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Non Stob adventure :)

Non Stob adventure :)


Postby BlackPanther » Tue Sep 23, 2014 5:22 pm

Route description: Stob Ban (Mamores) and Mullach nan Coirean

Munros included on this walk: Mullach nan Coirean, Stob Ban (Mamores)

Date walked: 21/09/2014

Time taken: 7 hours

Distance: 13.5 km

Ascent: 1185m

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It's been a while since I climbed anything in the Mamores. Last time must have been the Ring of Steall and the infamous Devil's Ridge... I never considered doing all of them in one go... I'm not superhuman like SOME folks :D But I remembered the steep, rocky east face of Stob Ban, one of the most characteristic mountain profiles in Scotland, and I thought it would be nice to visit this Munro before days get too short. Kevin has done this one before, combined with the neighbour Mullach nan Coirean and Sgurr a'Mhaim. Something that could be called "an alternative Ring of Steall". His old photos looked promising so I put the circuit high on my to-do list.
We chose Sunday rather than Saturday for our weekend outing, mainly because forecast promised less low cloud. But as the day revealed itself, the nasty haze obstructed the more distant views anyway. But apart from that and a short encounter with keds on the way down, we had a perfect hillwalking day!

The car park by Polldubh bridge is pay and display (£3 per day I think), but we saved a bit by parking next to Achriabhach buildings, as we intended to do the circuit anticlockwise. There is a sign marking a bus stop here, but a few cars can easily be parked on the grass without obstructing the gates and the bus layby.
Car park for free with view to Ben Nevis:
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As we both have already ticked off Sgurr a'Mhaim, we opted for the classic version of Stob Ban circuit, taking the old stalker's path as a descent route:

Track_STOB BAN MAMORES 21-09-14.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


