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Ring of Steall, we always intended to anticlockwise...

Ring of Steall, we always intended to anticlockwise...


Postby MountainHare22 » Thu Aug 14, 2014 8:17 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: 13/07/2014

Time taken: 9 hours

Distance: 16 km

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We started from the youth hostel at 8am, setting off down the road towards Glen Nevis (neither my Mum or I have a car). A couple miles down the road we took the opportunity to get off the road and go along the footpath by the river. We came to the bridge marked on the OS map as being where the path stopped so you walk along the road for the last 1k or so, but the path still seemed quite strong on this side and our map was at least 20 years old so Mum reckoned the path would go where we wanted to go (a mistake, be sure to avoid this path unless you are exploring the cliffs!! ).

Sometime after choosing to take the path rather than the road, having trudged through bog, hauled ourselves up steep slopes and got to end of a thready path, at this point standing at the edge of a cliff we were really wishing we had crossed back to the road. It was going to be over an hour to get round to the same point on the other side of the river, despite being able to see the path, with people on it, just across from us. We struck off up out of the gorge so we could get a better idea of exactly where we were, the wire bridge was still some distance away, and it was going to be tricky ground to contour round on. Time for a change of plan.

We decided to cut diagionally up the side of Sgurr a'Mhaim, so we would meet the guidebook suggested route higher up, on the North-west spurr. Much cursing followed as we dragged ourselves up through the bog, to a ledge we had been able to see from below. After a pause at the bottom of a landslip, where some much needed sugar and water was taken on board the 2 of us were somewhat brighter. The addition of a rhubard and custard suckable spurred us on - amazing the difference in mood between beforfe and after sugar. At the top of the grassy slope we could see a fragment of path, something to aim for. However as we got higher and higher up the slope, it got steeper and steeper, until it got to the point neither of us really liked the thought of going down, indeed each step had to be thought through to avoid slipping - worst came to the worst we were going to have to work our way down on our behinds, and we pondered the advantages of a summer earth axe. The relief when we got to the top of the slope and on to the path was immense, - we could of gone back they way we had come, but it was not a happy prospect. From here on we knew the day would only get better.

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Looking along Devils Ridge from Sgurr a'Mhaim


On top of Sgurr Mhaim we stopped for lunch, Mum was still unsure we’d have time/energy to go the full way round, having lost over an hour in the morning but was still persuaded along to the next top. The Devils Ridge was not nearly as scary as I expected, an enjoyable walk and as we continued around the circuit the weather was gradually improving. It was a little damp on Am Bodach but by the time we reached Stob Choire a Chairn the sun was almost out, so that the last top was in sunshine and we walked down and out under blue skies.

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An Gearanach from Stob Choire a Chairn

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Views of Ben Nevis from An Gearanacn

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Looking back down the ridge - my current favourite photos


The descent from an Gearanach is relentless, and we had had quite enough of going down short zigzags by the time we got to the hanging valley floor. It was at this point I explained that the bridge we were aiming for was a wire bridge… That was negotiated quite fast but we both wished we had longer arms as it was quite a stretch for a short person to have both arms up on either side. Walking back along the gorge on the right side of the gorge was easy. When we hit the road Mum was pretty tired, and faced with a long walk back to the YH, when someone offered us a lift we weren’t going to say no!

So despite a dodgy we start we had a great day on a super ridge! :D

Lessons learnt:
1. If the path is leading through bog and you know there is a decent path on the otherside of the river, turn round rather than following it to a precipice
2. Contouring round that extra little bit to meet the path is probably more sensible than dragging yourself up a long grassy slope
3. On a more positive note, delays to your day aren't always bad - it meant we got the best of the sun!
MountainHare22
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Re: Ring of Steall, we always intended to anticlockwise...

Postby shish » Thu Aug 14, 2014 9:32 pm

What amazing clarity in your pics! and well done on the whole walk. Sounds like a satisfying day. :) :)
shish
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Re: Ring of Steall, we always intended to anticlockwise...

Postby MountainHare22 » Thu Aug 14, 2014 10:22 pm

shish wrote:What amazing clarity in your pics! and well done on the whole walk. Sounds like a satisfying day. :) :)

Thanks yes, all the more satisfying after the bad start - probably one of the best days I've had this year. I only have smartphone camera, but when the light and visibility is good it is amazing what you can do with it :)
The mammores are great as they look interesting but there isn't much exposure, and this route is not too strenous given you cover 4 munros - only a long day for us due to the walk in and out!
MountainHare22
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Re: Ring of Steall, we always intended to anticlockwise...

Postby Johnny Corbett » Fri Aug 15, 2014 9:41 am

Photos are lovely. It's a great walk this and as you say fairly easy going :D
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Johnny Corbett
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Re: Ring of Steall, we always intended to anticlockwise...

Postby Bonzo » Fri Aug 15, 2014 2:05 pm

I assume you took the path that the 1:25000 OS map shows following the south bank of the Water of Nevis towards the wire rope bridge?

If so, we made the same mistake a few years back and after trying unsuccessfully to forge a route towards the wire bridge decided to retreat back to the foot bridge.

So, 2.5 miles later we finally reached the wire bridge and crossed. I then proceeded to fall in the Steall to complete a fine morning :lol:
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Bonzo
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Re: Ring of Steall, we always intended to anticlockwise...

Postby MountainHare22 » Sun Aug 17, 2014 9:48 pm

Bonzo wrote:I assume you took the path that the 1:25000 OS map shows following the south bank of the Water of Nevis towards the wire rope bridge?

If so, we made the same mistake a few years back and after trying unsuccessfully to forge a route towards the wire bridge decided to retreat back to the foot bridge.

So, 2.5 miles later we finally reached the wire bridge and crossed. I then proceeded to fall in the Steall to complete a fine morning :lol:

Yes exactly what we did but we couldn't face going back! I was kicking myself as had recently been along the north bank, and really should of said to Mum as we trailed through bog. Its marked on the Harvey map as stopping where it does, but we hadn't seen that map before we went.
MountainHare22
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Joined: Aug 8, 2014

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