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A Quartet of Kinlochleven Mamores

A Quartet of Kinlochleven Mamores


Postby simon-b » Thu Jul 09, 2015 10:34 pm

Munros included on this walk: Binnein Beag, Binnein Mor, Na Gruagaichean, Sgurr Eilde Mor

Date walked: 01/07/2015

Time taken: 8.8 hours

Distance: 19.5 km

Ascent: 1942m

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The last four days of my fortnight's stay in Glencoe were spent alternating between the West Black Mount and the Mamores. After Meall a' Bhuiridh and Creise on the last day of June, a sunny first morning of July saw me driving round to Kinlochleven. There's a little bit of family history about this road - I'll explain later.

I arrived at the car park, where another walker was already setting off to tackle the 4 eastern Mamores. That was my target, but the forecast threatened a possible turn in the weather later in the day. So I decided to go for Sgurr Eilde Mor first, then Binnein Beag, allowing an escape route should it be needed. Through the woods then onto open ground, I moved in the direction of Loch Eilde Mor. Before the Loch I headed NE to move around below Sgurr Eilde Beag.

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Looking back to Loch Leven


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Loch Eilde Mor and Blackwater Reservoir


Upon reaching Coire nan Lochain, I could see my first two targets.

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Sgurr Eilde Mor from Coire an Lochain


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Binnein Beag from Coire an Lochain


I chose to ascend Sgurr Eilde Mor via its southern flank, so moved east a little, then turned left uphill. This was quite a steep climb up grass, with a few boulders to cross. But I was soon at the summit.

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Glen Coe hills from Sgurr Eilde Mor


Moving on, I descended along the W ridge a short distance...

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Starting to descend from Sgurr Eilde Mor


...before turning right down a scree path, and back to Coire an Lochain.

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Buachaille Etive Mor from Coire an Lochain


The walk from Coire an Lochain to the lochan between Binneins Mor and Beag was across quite complex terrain, but the clear weather helped navigation. En route, I encountered the walker I'd seen at the start. He was going round the other way, and now had only one more Munro to do. That was fast!

As I began to climb Binnein Beag, the wind began to pick up, but I reached the summit with no problems.

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Ben Nevis, CMD and Aonach Beag from Binnein Beag


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The Grey Corries from Binnein Beag


All the hills were still clear of mist, but the sky began to darken as one or two ominous looking clouds appeared. As I moved back down towards the lochan, the route up Binnein Mor looked formidable.

P7010344.JPG
Descending from Binnein Beag towards Binnein Mor


The wind livened up again, and rain started. A risk of thunder, although not high, had been forecast for the afternoon, and some of the dark clouds looked threatening. At this point, my mind was set on the bailout option. Near the Lochan, I put on my waterproofs, had a short stop and a drink, and was ready to start making my exit. But then the rain lightened, and I thought of that other walker who was going to succeed. I moved just a little way up towards Binnein Mor's NE ridge on grass. The Ben was still clear and looking benevolent. There were signs of showers over in the west, but to the south, from where the wind was coming, things were looking more benign again, albeit overcast. Further up I went, onto steep vegetation. The wind eased, and I decided to commit to the ascent. Soon I was getting warm and the waterproofs came off, the weather now dry again.

I ascended towards the rocky section of the ridge, which looked testing.

P7010345.JPG
The upper part of Binnein Mor's NE ridge


But what followed turned out to be an exhilarating scramble, which I thoroughly enjoyed. And what a way to emerge onto the high point of the Mamores!

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Reaching the summit of Binnein Mor


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Binnein Beag and the Grey Corries from Binnein Mor


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Central and western Mamores from Binnein Mor


The day was looking like a real success now, and it was time to move on for Na Gruagaichean.

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Leaving Binnein Mor for Na Gruagaichean


The link between the final two Munros was relatively easy, involving a fairly narrow ridge that presented no problems.

P7010353.JPG
Approaching Na Gruagaichean


Just short of the last summit I met a couple (Dutch, possibly) who said they were trying to get there too, but were concerned that the path ended in a field of boulders and they couldn't see the way to the top. So I picked my way through, and they followed. Soon we were on top of Na Gruagaichean.

