Struggling to Avoid Ban-ishment and a Mullaching!
by ScottishLeaf » Sun Jul 14, 2013 10:13 pm
Route description: Stob Ban (Mamores) and Mullach nan Coirean
Munros included on this walk: Mullach nan Coirean, Stob Bàn (Mamores)
Date walked: 13/07/2013
Time taken: 6.5 hours
Distance: 13 km
Ascent: 1155m4 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
Scott would be joining us, for his walk in nearly 2 years following a string of knee operations and we'd be heading up into Glen Nevis to bag Stob Ban and Mullach nan Coirean. This would also be my first venture into the much vaunted Mamores.
Off and walking at 9:35am we initially followed a group of ladies up into Coire a'Mhusgain, following the path that heads south from the Lower Falls.
The route begins as a well surfaced land rover track, but when the vehicle route branches off to the left, the path narrows down to an erroded riot of mud, rocks and grass as it crosses some wet ground. Despite this, even from low down the view back through Glen Nevis is attractive.
The route then becomes a more defined path as it climbs up through the corrie on a relentless, but moderate gradient. At first I felt alright, easily keeping up with Wullie and Scott, but then I began to fall behind. For Wullie it's not unusual to see me a red dot plodding up the hill at his back but, I don't know if it was the heat, only eating cereal for breakfast or too much fluids in the system (as I'd drank plenty in the car) or what it was but I just couldn't seem to find my mojo. The boys had to stop a couple of times on their way up the glen to wait on me.
The only good thing about it, was it gave me plenty of chance to snap pictures of the surrounding landscape. Meall Cumhann and Aonach Beag looked striking to the east,
before the view in that direction was cut off by the silver capped presence of Sgurr a'Mhaim.
As we gained height up the corrie, we entered into the sparse decidous woodland. Feeling the heat, I stopped in the shade of a stand of trees, enjoying the view back down Glen Nevis. The Ben only a side show at this point.
From here the corrie narrows right down and nice waterfall on the Allt Coire a'Mhusgain flows down just before the stream enters a ravine down below. Here the presence of Stob Ban and Sgurr a'Mhaim are really felt as they tower imperiously above. There is a tantalising glimpse of the Devil's Ridge leading to Sgurr a'Mhaim, while Stob Ban presents it's white, layered butresses towards you. As we looked across we saw a team of 4 guys standing below them, plotting what must have been a brutal head on assault up one of the chimneys leading to The White Peak.
The corrie opens out again and the first flat ground since the car park is encoutered! Feeling the way I did, I was glad. I sauntered across it and spoke to a French girl who was waiting on her brother coming down from up high. I turned right and followed the path onto the bottom rung of the zig zag and felt drained. This wasn't right, it as too early in the day to feel so tired, so when I caught up with Wullie and Scott, who were waiting patiently for me, I sat and munched down some chocolate and some Lucozade Sport. It provided the boost needed and in we were soon at the top of the ridge, enjoying fabulous views across to Glen Coe, Beinn a'Beithir, Loch Leven as well as a now improved angle on the Devil's Ridge, Sgurr a'Mhaim and Stob an Lubhair.
Feeling the way I did, the top of Stob Ban still looked a long way up and it seemed to go up all at once. I told the lads to just keep walking and I'd get to the top eventually and meet them there. So off they went.
The first grassy slopes lead onto a surprisingly narrow ridge, which despite the Aonach Eagach's best attempts kept drawing my attention across to those white layered towers that make up this mountain. Despite feeling lousy, I was enjoying this mountain. It was bizarre to feel the two emotions at the same time.
I paused for a couple of minutes just as the steep scree slopes began, I could see Wullie and Scott almost vertically above me, nearing the summit. So I popped a mint into the my mouth and began the slow assault up the final phase of Stob Ban.
The sun was belting down from behind me and the white rocks were scattering and reflecting the sun's rays back at me, but I enjoyed the challenge. There are the odd we bits of mild scrambling needed and few big steps to negotiate. Something that may have been tricky in wet or icy conditions, but was perfectly manageable, even in my low state on the hot day I had. One little section is only a few feet wide, a chimney falling down into Coire a'Mhusgain and on the other a straight drop down to the West Highland Way.. .but again unless it was very windy it doesn't present a problem.
I had targetted 20 mins to get up the scree and ended up doing it in 16, which I thought wasn't bad the way I was feeling. The last little section presents a choice, you can either scramble up the last few feet directly, or you can walk along to a point and switch back up to the summit. I took the switch back and rewarded with a stunning view of Beinn a'Beithir, Loch Linnhe and the West Highland Way down on the valley floor.
