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The Mamore the Ma-merrier on the Mullach!

The Mamore the Ma-merrier on the Mullach!

Postby bobble_hat_kenny » Mon May 25, 2015 12:18 am

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

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

Date walked: 23/05/2015

Time taken: 5.5 hours

Distance: 13 km

Ascent: 1155m

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To be honest I can't quite remember exactly how the idea this outing came about - I think it was the result of some inebriated wee-small-hours-of-the-morning discussions in the course of my wife's fiftieth birthday party - but ten minutes later I somehow found myself having agreed to act as official 'Team Leader' on a charity hillwalk with two postgraduate students from Glasgow Uni :? . I should perhaps explain that Mrs Bobble Hat is currently back at university as a nature student, doing an MSc science course, as naturally enough you randomly do at the age of 50 when you get fed up working in an estate agent's office :roll: ... and two of the other team members on this walk are fellow postgrads on her course. The charity event in question is an annual University of Glasgow Munros Challenge, which aims to raise money for leukaemia research by putting teams on as many Munros as possible over the same weekend, which this year was the 23rd and 24th of May.
So the three of us made plans to bag a couple of Mamores, and got started on raising the required sponsor money. And then at the last minute the university's Alumni Office sent us reinforcements, in the shape of another postgrad student from a completely different department who was keen to do the walk, but hadn't managed to hook up with a team as yet. Well, the Mamore, the Ma-merrier, as they say (yes, I know, the puns don't get any better :roll: )...
Anyway, we opted to tackle the two westernmost Mamores, Stob Ban and Mullach nan Coirean, by the standard Glen Nevis route. By all accounts, this is an entertaining route with excellent views and wee bits of easy scrambling, but nothing requiring ridiculous levels of fitness, and so hopefully I wouldn't give myself too much of a showing up given that I would be walking with people much younger and fitter than myself :lol: .

