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Stealling into the Mamores

Stealling into the Mamores


Postby weaselmaster » Tue Aug 13, 2013 10:02 am

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

Date walked: 10/08/2013

Time taken: 15.5 hours

Distance: 31.5 km

Ascent: 2830m

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Up until now there's been a big red balloon patch over the area of Fort William - haven't ventured into this area at all, whilst doing other hills further away from home. This needed to change. Last week I had hoped to climb The Ben and The Aonachs, but weather inclemency prevented this. This weekend I'd decided that the Ring of Steall was to be faced on the Saturday and Stob Ban/Mullach nan Coirean on the Sunday. What were the Mamores going to be like in the flesh?

Allison having a social event on the Friday necessitated a journey up on the Saturday morning rather than the usual night before, and it was a bit of a shock to the system to be up at 4.30am - must be getting soft! Turned into Glen Nevis road, somewhere I've never been before, passing multitudes of tourists milling around despite the early hour. Drove along the glen to the Upper carpark and endured the usual midge infestation while getting ready - fortunately they seemed to be a bit put off by Smidge and didn't pose a problem later on.

Up til now, when I've been setting out on walks where there's a bit of a challenge I've felt apprehensive but today I was looking forward to the Devil's Ridge. Getting a bit more experience of being on the hills and having done the scrambling course recently has helped my confidence - I was hoping not to be in for a scare! There's a nice cheery sign on the way out of the carpark to put you at ease :wink:
Image
P1030559 by 23weasels, on Flickr

and then the excitement of the wire bridge over the Water of Nevis to look forward to. Allison - not a lover of any type of river crossing - was more worried about the wire bridge than the Devil's Ridge, but she coped fine. :D Steall Falls was looking impressive cascading down the hillside as we passed.

Steall Falls
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P1030566 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Facing her fear :roll:
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P1030568 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Crossing with the "proper" technique :clap:
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P1030572 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Grey Mare's Tail
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P1030576 by 23weasels, on Flickr

There was a squelchy boggy area to walk over as best you could before reaching the lower slopes of An Gearanach and thereafter a steady climb up the side of the mountain, affording good views along the valley.

Image
P1030579 by 23weasels, on Flickr

View back the way
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P1030580 by 23weasels, on Flickr


Unfortunately the higher reaches of the hills was obscured by low cloud, but we could see the convolutions of rock strata on the flanks of The Ben behind us.

Image
P1030586 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Summit was reached after a couple of hours. There was then a nice scrambly bit along the crest of the ridge to An Garbhanach which put me in the mood for the Devil to come. Unfortunately somewhere along here Allison lost one of her poles, which had been stowed - none too securely it seems - on her rucksack for the hands on bit. This gave me an opportunity to go back along the ridge to look for it, without success :(

Towards Glencoe hills
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P1030588 by 23weasels, on Flickr

To summit of An Gearanach
Image
P1030589 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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P1030591 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Ridge towards An Garbhanach
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P1030593 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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P1030594 by 23weasels, on Flickr

The weather was closing in by this stage as we wended our way over to Stob Coire a Chairn. A desolate baa-ing sound indicated the presence of 2 sheep at the top, who moved - sheepishly - away from us as we stood at the cairn.

Stob Coire A Chairn
Image
P1030597 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1030599 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Towards Am Bodach & Iubhair
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P1030600 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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P1030602 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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P1030603 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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P1030604 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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P1030606 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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P1030607 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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P1030608 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Managed to take the wrong path, heading SE rather than SW :crazy: but fortunately spotted my error before we'd gone far - although not before I'd twisted my ankle on a loose rock. Having regained the proper path we walked over the 909 summit and on to Am Bodach, where we met a couple of guys heading in the opposite direction. Weather hadn't cleared unfortunately, so any views were brief glimpses through windows of clag.

Image
P1030611 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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P1030612 by 23weasels, on Flickr

View thru clag window to Loch Leven
Image
P1030613 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Sgurr an Iubhair was next up with more sheep en route
Image
P1030617 by 23weasels, on Flickr

and i could see the profile of the Devil's Ridge up ahead, curving away to the N.

