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Spean Valley Stompers do Stob Coire Sgriodain & Chno Dearg

PostPosted: Sun Oct 06, 2013 2:06 pm
by bobble_hat_kenny
After the torrential rain earlier in the week :wtf: , the forecast was looking better for the Saturday, although still a lot of low cloud about. Still, you don't get to do them all in good weather :-| , and Tom and myself both had free time for a walk on Saturday. There were the usual potential deer-stalking complications on many hills at this time of year, but Stob Coire Sgriodain and Chno Dearg looked as though they should be OK providing we stuck to the main ridge and didn't wander off east...
It was a fairly long, albeit scenic, drive up from Glasgow, and it was good to reach the small parking area at Fersit, at the edge of a tarmac turning circle at the end of the public road. The Clag was finally starting to lift a bit, and there was a fine view down to the ends of the two hill ridges on either side of Loch Treig, with Meall Cian Dearg of Stob a'Choire Meadhoin to the right, and our first target today, Sron na Garbh-Bheinne of Stob Coire Sgriodain, on the left.

We walked on down the track through the metropolis of Fersit, continuing on to the farm with the big metal barn, as described in the website route summary. Just after this, a side track to the right leads to a sheep fank and a shed, and beyond this a sketchy wee path continues in the general direction of the nose of Sron na Garbh-Bheinne.

We almost-scrambled up a steep grassy gully with a few trees, just to the right of the steep end of the Sron, to get through the first band of crags. This led to a wee levelling, with the remainder of the Sron rearing up to the left.

Our best bet here would probably, in retrospect, have been to continue up the grassy gully that bypasses the main nose of the Sron slightly to the right. However, what we actually did was to cut across left onto the main ridgeline and then make our way up slowly via steep grassy rakes between the lines of crags. This made relatively slow progress, although it was fun in its way, and gave grand views back down over Glen Spean.

Loch Laggan and "Scotland's biggest lochan", Lochan na h'Earba, were just visible in the distance to the east.

Tom was recceing the ongoing route on the map:

A bit higher up the Sron, we found a rather nice quartz outcrop to perch on, admiring the views down to Loch Treig. The water level was surprisingly low considering the rain over the past few days, but I suppose it has been a good summer, for once.

The end of Stob a'Choire Meadhoin's north ridge was visible across to the west.

Unfortunately, the Clag really closed in with a vengeance as we finally got to the top of the Sron :( . No more photos for the time being, as we plodded on up Stob Coire Sgriodain's stony north ridge. At least there was a reasonably good path now, which speeded our progress, and it wasn't too much longer until we reached the cairn.
At this moment, there was a brief break in the clouds, giving grand views down over Loch Treig.

A summit shot of Tom:

The route continues (with a good path at first) down across the wee dip of Glac Bhan, and then up again to Stob Coire Sgriodain's South Top. Another brief gap in the cloud gave us a last hazy view north to the end of Loch Treig:

That was it for views though, as the Clag really thickened again. We were soon at S.C.S.'s South Top, which sports a nifty wee white cairn, mainly made of quartz boulders. Very nice.

The ongoing route continues south-east along Stob Coire Sgriodain's bouldery and undulating south ridge, with the path intermittently disappearing amidst what the website Route Summary describes fairly accurately as "surprisingly rough ground" :shock: . Having got over our surprise, we quite enjoyed this wee bit, all the same, with two minor tops emerging in turn through the Clag, and an opportunity for a quick lunch stop in the shelter of a big boulder. After all this boulderiness, there was now a sudden transition to broad grassy slopes as we reached the bealach with Chno Dearg. From here, it was an easy plod uphill to the north-east to eventually top out at Chno Dearg's big summit cairn.
My recently acquired copy of the rather fine walkhighlands "Munros" guidebook describes Chno Dearg as "a rounded, boggy lump, somewhat redeemed by decent views". Needless to say, however, the only views we got were of the cairn :lol: .

Tom was already recceing our best descent route:

In theory, we could have cut down to the west to try to pick up an ATV track that gives an easy descent back to the farm just east of Fersit. However, given the distinct possibility of missing the track in all that cloud, we opted just to descend directly on a NNW bearing. We had expected this to be a complete bogfest, particularly given the recent rainfall, but actually it turned out to be rather good fun, stomping merrily down the grand unbroken sweep of grassy hillside all the way from Chno Dearg's 1046 metre summit back to Fersit.
Around the 750 metre mark, the Spean Valley Stompers finally emerged from the Clag, and we had a hazy view of Glen Spean to our north.

Loch Laggan was visible in the distance again.

The autumnal colours were particularly fine on these grassy slopes.

Eventually, we did pick up that ATV track after all, giving a straightforward descent back down to Fersit.

A very enjoyable wee walk this, despite the Clag :) .

Re: Spean Valley Stompers do Stob Coire Sgriodain & Chno Dea

PostPosted: Mon Oct 07, 2013 10:59 am
by Graeme D
A stomping good report BHK! Like that shot down to Loch Treig with the low water line clearly visible. :D

Re: Spean Valley Stompers do Stob Coire Sgriodain & Chno Dea

PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2013 1:46 pm
by bobble_hat_kenny
Graeme D wrote:A stomping good report BHK! Like that shot down to Loch Treig with the low water line clearly visible. :D

Cheers! Yes, it did bring home to me how dry (comparatively speaking) this summer has been, although you do wonder where all that rain went from last Wednesday and Thursday :? ...

Re: Spean Valley Stompers do Stob Coire Sgriodain & Chno Dea

PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2013 2:14 pm
by Caberfeidh
Spean Valley ???? What happened to Glen Spean? :?

Re: Spean Valley Stompers do Stob Coire Sgriodain & Chno Dea

PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2013 2:35 pm
by bobble_hat_kenny
Caberfeidh wrote:Spean Valley ???? What happened to Glen Spean? :?

Sorry, it was meant to be a joke (or a weak jestoid, anyway). Those of us who are old enough will remember a Scottish group of the late 1950s/early 1960s called the "Clyde Valley Stompers". No unpatriotic preferential use of the word "valley" as opposed to "glen" intended :D !