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Rockfalls, Creepy Wee Ministers & Failed Munro Attempts

Rockfalls, Creepy Wee Ministers & Failed Munro Attempts


Postby andygunn23 » Sun Oct 09, 2016 3:05 pm

Route description: Stob Ban (Mamores) and Mullach nan Coirean

Munros included on this walk: Mullach nan Coirean, Stob Ban (Mamores)

Date walked: 04/10/2016

Time taken: 6.5 hours

Distance: 13 km

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Rockfalls, Creepy Wee Ministers & Failed Munro Attempts

Loch Ness Marathon - ; Glasgow Half Marathon - ; Monday to Thursday off work - = next stop "base camp", i.e. Fort William. 8)

With plenty of holiday days remaining, taking the Monday - Thursday off surely meant I would get at least one day of good weather.

I am becoming increasingly accustomed to setting off with a Plan A but ending up needing a longer alphabet for the actual plan implemented. Plan A in this instance was to head to Fort William on Monday, bag all 10 of the Mamore Munro over Tuesday & Wednesday starting with The Ring of Steall and hopefully get one of the last summit camps of the year, because as Game of Thrones fans will know - winter is coming.

Sent the standard open invitation out to the troops but with it being during the working week only big Andrew was available and he even offered to drive - bonus!

Unfortunately last minute reviews of the route online confirmed fears that the rockfall from earlier on in September still meant the path up Nevis Gorge was closed. Ascending to the bealach north of Meall Cumhann seemed far from appealing so Plan B was set into action.

Plan B
Monday - Drive to FW, "luxury camp" in in Lochy Holiday Park (almost a local now!).
Tuesday - Do Stob Ban and Mullach nan Coirean with another luxury camp Tuesday night.
Wednesday - Set off for the Grey Corries (including the outsider Stob Ban (aye the other one!)) get a summit camp.
Thursday - Complete Grey Corries route and head back to Aberdream / Aberdoom.

Tuesday the 4th October 2016

It really does pay to set the early morning alarm :D
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Arguably Lochy Holiday Park need to get this on their website 8)
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Andrew opted to testing out his Bivi bag for the first time so it was a relief to see he was still alive come the morning. The lighter the better, this is something I'll need to get for next summers season!

Looking towards the alternative Nevis Gorge path from the path up to Stob Ban
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As it says on the official Walk Highlands report the path up Stob Ban is pretty obvious, just make sure you stay right and don't head up towards the Ring of Steall - probably worst mistakes you could make however!

Views back to Fort William
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A relatively steady ascent for the first hour, although with a marathon and a half in the two weeks prior my legs were already beginning to feel tender... Muscles recover and there was no way I was going to pass up on this Scottish rarity - FOUR days of no forecast rain :lol: .

Hills, hills and more hills - perfect!
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The route to the summit of Stob Ban
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Shortly after the above photo the first mishap of the day became clear - my Garmin GPS do-da wasn't where it should be. I always take the OS maps and went on the Mountaineering Scotland Navigation course to learn how to read the map / use a compass but having the GPS do-da always gives me that extra option, especially if the weather comes in.

After a few sweary words and contemplation about how much a new one was going to cost we took the option to retrace our steps and hopefully it'd just be chilling on the path... :?

"We will walk 20 minutes down and if we don't find it I'll send out a plea on the Talk Highlands Facebook page and hopefully some kind soul has found it"

Boom - 15 minutes later there it was, quite literally chilling bang in the middle of the path. Won't be making that mistake again (hopefully).

Just what the legs needed - a second summit attempt of the day! Thankfully Andrew's words of wisdom were just what was needed - "lets have a breakfast bar for motivation!". :lol:

Fuelled by breakfast bars
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The view east from near the summit of Stob Ban towards the other Mamore Munros.
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And that would be summit cairn 45 - getting there.... slowly.
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So far I have yet to mention the wind... well that's all about to change. Yes, it was blustery coming up Stob Ban, but for the vast majority you are relatively sheltered.

Somehow just off the summit it was also sheltered(ish) so we stopped for some luxury ham sandwiches.