Image
P1030619 by 23weasels, on Flickr

The ridge narrows delightfully with steep grassy slopes plunging down on each side. We reached the "bad step" which is a cluster of boulders suspended over a gap. Allison watched me start to climb onto these then elected to go for the bypass route to the right (N), which turned out to be considerably more exposed and challenging than just keeping to the crest. I went over the boulders, following the many crampon scratches and found it a straightforward manoeuvre to get across, didn't feel much exposure either. Waited for Allison to eventually make her way back up to the crest. :lol:

Image
P1030620 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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P1030621 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Boulders from the N side
Image
P1030622 by 23weasels, on Flickr

From there it's an easy wander up to the top of Sgurr a Mhaim, being rewarded with the occasional view across to Loch Linnhe. What a great walk!

Image
P1030625 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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P1030626 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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P1030628 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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P1030629 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Allison on the final summit of the day - looking relieved :lol:
Image
P1030631 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Had taken around 6 hours to get to this point, and I fully expected to be back at the car in 90 minutes. Hmm. The descent was much more tedious and painful on the knees than I'd been expecting. It was one of those come-downs when you can see your end point (the car park) from a far, and you never seem to get much nearer to it, no matter how long you walk for. The path is rocky and rough underfoot and I needed to take care not to twist another ankle. :shock:

Image
P1030632 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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P1030633 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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P1030634 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Eventually got down to the start of the trees and I decided that rather than follow the path to the lower falls car park and have to walk up the road to the upper car park, we'd cut across the terrain and make for a footbridge marked on the map higher up. This required that we walk over grassy ground with numerous deep bog holes stealthily secreted - by some miracle we managed to avoid putting a foot in. When we got down to the river we could see a good track - on the other side of the 8 foot deer fence :crazy: We came to the bridge at last and had to clamber ver the fence as there were no stiles. Another bit of excitement for the day :lol:

Onto the track and a pleasant, undulating walk along the Water of Nevis which brought us out at another footbridge across from Mam Beag, then a wander up the road to the car park. Dumped the rucksacks in the car, pulled on the big rucksack with the camping gear and off back to Steall Meadows to pitch.
I'd brought my new deluxe-size tent today which has a large vestibule area and this proved a godsend for preparing evening meal and keeping all the kit dry. And was that required! - overnight the rain pelted down on the tent for long periods. We woke to hear the rushing of water in the river nearby and from the Falls.

Image
P1030636 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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P1030638 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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P1030639 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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P1030640 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Tent in the morning
Image
P1030641 by 23weasels, on Flickr

It was raining when we left the tent and looked like it was going to be a 'skins on all day kind of day :(
The walk back along to the car park was enlivened by the river roaring away beside us, and by some tourists out for a walk with umbrellas. imagine anyone going for a walk in this kind of weather - must be mental :crazy:
Image
P1030642 by 23weasels, on Flickr

We drove down to the lower falls car park, paid the £3 and prepared to set off, amongst sizable numbers of mostly foreign tourists who were experiencing the delights of rain, clag and the scottish midge :lol:
Set off up the track towards Coire Mhusgain in full view of yesterday's grim descent trek. Neither of us had much energy and it must've looked like a couple of zombies out on a hike. Wearing full waterproofs didn't help as there was a degree of overheatin as we steadily gained altitude.

The path loosely follows the course of the Allt coire a Mhusgain, passing through some sparse old trees. All around was rushing water, the path turning into a wee river at many points.

View up the valley
Image
P1030643 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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P1030644 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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P1030645 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Coire Mhusgain
Image
P1030647 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1030648 by 23weasels, on Flickr

As we neared the head of the coire the path led us to a tight crossing over a waterfall, where there had been a recent landslip. Allison didn't fancy the narrow wet ledge over the falls much and, on checking the map, we saw we were on the wrong path anyway :roll: So we traipsed up the side od Stob Choire a Mhail to re-join the marked track and from there avoided further difficulties, arriving at the meeting of several tracks by Lochan Coire nam Miseach. We'd passed the impressive, imposing buttresses of Stob Ban on our right and looked back over to the Devil's ridge on the left.

Buttress of Stob Ban
Image
P1030649 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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P1030650 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Sgurr a Mhaim
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P1030652 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Stob Ban
Image
P1030654 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Devil's Ridge
Image
P1030656 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Ahead of us the track up to the summit of Stob Ban looked mighty steep. Elected to stop for something to eat before tackling this, and for a brief period the sun almost came out. To the south I could make out the Aonach Eagach ridge - still on the "to do" list, and also had good views of yesterday's route round the Ring of Steall. Not long after we set off, a solo walker caught up with us - he was planning on doing the north ridge of Stob Ban back down to Coire Mhusgain. We met him later on, near the summit, looking dejected as the clag had come down and the rain started up again.