What also became very apparent here is the change in the rock structure. Stob Ban a shiny slivery white, while in the distance Mullach na Coirean was a duller red. The change was very apparent, an us and them type. No gradual phasing from white to red. Stob Ban is white, Mullach nan Coirean is red. Quartzite to granite just like that.
Anyway, I had the final few yards of this hill to surmount and as I did, I found two gents sitting on the grass, topless, munching on their pieces enjoying the views over to Mullach na Coirean. It had taken me a tad under 3 hours to get here and I was knackered, so there was nothing for it, but to join them!!
Of course we had to take our summit pictures, so we covered up, less than to offend you dear reader!
A good twenty minutes was spent at the top enjoying the views, but the main attraction, Big Ben refused to come out and play. He was the only mountain for miles and miles keeping his claggy covers on.
But he wasn't to be a complete spoil sport, just as we were thinking about moving on, Ben gave us a view of one of his finest feature, the arete linking him to his comrade in arms, Carn Dearg Mor.
Sgurr a'Mhaim was vieing with Ben Nevis for no.1 in the attraction stakes though, the sunshine his ally, making his quartzite coat glitter and shine in the midday sunshine.
The other Mamores looked fine mountains in their own right and I decided right then and there I must come back soon.
Away far away. Down the length of the Blackwater Reservoir and further still, a destinctive cone rose from the horizon, one of my favourites, Schiehallion.
So we set off towards the northern top of Stob Ban, before heading down some fairly steep scree onto the grassy ridge that would take us over to Mullach nan Coirean.
The change back to grass was welcomed and the ridge across to Mullach nan Coirean is pleasant enough. The first wee top has a burnishing white quartzite, but otherwise the terrain is mostly grassy or over red granite, it felt almost Cairngorms-ish. There is one wee section where the ridge narrows and path comes close to the edge of Coire Dearg and scrambled across the wee mini pinnacles along the rim, ignoring the easy path around them. It was Wullie's suggestion and I enjoyed it.
Once again though I was falling behind the other two, but I wasn't too concerned at this point, the terrain was more rounded and although it undulated, there was no great gradients to be scaled. Mullach nan Coirean did seem like a different world from Stob Ban, less dramatic but more pleasant for lack of a better word. It's a nice hill and despite having to stop regularly to catch my breath or drink some water, I was somehow managing to like this hill and was having a good time walking it.
The Mullach is endowed with a big cairn at the top, indeed we could see it from the top of Stob Ban and from it the views were once again superb.
After another fuel stop it was time to head back to the car. We followed the eastern ridge, which then swings north. We aimed for the fence posts, which we knew the path heads down beside. The going is over rocky ground at first, on the narrowest part of the ridge, the great spaces of Coire Dearg on one side and Coire Riabhach on the other.
The path becomes grassy for a short spell, before reaching the fence. We stayed on the left side of this and followed a badly erroded route all the way down to where a big ladder type stile crosses the fence and into Forestry Commision land.
As we descended there was a red and grey Royal Navy rescue helicopter was dancing around The Ben. We could make a man on the Carn Dearg part of Ben Nevis waving as the chopper circled. I hope everyone was OK over there.
Once the ladder stile is crossed we were on the home stretch, on a decent path through felled woodland until a Forestry Commision track is reached.
The track winds it's way down hill in giant zig zags, but beside a cairn, a good path cuts through the trees, passing a waterfall on the Allt Coire Riabhach, before emerging from the woods at a bus stop!!
I waved to the passengers on the bus as I passed, then made my way along the last couple of hundred metres back to the car park. Despite feeling like I was stuck in 2nd gear for most of the day, I still had a grand day and can't wait to go back up to Glen Nevis.
by Rottiewalker » Mon Jul 15, 2013 9:09 am
by dogplodder » Mon Jul 15, 2013 10:30 am
One problem was the heat and running short of water for my dog as there's no water to be had up there!
by jonny616 » Mon Jul 15, 2013 4:07 pm
by ceaser » Mon Jul 15, 2013 5:31 pm
by quoman » Mon Jul 15, 2013 6:16 pm
by gammy leg walker » Mon Jul 15, 2013 7:02 pm
by ScottishLeaf » Tue Jul 16, 2013 9:43 pm
Still had a good day on two super hills on sunny Saturday
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