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The Mamores: a rather long day in the rain, wind and clag

The Mamores: a rather long day in the rain, wind and clag


Postby rockhopper » Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:12 pm

Munros included on this walk: Am Bodach, An Gearanach, Binnein Beag, Binnein Mor, Mullach nan Coirean, Na Gruagaichean, Sgurr a'Mhaim, Sgurr Eilde Mor, Stob Ban (Mamores), Stob Coire a'Chairn

Date walked: 16/06/2012

Time taken: 18.4 hours

Distance: 41 km

Ascent: 3900m

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I’d planned this walk for a long, sunny summer’s day and MWIS, the Met Office and the BBC all agreed on a pretty good forecast. However, it didn’t quite work out like that….. :crazy:
...80% chance of cloud free summits = zero chance of any visibility on the summits
...very occasional chance of light showers = light to heavy rain for 90% of the day
...effect of wind likely small = strong winds making it difficult to stand upright at times

so, all in all, a pretty normal day for a Scottish summer. :lol:

I had looked at walking this round from either the south or north. Recent reports of locked gates at the Mamores Lodge in the south put me off using it as a start so I opted to go from the north.

GPX file size was too big to upload so have added a picture instead:
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Parked at the very end of the Glen Nevis road just before the start of the Steall Falls track. Set off a bit after 0500hrs and walked back to Achriabhach where I turned left on to the minor track into the woods.

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Took a few minutes to find the start of the track up through the trees. As it was raining and chilly, I’d started off in full waterproofs, base layer and fleece but soon stopped to remove the fleece – far too hot in the trees. 8)

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Followed the track up until it joined on to a wider rough road which I followed right to its end – lot of trees being cut in this area. Just before the end I saw a wee track heading off up into the hill – in hindsight this may have been better as the next section of the track up by a burn and on to the hillside was rough and partially covered by felled trees.

Up on to the open hillside and managed to get some views of where I was going.

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Could see the clag beginning higher up and likely to be covering the tips….still hoping that it would clear. :roll:

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Followed the track, occasionally boggy but straightforward up to the top of Mullach nan Coirean and couldn’t see a thing.

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Then headed eastwards towards Stob Ban. Intermittently the clag lifted – each time this happened, there followed the struggle to get the camera out of the rucksack belt pocket and then out of the bag in which I was carrying it. Usually by the time I’d done that, the mist/cloud had rolled in again and I couldn’t see anything but just occasionally it stayed away long enough to get a few photos.

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Kept on the track which then went southwards up Stob Ban

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Got to the top and, you’ve guessed it, couldn’t see a thing again. :(

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Initially I managed to head off SW by mistake in the clag but soon realised my error and headed back up to the top. The next hill was Sgurr a'Mhaim via the Devil’s Ridge. Got a partial view on the way of where I was heading.

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Walked past the lochan and got some views back to Stob Ban.

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Then it was a case of following the zigzag track up the hillside

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Got to the top of the bealach just down from Sgor an Iubhair where the tracks join up and I headed off northwards. I had been somewhat worried about the Devil’s Ridge as it was supposed to be exposed and the wind was making it difficult at times to keep upright. As a result it was slow going in places but the exposure was nowhere need as bad as I’d thought perhaps because I couldn’t anything in the clag !

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Got to a point where there was a choice of bypass tracks to the right or left - I chose right which turned out to have some tricky sections but got me back on to the main track. Arrived at the cairn and still couldn’t see anything (there’s a theme here…..)

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Turned round and walked back along the ridge. This time I went down to the right (ie opposite of the outward route) when I had a choice and this turned out to be much easier than my previous choice of bypass. Got back to the bealach and headed up Sgor an Iubhair. According to my SMC Munros handbook this is a munro – however, I have the revised edition from 1986 and it was subsequently demoted to a top some years later.

The next bit was straightforward enough and I was soon heading up Am Bodach past a snow patch which appeared on the left.

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Got to the top of Am Bodach and found a cairn –could just about see another cairn in the misty distance so walked over to it as well just in case. I think though that the first cairn was the top.

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Still no views so headed off NE towards Stob Coire a'Chairn. Met three walkers who were walking the Ring of Steall and we had a wee chat about the accuracy or otherwise of the weather forecast and the day’s routes. Got to the summit of Stob Coire a'Chairn and met another two younger walkers checking their map.