We started by heading up the forest track for a short time, before the first gate we spotted a shortcut path (marked with a small cairn) which follows the banks of Allt a'Choire Dheirg.
Ready for adventure:
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The path follows the stream and passes through some very nice, quiet forest. A small waterfall was the first attraction of the day:
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The path eventually joined a forest track - we took the upper one to continue towards the Allt a'Choire Riabhaich path. The forest below the track has recently been cut down and we could see across the glen to Ben Nevis and also east into the heart of the glen. Sadly, it was all so hazy, I felt like in the middle of twilight zone:
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Shame about the felled trees... But of course, all forest belongs to someone and it will have to go sooner or later. I took the chance to film the panos, though to be honest there wasn't much to capture due to the haze...
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We found the path easily enough, but because the trees are gone, it felt a bit "bald"...
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The Ben from the "bald" part of the path:
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The path climbed steeply through the sad remnants of the forest, all the way to a fence. We climbed over the stile provided and turned left to follow the fence. This was the wettest part of the whole route and even after two weeks of dry weather, the ground was still soaked and slippery. Yuck! Just as well we tackled it on the ascent, I would hate descending on that wet mud & grass mixture!
Luckily, the muddy experience didn't last long, and soon the path became more bearable:
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Coire Riabhach and the steep cliffs of Mullach nan Coirean looked amazing in the morning sunshine :D
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After the initial slog to the height about 500m, the slope eased off and it looked much more comfortable to walk:
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The Ben was as much as we could see... Nothing beyond, no distant hills visible, at least the sky was blue and pictures had good contrast. The haze didn't stop Kevin from snapping 460 photos again, most of them of different rocky outcrops and cliffs. This route is nowhere near as difficult as Beinn Dearg in Torridon (which we climbed the previous weekend), but it is just as interesting and even without the distant panoramas, there was still a lot to discover!
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Hazy Sgurr a'Mhaim:
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The final climb to the summit of the first Munro looked now a delightful ridgewalk, easy and not too steep :D
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For the final 100m of ascent the ridge narrowed, no scrambling but the terrain became rocky, there is an obvious path avoiding any difficulties. The ridge is not too badly exposed...
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...and I was in my element, posing with The Ben behind me:
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As we neared the summit, a flock of large, black birds appeared, they flew around for a few minutes, circling the summit of Mullach. I never saw ravens in large flocks on the hills, usually they show up single or in pairs, so it was an interesting spectacle to watch:
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Looking down the ridge - first class fun for mountain maniacs :))
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The twilight zone... We were making quite a good progress and this photo was taken at 11 am, but the haze didn't seem to thin. Sadly, it wasn't going to be a day for grand vistas, but I was happy with the weather anyway:
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Just before the summit, the ridge is almost vertical on one side and the views down to Coire Dearg can give you vertigo...
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The ridge we climbed - looks more difficult from this perspective :lol:
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One more for "Me on a rock" album, this time "Me on top of a very big rocky cliff":
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We reached the summit in less than 2 hours which was a good pace, considering the number of stops Kevin took for photographing :lol: Here, it was time for a nice break, some lazying in the sunshine and... more pictures, even though we were still in the twilight zone.
Kevin happy regardless of the fact that he was repeating this one:
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I had a quick celebration for my Munro no. 150 :D Didn't expect to get that far, to be honest, I was aiming for the half way point (141) this year and "maybe a couple on top of it". So I'm more than pleased, even though we missed the infamous AE this year...
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The AE which, by the way, should be easily visible on the southern horizon but we couldn't even make out its shape in the haze. Meall a'Chaorain, the southern top of Mullach, was as far as we could see:
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A couple of snaps of the summit so-called-panos :wink:
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After tea and cookies, it was time to continue the ridge walk to Stob Ban. What we could see was a mouth-watering traverse and I hoped deep down in my heart, that we were going to encounter some scrambling on the way!
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The descent from Mullach nan Coirean is easy, following an obvious path, contouring the edge of Coire Dearg. In the lack of more distant views, we paid more attention to what was near:
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Another pose on the edge of the cliff:
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Just around the corner, the next stage of our route looked very promising as for scrambling :D Stob Ban and Sgurr a'Mhaim behind:
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The ridge from the 917m top:
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Coire Dearg and Ben Nevis just about visible:
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I expected scrambling but the ridge is vertical only from one side... It is worth sticking to the very edge though rather than trying to bypass anything:
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Zoom to Stob Ban, the white mountain - now I knew where the name came from:
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Kevin noticed two large birds of prey flying along the ridge. Familiar shapes... could we be so lucky again? They looked like eagles to me :D Sadly they showed up and disappeared so fast, we didn't have time to take any good photos. The best we could manage:
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As we progressed along the ridge, I was trying to find an optional scrambling route somewhere:
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...but every time I got my hands on the rock, it was always too little and over too soon :lol:
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Looking back at the 917m top:
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Just in front of me, the only section of this ridge where some decent, though easy scrambling is available. I say available, because there is of course a bypass path...
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Looks easy and I was a bit disappointed when it was over, maybe I should go to AE, at least this wouldn't be TOO EASY :lol: :lol:
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View back to Mullach nan Coirean with some interesting pinnacles in the foreground:
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More pinnacles:
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Towards the next top, this one at 910m and crowned with a white cairn.This is the official place where granite gives way to quartzite!
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The final climb to Stob Ban was now clearly visible, no great obstacles. This side of the mountain doesn't look particularly interesting - all its charm and rough beauty is on the eastern face!
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Something for vertigo sufferers :lol: :lol: here are many opportunities to take pictures which then can be shown to your friends (or posted on social networks) just to say "see what I can do" :lol: :lol:
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Before climbing to the summit of Stob Ban, we decided to take a short detour to this little top (912m), which looked like a good viewpoint:
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...and it was worth it! The ridge all the way to Mullach nan Coirean, looked simply stunning:
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Sgurr a Mhaim and the Devil's Ridge, now closer so less hazy. Suffering from a bad reputation, this devil is not as bad as it's painted and I really enjoyed the traverse when we did the Ring of Steall:
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There are plenty of little outlying tops and bumps on the ridge of the Mamores:
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The 912m top from above:
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We tackled the final climb without any more hesitation. Half way up we met a fellow walker, who turned out to be a WH member, too :D Looks like WalkHighlanders are everywhere :lol:
The final climb is rocky and the path is eroded, but nothing difficult. I only noticed that the white quartz is much more slippery (even when dry) than other rocks. Compare to this, torridonian sandstone gives a very good grip!
The summit was reached without any slips and soon we were basking in sunshine by the cairn:
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Sgurr a Mhaim profile:
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Just after we arrived, we heard voices from the other side of the mountain :lol: and we saw a group of walkers making their way up the steeper face of Stob Ban. We were going to descend this way:
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The rest of the Mamores :lol: Sgurr an Iubhair (Munro top) in the foreground, Am Bodach (Munro summit) behind:
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Lunch time :D
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Scrambling opportunities?...
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This was definitely the most interesting view of the whole day and Kevin took countless snaps of this ridge from above, with the high peaks behind...
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...because in other directions, there was still very little to be seen:
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After a long break on the summit, we set off to descend from Stob Ban. I was trying to stay off the path for some scrambling activities...
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...and managed a bit of easy downhill rockhopping :lol: Later filmed the wall, just to have something to brag about to my parents :lol: Look what I descended, ha-ha!
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Laughing aside, this descent was full of surprises, interesting gullies and vertical drops on the northern side:
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May look easy but it's exciting!
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Ehmmmm.... Maybe I'm not going to show this to my parents... My poor dad would have a heart attack :?
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The vertical face of Stob Ban:
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Lower down, the path is a bit annoying - eroded, dusty and very slippery. It is best to stay on the grass wherever possible:
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The real beauty of Stob Ban can only be appreciated... from below!
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Monsters turned to stone:
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From Sgurr an Iubhair to Sgurr a Mhaim:
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From this perspective, it is obvious that any difficulties on this side of Stob Ban can be avoided...if you really have to :roll:
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Descending became easier eventually, as eroded quartzite gave way to grass. The path is obvious all the time and at some point we started looking for the branch going down into Corrie a'Mhusgain. Behind us, the mighty Stob presented its eastern face in afternoon sunshine:
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The descent path is hard to miss:
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Looking into Corrie a'Mhusgain:
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The old stalkers path provides a very comfortable descent route :D Kevin said we were going to be down by four o'clock. And to be honest, I didn't even feel like I had climbed two Munros with over 1000m of ascent. What a lovely day it was :D
Half way down we took a few snaps of a lovely waterfall - shame there was so little water in it :lol: :lol:
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One happy Panther ... if a bit sunburnt (I forgot to pack in my +50 factor - didn't expect I was going to need it!):
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The sunny Stob Ban:
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The stalker's path zigzags down the steep slopes. It is a bit eroded here and there but generally, good going!
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At some point when descending, we were attacked by a swarm of keds (nothing unusual - they are nasty this year) but managed to pluck them all out of each other (they especially like Kevin's hair) and soon we were down in the glen, with the sun-and-shadows spectacle playing behind us:
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One last look at mighty Stob Ban:
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Back at the foot of the Ben:
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We returned to the car in 7 hours and that included lots of stops and longer breaks for photos and scramble-ish adventures :lol: If we were stubborn we could do it in 6 hours or even less but what would be the point. Mountains are there to savour, to enjoy and I like my experiences to last as long as possible. On a day like that, who would want to get down too early?