Image
P1030658 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Aonach Eagach
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P1030659 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Ring of Steall
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P1030660 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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P1030661 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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P1030662 by 23weasels, on Flickr

The pull up to the top of Stob Ban is stony with the occasional scramble over boulders and then a narrow track skirts round the coire edge before finally arriving at the stony top. Descent over more boulders down to an easy to follow path which follows the coire edge as it heads over to Mullach nan Coirean. I'm sure the views are impressive, but all we managed to see was rocky shapes looming out of the clag, occasional steep drops down the coire edge and more sheep! The rocks change from white schist to red sandstone on the course of the journey. At one point we passed by what looked like another exciting bit of ridge crest to go along, but with very poor vis, rain and soaking wet rock i thought better of it :wink:

Summit Stob Ban
Image
P1030664 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1030667 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
P1030669 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Shapes in the clag
Image
P1030671 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Not much further now to the summit of Mullach nan Coirean, with an impressive cairn. Winds were stronger here, although had not been anything like the gusts of 50mph that had been predicted.

Image
P1030674 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Our route down followed the eastern shoulder of MnC back down towards the tree line. After a few stumbles on the wet boulders the path becomes sounder and so much better than the previous day's one. Eventually we reached the deer fence, kept to the left of it and were relieved to find a good strong stile to cross over into the mostly felled forest rather than having to carry out another commando manoeuvre :D .

Image
P1030675 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Descent down shoulder of MnC
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P1030676 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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P1030678 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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P1030679 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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P1030680 by 23weasels, on Flickr

There's a sweet little walk through the remaining trees before the area of desolation is reached - however through the tree stumps is a recently constructed path leading down towards the forest track proper. The rain, which had abated for most of the descent started up again and was heavy by the time we reached the lowest section of the track. There's a wee path just past a cairn on the right that we followed along the side of the river which leads towards the car park.

Image
P1030681 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Fungus Tree
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P1030683 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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P1030684 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Was pretty miserable driving in the rain back down from Fort William - roads busy, with lots of surface water. Later than I'd intended, due to the lack of energy/zombification in the first part of the day which was fortunately banished by lunchtime food. Did stop at the Clachaig for something to eat and a pint of Tayberry beer :wink: on the way home. All in all, a great weekend on some fantastic hills. I'm glad to have left them until I'd gained a bit of experience as i think the Devil's Ridge would have been much more of a scary proposal a few months back. But such an enjoyment now :lol:
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weaselmaster
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Re: Stealling into the Mamores

Postby BlackPanther » Tue Aug 13, 2013 1:50 pm

Fantastic couple of days, even with cloud hanging about, I see happy faces and big smiles again :D :D

I actually thought the scramble between An Gearanach and An Garbhanach was far more tricky than the Devil's Ridge (but enjoyed both). I remember my chum used to tease me about Devil's Ridge, trying to convince me I wasn't able to do it :lol: :lol: Naughty man :roll: I proved him wrong.

I have to go back to the Mamores to climb Stob Bhan... So many mountains still left to do...
Cheers
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Re: Stealling into the Mamores

Postby weaselmaster » Tue Aug 13, 2013 1:57 pm

Cheers, BP - remember looking through your report from a couple years back in preparation for doing the Ring of Steall - you had a pretty perfect day for it from the pics. But it's just good to get out and enjoy being on the hills, especially with a little frisson of excitment in the form of ridges to encounter. So mostly happy faces (apart from the couple of "zombie hours" on sunday morning :-x

You're right about so many mountains left to do - I'm having a minor panic about the lack of weekends left before the days shorten and make longer trips difficult :roll:
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Re: Stealling into the Mamores

Postby Godwit » Tue Aug 13, 2013 2:23 pm

Off to Mamores over bank holiday weekend, hope to get all 10 done. Good to get some idea of what to expect.
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Re: Stealling into the Mamores

Postby Silverhill » Tue Aug 13, 2013 3:43 pm

Excellent report WM! I did the Ring of Steall in June and there was a bit more mist around then. Looking at your pictures of An Garbhanach makes me wonder whether I really went up that ridge.... So, must do this set again in clearer conditions just to appreciate the scariness :lol: . Thanks for sharing. :D
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Re: Stealling into the Mamores

