path from the bealach (at 783m) Southwards to the Allt Choire na Ba; it was difficult to spot but wandering over to the low point we could just about see a zig zag path down and then a long path sweeping wide to the East. This seemed to go on forever, we had been walking nine hours and resented the long detour, the advantage was it was shallow and soft underfoot; easy on the knees after a long day. The switchback allowed us long view of Am Bodach which kept many of it’s best features for this side.

A view of the head wall of Coire na Ba taken last year - the path zig zags down the steep section below the bealach and heads well to the right before doubling back at a lower level - it seemed a long detour but the drop down from the NE top was fairly comfortable.

On the long zig-zag path below Na Gruagaichean

The valley down to Kinlochmore - Coire na Ba

The blackest of pools

Am Bodach

Into the valley

Loch Leven

Beinn a Bhethier still in cloud

We made our way down alongside the Allt, past old sheep pens and onto a road track, which may have gone to Mamore Lodge. We bore left around the bend and came to a well concealed path entrance on the right, just in line with the edge of the trees. This path eventually met with the one from Leachd na h-Aire and crossing a couple of fords and descending a long wooded spur, with occasional views of Loch Leven, met up with the outbound path back to the car park. We arrived at 7;15, 11 hours after setting out.
Mountain Walker
Posts: 81
Munros:26   Corbetts:4
Joined: Oct 14, 2020
Location: East Anglia

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