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The weather forecast for Saturday 23rd July amazingly enough turned out to be good - excellent in fact, by this month's admittedly very low standards - and we got a good early start. By 9:30 a.m. we found ourselves enjoying some morning sunshine at the start of the route just east of Polldubh car park. From left to right: Matthew, Floertje, Deryl.
WR1 - team shot.jpg
We set off enthusiastically up the very scenic path to the left of the Allt Coire a'Mhusgain, with Stob Ban already looking very impressive in Toblerone-box-mountain style to the right.
WR2 - Allt Coire Mhusgain with toblerone Stob Ban.jpg
A bit higher up, and Stob Ban looking even more impressively Toblerone-box-ish:
WR3 - Stob Ban looking even more toblerone.jpg
The path gains height steadily, but zigzags niftily to avoid the steeper bits, and it wasn't too painful on the whole. I was at least able to keep up with them, although I was admittedly puffing and panting quite a bit while they were all conversing nonchalantly :lol: . Well, at least there was some grand scenery for distraction. This was a fine waterfall on the Allt Coire a'Mhusgain about halfway up:
WR4 - waterfall on the Allt.jpg
Just beyond this, the path zigzags up further to the left to reach a brief levelling just short of the bealach, where there is a grand view back down into Glen Nevis. Here's Flo taking it all in:
WR5 - Flo taking in the view back down.jpg
Nearly at the Stob Ban / Sgorr an Iubhair bealach now, and we had a small snowfield to cross: thankfully the only unavoidable bit of snow that we encountered, and it was at a nice easy angle so it didn't detain us too long.
WR6 - snowfield with Stob Ban in background.jpg
In another ten minutes or so we were up at the bealach, where a grand view opened up towards the Glencoe peaks to the south.
WR7 - view south from bealach.jpg
Deryl getting in some photography of his own:
WR8 - Deryl taking photo from bealach.jpg
We turned right (westward), to tackle the steep summit cone of the Stob, which was looking fantastic from here. It is actually easier than it looks, with only one very short bit of genuine scrambling, which was easy enough even for the likes of myself. Here's an action shot of Flo on the way up:
WR9 - Flo in action on the Stob.jpg
Soon enough we were at Stob Ban summit, where we gathered for the obligatory Team Shot:
WR10 - Stob Summit Shot.jpg
Deryl kindly took another shot with me in it, just to prove I was actually on the walk. If I look like I've adopted a rather strange stance in this shot, that's because I tore my hillwalking breeks rather badly on the way up at the scrambly section, and I'm trying to preserve my modesty! Now, is that what's known as 'exposed scrambling'? {Further Appalling Pun Alert :shock: }
WR11 - Stob Summit Shot 2.jpg
Anyway, enough with this nonsense; we had another Munro to tackle, so we set off westwards along Stob Ban's nice rocky ridge. The descent from Stob Ban is a moderately steep boulder-hop, but on the whole it is easier than the ascent.
WR12 - Stob Ban ridge with the Ben in background.jpg
As we got down towards the bealach with Mullach nan Coirean's SE Top, we were able to enjoy the famous but still astonishing contrast between the gleaming white quartzite rock of the Stob, and the red granite of the Mullach. The contours of the two hills are completely different too, giving the surreal impression that someone (Slartibartfast maybe?) has done a cut-and-paste job to graft a pointy West-coast-style mountain onto a rounded Cairngorms-style mountain. Very bizarre :? ...
WR13 - Red Mountain White Mountain.jpg
Here is the view back to Stob Ban, after we had crossed over to the Dark Side (well, the Red Side anyway):
WR14 - after crossing to the Dark Side.jpg
The scenery here is quite spectacular, and soon we were all lost in silent contemplation of the vast Coire Dearg.
WR15 - silent contemplation of the Big Corrie.jpg
Before long, we found ourselves up at Mullach nan Coirean's SE Top, which has a fairly large cairn and a grand view north to Ben Nevis, which was just looking a muckle great lump from this angle, albeit a scarily large one.
WR16 - the Muckle Lump as seen from Mullach SE top.jpg
Despite the Mullach's rounded contours, it is far from being a boring hill :) . Like Ben Nevis, it may just look like a big lump of a thing from the south, but it is a big lump of a thing that a glacier has taken a titanic bite out of, and the northern corrie (Coire Dearg) has some amazing landscape. The path mainly just follows the corrie rim, with some entertaining wee rocky sections along the way (there was a bypass path to the left of this bit, but we didn't bother as the ridge crest was easy enough).
WR17 - the big red rock lump on the ridge.jpg
Nice pinnacles, if I may be so bold!
WR18 - nice pinnacles if I may be so bold.jpg
There were some grand views back to the pointier Stob Ban.
WR19 - view back to Stob Ban with red rock lump in foreground.jpg
Surprisingly quickly, we found ourselves up at Mullach nan Coirean's impressively large summit cairn, where we assembled for another team shot while we got our sandwiches out.
WR20 - Mullach summit shot.jpg
Although we found a nice sheltered spot behind the cairn, the wind was picking up a bit and it was clouding over slightly. At this point, Floertje produced a hip flask with her secret stash of single-malt whisky :D ! None for me unfortunately as I was the Designated Driver, but everyone else certainly seemed to enjoy a wee swig or two while watching the Clag descend on Stob Ban.
WR21 - Clag closing in on the Stob.jpg
Now, I don't normally enjoy descent routes, but this one was quite a treat - well, at least the first 80% of it was. Before we set out, we had all read laconicsurf's lovely WR of this route, but we were highly sceptical about the bit where he starts jogging down the ridge on descent from the Mullach. However, we should have believed him. There is indeed something about the scenery that has one humming 'High on a Hill Lived a Lonely Goatherd' and picturing oneself as Julie Andrews (well, maybe that was just me), and ere long, my legs did find themselves doing something that might vaguely be described as ... a sort of jog :lol: !
WR22 - lovely descent route for once.jpg
Strangely enough, the stirring scenery on descent seemed to have inspired our team to attempt a cutting-edge experimental theatre piece, by the evidence of this photo: :? ...
WR23 - cutting edge experimental theatre piece.jpg
I did say that the first 80% of the descent route was an absolute cracker. Unfortunately, the last 20% was a steep, boggy mess, where the path dives down to the left beside a fence to reach a stile into an area of clear-felled woodland. Ah well, it didn't go on for long, and soon we were down at the stile, where things improved immensely with a well-constructed forest path leading down quickly to a track lower down that took us back to the car park.
I feel that this last photo is in need of a caption of some sort, but can't think of one myself :lol: !
WR24 - birchwood caption competition photo.jpg

A grand outing, and we even raised some money for charity while doing something we enjoy - not much wrong with that :D !
Last edited by bobble_hat_kenny on Mon May 25, 2015 7:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Mamore the Ma-merrier on the Mullach!

Postby AnnieMacD » Mon May 25, 2015 1:09 am

Great read - well done for taking the 'kids' up . I'm sure they will be committed hill-walkers now. Be sure and get these breeks fixed!
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Re: The Mamore the Ma-merrier on the Mullach!

Postby onsen » Mon May 25, 2015 1:48 am

Great looking walk.....& for a good cause too. :thumbup:
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Re: The Mamore the Ma-merrier on the Mullach!

Postby Flo-go » Mon May 25, 2015 11:35 am

Great report, thanks for being the designated photographer, report writer and driver! :clap:

This kid certainly enjoyed her day out. Fantastic hills and company :wink:
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