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We exchanged directional tips as they had come from where I was going and vice versa. Then it was off northwards to An Gearanach via An Garbhanach. Have to say that I probably found this harder going than the Devil’s Ridge. A lot of clambering about on rocks and a difficult track at times – coupled with the wind and wet, slippery surfaces meant that I took longer than expected.

Anyway, got to An Gearanach and took some photos of the non existent views. By this time my camera was getting wet but did keep working.

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I did start to have a think about stopping here and returning to the car but decided just to keep going. Followed the ridge back up to the summit of Stob Coire a'Chairn and then off SE towards Na Gruagaichean. The cloud did lift a wee bit to let me see where I was going but wasn’t long before it came down again.

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Approach towards Na Gruagaichean.

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Then got to the summit but clagged over as before.

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Little point in taking any further photos at this time so off NE towards Binnein Mor. The summit seemed a wee bit strange with some odd shaped boulders and some very steep drops barely visible in the gloom. Walked along the ridge clambering about in the clag to make sure I’d reached the summit.

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I haven’t noted the various stops for food but I’d been snacking on and off as I went. I had a longer stop on Binnein Mor to eat more food and change my gloves. Up to that point I’d been wearing fleece gloves inside a “so called” waterproof outer glove which were now well and truly sodden. Changed them for another pair of fleece gloves but with GoreTex outer mitts which I tend to use in winter – big improvement and I could feel my fingers again. :D

Set off SE toward Sgor Eilde Beag but before getting to it took the track which drops down in a zigzag fashion towards the lochans. Could just about see the lochans looming out of the mist.

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Next I started up Sgurr Eilde Mor. Easy going at first but further up the track turned into very loose scree. Found this very hard going as I kept slipping backwards in the scree. Eventually managed to get up the edges of it to a small bealach from where I walked up to the top.

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The return descent was initially by the ascent route. The scree was a bit easier going downwards and wasn’t too long before I was back down just north of the smallest lochan.

Being lower down and with the clag lifting a bit I could partially make out where I was going next for the final hill of the day.

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Found the zig zag track and initially headed downwards losing quite a bit of height before crossing a burn and once again heading uphill.

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There was a fairly good track to follow which contoured round the hill to take me up to the lochan and then up to the summit of Binnein Beag. The rain had been getting heavier for some time and I could no longer keep the camera dry hence the rain spots in the photo.

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Still couldn’t see anything. 8)

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It was now starting to get late and I didn’t really want to return by the ascent track as I felt it would take too long. The problem was that I could see some crags marked on the map off to the NW but decided to head off in that direction anyway. The grass, heather and rocks were slippy but I’d been using my walking poles for a change to see if they would help stop my feet getting sore (prone to metatarsalgia) – they did help but then one slip later and I bent one of the poles. At least it was now towards the end of the day anyway.

Got down to the lower slopes, managed to find some stones to help the water crossing and then followed the long walk back to the car. The track more or less follows the river but with low cloud and being late in the day I had to stop to put on the headtorch. Got back to the car and couldn’t believe it – the wind dropped and the midges appeared so had to change clothes very quickly before driving off back to Glasgow.

I’m sure others could manage it in less time – I suspect the wind/rain/clag added a bit to the time but I’m not sure I could reduce it significantly. Using my normal time calculation basis including stops of 4km/hr (I’m not exactly fast) plus 600m/hr ascent, I reckoned this walk should have taken me 16 - 17hrs. In the end it took a bit longer as I found the going slower than expected going out/back to both Sgurr a'Mhaim and An Gearanach.

Next time I’ll wait until I see 100% chance of cloud free munro summits….. :lol: :lol:
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Re: The Mamores: a rather long day in the rain, wind and cl

Postby jonny616 » Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:22 pm

Epic RH. I think you have nicked Gammy's clag crown :lol: :lol: You have not had a lot of luck with the weather recently. Let me know when you have the 100% day & i'll come with you 8) 8)
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Re: The Mamores: a rather long day in the rain, wind and cl

Postby Mountainlove » Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:40 pm

Congratulations!!! I tried it and only managed 8 because of the daylight...so I am jealous :D
Regarding time that is what I expected so I think you did well...its a really long day and well done that you managed to drive back to Glasgow- you must have been shattered!!
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Re: The Mamores: a rather long day in the rain, wind and cl

