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50 shades of Grey (Corries) meet 7 years in Tibet

50 shades of Grey (Corries) meet 7 years in Tibet


Postby BlackPanther » Wed Aug 27, 2014 5:35 pm

Route description: The Grey Corries

Munros included on this walk: Sgurr Choinnich Mor, Stob Choire Claurigh, Stob Coire an Laoigh

Date walked: 24/08/2014

Time taken: 10 hours

Distance: 22 km

Ascent: 1600m

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It's good to be back on the hills. We have waited patiently for the right weather to arrive and eventually it did - giving us the opportunity to celebrate our anniversary in style. We usually climb something every year on the 25th. This year the big mountain celebration was moved to Sunday the 24th, for obvious reasons.
Actually, Kevin had to work on Saturday so I kept my fingers crossed that Sunday be good weather-wise or my hopes for anniversary Munro would have to be abandoned... OK, weather was kind to us in the end. After the coldest August night on record, came a bright morning followed by dry, quiet day. Some high cloud arrived but it stayed well above the summits. We both agreed we were ready for something big and spectacular, so our choice fell on Grey Corries. We had done the lower outlier, Stob Ban, in July, so now we could concentrate on the main ridge and throw in the other outlier, Sgurr Choinnich Mor, into the equation. In case of unexpected change of weather, we had the Innses (two Corbetts just across the glen) as an easier alternative.

Funny how all the elements and strange coincidences tried to stop us from getting out that Sunday. First, I woke up with bad migraine and had to pack in loads of paracetamol (nothing to do with hangover - it's a condition I'm used to cope with for years). Second, as soon as we left Beauly, we found out that A833 was closed due to roadworks until 9AM :evil: :evil: so we had to take a long diversion through Inverness. Third, just past Drumnadrochit, A82 was blocked by a convoy (not a Russian one to Ukraine by any chance :wink: ). We were stuck behind a long line of lorries, vans and other machinery for about 30min. The whole convoy moved at a "brisk" pace of 10 miles per hour :roll: :roll: :roll: and causing a huge traffic jam!
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At some point, we started to doubt if we were going to do ANY hillwalking at all that day, but then the convoy stopped at a layby and let the traffic pass. We lost some time all right, but not the whole day :D
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Due to all the above described problems we only arrived at the car park up the track from Corriechoille at 9:45. There was no space left in the first parking area so we had to drive further up to where the track meets the old tramway line. We found one place and squeezed in. It's good to have a small car sometimes :lol: :lol:
The car park and the hills across the glen:
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It's hard to believe I have already spent 7 years married to a certain Cornishman, who loves mountains just as much as I do :lol: Feels a bit like 7 years in Tibet :wink: Well, Grey Corries aren't exactly Mount Everest, but good enough for us to celebrate :D
We took the traditional route for the trio: up the slopes of Stob Coire Gaibhre first, then along the ridge with a short detour to Sgurr Choinnich Mor, and eventually down Beinn na Socaich and through the forest back to the starting point. It may only be a 22km walk which seems not a huge distance, but throw in 1600m of ascent and it becomes exciting!

Track_GREY CORRIES 24-08-14.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


