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Learning lessons on the Grey Corries

Learning lessons on the Grey Corries

Postby iainwatson » Mon Sep 05, 2011 4:31 pm

Route description: The Grey Corries

Munros included on this walk: Sgùrr Chòinnich Mòr, Stob Choire Claurigh, Stob Coire an Laoigh

Date walked: 03/09/2011

Time taken: 7.5 hours

Distance: 21.1 km

Ascent: 1876m

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The weather reports for the area were pretty dodgy on the friday but i chose to drive to Fort William on the basis that if the weather was really poor i would bail out of the Grey corries and instead bag a couple from Fersit.I arrived at McD's in Fort William for a coffee and it was still pouring of rain so after a quick check of the map i set off in the direction of Spean Bridge but as i drove along the road the rain stopped and from what i could see the cloud was sitting below the hill tops so it was back to the original plan of the Grey Corries with the hope that i would get some views of the fantastic ridge.

I parked up,got my gear sorted and set off and just as i did a stunning rainbow appeared of which i took some pics then got my head down and continued up the Lairig path,

the start of the path up Ruigh na Gualainn

cutting off from it just after the bridge and heading up Ruigh na Gualainn which was very boggy to say the least.After a while i eventually picked up a path which i followed for a while before cutting off from it to head directly for Stob Coire Gaibhre.Upon arriving at the summit it was plainly clear that my hopes of a view would not be happening,thick cloud covered the ridge and visibility was very poor,added to that the rain had started again so i kept my pace up and headed along the ridge crossing Stob Choire na Ceannain before a short pull up to the first Munro of the day-Stob Coire Claurigh.
bad visibility on way to first summit

summit of Stob Choire Claurigh

Obligatory summit pics were taken and i set off again,and as i did the cloud began to lift and the views became superb in all directions,Stob Ban,the ridge from where i had came and great views of the ridge to come.
Stob a'Choire Leith was next then continuing along the ridge to Stob Coire Cath na Sine then onto Casteil before arriving at Stob Coire an Laoigh-the second Munro of the day
the cloud starting to lift

more views as the cloud lifts

the ridge

Stob Ban

the view back to the start of the ridge

the ridge

2nd Munro of the day-Stob Coire an Laoigh

The cloud lifting had raised my spirits and the next part of the walk was fantastic but slower due to stopping and taking so many photo's and videos of the views,i could also now see the route to Stob Coire Easain and also the descent route from Easain toward the dam,all good i thought
Sgurr Choinnich Mor

Stob Coire Easain and its ridge to walk down to the dam

After a short walk up to the summit of Stob Coire Easain the cloud came back in on me and i somehow managed to be railroaded by a path off of the wrong side of Easain and descended due west down scree slopes which really slowed me up and also gave me some extra ascent to the base of Sgurr Choinnich Mor which by the time i had reached it the rain had started again so i left my bag and headed up the steep path to the summit which didnt take to long and i only briefly stopped for a summit pic before quickly descending back to my bag
steep start to Sgurr Choinnich Mor

summit no.3 Sgurr Choinnich Mor

It had taken 5 hours to reach this point and i didnt see too many problems with the walk back to the car so i walked along the west side of Easain then up onto the summit of Beinn na Socaith where i followed a path for about a kilometre but due to the boggy nature of this i somehow managed to lose it and as i stopped to take a gps reading,before taking a bearing to head to the dam the cloud changed,it became much thicker and it also became very dark all of a sudden.I found this strange as i had never seen it so dark in the afternoon and looking around it felt more like nine o'clock at night,after taking a bearing i headed N/NE and upon reaching a small stream i decided to to follow it with the thought that it would lead me to the dam,big mistake! i had crossed the stream onto its east side and i ended up in the Coire Choimhlidh where i came across a fast overflowing waterfall that further down led to to the main river to the dam.i had no option but to try and cross this which was slightly nerve racking as i knew if i slipped at any point i would slide and tumble all the way down and fall off another huge waterfall as the water met the main river.
After successfully crossing the water i picked up a fairly well trodden path which took me along the hillside in the direction of the dam,not sure if this path was due to people or animals but i was glad to be on it and made it to the dam in good time where it was a relief to see it was open and i could just walk through the water to the other side before joining the track which led me down into the forest and eventually back to the car.
the dam in the distance

the dismantled tramway

the forest track that leads to the car parking area

Even with the terrible weather at the start and the end of the walk i loved walking the ridge and really enjoyed myself.The dark cloud that came down on me on the walkout was a bit freaky as i've never witnessed it before on a walk and i very nearly got my headtorch out but i am always learning when i'm out walking solo and i certainly learned a few lessons on interpreting the map and it contours on this walk which is especially important when the cloud comes in on you.

Now my attentions have turned to Kintail and i for one am happy that i'll be walking with others who can point out my mistakes before i make them :lol:
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Re: Learning lessons on the Grey Corries

Postby skuk007 » Mon Sep 05, 2011 4:50 pm

Sounds like a mini adventure there Iain. Shame about the views, I really like the rainbow pic, you don't often get to see both ends of them.

That waterfall crossing sounds a bit dodgy. I must admit I've only seriously lost my bearings once in the mist and then I just resorted to following the line on my GPS until I got back on track and to a bit I recognised on the map. It's normally just stored in my bag for occassions like that. Main thing is you didn't panic and got back safely. :)
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Re: Learning lessons on the Grey Corries

Postby Bod » Sun Sep 11, 2011 5:00 pm

Nice report Iain....need to get round this myself one day. It looked great once the clouds started clearing after your first summit and that must be the darkest forrestry track I have ever seen at the end. Cheers the noo............
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Re: Learning lessons on the Grey Corries

Postby monty » Mon Sep 12, 2011 6:41 pm

Nice report Ian. Photos are not bad considering the conditions. Love the forest. That photo would give kids nightmares :lol: :lol: Its not always a good idea to follow a river down a steep hillside. It tends to cut its way into the hillside and cause huge waterfalls :lol:

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