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Stob Ban with fabulous and unexpected Grey Corries bonus

Stob Ban with fabulous and unexpected Grey Corries bonus


Postby dogplodder » Thu Sep 01, 2016 10:11 pm

Route description: Stob Ban (Grey Corries)

Munros included on this walk: Stob Ban (Grey Corries), Stob Choire Claurigh

Date walked: 14/07/2016

Distance: 18 km

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There are some hill days that turn out better than you could ever have imagined. This was one of those days! :D

I remember a few years ago planning to climb the Grey Corries Stob Ban with Kath, but we pulled the plug at the last minute because of a fresh dump of snow. I'm not sure what we were thinking then about driving over the pot-holed approach track but maybe I wasn't so bothered as our car at that time sat higher off the ground than the one we have now.

More recently that track posed a problem as neither Moira nor I were prepared to risk our cars on it. Rob and I had talked about hiring a vehicle suitable for rough roads, then Rob came up with the inspired idea of asking his friend Jonathan (who owns a land rover) if he fancied a walk in the Grey Corries and in return we would pay for the fuel. In principle Jonathan was up for it but in addition to his regular job he also works as a mountain guide so doesn't have a lot of spare time. So I wasn't all that hopeful it would come together that we would all be free on the same day! :?

But the day did come when Jonathan, Rob and Mary all had days off, Moira and I were both free and we had a good forecast for the Grey Corries! :thumbup:

Six of us travelled down in the land rover and stopped at the Commandos' Memorial to pick up Jonathan's daughter and soon to be son in law, along with their dog. They all piled in and it was 8 plus a large dog who continued the journey through Spean Bridge and along the minor road to Corriechoille. The track varied in degrees of roughness but there were sections that had us bouncing in our seats which was fine for the land rover but Moira and I were glad we hadn't attempted it in our own cars. :o

We parked on the left shortly before the track reaches a locked gate and headed off, soon meeting up with the Wee Minister whose photo I've seen many a time in WH reports. He doesn't look too healthy with his face a strange colour - it seems too much standing around in the weather hasn't done him any good at all. :sick:

The wee minister is quite wee right enough
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We continued on the good track which is part of the ancient right of way over the Lairig Leacach, crossing the Allt Leachdach and uphill over the pass between the Innse Corbetts on the left and Stob Coire na Ceannain on the right. After reaching the high point and beginning the descent the sharp peak of Stob Ban came into view. 8)

Stob Ban appearing on right
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The track gradually led down to Leacach Bothy where we sat in the sun for a wee break.

Leacach Bothy
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From the bothy we crossed the Allt a' Chuil Choirean by the ford (the bridge a little upstream has seen better days) and turned right on the path marked by a small cairn, which heads up towards the NE ridge of Stob Ban. To start with the going was a bit wet and boggy but it improved as we gained height and we were rewarded with good views back to rocky Sgurr Innse on the other side of the glen.

Sgurr Innse from Stob Ban's NE ridge
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On the left Stob Ban and in the centre the highest of the Grey Corries, Stob Choire Claurigh
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The path levelled off as we reached the bealach and again we had lovely views - this time south towards Glencoe and Rannoch Moor.

Hills of Glencoe from bealach
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From the bealach the path zig zagged steeply up the summit cone of Stob Ban which means the 'white peak' - so called because of the gleaming white quartzite typical of the whole Grey Corries ridge.

Final ascent up Stob Ban
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Zoomed NE from summit to distant Loch Laggan
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The party of 8 had straggled out a bit during the ascent but once we were all assembled we had a photo taken by another walker who instead of giving us the usual "say cheese" got a more spontaneous smile with "Boris Johnson" instead! :lol:

Stob Ban summit (977m)
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Herself, me and view south west
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At this point there was some discussion. Jonathan was keen to continue over Stob Choire Claurigh so he could claim a top he hadn't previously done but this involved an awkward scree descent off the steep north side of Stob Ban and then some substantial ascent to the main Grey Corries ridge. Some felt they'd already had enough exertion on the ascent of Stob Ban and were content to descend the way they had come up, while others were keen to press on. I wanted to go on but equally I didn't want to leave anyone on their own for the descent. In the end it worked out neatly that Moira and Mary would return with the young couple and I would go on with Jonathan, Derek and Rob. I was slightly concerned that my slow pace on the scree would hold them back so, as soon as we had agreed who was doing what, I set off gingerly down the slippery slope! :o