Lunch spot with a view into Fort William
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View towards Mullach nan Coirean - majestic in its own right.
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Zoomed view back towards Stob Ban - spot the people for scale!
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Before long, although slightly longer than expected, we had reached the rather less impressive summit of Mullach nan Coirean.

Look at the colours!!! :thumbup:
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Andrew leading the way for Andrew #2.
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Summit 46 - as orange as Ulster on the 12th of July... :think: :wtf:
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Absolutely magic.
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^ Quite possibly my favourite photos since taking up this Munro Bagging malarky.

Once you have reached the summit of the second Munro it is a gentle but boggy descent back to the car. If the weather has been wet gaiters would be good, if not, you should be okay.

Wednesday the 5th October 2016

Waking up with legs feeling like mushy peas it was quickly decided Plan B would now be scrapped. A simple day traverse of the Grey Corries Ridge (excluding Stob Ban) seemed more appealing.

Walk Highlands grid reference for the start of the Grey Corries route is spot on.

Early morning starts!
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Just told them to moooooove over 8) :lol:
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Already a tad windy - maybe slightly worse than the day before...
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When it is not quite fully bright and you're still half asleep and lacking any caffeine in your system, coming around the corner to see this in the distance definitely increases the potential for heart attacks!

Wee Minister.
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Unfortunately neither of us had any pennies - a decision that later proved a tragic mistake.

The walk up to the Grey Corries is without a shadow of a doubt a long (and slightly boggy) slog - but if you've read any other reports you will already know this! Only made worse by the consistent head wind!

A few snaps look back toward the car
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By the time we hit about 800m the wind got to the point where we couldn't even speak to each other and by 900m one strong gust managed to blow me over. Although slightly off balance at the time, this was the first time I have ever been blown over by the wind :crazy: .

The higher we got the stronger the wind got. When we reached Stob Coire Gaibhre at 958m you get incredible views over The Grey Corries but unfortunately you also lose all shelter!

The views almost instantaneously go from nothing to spectacular!
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Andrew finding some shelter!
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Over the past 46 Munros I have had some pretty long and exhausting days, some incredibly wet and miserable weather, thunderstorms approaching at summits but I had yet to be beaten by the mountains.

Knowing the rest of the route was going to be just as exposed and the wind showed no signs of stopped it was time to make a decision that I hadn't been close to making before.

Mountains 1 - 0 Andrews

The mountains had won.

Surprisingly at the time it was a pretty straightforward decision - with gusts making it nearly impossible to walk in a straight line, the concept of trying to complete a long ridge walk on loose rock would only have been stupid.

We opted just to retrace our steps and head back to the car. To have come so close and covered so much distance to admit defeat was a pretty hard one to take. We spent most of the return journey justifying to ourselves that we had made the right decision.

At the end of the day the mountains aren't going anywhere and I don't fancy being the one to make the BBC News for getting mountain rescue called out!

Reflecting back it is hard to decide if it really was "that bad", could we have continued, would the wind have died down - simple answer is we will never know. I will make a point to ensure the next time I attempt The Grey Corries that the weather is clear because they look absolutely magic!

Retiring back to the car we passed the old minister again and it all made sense - this creepy wooden man can also control the weather.

Next time I will bring a couple of £££ for some better fortune! :lol: :lol:

Set off aiming for 10 Munros, nearly lost Garmins, mushy pea legs, greedy ministers and the wonderful Scottish weather meant I returned back to Aberdeen with another 2 in the bag.

46 down.... a lot more walking to go :D :D :D :D

If you've made it this far - massive thanks for reading!

Andrew.
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andygunn23
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Re: Rockfalls, Creepy Wee Ministers & Failed Munro Attempts

Postby jacob » Sun Oct 09, 2016 4:04 pm

If you've made it this far - massive thanks for reading!


No worries mate, it was easy enough: great great read. :lol: And great photos as well ofcourse.
Anyway, the mountains always win. They just allow us sometimes. :wink:
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jacob
 
Posts: 367
Munros:6   Corbetts:3
Grahams:4   
Hewitts:12
Joined: Mar 4, 2015
Location: East of Felixstowe ;)

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