It was a lovely morning and bright, blue sky promised a grand day out:
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Aonach Mor basking in sunshine:
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Of course, I couldn't resist a wee pose with the Wee Minister :lol: I guess we got his blessing!
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We walked up the road for a short time but as soon as we entered The Lairig pass and passed the two gates, we turned off the comfortable track and started the proper ascent. The first 10 minutes were boggy to say the least, but as soon as we hit the steep slopes, the terrain turned grassy and there was even a sketchy path to follow. Looking down, we could see people behind us, and more in front of us as well - it was going to be a busy day on the ridge!
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Some more paracetamol for the sore head and I was ready to push up! The grass in this picture looks much higher than it was :lol: :lol:
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The climb, I must say, is a bit of a slog and a boring one. For a long time, the only good views are north across Glen Spean:
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As we gained height, more interesting stuff showed up. Fort William and Loch Linnhe and the mountains beyond:
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NW to Knoydart, the cloud was slowly gathering. We knew the blue sky conditions were not going to last, but we didn't mind some high cloud, as long as it didn't obstruct the views:
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View west to the Aonachs:
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The climb gets less steep higher up and eventually we reached the summit of Stob Coire Gaibhre, the first of countless Munro tops on this ridge. We only stopped for a few minutes for pictures and a slurp of water (plus another pill in my case), but I must say, the vistas are splendid already from this point:
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To the east, the Easains and the rocky lump of Sgurr Innse - this is a Corbett high on my list. I'm a big fan of scrambling, as long as it is not too difficult :lol:
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The summit of The Ben just about visible:
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Coire na Ceannain and the green-blue contrast of the steep slopes:
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7 years in Scotland... (actually it's longer than that :wink: ) and I'm still as wild as ever...
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From Stob Coire Gaibhre, panorama of the Grey Ridge:
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We set off to climb the first Munro, which was not very far away from the first top. The ridge was wide, but the path stayed close to the edge of the corrie, with great views down... That only if you have a good head for heights:
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The final stage up Stob Choire Claurigh becomes very rocky. I was soon to discover this is the true nature of the Grey Corries. It may make your feet sore but there are countless options of easy scrambling as you climb over minor tops... At the moment, it was just a bit tumbly:
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Far in the distance, I spotted a vertical wall which made me think of Egyptian temples carved inside mountain slopes - all that was missing here were a few giant sculptures of Pharaohs :lol:
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Ben Nevis, The Aonachs and the long ridge of Beinn na Socaich:
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As I said, no true scrambling at the moment, just some tumbling rocks and boulders:
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The outlying top, Stob Coire na Ceannain, looks very steep but manageable. I was tempted to detour to visit this peak, but had to give up the idea as we were a bit late:
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It was clouding up slowly and the mountains dressed in fifty shades of grey...
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One last look into Coire na Ceannain:
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Just below the summit of the first Munro, I spotted something very interesting. Ha, here was a perfect playground for a wild cat! I'm talking scrambling along this little, fancy ridge behind me:
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For the faint-hearted, there is a bypass path just below the crest, but as the ridge itself is easy, I'd recommend staying on the very top. The whole experience is a very easy scramble,lots of fun and games and a good training for those who would like to fight off the exposure problems:
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Looking down into Coire Claurigh, with the Easains in the background:
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I was first to tackle the crest and soon discovered I was in my element :lol: Kevin followed, but stopped every minute to take photos. Overall, he took 460 pictures that day, half of them being portraits of my behind as I was hauling myself up another scramble-ish bit :lol:
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May look scary from below but it's a piece of cake:
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Looking down the crest with Stob Coire na Ceannain in the background:
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Not the summit just yet but very close:
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All the way up the rocks there are bypasses so most of the scrambling is optional, but we didn't bother with the lower paths, just enjoyed the scrambles :D Eventually, happy and giggling, we reached the summit of the Munro. I was glad to tick my no. 147 (maximum break! snooker fans will know what I'm talking about):
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This is the highest point of the Grey Corries ridge and a fantastic viewpoint. I wish I could share all photos with you, but this TR is horribly long already so just a few of them. Enjoy the vistas as much as we did, when we sat down for a well deserved cuppa:
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The eastern Mamores:
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Panorama south, with Stob Ban in the foreground. When we climbed it last Month it seemed a decent climb - now it looked tiny-tiny, more like an unimportant little top:
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Buachaille Etive Mor - photo a bit tampered to make the mountain visible :lol:
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High cloud was everywhere now, but I didn't really care - it added some interesting shades to photos:
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Can you count people on the summit of Ben Nevis? Must have been a very busy day on the highest British peak!
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Two more Munros still to do today:
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After 20 min or so of resting and lunching on the summit of Stob Choire Claurigh, we packed up and continued along the ridge. There are 3 more M tops to climb over before the second Munro of the day, with some very easy scrambling in a few places, but mostly just walking on rocky terrain and very often close to the vertical drops. Such a beautiful scenery it was, I just didn't want this day to end!
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The only break on Stob a'Choire Leith was to... dig up gloves, as the air suddenly became very cold!
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More scrambling for wild Panther:
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Looking back to Stob Choire Claurigh:
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This crest is even easier than the scramble up Claurigh, with a path all the way across:
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Uhmmm... I'm sure some of you are now green with envy :lol: but I wanted to do this traverse before I go grey...
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Stob Ban from the west. It's funny that the northern side of this mountain looks very steep, almost vertical, but we climbed down this side and there is actually a path zigzagging down the scree... How your own eyes can mislead you...
