No ban on Stob Ban
by BlackPanther » Wed Jul 23, 2014 11:52 am
Route description: Stob Ban (Grey Corries)
Munros included on this walk: Stob Bàn (Grey Corries)
Date walked: 13/07/2014
Time taken: 7 hours
Distance: 19.7 km
Ascent: 912m1 person thinks this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
I didn't mind splitting the walk in two, not at all. It would allow us to venture into Lairig Leacach, visit the bothy, have a good look at the Innses which I'm also dying to bag soon
The day was weather-uncertain and showery, with more sunny spells predicted for late afternoon, so doing an easier walk was right up our street.
Funny, a few years ago this would be a huge expedition for me - now I consider Stob Ban "a quickie". We took our time though and had a good break on the summit (managed to wait through the clag till views appeared). Our route was the classic WH walk with a small diversion on the way down, to make a circuit of the hill rather than retrace steps back to the bothy. One word of warning: the path up the eastern shoulder is quite wet, and so is Corrie Claurigh. Apart from the squelchiness, there are no other obstacles and if blessed with good conditions, you will be surprised how much this modest hill has to offer
The infamous track from Coire Chollie was as bumpy as our poor car could stand... We decided to park at the crossroads (253794) rather than on the upper car park, just to save a km or so of the rodeo ride It was raining when we got out of the car, but the rain didn't last too long. I decided to wear my waterproof trousers anyway which makes me look like half-dressed astronaut but who cares.
The cloud was still low over the Grey Corries...
... but as we began our long walk in to the bottom of the mountain, the cloud was gradually breaking:
My first meeting with the wee minister
The track into Lairig Leacach makes for fast going, very quickly we reached the bridge:
Looking back down the river with another small shower passing by:
Not the driest of days but there was still plenty of interesting features about:
As we walked past the Innses, they both cleared and our hopes for clag-free summit suddenly grew...
Kevin was doubtful about the drop between the two hills - is it enough to make them both Corbetts? It must be, since they are Corbetts, it just doesn't look like much ascent from below.
There was nobody in sight when we reached the bothy. We could now see our target in front of us, and though there was still some cloud lingering around the top, we knew we had a good chance of clag-free summit.
We stopped for 5 min by the bothy and got rid of waterproofs (the air felt very humid and I was sweating already), then carried on to the little bridge over Allt a'Chuil Choirean. It is a bit crooked but still stable:
The two Innses from the start of the ascent path:
Stob Ban now looked close, though still embraced in the lingering cloud...
...but a few minutes later the sun shone through:
We found the start of the path (marked by a small cairn) and began the patient slog up the wet slopes. The first 200m or so were very steep and squelchy, too, as it had rained recently. Good views though, especially back to Sgurr Innse:
Weather was improving as we gained height and the angle of ascent also became more bearable - I was smiling again
The view back to the Innses is a classic:
The main ridge of Grey Corries still cloudy...
...the cloud slowly burning off Stob Ban:
I knew it was never going to be a perfect day view-wise yet we have already seen more than expected.
The far end of Loch Treig - the middle of nowhere:
The path skirts below the lower top (769m) and eventually it steepens again for the final ascent. I didn't find it difficult though. I prefer that to yellow-brick-roads:
The southern panorama was supposed to be superb from this point, but it was still only half the pano at the moment... I recognized the familiar shape of the Big Buachaille:
Last hydration break before reaching the summit. The day wasn't as bad as the cloudy morning would suggest and I was enjoying myself:
Zoom to Sgurr Innse - very shapely little hill!
15 minutes later we reached the summit. The cloud was still about but very patchy, so we waited patiently... Soon the wind did its job and the views began to emerge. Not full panoramas as some of the higher peaks were still clagged up, but good enough to make Panther meow!
Stob a'Choire Leith still hidden, view down to the col - priceless:
Looking south-west along the southern shoulder of Stob Ban to the Mamores, still not much to see at the moment...
...whereas Buachaille Etive Mor was just about clag free - lovely shape of this famous mountain:
Towards Loch Treig again, with the south-eastern panorama slowly clearing. I wonder, if it would be possible to walk in and climb Beinn na Lap from this side (I'm looking for something more inspiring that the quick up and down from the train station):
Loch Laggan zoomed:
Moody Corries at the moment... but...
...but patience pays off:
It was only 1 o'clock and as we didn't plan to do the rest of the corries that day, just as well we could relax and have a proper picnic! it wasn't the warmest of days but still enjoyable enough on the summit. I was first to place myself in a strategic position behind the cairn, with sandwiches to my left and hot tea to my right I love such moments!
Kevin pulling silly faces, but he enjoyed this hill as well:
It was never going to clear fully, but hey, this is as good as it gets in Scotland!
Cloud lifting, but not enough to reveal Ben Nevis:
As much as we managed to see:
South again - more sunshine this time:
Zoom to BEM - I admit I edited this photo and tampered a bit with contrast/brightness/saturation, just to make the shape of the mountain show better. I don't usually upgrade photos manually (apart from cropping), but made an exception for Mr Buachaille:
The Mamores revealed. I have done the Ring of Steall but there is still lots and lots left to do in this area...
