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Lords of the Ring: The Four Towers

Lords of the Ring: The Four Towers


Postby laconic surf » Wed Jul 10, 2013 10:00 pm

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: 09/07/2013

Time taken: 9 hours

Distance: 16 km

Ascent: 1676m

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What a day this turned out to be. We knew we were in for a hot day in the Mamores but I don’t think any of us realised just how hot.
There was a wee bit of cloud floating around the glen but this quickly began to burn off. Heading through the forestry, little did we realise this would be last shade to be had for the next 9 hours. As the trees thinned out we were treated to the beauty of the Steall Falls.

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First though it was time to negotiate the infamous wire bridge. It was possible to wade in the current conditions but there’s no fun in that. At first glance it looks pretty short – from the safety of the bank that is, when you’re edging across it and it begins to wobble is a different perspective entirely!
Balgonie headed over first

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Then me

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Then Fife Flyer
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Steady son :wink:
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We then began the pretty direct climb up to the ridge. At this point FF asks "When we get up onto the ridge is that the hard work over?" Balgonie and I looked at each other and grinned "Don't think so, no" :lol: :lol:
The lungs got a good work out and the sun really began to blaze :shock: Sun cream was slapped on but at least we had some nice views of the Ben behind us.

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After a steady plod in the sweltering sun, we finally topped out on An Gearnach. A chance to take in the breath taking views and take on plenty of fluids.

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From here we could see the first half of the ring laid out ahead. The top of An Garbhanach and the next 2 munros.

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Onwards then to the first scramble of the day. The climb up the Top is done directly up the pinnacle until the peak which is bypassed on an exposed path.
This was great fun and a bit of care was needed. :D

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The bypass path and side scramble
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Then back on to the peak
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The descent was fairly challenging and a few bum shuffles needed for those of us with shorter legs :roll: Then it was probably the easiest climb of the day up to munro number 2 - Stob Coire a' Chairn

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From here we could look back at the steep descent we had just completed
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Some more sun cream was applied and then it was a reasonably comfortable descent before a fairly brutal climb up to the third munro, Am Bodach. It looked steep but then often when you start climbing it's fine. This was as bad as it looked :lol: There were sections of easy scrambling but the gradient rarely ceased until topping out. We needed a break here, the sun was battering down, but the views were sensational



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Summit view across to Glencoe and a smoking Bidean

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After a leisurely break for lunch it was time to head for the second half of the ring. All eyes were drawn to the notorious Devil's Ridge in the centre of the photo

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The pace quickened slightly as we were all eager to get on the ridge and see how airy it actually was

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A quick break and we were off. The heat of the sun was forgotten as we concentrated on our footing as the ridge narrowed. The sense of exposure was superb and to be up there with the stunning views all around they can't be a better way to spend the day :D
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We then came to the boulder which sits right on the ridge blocking the path. Thou shall not pass :wink:
The bypass veers to the left and you come to the exposed step. There is a sense of depth as the slope falls far below on the left but a confidently placed boot and we were over and scrambling back up on to the path.

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The scrambling finished it was now a case of head down and begin the slog up to the final munro of the day
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But first a final look back at the superb Devil's Ridge.
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Reaching the top was a relief the cramp and weariness was just beginning to kick in. From this viewpoint you are right up close to the Ben - a stunning place to be

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Time now to head down. This, unfortunately, can be described as nothing but tortous. Away from the cooling breeze on the top it felt like the heat was cranked up to a whole new level. The scree was a nightmare and the steepness never let up. We had to make frequent stops and I was really suffering in those temperatures as the water ran dry. At one point, if I had access to a gun I would have happily shot myself :lol:

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Thankfully, memories of that descent soon faded. What a day and what a route. I'll be back to do this again -some not quite so sunny day :wink:
Last edited by laconic surf on Thu Jul 11, 2013 6:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Lords of the Ring: The Four Towers

Postby old danensian » Wed Jul 10, 2013 10:15 pm

Well done Lucas and Co - you're really into collecting ridges at the moment.

Fantastic conditions well told in words and photos - looks like you made mincemeat of the Devil on his ridge

OD
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Re: Lords of the Ring: The Four Towers

Postby balgonie » Wed Jul 10, 2013 11:08 pm

Great report laconic to what was a great day :clap:
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Re: Lords of the Ring: The Four Towers

Postby yellowbelly » Thu Jul 11, 2013 5:29 pm

Nice one Luc, great effort. Little did you know at the time but I was on the CMD arête on the same day.
Yep it sure was hot :lol: . But at least we had a couple of places to refill water bottles.
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Re: Lords of the Ring: The Four Towers

Postby Malckyb » Thu Jul 11, 2013 6:18 pm

Great report and pics,looks like a brilliant day. :)
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Re: Lords of the Ring: The Four Towers

Postby Tomsie » Thu Jul 11, 2013 6:20 pm

Glad you got the views looked like a good day
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Re: Lords of the Ring: The Four Towers

Postby kev_russ » Thu Jul 11, 2013 6:21 pm

Epic stuff Luc :) I need tae get Tuesdays off work like!
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Re: Lords of the Ring: The Four Towers

Postby Fife Flyer » Thu Jul 11, 2013 6:50 pm

yellowbelly wrote:Yep it sure was hot :lol: . But at least we had a couple of places to refill water bottles.