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Another shade of grey, with Stob Choire Claurigh in the background:
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On the summit of Caisteal, now only a short distance away from the second Munro:
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On this ridge, wherever you look, there will always be something steep or vertical in sight:
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Our final Munro, Sgurr Choinnich Mor, still seemed far away:
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Lawers group on the horizon - I didn't expect to see this ridge so clearly!
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On the way up the second Munro:
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More shades of grey:
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Kevin spent far too much time photographing every rock on his way and we were falling behind in time. But on the other hand, if we were already here, in this mind-boggling world of grey, why not take the full advantage?
One man and his camera:
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It was half past two by the time we arrived on the summit of Stob Coire an Laoigh, which was no. 148 for me and a nice round no. 180 for my husband of seven years :D
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This is why these are called Grey Corries:
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View south from the summit:
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It was time for a quick snack and 10 minutes of rest. I didn't feel tired at all, just hungry - for both food and more adventure :D I reflected back to the seven past years and our countless trips, big and small. Ups and downs but mostly ups, 250 or so hills visited together, hundreds of miles walked side by side. Can't really make a good definition for love but surely it "...does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction". I think Saint-Exupery was right. We spent lots of time looking at the same views :D
Back to planet Earth, we still had another Munro to conquer, but first we had to climb a top, Stob Coire Easain. This was an easy traverse over a high col, with some scramble-ish sections on the ascent, but nothing serious. We didn't stop by the cairn, just continued south to descend a rocky ridge to Bealach Coire Easain. This section was superb, not too exposed but with a few places where hands were needed. Something just right for a cat :D
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Enjoying the simple scramble:
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The descend ends by going down this steep wall (here seen from below) but again, it looks worse than it is.
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The sun came out as we reached the col and suddenly, the final Munro for the day was basking in sunshine:
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...and so were the neighbouring mountains. We couldn't see the summit of Nevis now, but Aonach Beag looked just as imposing:
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We located a narrow but obvious path, climbing the steep slopes to the summit of Sgurr Choinnich Mor. The path traverses very close to the vertical drop down to Coire nan Cnamhan and in some places it is very eroded. We encountered a couple of large steps, but no serious scrambling and soon we were close to the summit:
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The very top is situated at the end of narrow, grassy arete - fantastic viewpoint...
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...and a fantastic place to pose for one "veni, vidi, vici, miaow" picture, with the Mamores behind me:
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View back to the main Grey Corres ridge from the tiny summit cairn:
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The Binneins - still on our to-to list:
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Schiehallion:
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Stob Ban from a different angle:
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Sgurr Choinnich Beag and Sgurr a'Mhaim:
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We had a quick break, enjoyed the beauty of this remote peak, and as it was already four o'clock, we quickly set off to return to the main ridge:
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Sgurr Choinnich Mor is the most shapely of the three Munros and well worth the detour:
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We scrambled up back to Stob Coire Easain. I actually found the rocky ridge easier on the ascent, it was great fun :D Neat the summit cairn we met a pair of walkers only heading for Sgurr Choinnich Mor. I later said to Kevin, I wonder if they will manage to get down before dark (assuming they were doing the same route we did?). I hope they finished their walk safely :D
We now faced the slow descent from Stob Coire Easain, past the long ridge of Beinn na Socaich and down to the dam over Allt Coire Chiomhlidh, but the early evening was so nice, warm and sunny, that I didn't mind some more sweat and knee pain...
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On the way down:
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The last shades of grey...
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We followed paths, more or less prominent, all the way down. The descent is wet in places but generally the slopes are grassy and make for quick going. Kevin was complaining a bit about a sore knee (an old injury that comes back sometimes) but he said he didn't regret anything at all! it was worth it!
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Eventually we found one more obvious path and followed it all the way to the edge of the forest, just above the dam. We knew we had to cross the river and... hmmm.... the final 50m or so down the very steep slopes into the gorge are not the safest place to be in wet weather.
How to find a way into this gorge???
The path zigzags through the heather from here to the river, where we found a good place to wade across:
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To be precise, I waded across. Kevin somehow managed to jump over on stepping stones, but I couldn't resist the soothing feeling of cold water on my tired feet. Boaaaah! A blessing after a long day of walking.
We climbed to the path on the other side and then over a stile, to reach the dam and the access road. Now, the rest of the day would be on even surface - no more bog and slippery grass :lol:
Our crossing place from the dam. I wonder what would one do if the river was in spate?...
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No chance crossing over the dam:
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From the dam we returned to the starting point by the forest tracks. I picked a few mushrooms (another hobby of mine, shame it was so late and we didn't have a suitable bag for the fungi). On the way back we walked past the remnants of the old tramway:
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One word of warning for fellow walkers. Recently, new forest track have been bulldozed across the forest and parts of the woods have been cut down. Looks like most of it is destined for felling, which is a shame :( But sentiments aside, the new tracks do not show up on the map so they may cause some confusion. The place where we scratched our heads for a moment was at NN 247784. A new track goes slightly uphill (ENE), whereas the old one stays lower in the forest in NE direction. Possibly, the new tracks does give access to the Lairig pass somewhere, but we decided to stick to the original route. we emerged out of the forest and returned to the car just to witness the sunset:
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What else can I say other than IT WAS A DAY TO REMEMBER? Not the first and hopefully not the last one, but a superb way to celebrate... They say that seven is a lucky number and once again we got a share of that luck :D
Last edited by BlackPanther on Fri Aug 29, 2014 2:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 50 shades of Grey (Corries) meet 7 years in Tibet