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Ben Nevis, CMD and Aonach Beag from Na Gruagaichean


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Central and western Mamores from Na Gruagaichean


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Loch Leven from Na Gruagaichean


I took my photos and was ready to move off. The couple had said they were also eventually heading for Kinlochleven, but seemed to want to stay a while and take more pictures. The initial path off the summit wasn't obvious, so I suggested they left in the same direction as I did, and I began my descent.

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Starting the descent from Na Gruagaichean


I saw nothing more of those two people, so I hope they got down OK.

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Coming down towards Loch Leven


After heading south onto Leachd na h-Aire, I turned down right to make the steepish descent on grass towards the Allt Coire na Ba. My final walk back to Kinlochleven, passing Mamore Lodge, was perhaps a little 'alternative', but featured a nice short section of the WHW through woodland. With no waterproofs or long gaiters to mess about with, I was quickly out of my boots, into my trainers and into the car before the midges attacked.

So I drove back from Kinlochleven to Glencoe, and was reminded once again of that family history I mentioned. Before she had any children, my late mother once hitch-hiked with a friend from John o' Groats to Land's End. Her route had taken her through Fort William and Glencoe, and there was no Ballachulish Bridge in those days. I remember her telling me that she had been given a lift along the road around Loch Leven in a bread van.

So this day was for you, Mum!
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Re: A Quartet of Kinlochleven Mamores

Postby Driftwood » Thu Jul 09, 2015 11:20 pm

I had these hills pencilled in for earlier last month, though it turned out that the days I was nearby were distingushed by rain, wind, cloud and more of all three. So I was interested to read your route, especially the descent of Sgurr Eilde Mor (it's more fun to walk over a hill than back down by the ascent path) and scramble onto Binnein Mor, which does look formidable from your photo.

And I'm glad to see the weather decided to behave itself, one of those days when it only looks like raining until you've gone through the hassle of adding a waterproof layer.
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Re: A Quartet of Kinlochleven Mamores

Postby ancancha » Fri Jul 10, 2015 11:03 am

I really enjoyed Binnein Mor and Na Gruagaichean 8)
Must have been awesome scrambling up to Binnein Mor as you did :clap:
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Re: A Quartet of Kinlochleven Mamores

Postby jupe1407 » Fri Jul 10, 2015 11:28 am

Cracking report and pics Simon. :clap:

This is a walk i'm really looking forward to.
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Re: A Quartet of Kinlochleven Mamores

Postby Fife Flyer » Fri Jul 10, 2015 7:16 pm

That is another big day Simon, well done, you have certainly clocked up a few Km along with plenty of ascent :clap: :clap:

For 4 Munro's there is alot of ascending & descending, the stroll up Binnein Mor would have been "challenging", it looked interesting looking down that route from the summit :lol:
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Re: A Quartet of Kinlochleven Mamores

Postby dooterbang » Sat Jul 11, 2015 11:19 am

I came off the same way when doing 2 of these last year. Nice walk this. That lochan sitting at Sgurr Eilde Mor is beautiful, feels very remote.

At least you got some views :wink:
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Re: A Quartet of Kinlochleven Mamores

Postby simon-b » Sat Jul 11, 2015 4:47 pm

Driftwood wrote:I had these hills pencilled in for earlier last month, though it turned out that the days I was nearby were distingushed by rain, wind, cloud and more of all three. So I was interested to read your route, especially the descent of Sgurr Eilde Mor (it's more fun to walk over a hill than back down by the ascent path) and scramble onto Binnein Mor, which does look formidable from your photo.

And I'm glad to see the weather decided to behave itself.

Cheers Driftwood. I hope you get some decent weather soon for these. Going anti-clockwise seemed to work well, as I reckon those routes up Sgurr Eilde Mor and Binnein Mor were better taken that way than down.

by ancancha wrote:Must have been awesome scrambling up to Binnein Mor as you did

Thank you ancancha. Yes, that scramble was pretty good.

jupe1407 wrote:This is a walk i'm really looking forward to.

Thanks JP. Now I'm looking forward to seeing your pictures, when you get to do these.

