Been a wee while since out on the hills with Big Jasper, but now was the time. The Aonach's, Fort William was the call. We both knew it would be a tough enough hike, not being in the best of condition - us, not the hills!
Only a few cars in the car park, at the head of Glen Nevis, as we set off about half 8. As before the Steall Falls, surrounding hills and meadow were truly breath taking, with only a few body's around, beginning to stir from overnight camp. Having declined the opportunity to have another go at the wire bridge, we crossed the wooden footbridge, further up the glen at Steall ruins, then made for the ridge to Sgurr a'Bhuic. I think it would be fair to say, we found this a slog. No path, steep and grassy. I don't think there were many expletives left unused by the time the slope relented.
Having made the ridge, we could see path higher out to our right, so decided warily, to try to traverse round the north side and perhaps recoup some of our expended energy. Although a bit rocky, this proved a reasonably worthwhile manoeuvre, though probably didn't save more than 10 minutes and minor effort. From the bealach here, great views begin to open up of the many great hills from east, south and west, as well as the steep, high cliffs of Aonach Beag and Mor. From here, the path is more distinct, as it skirts the edge of the cliffs, often perilously close. Definitely, a place for caution in different circumstance's than the fine conditions we were enjoying.
Again, it seemed like a long haul to the top, but at least there were many opportunities for a breather, as Ben Nevis and Carn Mor Dearg came into view. I think we were about 3 and a half hours to the summit ..... or, was it three? Anyway, we didn't linger too long, before dropping down to the bealach between the two, where we met our only
company for the day. Two ladies who had used their superior wisdom to take the chairlift up Thanks for the photo, ladies!
Wasn't too long a hike up to the summit of Aonach Mor, after we scoffed the last of our grub and topped up the fluid levels. Plenty more photo's taken, before heading for the path down. As shown and described, it is a bit harder to spot and steep. Very steep Maybe not as tricky as coming down the Clachaig Gully, but still requires maximum concentration and some nimble footwork, but we made it down unscathed. Would not like to be trying it in poor vis, either up the way, or on descent!
From here it is a relatively straightforward, lengthy, yomp south, out from Coire Guibhsachan, though a bit boggy here and there, before one get back down to wooden bridge at Steall. By now the valley was buzzing with visitors, as was the path back to the car. Alas, some taking a more leisurely approach, than we could spare, but wasn't long till Big Jasper, politely bulldozed his way by Six and a half hours in total, we were certainly pretty tired and no, not Beag-ing for Mor, but having worked up fair sweat, it was only right and proper, to satisfy Big Jesper's thirst with a couple of pints at the Bridge of Orchy Hotel
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