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Crianlarich1: Ben More & Stobinian - The Round

Crianlarich1: Ben More & Stobinian - The Round


Postby mountain coward » Wed Oct 13, 2010 10:52 pm

Munros included on this walk: Ben More, Stob Binnein

Date walked: 25/09/2010

Time taken: 7.3 hours

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There is a strange bluey tinge on the sky of many of these photos – not sure what went wrong with them... maybe I need to get a filter? :lol: Wish we got it more often! :D

Stats: 2 Munros, 2 Tops; 11.5 miles, 4736 feet of ascent, 7 hours 20 – me & Richard - sunny and warm and clear for a lovely change (but that was soon to change…)

This was the first day of a week’s Munroing trip to Crianlarich with the famous Richard… We awoke to a severe (for September) frost of -3!! After scraping the car we made the short 8 or so mile drive to the layby below the end of the NW ridge (just after Auchessan). The layby was already nearly full even though we’d set off early (for us) and it was only around 0900. The car had really only just started to thaw out so I was a bit miffed to not get the sunny places near the front of the queue to park in case it refroze for our return.

I’d recce’d the route to the hill through the forest the day before so knew how to start off. We set off into the forest and almost immediately there is a left turn at a T-junction labelled ‘hill track’. This is nice and grassy and makes great progress for a mile or so through an open area when it then crosses the forest road and heads into the trees up a muddy zig-zag. We chugged up that and the track levelled out and turned under the hillside… hmmm… not quite where we wanted. We followed it for a while but it started to turn away from the hill. Richard mentioned he thought he’d seen a bit of a track crossing the drainage channel by the break in the forest a short while back so we decided to go back to that.

We bumped into a largish group coming the other way and asked them whether they were doing the round anti-clockwise (like us) or clockwise – they said clockwise. We said they were probably right to follow the track then. We got back to Richard’s bit and there wasn’t really anything crossing the drainage channel after all but the open hillside was visible after a shortish, steep area of clear-fell so we went for it. It was the usual nightmare clambering over the messy clear-fell area with stumps and branches and holes everywhere – it was also extremely steep and had started to get hot so was sticky work.

We eventually left the clear-fell for the equally steep grassy and pathless hillside. We headed for the top of the ridge ahead hoping it was ‘the ridge’… When we’d puffed up to the skyline, another much larger and equally steep ridge appeared behind… Repeat performance and then yet another similar ridge appeared towering above us. When we’d sweated our way up to that we found we were, at last, finally on ‘the ridge’. We could see a deer fence looming and peered about for a stile. It was back down the side of the ridge a way. After crossing the stile, a path finally appeared and headed back up onto the ridge. From there on we had a path all the way which was much better for us.

A steep-looking nose reared ahead, the Sron nam Forsairean – I hoped we would go round it. When we got there the path went to the left of the nose but then we saw an easy route up onto the ridge so went up the side. The ridge was comfortably narrow and a great viewpoint. We had a quick look round at the views – we noticed the largish group were following us up our route – they must have changed their minds about the direction after all…

First Peak on Sron nam Forsairean.jpg
Ben More summit from NE Ridge.jpg
Looking down Sron nam Forsairean.jpg


From the nose we could see there was a rocky looking ascent approaching. It was obvious you didn’t go to the left of it as that was very steep crag and you certainly couldn’t go up the end of it so we assumed the track went to the right. It did but of course, that was the north side and the path was extremely frosty. It was fine while you were on the earthy bits (fortunately most of it) but you really had to avoid any rock slabs as they were lethal – as I found to my cost when I trod on one. I wasn’t totally comfortable with the steep hillside on my right purely because of the thought of more unavoidable slippery rocks but luckily there weren’t any. The path gradually traversed back up to the ridgeline where things got nice and sunny again.

From there it was an easy and grassy ascent to the summit which we reached in about another 10 minutes. We’d been watching little ants crawling up the right-hand edge of Ben More from Ben More Farm below – looked pretty steep. When I reached the summit and looked down on the farm, it looked horrendous to me. In fact, I found sitting at the summit a bit airy for my liking. Just to prove how tense I was, I asked Richard to try to take my cup from my hand – he couldn’t – I was gripping it that tight! After a quick cuppa we had a look round the summit area and Richard found a great miniature gully going round two sides of the trig point so we had a little explore. Was a fascinating place and would be a great shelter if you were benighted on the mountain.

Looking down to Ben More Farm!.jpg
Cruach Ardrain fm Ben More.jpg
Leaving Ben More summit.jpg


We then left for the long drop down to the col before Stobinian – I believe this is around 1000 feet of height loss and regain but haven’t worked it out. I’ve always thought this view of Stobinian is one of the best views in Scotland but was about to change my mind…

Stobinian fm near Ben More summit.jpg
Stobinian fm Ben More Descent.jpg
Ben More fm Stobinian ascent.jpg
Looking back again...