Postby rockhopper » Tue Aug 13, 2013 8:40 pm

Another great trip, WM :thumbup: Some excellent photos there of the ridge - as with Silverhill, despite the claggy parts, you certainly had it a lot clearer than me as I saw almost nothing the whole time :roll: .....although maybe that was a blessing at times not being able to see downwards :wink: - cheers
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Re: Stealling into the Mamores

Postby weaselmaster » Tue Aug 13, 2013 8:44 pm

rockhopper wrote:Another great trip, WM :thumbup: Some excellent photos there of the ridge - as with Silverhill, despite the claggy parts, you certainly had it a lot clearer than me as I saw almost nothing the whole time :roll: .....although maybe that was a blessing at times not being able to see downwards :wink: - cheers


Yes, i recall having a bit of a giggle at your report of multiple "couldn't see a thing" at most of your summits interspersed with the occasional "partial view" :lol:
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Re: Stealling into the Mamores

Postby riverlodge » Wed Aug 14, 2013 3:05 pm

BlackPanther wrote:
I actually thought the scramble between An Gearanach and An Garbhanach was far more tricky than the Devil's Ridge (but enjoyed both).

quite a while ago now, but i recall a similar experience.

enjoyed the report weaselmaster, doing the mamores in a oner i certainly remember that even the descent from binny beag to near the watershed seemed a big effort at the tail end of it.
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Re: Stealling into the Mamores

Postby davedanson28 » Wed Aug 14, 2013 9:57 pm

Excellent, looks like you both had a cracking day! Well done! :clap: Really need to get into these hills and have a look. :wink:
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Re: Stealling into the Mamores

Postby scottishkennyg » Wed Aug 14, 2013 10:01 pm

Nice one, well done. Enjoyed these hills when I was over them in a heat wave some time ago. I need to find out how you manage to post such high definition images. :?
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Re: Stealling into the Mamores

Postby weaselmaster » Wed Aug 14, 2013 10:33 pm

scottishkennyg wrote: I need to find out how you manage to post such high definition images. :?


Cheers, Kenny
I upload my pics @ full resolution to Flikr then paste the share code from the Flikr site - much easier than having to resize the pictures and doesn't seem to be any limit to hpw many images you can link to within a report doing it that way
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Re: Stealling into the Mamores

Postby dooterbang » Thu Aug 15, 2013 11:44 am

Another superb read and wonderful report.

I thought you may try and rattle of the 10 Mamores in one swoop or an overnight camp :wink:

These are hills I'll have to revisit as didn't have much in the way of views when doing them. Stob Ban was nice in winter though.

Loving your enthusiasm to get out and about no matter the weather and facing whatever challenge lies ahead, and finding it enjoyable. You knew the forecast was for rain, clag and 50mph winds yet you still went on your merry way 8)

Looking forward to the next chapter - cheers.
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Re: Stealling into the Mamores

Postby Sarah86 » Thu Aug 15, 2013 11:48 am

Wow, amazing report. Love the atmospheric shots of the mountain tops in the clouds. I must admit I would have turned round at that sign :lol: Love the waterfall shot too.
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Re: Stealling into the Mamores

Postby weaselmaster » Thu Aug 15, 2013 4:38 pm

dooterbang wrote:Another superb read and wonderful report.

I thought you may try and rattle of the 10 Mamores in one swoop or an overnight camp :wink:

These are hills I'll have to revisit as didn't have much in the way of views when doing them. Stob Ban was nice in winter though.

Loving your enthusiasm to get out and about no matter the weather and facing whatever challenge lies ahead, and finding it enjoyable. You knew the forecast was for rain, clag and 50mph winds yet you still went on your merry way 8)

Looking forward to the next chapter - cheers.


I'm feeling much too old and slow to manage the 10 at one go these days - must do something about that. I have planned to "do" the Cairngorms in a week at the end of August, but seeing just how many kilometres are involved in that it will be interesting to see just how many get done :lol:

As for the weather conditions - it's a very similar forecast for Skye at the weekend :crazy: - and hopefully I'll manage to get something climbed up there at the WH meet - what's the point of life if you can't get up a mountain :lol:
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Re: Stealling into the Mamores

Postby Collaciotach » Sat Aug 17, 2013 10:14 am

Good stuff and you got the exact same conditions as I did on these lot :D

My first complete section the Mam Mor ..great wee range :clap:
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