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2 Nights and 10 Mamore Munros with a side of lightning

2 Nights and 10 Mamore Munros with a side of lightning


Postby Joadha » Fri Oct 01, 2021 10:51 pm

Munros included on this walk: Am Bodach, An Gearanach, Binnein Beag, Binnein Mòr, Mullach nan Coirean, Na Gruagaichean, Sgùrr a' Mhàim, Sgùrr Èilde Mòr, Stob Bàn (Mamores), Stob Coire a' Chàirn

Date walked: 25/07/2021

Time taken: 44 hours

Distance: 46.4 km

Ascent: 3100m

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2 Nights in the Mamore Range - Fort William, Scotland July 2021

Exactly a year after last seeing each other and a year of talking about organising an adventure we had both arrived in Fort William for something neither of us had done before. With no real plan in place, all we knew was that we wanted to achieve summiting all 10 of the Mamore Munros. We met at Lower Falls car park in Glen Nevis when a decision was made to bring forward the hike and set off that evening. We were filled with confidence that our cars wouldn’t be towed after a friendly woman we spoke to still had hers after her trip but still wrote pre-apologetic notes to any wardens.

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After debating how much food to take for a duration of time we did not know, we set off. The sun was already on its way down but the beauty of North Scotland is we had plenty of hours of twilight to play with. Losing the path through a deforested woodland and clambering up a stupidly steep mountainside, defiantly avoiding using the route downloaded on my phone, we reached the top of the spur and met the simple path we had missed the turn for about 2 hours previously. Set up our sheet shelter and observed the headtorches of other walkers on the surrounding ridge lines, especially this one individual with a very bright headtorch to the South-East. Moments later the full-moon rose over the ridge making us feel very stupid.

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We woke the next day with clouds bellow and blue skies above with a new sense of energy. Reaching the summit of Mullach nan Coirean we had views of the journey ahead, seeing our destinations days in advance. Opportunities to lose some weight out of the 20kg rucksacks was appreciated at any moment, mostly by eating our weeks’ worth of food.

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Stob Bàn was a very memorable climb; mostly due to the sketchiness of our descent down its steep sides with sharp descents either side. Running low on water after the temperature ramped up in the mid-afternoon sun, there was a noticeable volume of dried up streams after weeks of no rain and a worry set in, we may have to lose all our height in order to find water. Observing a small lochan on the map not too much further, just before the ridge-walk to Sgùrr a’ Mhàim, we pushed on. Arriving at the wee pool we were relieved to find it still had water in, however, far from an ideal fresh water source so after filling back up the 4.5L of water and using our purification tablets we were ready to continue.

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Able to leave our packs at the start/finish point of the ridge-walk to Munro #3 gave us a new spring in our step as we danced along the aptly named ‘Devils Ridge’ (Hayaat did, I took the more conservative route beneath). Taking in the summits of Am Bodach, Stob Coire a’ Chàirn and An Gearanach, totalling a personal best of 6 Munros in a single day.

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As the sun was going down, we settled on the saddle-point beneath Munro 7 for the night. After camp was set, we located a data signal to look at the weather forecast for the next day and more importantly uploads that days Strava. The forecast, as it stated from the previous day, still forecasted a thunderstorm which would hit Munros 9 and 10 at noon the next day. A concrete deadline was set: off the peak of the final mountain by 1200 hours.

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The next day we couldn’t afford to feel the fatigue from the previous days endeavour as we set straight up a heart-startlingly steep slope. Summiting Na Gruagaichean, my eyes were stuck on the far-horizon observing for storm clouds debating whether or not we should call it off as I looked for potential escape routes on the map. The ridges in between the summits became an unknowing nightmare as we were cast in a thick cloud in all directions unable to forewarn an impending storm. Summiting Binnein Mòr and reaching the bottom of Sgùrr Èilde Mòr just before noon we made the decision based on the thinness of the clouds and a recheck of the forecast to summit Munro #9. At the summit, half-jokingly ducking to make Hayaat the tallest object for miles around (a rare occasion for him).

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It was past noon and according to the forecast the thunderstorm should be directly overhead. We still had about an hour’s descent and ascent to the bottom of Munro 10. At this moment I felt we were going to achieve all but one of the Munros we had challenged ourselves as the forecast wasn’t going to be 2 hours late to give us time to get down and off the final mountain. We ploughed on hoping that we could get a 30 minute window to ascend the final Munro once we reached the bottom. We just had to get there in good enough time which meant avoiding refilling our water in a fresh-looking stream as this would slow us down and make our packs heavy. Being thirsty but achieving our mission was a better option than failing or getting struck by lightning.

As we got closer to the start point of summiting Binnein Beag it became apparent that the was no storm for the foreseeable future as the clouds cleared and the hot sun bared down meaning we needed to stop so I could apply sun cream, something I wasn’t expecting to have to do that day. The weather held out gloriously as we summited #10 but I wasn’t hanging around long enough to retake the photo so it read 10 rather than 01.

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We got off the mountain as quickly as possible but still managed to find time to get the drone up which Hayaat had lugged about this entire way and we invented a new sport of downhill bag-rolling which brought great morale to us both. We reached the River Nevis in the trough of Glen Nevis overshadowed by Ben Nevis as we refilled our water bottles and had a brew. Zeus knowing he’d given us ample time for our lunch brought the thunder which rattled around the surrounding valleys as it bounced off mountain face to mountain face with flashes of lightning directly overhead. Down poured those weeks’ worth of rain refilling those fresh water sources 900m above us. The long journey back West along the valley was wet, midge filled and exhausting but eventually we made it back to the cars and our attention turned to the fish and chips awaiting in Fort William. After 46.4Km and an elevation gain of 3000m we had finished what we set out to do even when the odds of success were minimised by the weather. We called off the next day of walking due to terrible weather and vowed to go again next year. Thank you for an amazing trip, Brother.

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Last edited by Joadha on Mon Oct 04, 2021 2:39 am, edited 3 times in total.
Joadha
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 2
Munros:74   
Grahams:1   Donalds:1
Sub 2000:2   Hewitts:1
Wainwrights:1   Islands:3
Joined: May 17, 2021

Re: 2 nights in the Mamores

Postby Alteknacker » Sun Oct 03, 2021 7:03 am

heck, you chose a hard way to do it by lugging 20kg packs around the route!!! :shock: Especially tough, given the amount of ascent.

Well done!!
User avatar
Alteknacker
Scrambler
 
Posts: 3460
Munros:176   Corbetts:33
Grahams:1   
Hewitts:264
Wainwrights:118   
Joined: May 25, 2013
Location: Effete South (of WIgan, anyway)

Re: 2 nights in the Mamores

Postby Joadha » Sun Oct 03, 2021 2:17 pm

Alteknacker wrote:heck, you chose a hard way to do it by lugging 20kg packs around the route!!! :shock: Especially tough, given the amount of ascent.

Well done!!


Yes was tough however incredibly enjoyable. We considered doing it in a single day but didn't want to burn ourselves out for the other 2 days we were seeing each other. And the fact that we had no where to sleep except tents and sleeping at 700m dramatically reduced the number of midges. And what a view to wake up to so 100% worth it!
Joadha
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 2
Munros:74   
Grahams:1   Donalds:1
Sub 2000:2   Hewitts:1
Wainwrights:1   Islands:3
Joined: May 17, 2021

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