Postby skuk007 » Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:42 pm

Great report, epic walk but real shame about the pics. 10 munros in one outing is some feat. Am hoping to do these next month (over two days), really hoping I get better views.
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Re: The Mamores: a rather long day in the rain, wind and cl

Postby pigeon » Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:51 pm

It's funny RH,when Ian and i were doing the ROS on sunday we wondered what kind of maniac would do all the Mamores in one go :lol: :lol: :lol: Honestly though that is a great effort and you deserved so much better,to keep going on such a big round in those conditions must mean you're one determined guy :clap: And missed you by a day again :lol: :lol: Got to bump into you sometime :wink:
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Re: The Mamores: a rather long day in the rain, wind and cl

Postby soulminer » Mon Jun 18, 2012 10:01 pm

Certainly takes determination for a 41km walk, esp in the clag :clap: Award yourself a great big pat on the back for showing some grit, well done :thumbup:
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Re: The Mamores: a rather long day in the rain, wind and cl

Postby basscadet » Mon Jun 18, 2012 10:03 pm

Wow, thats quite a footkilling route. Was just up there last weekend but I only did the 8 in 2 days.. Respect! :D
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Re: The Mamores: a rather long day in the rain, wind and cl

Postby gammy leg walker » Mon Jun 18, 2012 10:06 pm

Another rockhopper epic,18.5hrs in that weather is some going,like jonny616 said since we met looks like you have my clag jinx.
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Re: The Mamores: a rather long day in the rain, wind and cl

Postby mrssanta » Mon Jun 18, 2012 10:55 pm

gee whiz rockhopper that is some day out. I'd be taking 3 over it!
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Re: The Mamores: a rather long day in the rain, wind and cl

Postby ChrisW » Mon Jun 18, 2012 11:12 pm

I'm with Susie on this Rockhopper, that is a 3 day event :shock: if you'd have taken 3 days you might have found one where the weather was ok :lol: I've got to say that is soul destroying over that length of time, great work just sticking with your plans and not calling a taxi 1/3 of the way around :clap:
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Re: The Mamores: a rather long day in the rain, wind and cl

Postby davgil » Tue Jun 19, 2012 8:02 am

Well done rockhopper!
What a fantastic round for one outing, can't imagine how tired you must have been after that.
You certainly know how to string these hills together...can't wait for your next report.
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Re: The Mamores: a rather long day in the rain, wind and cl

Postby monty » Tue Jun 19, 2012 8:26 am

Awesome RH. must have been mentally tough to keep going in those conditions. Superb :D
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Re: The Mamores: a rather long day in the rain, wind and cl

Postby dooterbang » Tue Jun 19, 2012 11:14 am

Uncanny the similarities to when i did these few years back...

1. Weather was near enough the same and didnt see much.
2. Midges everywhere when walking out next to river.
3. Took wrong direction from a few tops and had to reascend them.
4. I also broke 1 walking pole
5. I agree that An Gearanach via An Garbhanach was way scarier than the devils ridge
6. It took more than 18hrs....we took 20hrs, finished at 3.30am :shock:
7. Same route.

Cant believe you then drove home!! We stayed at a friends in Fort Bill but we couldnt sleep and drove home around 8am...a stone lighter!. Did you experience any delirium? My friend and i went through stages of it, and the odd hallucination. I had also injured my knee after 3 munros and was gubbing painkillers....didnt have a head torch neither.

Fantastic effort and determination to continue without a view, your catching up with me!!

I would actualy like to do this again...but not in that weather!!

Loch Mullardoch 12 next?
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Re: The Mamores: a rather long day in the rain, wind and cl

Postby Fudgie » Tue Jun 19, 2012 11:54 am

Wonderful effort RH to not only do them all in one day but in those conditions. I found the Ring of Steall enough for one day never mind adding on another 6 :shock:

I agree with dootberbang above about An Gearanach via An Garbhanach being scarier than the Devils Ridge and we were fortunate enough to do it on a very clear day.
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Re: The Mamores: a rather long day in the rain, wind and cl

Postby Johnny Corbett » Tue Jun 19, 2012 12:15 pm

Epic, once again :thumbup: One day i'll log on here and you'll have did a leisurely 4-5hrs walk report :lol:
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