Postby simon-b » Wed Aug 27, 2014 8:40 pm

What a day out, despite the early delay, BP. The main spine of the Grey Corries does give a superb ridge walk. I admit to having got wet feet in June, during that river crossing towards the end.

It's good that the clouds stayed off the summits for you; you got photos of some magnificent views.
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Re: 50 shades of Grey (Corries) meet 7 years in Tibet

Postby BlackPanther » Fri Aug 29, 2014 2:48 pm

simon-b wrote:What a day out, despite the early delay, BP. The main spine of the Grey Corries does give a superb ridge walk. I admit to having got wet feet in June, during that river crossing towards the end.

It's good that the clouds stayed off the summits for you; you got photos of some magnificent views.


Thanks a lot :D It's one of the best ridge walks I've done so far. That river crossing on the way down could be problematic in wet conditions - we were lucky there wasn't too much water in the stream. But it's a small price to pay for all the fun on the main spine :D

Hope this weekend will be OK for another hillwalking adventure...
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Re: 50 shades of Grey (Corries) meet 7 years in Tibet

Postby dogplodder » Fri Aug 29, 2014 2:57 pm

A lesser person would have given up with a migraine and diversion to Inverness but your determination paid off. A great way to celebrate your anniversay and congrats on 7 fun filled years climbing many hills! :clap:
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Re: 50 shades of Grey (Corries) meet 7 years in Tibet

Postby BlackPanther » Fri Aug 29, 2014 7:15 pm

dogplodder wrote:A lesser person would have given up with a migraine and diversion to Inverness but your determination paid off. A great way to celebrate your anniversay and congrats on 7 fun filled years climbing many hills! :clap:


Thank you! We intend to climb many more hills together, complete the Munros one day...

I was so desperate to have a good day, that no amount of migraine and traffic jams could stop me! :lol:
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Re: 50 shades of Grey (Corries) meet 7 years in Tibet

Postby Fife Flyer » Fri Aug 29, 2014 7:58 pm

Great report, enjoyed reading that, some fantastic photo's :clap: :clap: As you say if Kevin took 460 photo's he must be constantly snapping :lol: :lol:
That walk is on my list hopefully my next target :wink: What was the road/track like for driving on, I heard that it is a bit pot holed/bumpy? Am a wee bit concerned as my car has fairly firm suspension & is lower profile than most cars :lol:
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Re: 50 shades of Grey (Corries) meet 7 years in Tibet

Postby BlackPanther » Sat Aug 30, 2014 5:36 pm

Fife Flyer wrote:Great report, enjoyed reading that, some fantastic photo's :clap: :clap: As you say if Kevin took 460 photo's he must be constantly snapping :lol: :lol:
That walk is on my list hopefully my next target :wink: What was the road/track like for driving on, I heard that it is a bit pot holed/bumpy? Am a wee bit concerned as my car has fairly firm suspension & is lower profile than most cars :lol:


Many thanks :D Yes, 460 photos meant stopping every 5 minutes :lol: Kevin was constantly falling behind, no wonder it took us 10 hours to return to the car. Though I was picking ceps in the woods on the way back so maybe I'm just as guilty...

