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The Ring of Steall - ca m'a coupe le souffle

The Ring of Steall - ca m'a coupe le souffle


Postby kevsbald » Sat Apr 14, 2012 11:04 am

Route description: The Ring of Steall, Mamores

Munros included on this walk: Am Bodach, An Gearanach, Sgurr a'Mhaim, Stob Coire a'Chairn

Date walked: 13/04/2012

Time taken: 8 hours

Distance: 11.8 km

Ascent: 1717m

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There are some walks in Scotland, which are revered. The Aonach Eagach, the Forcan Ridge, Liathach to name a few. There is also the Ring of Steall. The name evokes a small element of hype and one always wonders if these hills will live up to the billing. I had previously considered this on several occasions but each time, the weather gods had not been smiling and I deliberately set this aside for a particularly good day. I had also hoped to do this with two good buddies, Graeme D and Curlywurly. On Friday 13th 2012, we were not to be denied and I would certainly rank this day as one of my top five on the hill. Before you even set foot on the hill, there are a couple of obstacles to consider - the wire bridge, resurrected once more after the Dutch came and conquered; and the Steall falls, which can be very difficult to cross. So before the walk proper, there was ample opportunity to take photographs of my compadres as they crossed these obstacles, hoping for that slip!
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Au-dessous - from below
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Curlywurly makes it look easy
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Graeme D looks a little worried at the crossing
These minor difficulties were dealt with smartly and so the steep walk up An Gearanach began proper. It is an excellent path and affords lovely views back over to the Ben and the Aonachs. 'The Complainer' is steep but it doesn't live up to its name as progress is quick and affords a panoramic vista from Sgurr a Mhaim (once out of the corrie) to distant Stob Ban in the Grey corries.
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Steep climb up An Gearanach
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Approach to 1st summit
We entered the snow line at about 800m and never really dropped out of that all day. The contrasting terrain, conditions and banter were perfect and we really relaxed into the walk. Once on the summit of An Gearanach, the RoS really opened out in front of us. This was stunning.
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An Garbhanach and beyond
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Advancing beyond An Gearanach
The walk and descent over An Garbhanach was delightful and scrambly with some nice air on either sides. We all agreed that it was 'tasty'.
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Below An Garbhanach
Discussion soon turned to God, sexuality and sausages - your typical hill-day fare I would imagine? Needless to say, we arrived at the 2nd Munro of the day in quick time with prevailing thoughts of the ascent of Am Bodach - it looked steep.
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Approaching Am Bodach
Curlywurly led and although it was steep, footing was sure and we emerged on to the 3rd summit of the day, right at the cairn. From here, it looked entirely straightforward over to Sgurr a Mhaim - 'Devil's ridge' got mentioned but I never paid any heed as it couldn't be that exposed could it? We dropped down and headed over to the demoted M-point, which was a perfect vantage point for Stob Ban - from this angle, it really is a tremendous looking hill.
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Stob Ban
Curlywurly was sure that he was going to reverse trail after the 4th Munro and go for this and Mullach nan Coirean. The man's a machine. I shook my head and said that was some effort but indeed, he would go on to do that and finish at 1800 later that day. All that was left was to meander over 'Devil's ridge' and tick the last Munro. Indeed, we had all agreed that while this was an excellent day, it had been a little 'tame'. As we walked further up and along, all thoughts of tameness disappeared as we happened across what appeared to be a few boulders in mid-air. With very long drops into the glens below. Graeme asked 'did you hear that mouse?' and my befuddlement was responded to by 'that's my a*se going squeak'. I scrambled across first and really enjoyed it - not for the faint-hearted but the holds were positive. This allowed me the opportunity to take shots of the guys and a classic facial expression by Mr Dewar - was he thinking 'quelle horreur!'
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The guys start the scramble
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A WTF moment?
Once over this, the ascent up Sgurr a Mhaim allowed for classic shots of this delectable ridge - with the two chaps in front of this, it really was a supreme memory for me and the highlight of the day.
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Stunning stunning stunning
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Awesome is over-used but not here
The 4th Munro was bagged and the long descent back to the glen for Graeme and I was interrupted by discussions on which planet Curlywurly was from and future plans for the next epic. Can't wait guys. The RoS really did take my breath away.


