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Black Mount 4 loop from Glencoe

Black Mount 4 loop from Glencoe

Postby rockhopper » Sun Apr 24, 2011 10:26 am

Munros included on this walk: Creise, Meall a'Bhuiridh, Stob a'Choire Odhair, Stob Ghabhar

Date walked: 22/04/2011

Time taken: 11 hours

Distance: 25.8 km

Ascent: 2180m

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This route has been in the plan for sometime but for various reasons I’d had to hold it off until now. I’d considered using two cars or a car/bike combination for these hills but finally decided on the loop option requiring a fairly long walk out at the end.

Blackmount 4 22apr2011 activelog reduced for WH.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

Weather forecast was looking good although likely to be hazy – probably as good as it was going to get though. Only problem – Ken hadn’t walked up a hill since last October and it had been a good few weeks since I’d been out. :problem: So, early on, we decided to take it easy, enjoy the good weather, not rush and take lots of breaks (that’s our excuse anyway and we still got sunburnt). :silent: Ken also had his new Scarpas on for the first time – this would be a fair old walk to break them in. :think:

Picked Ken up early and we drove up to the Glencoe Mountain Resort car park – which was surprisingly empty. The promised weather was looking good with early morning sunshine but it was obviously very hazy. Headed off up the track to the base of the chairlifts where we picked up a sort of a track and headed up the hill close to the chair lift tow cables.

1 Meall a'Bhuiridh approach.jpg

Straightforward enough climb and we arrived at the top heading over to the right to get to the cairn.

2 Meall a'Bhuiridh cairn.jpg

Great views from the summit of the surrounding hills and our next targets although it was apparent that the haze wasn’t going to go quickly (or not at all as it turned out).

3 Clach Leathad panorama.JPG

The ridge leading up to the midpoint between Clach Leathad and Creise looked a bit daunting from Meall a’Bhuiridh but once on it it turned out to be straightforward. This often seems to be the case.

4 Ridge across to Clach Leathad and Creise.jpg

Stob Ghabhar did look rather far away in the haze and we were beginning to wonder if we were doing the right thing.

5 Stob Ghabhar looking rather far away.jpg

Towards the end of the ridge we looked back up to Meall a’Bhuiridh which looked daunting but certainly didn’t seem that way during the decent.

6 Descent from Meall a'Bhuiridh.jpg

Nice view over towards Clach Leathad and then towards Creise as we got up to the cairn which marks the top end of the ridge.

7 Clach Leathad from ridge.jpg

8 Creise from ridge top cairn.jpg

From the cairn it’s a nice walk up to Creise’s summit. The wind was a lot stronger at this point but blowing more from the east so no real problems.

9 Creise cairn.jpg

Heading back down towards Clach Leathad we got a good view towards Loch an Easain and Creag an Fhirich although beyond in the distance it was very hazy.

10 Looking east towards Loch an Easain and Creag an Fhirich.jpg

Looking back we could see the full ridge back to Meall a’Bhuiridh which seemed a lot sharper from this angle. At the top of Clach Leathad there’s a big dry stone circular shelter. Good place to stop for more refreshments. :D

11 Creise & Meall a'Buiridh panorama.JPG

From there we headed SW down to the Bealach Fuar-chathaidh. This descent was quite hard going with a fair bit of loose rock under foot. We could see over towards Glas Choirean which leads up to the Aonach Mor ridge.

12 Towards Glas Choirean and Aonach Mor ridge.jpg

Walking over the bealach, we could see westwards up Coire Ghiubhasan towards Glen Etive but the distant hills were still obscured by haze.

13 View from Bealach Fuar-chathaidh.jpg

We then skirted round right to avoid having to go up over the top of the rocky outcrop on the way up Glas Choirean.

14 Approach to Glas Choirean (skirting round to the right).jpg

Once over this bit we had a nice walk up the broad ridge to the final stages of Stob Ghabhar. Met the first person we’d seen all day here – he was walking the opposite direction but had covered the route both ways a number of times before.

15 Approach to Stob Ghabhar.jpg

Reached the summit cairn which has a stone on top with “To Pepe” painted on it. Met and spoke with two women walkers who had come up from Stob a’Choire Odhair. There were a few more walkers round the summit and approaching at this stage.

16 Stob Ghabhar cairn.jpg

From here we could see the final hill of the day, Stob a’Choire Odhair and the little Aonach Eagach ridge. We’d read a few reports about this and weren’t sure what to expect – the wind had got up again but there were other walkers around so we assumed it would be OK.

17 Towards Stob a'Choire Odhair.jpg

18 Little Aonach Eagach ridge.JPG

We had a good, long stop here for lunch sitting in the stone shelter out of the wind. Very pleasant in the warm sunshine. Then we headed off down towards the ridge. From further back there are parts which look as though they could be tricky but it turned out to be a fairly straightforward walk across which didn’t take long at all. It’s a long way down but there’s a path across and only a few points where you’d need to put your hands on the rock.

19 Crossing the little Aonoach Eagach ridge.jpg

It was somewhat different descending down from the buttress at the end of the ridge before crossing to Stob a’Choire Odhair. It was steep with a lot of loose stones, rocks and scree under foot. At this point we thought back to the two women we met back at the top of Stob Ghabhar who were glad they had ascended this way; we were thinking that we were glad we had descended as we reckoned going up may have been worse. :?