I took it very slowly while Jonathan (our off duty mountain guide) dug in his heels and bounced down like he was jogging down the stairs at home. In my defence I don't like putting my feet on ground that isn't necessarily going to stay there - and that makes me tense, which in turn makes it more likely I'll slip. It was a relief to reach the bealach without mishap and pass the pretty little lochan on the way to the next climb. 8)

Lochan
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Looking back to Stob Ban
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Contemplating the way up
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Ridge we walked along later
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It was a stiff pull up to the main ridge but I enjoyed the challenge of keeping up with the men and soon enough we topped out and found the cairn of Stob Choire Claurigh.

Stob Choire Claurigh summit (1177m)
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Having set off to climb Stob Ban (a great hill in its own right) I was buzzing to unexpectedly find myself on the 14th highest Munro. What a bonus! :D

The views were magnificent in every direction. Looking back the way we had come Stob Ban now looked tiny in comparison to the other Grey Corries. We managed to pick out the young couple and their dog walking along the level path below the steep descent off Stob Ban, didn't see the other two but presumed they weren't far behind. We were able to keep an eye on them from the ridge and check their progress as they headed back to the bothy before taking the track along to the point we would come off the hill.

Stob Ban from Stob Choire Claurigh
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Looking SW along the rest of the ridge I so much wanted to get along there and was already scheming a way that would leave out the rough track from Corriechoille, wondering how easy it would be to approach the ridge from Glen Nevis. 8)

Grey Corries ridge snaking south west
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Same again with Ben Nevis in the frame
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Grey Corries ridge looking north east (the way we were heading)
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After a good 20 minutes at the summit drinking in the views we set off along the rocky ridge which on first sight looked improbably narrow and slabby but on closer acquaintance the rocky crest could be easily bypassed on paths to the left. It was rough going and there was a bit of hands on, clambering over quartzite boulders, but all in all it was great fun. :thumbup:

Rocky crest
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Rob with steep descent off Stob Choire Claurigh behind
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We reached another cairned summit from where there was a choice of directions. We continued left down the ridge towards Stob Coire Gaibhre while Jonathan had gone ahead and taken the detour to the east to climb his previously unclaimed top Stob Coire na Ceannain.

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To the naked eye Jonathan was clearly visible on the top
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The descent to Stob Coire Gaibhre was easy walking over stony ground and gave good views across the corrie to Stob Coire na Ceannain and its tiny lochan nestled below.

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From there the descent was on open grassy hillside which became wetter and more tussocky lower down. This seemed to go on for ever and was for me the least enjoyable part of the day. Eventually we reached the plantation where we took a right turn and picked up a rough path through a wet area that took us down to the track where the other group had arrived about 10 minutes earlier.

It had been a fabulous day and we're grateful to Jonathan for spending his day off with us and making it possible for us to get to these hills without risking injury to our cars. :clap:

I didn't have my dogs with me as it would have been too long a day for them now that they're 12. But here's one of Tess back in 2010 on Stob Coire Easain showing pointy Stob Ban on the left of her head and the massive bulk of Stob Choire Claurigh on the right.

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Re: Stob Ban with fabulous and unexpected Grey Corries bonus

Postby mrssanta » Thu Sep 01, 2016 10:35 pm

what a splendid day!!
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Re: Stob Ban with fabulous and unexpected Grey Corries bonus

Postby Sgurr » Thu Sep 01, 2016 11:07 pm

You would look a bit off-colour if you couldn't run away from the midges. We loaned the Wee Minister a midge net last time we passed him, but he wasn't allowed to keep it. Lovely TR.
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Re: Stob Ban with fabulous and unexpected Grey Corries bonus

Postby BlackPanther » Fri Sep 02, 2016 9:40 am

What a superb day! :D Makes me want to go back to the area... I'm considering Stob Ban on its own as a winter walk, should be fun with crampons etc. If we can get to the starting point with our car in one piece!

