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Ring of Steall.......almost, and it's 1 more for the road

Ring of Steall.......almost, and it's 1 more for the road


Postby GillC » Sat Jul 30, 2016 11:56 pm

Munros included on this walk: An Gearanach, Sgurr a'Mhaim, Stob Coire a'Chairn

Date walked: 30/07/2016

Time taken: 9 hours

Distance: 14.8 km

Ascent: 1744m

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With a date already set for my compleation on Bynack More, the only thing I had to do now was to saunter round the Ring of Steall. I had 3 hills here to bag, having done Am Bodach with Stob Ban some time ago. I was happy to do AB again if the weather was good or was with someone doing the whole round. Checked the ever changing weather forecast and with the outlook being sunny with showers and a bit of a breeze, I set my alarm for 4:30am on Saturday.

I had a feeling it would be a long day, so packed the camping gear just in case the 3hr journey home seemed too much lol

Headed off on a dry morning,,hopeful.

By the time we got to Crianlarich, there was a fair bit of drizzly stuff but it was early, hopeful again that this would not persist.

We considered parking at the finish, or somewhere further up but on arriving, we just headed straight up to the end of the road. We stopped in at the Nevis visitor centre for a loo break, the place was mobbed, Nevis would be busy today I think.

The car park for Steall was busy too as we booted up and headed off at 9:30am. The path up through the gorge is good going and we emerged at the glen 30 minutes later. A large crowd had headed off in front of us and they were still crossing the wire bridge when we arrived, with some of their number going off to cross the river to save time. Patiently, we waited to cross. I considered the river crossing instead, but felt the bridge was part of the experience, so suck it up lol

P1010754.JPG
Arriving at Steall Falls


Once the bridge was clear, I jumped up first. Even this bit is tricky, scramble up on to the girder frame, then shimmy down one of the angled cables to the single span. The hand cables are about head height and I took a deep breath and headed off, initially over the dry rocky stuff, with an eye on the deep, peaty brown stuff ahead.

I kept my eye on the cable underfoot and a tight grip on the hand wires, shuffling across inch by inch lol About half way over, the two cables shifted, ooft, heart in the mouth stuff lol. Eventually got over, tricky step off to the rock before taking a deep breath, I was shaking like a leaf lol Over, but not sure I'd do that again in a hurry :shock: I was still shaking when John arrived over too.

P1010760.JPG
Crossing the wire bridge,,,,woooooooo


Headed for the falls and the tricky river crossing there too. Some nice big rocks, but spread out and some were quite slippy so it was a bit of a gamble. Made it though.

P1010763.JPG
...and the wobbly river crossing too


The next hurdle was a huge bog. It wasn't clear how the crowd in front got over it, there were footprints everywhere in the very deep wet sticky stuff. I ended up over at the cliff, in the trees, scrambling over and round some rocks. John just picked his way over the main bog.

Felt like we had wasted quite a bit of time here so no hanging around and off we went.

The path up is very steep initially as it zig zags up under Cnoc Reamhar, a high rocky crag up to our right.

P1010765.JPG
The group ahead winding their way up the steep zig zags


So far, the cloud had stayed draped over the tops, Nevis behind us remained shrouded. But with spits of rain turning to constant drizzle, soon the waterproof jacket was on, followed by the trousers shortly after when the drizzle turned out to be more than just a shower. Easing a bit, the path continues up, a nice, easy to follow, quality path :D Winding up, theres a nice straight section across the hillside before turning upwards again and through more ziggy zaggy stuff before emerging at An Gearanach.

P1010769.JPG
A respite from the up sections, and nearly at the top of Munro #1

P1010770.JPG
Towards An Garbhanach


Its a bit of a "is that it?" moment. No real sense of getting to a Munro summit and we had to check the map etc but, we were there, 3 hrs after leaving the car which I didn't think was too bad considering the faffing with the bridge and bog earlier. Quick photo then headed off over the narrower ridge.

The visibility was coming and going, with little breaks in the cloud giving us hope it would clear as the day wore on. Dropping down the rocky An Garbhanach we could barely see the bealach below, only the winds sweeping the cloud through meant we caught the odd glimpse. With a steep descent here and a small bealach, you are very quickly back on the 'up'.

My energy levels today were pretty low, prob due to a very short nights sleep, and about 2/3rds of a bottle of red before bed lol. My legs were like lead, not sore so much as just lacking in any sense of power. Every time I hit an up section, ooft!!! :roll:

After this short sharp ascent, the summit of Stob Coire a'Chairn is reached pretty quickly, Munro 280 for me.

P1010773.JPG
Munro 280

P1010772.JPG
Looking back from the second Munro


With the wind picking up, we headed down a bit for some cover to get a bite to eat.

At this point, we discussed our options for bypassing Am Bodach. John had mentioned there was a bypass path on our previous visit to Am Bodach but it couldn't be seen at that time as it was under snow. But looking over now, initially to the point beyond Am Bodach, a very clear path was visible leading up to the bealach under Lubhair. Trying to follow this back across, it was hard to pick out if it went over, or under the craggy stuff under Am Bodach. The map had the path noted as leaving from a dip at 831 mtrs on the other side of a wee top.