Fife Flyer wrote:That is another big day Simon, well done, you have certainly clocked up a few Km along with plenty of ascent :clap: :clap:

For 4 Munro's there is alot of ascending & descending, the stroll up Binnein Mor would have been "challenging", it looked interesting looking down that route from the summit :lol:

Thank you Martin. It's actually a pretty doable round in a day. As I've already said, that NE ridge on Binnein Mor is probably better taken up than down.

dooterbang wrote: Nice walk this. That lochan sitting at Sgurr Eilde Mor is beautiful, feels very remote.

I agree entirely, DB.
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Re: A Quartet of Kinlochleven Mamores

Postby rockhopper » Sat Jul 11, 2015 10:31 pm

great day for it, simon - must get back here some time (saw nothing in the clag first time round :roll: ) - cheers :)
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Re: A Quartet of Kinlochleven Mamores

Postby Wanderlust7 » Sun Jul 12, 2015 5:29 pm

Nice report and pics Simon, you even got to see the Ben too, these are a good set of hills, glad you had a good wee scramble, I recall taking a really crazy route up which I won't even mention here. If I went again, I would probably camp over too now that I have started doing that.
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Re: A Quartet of Kinlochleven Mamores

Postby simon-b » Sun Jul 12, 2015 9:02 pm

rockhopper wrote:great day for it, simon - must get back here some time (saw nothing in the clag first time round :roll: ) - cheers :)

Thanks RH. The views are superb from this range, but we all get clag on some summits during a Munro mission.

Cheers, Wanderlust7. They are indeed a good set of hills.
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Re: A Quartet of Kinlochleven Mamores

Postby Silverhill » Mon Jul 13, 2015 9:48 pm

A great round and in decent weather too! 8) You didn’t seem to have any trouble at the start of the walk! It took me a few attempts to find the right path. :roll:
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Re: A Quartet of Kinlochleven Mamores

Postby Phil the Hill » Tue Jul 14, 2015 1:02 pm

I like the look of your route. I have these planned for next year's trip to Scotland, so that's helpful.

As for family history, I remember my Dad taking the Kinlochleven road to avoid the horrendous queue for the Ballachulish ferry on one of our first family holidays in Scotland.
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Re: A Quartet of Kinlochleven Mamores

Postby Petr Dakota » Tue Jul 14, 2015 5:03 pm

Well done Simon and thanks for refreshing my memories from there :clap: :clap: :D
I see you did the same route like me last year, I was there 9.8.2014 in similar conditions 8) :wink:
I remember there was still snowy-heart yet - in august last year !!! when I climbed the Binnein Mor from Binnein Beag ( catched by camera in my report ) :lol:
I really loved and enjoyed all the 4 Munros of the Mamores route and lucky I met some wild animals...some photos we did from the same place :D 8) really good memories...thanks :clap: :D 8)
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Re: A Quartet of Kinlochleven Mamores

Postby simon-b » Tue Jul 14, 2015 8:57 pm

Silverhill wrote:A great round and in decent weather too! 8) You didn’t seem to have any trouble at the start of the walk! It took me a few attempts to find the right path. :roll:

Thanks, Silverhill. There are a few variations to the path through the woods at the start; I'm not sure I made the most efficient choice either.

Phil the Hill wrote:I like the look of your route. I have these planned for next year's trip to Scotland, so that's helpful.

As for family history, I remember my Dad taking the Kinlochleven road to avoid the horrendous queue for the Ballachulish ferry on one of our first family holidays in Scotland.

I hope the information's helpful, Phil. That's what makes writing reports worthwhile. I'm sure the Kinlochleven road will hold memories for a lot of people.

Petr Dakota wrote:Well done Simon and thanks for refreshing my memories from there :clap: :clap: :D
I see you did the same route like me last year, I was there 9.8.2014 in similar conditions 8) :wink:
I remember there was still snowy-heart yet - in august last year !!! when I climbed the Binnein Mor from Binnein Beag ( catched by camera in my report ) :lol:
I really loved and enjoyed all the 4 Munros of the Mamores route and lucky I met some wild animals...some photos we did from the same place :D 8) really good memories...thanks :clap: :D 8)

Thanks, Petr. It's good to see you had a great day here too. That bit between Binnein Beag and Binnein Mor is well worth doing.
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