The road is a pain in ***, basically you'll have to drive 10mph. But it is manageable, our car survived in one piece.

I'm sure you'll have a fantastic day up there, too :D
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Re: 50 shades of Grey (Corries) meet 7 years in Tibet

Postby PeteR » Sat Aug 30, 2014 6:17 pm

The Grey Corries are great fun and your photos capture them superbly :D
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Re: 50 shades of Grey (Corries) meet 7 years in Tibet

Postby Alteknacker » Sun Aug 31, 2014 11:34 am

An entertaining report, as always, and some truly stunning mountain porn :clap: :clap: :clap:

A great way to spend your anniversary. Definitely one can't communicate directly the life-affirming emotions of being in wonderful and spectacular places; but, as you say, one can share the joy of experiencing the same splendour. Sadly my CEO has no interest in hills, especially steep ones with exposure, and the potential for beasties ... unless the summit is accessible by car....

Can I ask: what camera do you use? And do you titivate the photies? (eg the one where your caption reads: "...it added some interesting shades to photos." The pix in your reports, like AnneMacD's, always have a wonderful clarity. Do you spend time adjusting the exposure, and stuff like that?
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Re: 50 shades of Grey (Corries) meet 7 years in Tibet

Postby BlackPanther » Mon Sep 01, 2014 1:57 pm

Alteknacker wrote:Can I ask: what camera do you use? And do you titivate the photies? (eg the one where your caption reads: "...it added some interesting shades to photos." The pix in your reports, like AnneMacD's, always have a wonderful clarity. Do you spend time adjusting the exposure, and stuff like that?


Actually, the credit for photos should go to my second half :D as he usually handles the camera. We use FujiFilm Finepix HS10, which is a unique bridge camera with SLR-style lens and manual zoom 30x. The only disadvantage, it won't fit in your pocket. We've been using this one for the last 3 years and never complained.

More details here: http://www.trustedreviews.com/fujifilm-finepix-hs10_Digital-Camera_review, Amazon sell them for £ 150 at the moment, the latest "follower" is Fuji FinePix HS50 EXR, sells for just under £400.

As for editing, one big NO. The only editing I usually do is cropping the photos to fit my style of TR. If I do any adjusting, it will be mentioned in the description. In this report, I only tampered with one photo (zoom to Buachaille Etive Mor). I'm not against post-editing, but I feel our photos don't really need it. Where I mentioned adding shades to photos, I meant natural shades cast by passing cloud. Sometimes the very same spot photographed at two separate times looks completely different. The Grey Corries are a perfect place to practice snapping photies of rocks and boulders at different angles :lol:

Thanks for the feedback and apologies for late answer - we were out again yesterday, took over 400 pictures of a certain rocky mountain... TR to follow.
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Re: 50 shades of Grey (Corries) meet 7 years in Tibet

Postby Sarah86 » Mon Sep 01, 2014 2:27 pm

You must be so glad that you persisted even with all the obstacles early on, it certainly looks worth it. What an amazing looking area and the views are wonderful.
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Re: 50 shades of Grey (Corries) meet 7 years in Tibet

Postby Alteknacker » Tue Sep 02, 2014 3:08 am

BlackPanther wrote:
Alteknacker wrote:Can I ask: what camera do you use? And do you titivate the photies? (eg the one where your caption reads: "...it added some interesting shades to photos." The pix in your reports, like AnneMacD's, always have a wonderful clarity. Do you spend time adjusting the exposure, and stuff like that?


Actually, the credit for photos should go to my second half :D as he usually handles the camera. We use FujiFilm Finepix HS10, which is a unique bridge camera with SLR-style lens and manual zoom 30x. The only disadvantage, it won't fit in your pocket. We've been using this one for the last 3 years and never complained.....


Thanks for the info, BP. I think I'm just a c**p photographer :(
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Re: 50 shades of Grey (Corries) meet 7 years in Tibet

Postby prateekstp » Wed Sep 11, 2019 1:27 pm

That river crossing on the way down could be problematic in wet conditions we were lucky there wasn't too much water in the stream. But it's a small price to pay for all the fun on the main spine
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