Summing up, highly recommended circuit. For fitter folks, it would be possible to add Devil's Ridge and Sgurr a'Mhaim to make a longer day. I'm sure distant views must be spectacular on a clear day :D

We still have the easternmost 4 Munros in Mamores left to do so the Nevis Range hasn't seen the last of us. Meow! :D
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BlackPanther
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Re: Non Stob adventure :)

Postby dooterbang » Tue Sep 23, 2014 6:01 pm

Walkhighlanders are everywhere, as you know :wink:

Sure was a great day to be out. I've done this pair a few times in winter, nice walk.

I had the factor 30 on, I did expect it as I checked the weather...on 3 different sites, ha! Hope you didn't burn!

7 hours is a nice little jaunt. Your correct that it was a day to enjoy the hills. We took 9 hours for much the same distance....getting slow in my old age :lol: :wink:
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Re: Non Stob adventure :)

Postby dogplodder » Tue Sep 23, 2014 7:07 pm

Did it the opposite way to you and main concern was keeping my dog hydrated as there's no natural water on the ridge. Your photos are great despite the haze. :D
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Re: Non Stob adventure :)

Postby AnnieMacD » Tue Sep 23, 2014 7:41 pm

Another great one, BP. You certainly get around. Your pictures are great despite the haze. I really like the long ridge shots - looks like great stroll!
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Re: Non Stob adventure :)

Postby scottishkennyg » Tue Sep 23, 2014 7:50 pm

Excellent views captured there BP, happy memories reading that one as I also got sunburned up there too :)
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Re: Non Stob adventure :)

Postby falling monkey » Tue Sep 23, 2014 8:17 pm

Great report and fantastic weather I did these clockwise at the end of july only took about 10 pics as camera got a bit wet after heavy drizzle came in and froze managed a few more on phone which is water resistant, visibility dropped just as I started on stob bans ridge then got slowly worse under 50m until I dropped down to where they have built new fence and stile. ,can, t believe the amount of photos you take on the hills looking at your other reports , most I've ever taken is 118 the other week whilst going up mt toubkal in Morocco, must add a fair bit of time on to your days, was going to head down glen nevis tomorrow to do the 2 aonach, s but the wife put the kibosh on that when she forgot I was going away with some pals on sat afternoon for a booze up in glencoe and a hill on Sunday
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Re: Non Stob adventure :)

Postby Gordie12 » Tue Sep 23, 2014 8:35 pm

Great report and photos BP - still to walk in this part of the world, looks brilliant!
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Re: Non Stob adventure :)

Postby Fife Flyer » Tue Sep 23, 2014 9:07 pm

Another good one BP, as usual some great photo's that really captured the hills :clap: :clap:
They will be added to next years list :wink:
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Re: Non Stob adventure :)

Postby BlackPanther » Wed Sep 24, 2014 10:45 am

Many thanks, all :D We were glad to be out and about again and sharing the story is always a pleasure...
We are going abroad in October so I hope to throw in a few hills before the journey... Will be back for the first snow on mountain tops, I hope :D
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Re: Non Stob adventure :)

Postby Border Reiver » Wed Sep 24, 2014 12:02 pm

Thanks for posting a great report and pics. A great reminder of when I did the same route in May 1991 with my Golden Retriever. Near the top of Mullach nan Coirean my heart nearly stopped when I saw my dog on his back rolling around on the remains of a cornice on the very edge of Coire Dearg, only a couple of feet from the edge of a huge drop.
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Re: Non Stob adventure :)

Postby dawnfoth » Wed Sep 24, 2014 1:06 pm

Nice one BlackPanther! I bagged these two many moons ago and all I can remember is experiencing four seasons in one day! Thanks for sharing! Looks like I might just have to repeat these one day once the first round is under my belt :D

Nice pics despite the haze, but the views around ther are pretty incredible. 8)
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