Happy Panther on the summit of Stob Ban:
Cloud spectacle around the Binneins:
Stob a'Choire Leith and Stob Choire Claurigh now almost clear:
The ridge pano:
The last patch of snow on the slopes of Stob Coire an Laoigh:
The south eastern panorama now cloud free - well, almost:
Guess what?? Schiehallion! Can be seen from every hill in Scotland!
We left the summit after a long break, simply found it hard to leave the views behind... even if partially obscured by cloud. Instead of returning the way we came, we opted for an alternative descent by the northern slopes to the col between Stob Ban and Stob Choire Claurigh, which looked a bit steep from above, but there was an obvious, if eroded path to the bealach. On the way down we discovered the new meaning of the phrase "keep your balance while taking a snap"
Yes, the path is steep, eroded and tumbling, it required some good balancing skills, but cats are got at such exercises
The main bulk of Grey Corries from the lower slopes of Stob Ban. I'm going to return to do the full circuit, preferably on a good, sunny day.
Sgurr Inse always visible:
it doesn't look so bad from below and I guess it would be a bit easier to tackle in ascent:
We reached the col and the main path here turns towards the ascent to Stob Choire Claurigh, the branch turning right down into Coire Claurigh is very sketchy, but we followed a stony gully - we could see the path lower down, so just aimed for it, avoiding a large patch of dirty snow. In front of us, the Easains eventually cleared - though not for long:
I stopped when I heard bleating nearby...
This poor little sod lost his (her) mummy!
I looked around and spotted mum on the other side of the gully, busy chewing grass. OK, so I'm not leaving any unattended orphans on the hill
View down to Coire Claurigh is worth the detour:
We found the path lower down and the final descent was now easy, though wet. When we looked back at Stob Ban, we were amazed how steep this mountain appears to be. Some interesting slabs nearby, too:
One more version of the view, this time with a stream in the foreground:
Down in Coire Claurigh - wet, wet, wet
Allt a'Chuil Choirean coming down in a nice waterfall:
Back by the bothy and on the beaten track:
The return walk to the car park was now very easy, we met a few groups of people (none of them looked like they were going up the hills, just Sunday strollers I guess). Just past the bridge we had an interesting meeting with a lovely coloured moth caterpillar - pictures in Wildlife section:
On the final descent to the car park we noticed that weather improved enough to guarantee some better views compare to the morning:
Looking north-west from the track just above the Wee Minister:
Kevin and his new friend
When we returned to the car, we had a not-so-nice encounter with big horseflies
Anyone for some blood for dinner?...
Summing up: the walk-in is long but very pleasant, the climb itself easy though boggy. Views - priceless. I know that many hillwalkers would simply add Stob Ban to the Grey Corries round, but this modest Munro does indeed deserve a separate trip to fully appreciate its beauty. Certainly a good one for a certain cat to meow about!
by basscadet » Wed Jul 23, 2014 12:34 pm
Shame I cant see all the photos (I'm at work) as when I was there earlier in the year a huge avalanche had ripped a lot of material down from the corrie and it would be good to see it now the iceblocks are all melted...
great report as always
by AnnieMacD » Wed Jul 23, 2014 2:38 pm
by jmarkb » Wed Jul 23, 2014 4:36 pm
BlackPanther wrote:Kevin was doubtful about the drop between the two hills - is it enough to make them both Corbetts? It must be, since they are Corbetts, it just doesn't look like much ascent from below.
Must be deceptive - Sgurr Innse is the lower of the two and has 216m of reascent, so qualifies comfortably!
Since you have done Stob Ban, when you go for the whole traverse, you could include Stob Coire na Ceannain - the connecting ridge to Claurigh is a wee treat!
by dogplodder » Fri Jul 25, 2014 10:22 pm
by Huff_n_Puff » Sat Jul 26, 2014 9:22 pm
Very informative report - still haven't decided whether to Stob Ban on its own - but you make the relaxed hill day look very inviting, thanks.
by rockhopper » Sat Jul 26, 2014 11:51 pm
Glad you got some breaks in the weather to get some decent views - cheers
by BlackPanther » Mon Jul 28, 2014 11:05 am
Adding Stob Coire na Ceannain to the main traverse of the Greys was always in my mind. Not much point splitting them in two walks now.
The final bit of the track up to the car park is... bumpy, lumpy, rocky, and I wouldn't even fancy cycling it - too rough to my taste (though over the last few weeks I've been training uphill cycling on Beauly hills). Driving is reduced to 5-10miles/h crawling, but I don't think there are any suitable places to leave cars earlier along the tarmac road (it's a single track through the forest). You CAN'T park by Coire Choille farm. I think clenching your teeth and risking the drive is the only sensible option...
I counted on good weather this weekend and we got some, but not in the west. So the Greys had to wait. We opted for a 33km marathon in the Cairngorms instead
by jmarkb » Mon Jul 28, 2014 2:12 pm
dogplodder wrote:discussing the rough approach road up to the Grey Corries - both saying we'd rather not risk our cars going up there. How bad was it and would it add an awful lot to walk it instead?
The last place you could park before Corrie Chollie is next to the bridge over the Cour at NN248811. Adds a total of about 5km to the day. Have had to walk the track once in winter after putting a car in the ditch on the wee hill before the farm!
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