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West Black Mount (but no Clachlet)

West Black Mount (but no Clachlet)

Postby simon-b » Thu Jul 09, 2015 12:18 am

Munros included on this walk: Creise, Meall a'Bhuiridh, Stob a'Choire Odhair, Stob Ghabhar

Date walked: 30/06/2015

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For over a year, I'd been wanting to do the Clachlet Traverse, taking in the 4 West Black Mount Munros. We had quite a team ready to go for it in August 2014, but rain and gales stopped play. By the second Monday of my midsummer stay in Glencoe, I was ready to go for it again. But Cat was put off by the forecast, Jimmy couldn't get leave, Karen was also working, and Martin was recovering from injury. So there were no co-drivers for a linear route. Then the weather put me off too, so I chased the better forecast and caught the train to Corrour. Next day, Cat was on the An Caisteal range, so if I was going to do anything on the West Black Mount, it would have to be solo. A loop from Glencoe Mountain Resort using part of the WHW was a possibility, but the forecast was pointing at a shorter walk to miss the morning's gales, and thunder later on. Anyway, the resort was decided upon as the day's starting point.

Tuesday 30/06/2015: Meall a' Bhuiridh and Creise

creise.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

Distance: 10.5 km
Ascent: 1120 m
Time: 5 h

A scenic start

Munro summits were in cloud as I started ascending, but conditions not too bad.

Looking past Buachaille Etive Mor to Glen Coe

There was a bit of wind on Meall a' Bhuiridh's north ridge, although nothing uncomfortable.

Looking over to Creise in cloud

As I entered the cloud, things got colder and wetter. I reached Meall a' Bhuiridh's summit, and my hands had quickly become cold. It was hard work pulling my gloves on. A compass reading sent me onto the ridge towards Creise, and suddenly the wind became ferocious. Descending on slippery rocks in the gale, I lost my footing a couple of times, fortunately without any serious accidents. I moved carefully further down, and the wind eased for a while. A walker appeared coming in the other direction, and I told him about the wind I had encountered. He said it was much worse in the bealach, but a lot calmer beyond and on Creise. Moving down to the bealach, the wind was very strong, but as I began to climb again, it became more moderate. There were no problems with the mild scramble on the next section of ridge, leading steeply up to a cairn between Clach Leathad and Creise. Another walker was sitting at this junction having his lunch, while I made the right turn towards Creise. The summit almost seemed to be losing its clouds as I got there, but not completely.

On Creise

The journey between the two summits had been a bit of an ordeal, and that was enough for one day. I decided to retrace my footsteps, and the southern two Munros of the West Black Mount could wait for another occasion. So my ambitions of traversing Clach Leathad were not going to happen.

The return to Meall a' Bhuiridh was a lot less traumatic, the wind still strong, but less so than before. There was still no view from the summit, though. As I descended and views opened up, conditions became more comfortable, and I enjoyed the rest of the walk.

Descending north from Meall a' Bhuiridh

Buachaille Etive Mor clearing

Choosing to finish the descent on foot

A fairly early finish, and I was heading back to Glencoe with thoughts of the next day. That turned out to be a great day on the eastern Mamores. The forecast was not looking so good for the following day - Thursday - but Friday looked promising. It seemed sensible to plan a rest on Thursday, then go for a big finale to my holiday on Friday, perhaps finishing the Mamores. But by Thursday morning, the forecast had improved a little.

Thursday 02/07/2015: Stob a' Choire Odhair and Stob Ghabhar

stob-ghabhar.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

Distance: 16 km
Ascent: 1190 m
Time: 6 h

A decision had to be made whether to head for the hills on this day or not. Perhaps I could have done with a rest after a big day on the Mamores, and another one planned for the next day. The weather and forecast seemed acceptable for late morning to mid-afternoon, but there was the possibility of thunderstorms later. I made up my mind to drive to Victoria Bridge; hopefully I could be on my way down from summits and ridges by the time the weather got a chance to turn. As I'd stalled l little before making up my mind, I didn't start walking until 10:40.

Passing Loch Tulla near Victoria Bridge

Heading towards Coire Toaig

As I left the Abhainn Shira and walked alongside the Allt Toaig, the two Munros were in the cloud. I reached Stob a' Choire Odhair's south ridge, and as I went up, so did the clouds. At the summit there were views to be had, although Stob Ghabhar was still obscured.

Rannoch Moor from Stob a' Choire Odhair

Clach Leathad and Meall a' Bhuiridh from Stob a' Choire Odhair

A man and two women I'd seen at the car park then arrived, and said they were thinking of going onto the second Munro too. The man said he'd heard there was a dodgy bit on the way, but I'm not sure if he meant the mini Aonach Eagach, or the steep pull up to it. I set off for Stob Ghabhar ahead of them, with some pretty impressive views along the way.

Leaving Stob a' Choire Odhair for Stob Ghabhar

Allt Coire Dhearbhadh

The steep section above Coirein Lochain and below Couloir Butress was quite rough, but presented no problems.

Coirein Lochain seen in retrospect

The mini Aonach Eagach was a delight.

The mini Aonach Eagach

Looking back along the mini Aonach Eagach

So then it was on to the final ascent, the mist looking as if it might just clear.

Approaching Stob Ghabhar

As was often the case during my fortnight's trip, there were fleeting summit views. Conditions were pleasant enough, but towering clouds were forming, so I didn't want to hang around too long. Soon it was downhill all the way.

Coirein Lochain from Stob Ghabhar

Leaving Stob Ghabhar, looking back

Coming down from Stob Ghabhar

Descending below Stob Maol, Loch Tulla in front

I reached the path by the waterfall of the Allt Coire na Muic.

Allt Coire na Muic

Moving onto the steep section of descent path, I made my way carefully back towards the Allt Toaig. On the final walk out, the sky was overcast, but the clouds high, and plenty of Munro summits had cleared.

Approaching the Abhainn Shira, East Black Mount hills in the background

I made it back to the car just before the rain started and went back to Glencoe, ready for one last big day in the hills.
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Re: West Black Mount (but no Clachlet)

Postby SAVAGEALICE » Thu Jul 09, 2015 10:23 am

Crikey Simon! You're getting plenty done! Impressive munro count for been based in Wakefield!! don't know how you do it day after day!! :clap: :lol: must be a hardy yorkshire chap!
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Re: West Black Mount (but no Clachlet)

Postby Alteknacker » Thu Jul 09, 2015 10:33 am

A fine bunch of hills, these. The pics brought back some great memories. I was fortunate enough to get perfect weather towards the end of June when I did them. I admire your determination going up in the clag! I've rather lost the will to do that :oops:

Pretty maddening when the tops clear just as you finish! That's happened to me more than once!
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Re: West Black Mount (but no Clachlet)

Postby dogplodder » Thu Jul 09, 2015 2:54 pm

Useful report for me as your first two are on the 'to do very soon list' - so thanks! :D
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Re: West Black Mount (but no Clachlet)

Postby simon-b » Thu Jul 09, 2015 8:12 pm

Thanks Alice.
SAVAGEALICE wrote:don't know how you do it day after day!
It's the full Scottish every morning that does it.

Alteknacker, they are great hills. The view of Clach Leathad and Meall a' Bhuiridh I got from SaCO hinted at how good the full traverse would have been, but circumstances had to be adapted to.

Dogplodder, I hope you enjoy those two.
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Posts: 1914
Munros:282   Corbetts:30
Grahams:7   Donalds:12
Sub 2000:1   Hewitts:156
Wainwrights:214   Islands:4
Joined: Jan 2, 2012
Location: Wakefield, West Yorkshire

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