Next a fairly easy sustained climb to Stob a’Choire Odhair. Another stop for food and photos and a quick check of the map and compass and a rather strange thing happened. :o

20 Stob a'Choire Odhair cairn.jpg

Sitting on a rock checking the bearing towards Beinn Toaig, the compass wanted to send us more or less back the way we’d come ! We both checked and rechecked it, still with the same result. I then got up to walk over and get my spare compass from my rucksack and the needle moved abruptly; now showed the right direction. So, I walked back to the rock and the compass needle swung back the wrong way. Couldn’t see anything obviously metallic around so we have no idea what happened.

From here we headed SE over the top of Beinn Toaig and then NE to join the WHW close to the lochan before Ba Bridge.

21 Homeward bound view from Beinn Toaig.jpg

At Ba Bridge we stopped for photos – the one below looks SE (not the best attempt at bracketed exposures and HDR).

22 From Ba Bridge down River Ba to Meall Beag HDR.JPG

Then followed a rather long walk back up the WHW towards Glencoe. The haze had not lifted all day but this did mean some rather nice layer effect views of the hills such as the view to Buachaille Etive Mor on the final approach to the car park.

23 Buachaille Etive Mor from WHW.jpg

Back at the carpark, there were two camper vans and another car – deserted apart from that. Got changed and headed off for home stopping just outside Blackrock Cottage for a quick touristy type photo.

24 Blackrock Cottage and Buachaille Etive Mor.jpg
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Re: Black Mount 4 loop from Glencoe

Postby LeithySuburbs » Sun Apr 24, 2011 10:42 am

Great effort - this traverse is creeping up my "to do" list and this report certainly adds to that sense of anticipation :D .
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Re: Black Mount 4 loop from Glencoe

Postby monty » Sun Apr 24, 2011 11:10 am

Excellent report Rockhopper.
The photos are good even with the haze. Thats a big round to do in new boots so top class effort from you both. :D

Re: Black Mount 4 loop from Glencoe

Postby ChrisW » Sun Apr 24, 2011 2:24 pm

Great walk Rockhopper and some cracking pics on a difficult day for photography....any blisters for Ken :D
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Re: Black Mount 4 loop from Glencoe

Postby Stretch » Sun Apr 24, 2011 7:01 pm

It hurts my feet just reading that! Heck of a day, love the last pic!
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Re: Black Mount 4 loop from Glencoe

Postby trekpete » Sun Apr 24, 2011 8:45 pm

A fair size day out. Think I spotted you on Clach Leathad as I was on Beinn Mhic Chasgaig around 11.30am before heading up to Clach Leathad and then Creise.
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Re: Black Mount 4 loop from Glencoe

Postby morag1 » Sun Apr 24, 2011 10:21 pm

Bit of an epic day out - well done to you both for completing :clap:

I like your photos, they give a real feel for the area :)

bit spooky about the compass , I have my own ideas about that but you'll think its old wives tales so i will be quiet :silent:

Re: Black Mount 4 loop from Glencoe

Postby yokehead » Sun Apr 24, 2011 11:04 pm

Congrats on the long haul and such a classic route, great report. 8) :D
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Re: Black Mount 4 loop from Glencoe

Postby jimandandrea » Mon Apr 25, 2011 8:43 am

What an epic day :D . Very impressed.
Really enjoyed reading your excellent report. Your photos still did justice to the walk despite the haze. We have managed 3 out of the 4 but over 2 trips. We didn't manage to get over to Cerise due to a white out and gusting winds. I am so glad now that we didn't attempt it when I saw your photo of the ridge across :problem: :problem: .
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Re: Black Mount 4 loop from Glencoe

Postby PeteR » Mon Apr 25, 2011 10:27 am

Excellent report and a good long trip. Your pictures are excellent, despite the haze 8) Love these hills, but am glad I did them over three trips and not the one epic as you did here :D Think that would have killed me

Had similar compass problems on Stob a Choire Odhair once in thick mist when I had become disoriented. Not fun :shock: But I somehow managed to get myself off without any major problems
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Re: Black Mount 4 loop from Glencoe

Postby Graeme D » Mon Apr 25, 2011 12:38 pm

Top quality effort Rockhopper. I remember you talking about your plans to do this one a few months back. Glad to see you've nailed it! 8)
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Re: Black Mount 4 loop from Glencoe

Postby chickadee » Mon Apr 25, 2011 4:53 pm

This looks amazing, I love the photos and am in awe of your determination :) This is the kind of walk I dream of doing one day.
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Re: Black Mount 4 loop from Glencoe

Postby lomondwalkers » Mon Apr 25, 2011 5:59 pm

Epic stuff Rockhopper, great stuff :thumbup: Love that last photo of the bookil
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Re: Black Mount 4 loop from Glencoe

Postby rockhopper » Mon Apr 25, 2011 8:14 pm

Thanks to everyone for all your comments - they're much appreciated :D :thumbup:

chris - Ken had blisters on his ankles but probably more because he was trying out wearing one pair of socks rather than his normal two

chickadee - don't dream, it's honestly not that hard ! plan ahead, work out your route, work out what you'll do if you find you can't manage the whole of your plan, make sure you've the essentials with you and go for it - once you've completed the first one there'll be no looking back :D

graeme - yup, this was the first weekend I could get out in a fair bit due to family commitments
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Re: Black Mount 4 loop from Glencoe

Postby davgil » Tue Apr 26, 2011 6:12 am

Excellent rockhopper!

We did the first two (Creise & Meall a'Bhuiridh) in full winter conditions, zero visibility, and got lost on the way back.
That's what convinced me to get a gps.

Your photos show what stunning views we missed, will have to return one day.

Great report.
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