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kevsbald
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Re: The Ring of Steall - ca m'a coupe le soufflé

Postby monty » Sat Apr 14, 2012 11:14 am

Superb guys. Looks great with a winter coat on. :D
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Re: The Ring of Steall - ca m'a coupe le soufflé

Postby morag1 » Sat Apr 14, 2012 11:42 am

Great Stuff, lovely photos :D
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Re: The Ring of Steall - ca m'a coupe le soufflé

Postby SMRussell » Sat Apr 14, 2012 11:44 am

kevsbald wrote:On Friday 13th 2012

I would certainly rank this day as one of my top five on the hill.

Graeme asked 'did you hear that mouse?' and my befuddlement was responded to by 'that's my a*se going squeak'.


Firstly - risky business heading out on such a date!
Secondly - from the pics (which are pure dead brilliant) and the text I'm not all surprised this is in your top 5. I've been eyeing the whole of the Mamores for months. This is just adding to my lust! :-D
Thirdly - the quote from Graeme is one of the single most amusing things I've ever read in a walk report :lol: :lol: What a gem!

Loved your report Kev - gets my vote for report of the month :thumbup: :clap:
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Re: The Ring of Steall - ca m'a coupe le soufflé

Postby gammy leg walker » Sat Apr 14, 2012 11:53 am

Great report Kev,cannie wait till its my turn for this,thanks for making me even more s*** scared than before. :lol:
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Re: The Ring of Steall - ca m'a coupe le soufflé

Postby Fudgie » Sat Apr 14, 2012 11:58 am

That was a great read Kev It's clear from your report that you really enjoyed it and the pictures are absolutely excellent. Well done to all three of you.
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Re: The Ring of Steall - ca m'a coupe le soufflé

Postby Collaciotach » Sat Apr 14, 2012 12:26 pm

Cord rium an Cearcal nan Steall cuideachd .....i enjoyed her too funny we use the word "steall" as a term to describe imbibing "you fancy a wee steall ?" :lol: :lol:

Good report Kev the Mam Mor is a foine range, yesterday was top bagging altogether :D
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Re: The Ring of Steall - ca m'a coupe le soufflé

Postby iainwatson » Sat Apr 14, 2012 12:41 pm

good read kev and brilliant pictures,especially the shot of Stob Ban :D

looks like you all had a great day out!

i'm not jealous...nope....not at all...honestly! :lol:
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Re: The Ring of Steall - ca m'a coupe le soufflé

Postby pigeon » Sat Apr 14, 2012 2:39 pm

Brilliant kev,going up stob ban tomorrow,looking forward to it even more now :thumbup:
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Re: The Ring of Steall - ca m'a coupe le soufflé

Postby dooterbang » Sat Apr 14, 2012 2:46 pm

Nice wee walk again Kev.

I agree its not as scary as legend goes but its a fine walk....i think, i did it in the clag....wae the other 6!!

Have you a particular hill in mind for Numero 200?
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Re: The Ring of Steall - ca m'a coupe le soufflé

Postby jonny616 » Sat Apr 14, 2012 3:35 pm

Fantastic stuff Kev. I'm going to do this in May & your report gives me great detail of what I'm going to be doing.
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Re: The Ring of Steall - ca m'a coupe le soufflé

Postby kevsbald » Sat Apr 14, 2012 3:46 pm

Cheers folks. For the 200, I'm not sure at all. Have a week in Skye planned for May but something before then. Maybe Liathach?
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Re: The Ring of Steall - ca m'a coupe le soufflé

Postby rockhopper » Sat Apr 14, 2012 4:47 pm

Very enjoyable kev - great day for it. Think I'll hold off until summer though - cheers :D
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Re: The Ring of Steall - ca m'a coupe le soufflé

Postby Graeme D » Sat Apr 14, 2012 4:58 pm

Parfait Monsieur P! Captured the spirit of it perfectly. I would totally agree with you - it ranks up there as one of my finest days in the hills. One other thing - and Gammy is probably not going to thank me for saying this - but that bad step on the Devil's Ridge (the WTF moment as you called it) definitely ranks as my scariest moment on a mountain ridge. In the squeeky bum stakes, it outdoes any bum clenching I did on the Aonach Eagach, Am Fasarinen on Liathach, Crib Goch or the Horns of Alligin, which until yesterday had been my top bum clenching ridge experience. :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock:
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Re: The Ring of Steall - ca m'a coupe le soufflé

Postby blanchie » Sat Apr 14, 2012 5:32 pm

Enjoyable report Kev tho' it has kicked off a bit of pre-clenching on my part. (Apparently the thing to do is to go on a 'pre-lash' before a proper lash!)

Hopefully it will coupe le moutarde as well as the souffle next month :lol:
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