That is the major problem with ridge walking, nowhere to stop for a refill, can't have it always though, just means you have to be prepared, 3 bottles of diluted juice & a bottle of water later & my rucksack weighed absolutely nothing :lol: :lol:

Great report Lucas & some superb photo's :clap: :clap: You didn't get my good side on the steel bridge :lol:
I tried sending photo's via photobucket, but either that is rubbish or it could be operator error, or even a bit of both :)
I will post some of my photo's soon 8)
That has to go down as one of the best days on the hills apart from the descent :lol: :lol:
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Re: Lords of the Ring: The Four Towers

Postby Fife Flyer » Thu Jul 11, 2013 8:16 pm

Here are some of the photo's that failed to arrive - only took 245, I'd be here all night if I posted them all :lol: :lol:

DSCF1618.JPG
What was Andy talking about that was that big?

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Gorilla's in the mist

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The falls

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Andy posing for the camera....

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The wire sideways on

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Lucas with that determined look

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Lucas really looking forward to the ascent

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Looking back down to where we had been

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Look no hands, we didn't have enough time for me to climb up there

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Andy doing the technical stuff

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2nd summit from first one, sorry guys didn't get your names. You were a tad warmer next time we met up at the car park.

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How did we navigate through that pile of rubble

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Andy planning the way ahead

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Zig-zag

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How did we descend down that?

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The next ridge

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Devils ridge

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Concentration

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Ridge walk at it's best

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What a sight

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Final summit via Devils ridge

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What a path

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Looks pretty pointy from this angle
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Re: Lords of the Ring: The Four Towers

Postby raykilhams » Thu Jul 11, 2013 9:40 pm

You are so right , Laconic , coming down that scree is a nightmare , probably the most strenuous part of the walk ( we did see a group of German walkers trying to make their way up on the scree sliding back with every step , now that was pure sadism), did this last Sep. in superb conditions , great walk.
Enjoyed your pics brought back never forgotten memories....thanks
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Re: Lords of the Ring: The Four Towers

Postby Ibex » Thu Jul 11, 2013 10:39 pm

Looks fantastic. Great photo's too.
Absolutely love ridge walks. Always get great views. Can't wait to do the AE ridge in August.
That ring walk looks great too, but I don't much fancy the wire bridge.
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Re: Lords of the Ring: The Four Towers

Postby laconic surf » Thu Jul 11, 2013 11:24 pm

old danensian wrote:Well done Lucas and Co - you're really into collecting ridges at the moment.

Fantastic conditions well told in words and photos - looks like you made mincemeat of the Devil on his ridge

OD


Thanks Nigel,
This is just the weather for ridges :D This was a beauty

balgonie wrote:Great report laconic to what was a great day :clap:


Cheers mate, great to catch up. See you again next month :thumbup:


yellowbelly wrote:Nice one Luc, great effort. Little did you know at the time but I was on the CMD arête on the same day.
Yep it sure was hot :lol: . But at least we had a couple of places to refill water bottles.


Thanks Hugh, would have given you a wee wave had i known you were across the way. Planning to do the CMD soon but will wait until you tourists have headed home for the summer :wink:

Malckyb wrote:Great report and pics,looks like a brilliant day. :)


Cheers Malcky, a top day indeed
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Re: Lords of the Ring: The Four Towers

Postby laconic surf » Thu Jul 11, 2013 11:31 pm

Tomsie wrote:Glad you got the views looked like a good day


Cheers Tomsie, hope you had a good 'un yoursel :D


kev_russ wrote:Epic stuff Luc :) I need tae get Tuesdays off work like!


You do Kev! This was even hotter than our traverse of Oss to Lui :crazy: Catch up soon mate


Fife Flyer wrote:
yellowbelly wrote:Yep it sure was hot :lol: . But at least we had a couple of places to refill water bottles.




That is the major problem with ridge walking, nowhere to stop for a refill, can't have it always though, just means you have to be prepared, 3 bottles of diluted juice & a bottle of water later & my rucksack weighed absolutely nothing :lol: :lol:

Great report Lucas & some superb photo's :clap: :clap: You didn't get my good side on the steel bridge :lol:
I tried sending photo's via photobucket, but either that is rubbish or it could be operator error, or even a bit of both :)
I will post some of my photo's soon 8)
That has to go down as one of the best days on the hills apart from the descent :lol: :lol:


Great day out Martin, top photos too. All the best

raykilhams wrote:You are so right , Laconic , coming down that scree is a nightmare , probably the most strenuous part of the walk ( we did see a group of German walkers trying to make their way up on the scree sliding back with every step , now that was pure sadism), did this last Sep. in superb conditions , great walk.
Enjoyed your pics brought back never forgotten memories....thanks


That descent was the stuff of nightmares - to be fair it was the heat as much as anything. Fantastic round though isn't it? 8)

Ibex wrote:Looks fantastic. Great photo's too.
Absolutely love ridge walks. Always get great views. Can't wait to do the AE ridge in August.
That ring walk looks great too, but I don't much fancy the wire bridge.


Cheers, Good luck on the AE. Definitely recommend this one next time your north of the border :D The Bridge looks bad but in that heat falling in would not have been all that bad :lol:
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Re: Lords of the Ring: The Four Towers

Postby LeithySuburbs » Thu Jul 11, 2013 11:50 pm

A great choice of route for such a day 8) . I remember that descent as well :roll:
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Re: Lords of the Ring: The Four Towers

Postby Bod » Fri Jul 12, 2013 12:24 am

That was great Lucas....it's a while now since I walked the Ring of Steall, though been seeing it from all angles in the last year or so :)
Well done...
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