Heading off, we were now surrounded by a LOT of other people. The party from the bridge crossing were a little way behind us, and there were about 12 guys, not all together, but in the vicinity, passing by and heading up the wee pointy peak ahead before the ominously steep ascent up Am Bodach (decision made, defo heading for the bypass lol)

The map confirmed the path went under the crags and from above, we could see it passing below. We didn't see a cairn or anything to mark where this leaves the main route, so just turned off the path, headed over and picked it up 20 yards or so down the hill. It looks a long way to the bealach, but we were over and on the rise up to the fairly quickly. I checked later and you don't save much on distance but certainly about 200mtrs of ascent was spared to my tired legs.

P1010778.JPG
The bypass path under Am Bodach


This also let us leap frog pretty much everyone who had been in front of us lol

From here there are a couple of tops before hitting the last Munro. There's not much of a drop between any of them so it was easy enough going.

P1010779.JPG
On to Devils Ridge

P1010781.JPG
Getting rocky out there


Reached the top of Sgurr a'Mhaim without much ado. Settled down for a bit of shelter and a munch. We were joined shortly after by one of the groups who had gone over Am Bodach, they were doing part of the Ring from Kinlochleven.

As we gathered our stuff together, pic taken etc, the wind whipped up and we got the heaviest rain we saw all day.

P1010783.JPG
Top of my penultimate Munro


The descent North/North West down the slippy quartzite was made even rougher by the conditions. Visibility was reduced to 50 yards or so, scree was sliding around under foot but still a good enough path to follow.

Descending out of the cloud, both wind and rain eased considerably as we descended the steep slopes. To be honest, I'd been really worried about the steepness, from what I'd heard from others, but, it wasn't as bad as I had expected.

P1010789.JPG
Back up at our steep descent


Fairly soon, we could see the car park at the end of the track and briefly considered crossing the lower stretches and headin North East to pick up the return path up to the top car park. Once a bit further down, this seemed pointless. Back on the level, down through the gate and on to the road, sharp turnabout and on to the path running alongside the Water of Nevis.

P1010792.JPG
The ever smiling John on the path along the riverside

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Paddys Bridge and back to the road out to the car park


This leads pleasantly up the river and saves walking on the narrow winding road. Crossing at Paddys Bridge, it was then another 10-15 mins up to the car park.

P1010807.JPG
On the road again


I'd spent a lot of time, on the drive up today and also on the hills, reliving past Munros, dwelling a bit on compleation and how I will feel about that. Today, that feeling was emotional :( Almost all done, 281 Munros down, only 1 to go. Bynack More. :wink: What will the next chapter bring???
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GillC
Munro compleatist
 
Posts: 1506
Munros:282   Corbetts:37
Grahams:26   Donalds:28
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Joined: May 14, 2010
Location: Chryston

Re: Ring of Steall.......almost, and it's 1 more for the roa

Postby 2manyYorkies » Fri Aug 05, 2016 8:31 pm

Smashing stuff Gill; is there just a little twinge of sadness at being nearly there? Or is the lure of Corbetts compensating? :wink: :wink:
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2manyYorkies
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Re: Ring of Steall.......almost, and it's 1 more for the roa

Postby GillC » Fri Aug 05, 2016 8:35 pm

2manyYorkies wrote:Smashing stuff Gill; is there just a little twinge of sadness at being nearly there? Or is the lure of Corbetts compensating? :wink: :wink:


Huge sadness jon...strange....doubt the Corbetts will beckon though :wink:
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GillC
Munro compleatist
 
Posts: 1506
Munros:282   Corbetts:37
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Sub 2000:19   Hewitts:5
Joined: May 14, 2010
Location: Chryston

Re: Ring of Steall.......almost, and it's 1 more for the roa

Postby The Rodmiester » Fri Aug 05, 2016 8:38 pm

Oh so near Gill! Not long now, hope I can make it.
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The Rodmiester
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Re: Ring of Steall.......almost, and it's 1 more for the roa

Postby Borderhugh » Sat Aug 06, 2016 11:30 am

Well done Gill. Nearly there!

By the looks of your photos I would be beckoning you to do these again. These are are truly special hills that need great weather.
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Borderhugh
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Re: Ring of Steall.......almost, and it's 1 more for the roa

Postby GillC » Sat Aug 06, 2016 5:30 pm

Borderhugh wrote:Well done Gill. Nearly there!

By the looks of your photos I would be beckoning you to do these again. These are are truly special hills that need great weather.


Indeed Hugh, forecast was better than we actually got. One of those days it keeps promising to improve then just gives up in the end lol. Would happily go back :D
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GillC
Munro compleatist
 
Posts: 1506
Munros:282   Corbetts:37
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Sub 2000:19   Hewitts:5
Joined: May 14, 2010
Location: Chryston

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