I remember that rocky ridge to Stob Choire Claurigh (we did it in the opposite direction to you), I absolutely loved it and no, I didn't use the bypass path :wink:
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Re: Stob Ban with fabulous and unexpected Grey Corries bonus

Postby Huff_n_Puff » Fri Sep 02, 2016 11:35 am

Lovely report - really whets the appetite, especially as I haven't done any of these hills. Smashing photos of the mountains and the walkers :clap: :clap:
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Re: Stob Ban with fabulous and unexpected Grey Corries bonus

Postby Borderhugh » Fri Sep 02, 2016 12:08 pm

Looks like you all had a superb day. I did these in the clag. Looks like I need to go back :D
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Re: Stob Ban with fabulous and unexpected Grey Corries bonus

Postby Cairngorm creeper » Fri Sep 02, 2016 12:39 pm

Looks wonderful :D and useful to know about the road as we hope to go there soon. The only bit I don't fancy is the scree :(
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Re: Stob Ban with fabulous and unexpected Grey Corries bonus

Postby prog99 » Fri Sep 02, 2016 12:52 pm

Cairngorm creeper wrote:Looks wonderful :D and useful to know about the road as we hope to go there soon. The only bit I don't fancy is the scree :(

Went a few times up the road in my hatchback last winter. 4wd not needed, car in one piece.
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Re: Stob Ban with fabulous and unexpected Grey Corries bonus

Postby dogplodder » Fri Sep 02, 2016 4:52 pm

mrssanta wrote:what a splendid day!!


It was. :D
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Re: Stob Ban with fabulous and unexpected Grey Corries bonus

Postby dogplodder » Fri Sep 02, 2016 5:05 pm

Sgurr wrote:You would look a bit off-colour if you couldn't run away from the midges. We loaned the Wee Minister a midge net last time we passed him, but he wasn't allowed to keep it. Lovely TR.


That must be it - all his blood has been sucked out hence the funny colour.

But no need for a net the day we were there thankfully. :thumbup:
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Re: Stob Ban with fabulous and unexpected Grey Corries bonus

Postby dogplodder » Sun Sep 04, 2016 5:13 pm

BlackPanther wrote:
I remember that rocky ridge to Stob Choire Claurigh (we did it in the opposite direction to you), I absolutely loved it and no, I didn't use the bypass path :wink:


You're right, often the crest is better - provided your joints are well oiled! :wink:
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Re: Stob Ban with fabulous and unexpected Grey Corries bonus

Postby dogplodder » Mon Sep 05, 2016 5:27 pm

Huff_n_Puff wrote:Lovely report - really whets the appetite, especially as I haven't done any of these hills. Smashing photos of the mountains and the walkers :clap: :clap:


If you can solve the problem of the pot-holed track you'll love this ridge. 8)
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Re: Stob Ban with fabulous and unexpected Grey Corries bonus

Postby dogplodder » Mon Sep 05, 2016 5:28 pm

Borderhugh wrote:Looks like you all had a superb day. I did these in the clag. Looks like I need to go back :D


That's a shame you got clag as the views are superb - a good excuse to go back! :wink:
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Re: Stob Ban with fabulous and unexpected Grey Corries bonus

Postby Sunset tripper » Mon Sep 05, 2016 11:52 pm

Great report and a great place. I have been up that road a few times in my car in the last couple of years and a land rover would have been handy but if you take it real slow its not bad.
About 3 weeks ago I had just turned on to the track had gone round the first corner and was heading up the hill when I met a car coming the other way. He showed no sign of moving back so I tucked the car in as close to the wall as I could to let him past and he stopped to explain. The next minute a massive flock of sheep appeared round the corner being shepherded (if thats a real word :roll: ) by a guy on a quad bike. They got a bit spooked by my car even though I stopped with engine off and I thought some were going to jump over it. Most of them tore off down the embankment and the sheep dog jumped off the quad and expertly rounded them up in seconds. The farmer / shepherd wasn't bothered at all. All was under control :D
Ive never been in to the Grey Corries via Glen Nevis but thats the way the munro book suggests for Sgurr Choinnich Mor so probably a good option to do the two munros that way.
All the best.
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Re: Stob Ban with fabulous and unexpected Grey Corries bonus

Postby dogplodder » Wed Sep 07, 2016 3:46 pm

Sunset tripper wrote:Ive never been in to the Grey Corries via Glen Nevis but thats the way the munro book suggests for Sgurr Choinnich Mor so probably a good option to do the two munros that way.
All the best.


Thanks for that ST. With other half forbidding me taking the car on that track reckon that's the way I'll have to do it! :wink:
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