There was a slightly scrambly bit down a crag band on the descent from Ben More which Richard did while I went round – the rest of the descent was very straightforward. When we reached the col I estimated around 45 minutes to the top of Stobinian but we actually made it in 40 minutes – I think this was partly because 3 guys were catching us up so I made a bit of a sprint for it – a fact that didn’t go unnoticed by Richard!. It was pretty steady going anyway and didn’t seem particularly hard. After passing through a little rocky gap, the summit ridge stretched ahead for about 20 yards across a nearly level and pleasantly narrow grassy ridge and there was the cairn… and of course, loads more people.

I did my usual of going immediately past the summit cairn to check out the descent – wow! what a view! It was very steep down the other side but I could see there was a great zig-zag path (albeit a bit of a loose one) down the initial steepness and then the very pleasant ridge stretched away to the top of Stob Coire an Lochain with a drop on one side into Coire Each. We took a coffee break on the grassy side of the summit ridge in the sun and I pointed out Cruach Ardrain and Beinn Tulaichean to Richard as I wanted to do those next.

Descent fm Stobinian to Stob Coire an Lochain top.jpg


After about 10 minutes we returned to the drop down the steep path to Stob Coire an Lochain. Richard courteously went in front and kept stopping to check I was coping with the steep route – I was fine but taking it characteristically carefully. Just at the foot of the steep bit we stopped and looked back up. There were people looking like they were immediately above our heads clambering all over the rocky summit – great for a photo. I took quite a few photos between here and Stob Coire an Lochain as everything looked so stunning.

Stobinian summit.jpg
Route to Stob Coire an Lochain top.jpg
Stobinian Peak from ridge to top.JPG
Meall na Dige.jpg
Stob Coire an Lochain.jpg
Leaving Stobinian.JPG
Stobinian & ridge lochan.jpg


It was an exceptionally easy walk to the top where there was a lovely lochan, calmly reflecting the blue sky, which could be positioned in front of Stobinian which was now looking totally stunning! I was ooo-ing and aah-ing for ages and telling Richard this had to be the best view in the whole of Scotland. He said it was good but he preferred the Grey Corries ridge.

The Graceful Peak of Stobinian.jpg
Stobinian fm Stob Coire an Lochain.jpg
Stobinian over lochan.jpg


A foreign guy asked one of us to take his photo at the summit with Stobinian behind – I got Richard to oblige as he’s recently bought a digital camera so has more idea what to do. While he was doing this, a guy and 3 ladies approached our top from the Balquiddher side. He asked us if the peak ahead was Stobinian – we told him it was. The ladies then set up a horrified chorus that if they weren’t on the Munro yet, they were going no further and he could continue alone if he liked. I was a little amused by this but must have got distracted because I don’t know whether he continued or not – poor guy – I hate revolting walkers (as in walkers who revolt) – I was to experience similar the next day…

Ben More from Stob Coire an Lochan descent.jpg
Stobinian fm route to Meall na Dige.jpg
Meall na Dige & lochan.jpg
Ben More over lochan.jpg


It was an easy route down the east ridge of Stob Coire an Lochain and we soon joined a path by a wall near the bottom. From there it was gentle and pleasant walking in the sun to Meall na Dige, the final ‘top’.

Descending from there, things didn’t go quite so well… There were awkward craggy drops to get round and the left-hand side, which we wanted to go down, was still pretty steep. I originally wanted to go across Stob Creagach but we both got fed up and decided to descend from the Bealach na Frithe back to Coire Chaorach and the inevitable bogs.

There were no paths in the valley and the forest looked a long way off but we headed for the Allt Coire Chaorach as I always find the going easier along the side of burns. Nearing the forest, I spotted a gate further up the hillside across the burn and a bit of vehicle track heading across the bogs towards it. We crossed the burn and made for that in the hope we could find where the path we’d been on in the forest that morning started.

When we’d gone over the deer stile by the gate we saw the vehicle track went straight on but a walkers path crossed the bog going hard left. I wasn’t sure whether that was heading back up to the ridge of Ben More but we followed it anyway. Presently it turned right towards the forest but then petered out – as boggy paths usually do. We still couldn’t see a way into the forest but decided to head back right towards the vehicle track. We were lucky and found that was correct and there was the path heading back into the forest. I have to say I was quite irritated that there couldn’t be some kind of marker post to say where you go into the forest though – there isn’t really any indication on the map and the forest edge looked pretty impenetrable. As the path goes in at an angle, you can’t see it until you get to it!

From there it was an easy walk, on nice soft ground, back to the now-thawed car. We were both feeling pretty tired but agreed it had been a pretty good day – nice to see the sun and blue skies for a change… and especially where we were walking!

(having to add rest of photos in a bunch as a reply as I seem to have exceeded the limit!)
Last edited by mountain coward on Sun Jan 02, 2011 1:18 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Crianlarich1: Ben More & Stobinian - The Round

Postby mountain coward » Wed Oct 13, 2010 10:59 pm

Rest of photos...

Ben More & Stobinian.jpg
Ben More fm Meall na Dige ascent.jpg
Stobinian fm Meall na Dige summit.jpg
Ben More from Meall na Dige summit.jpg
Ben Cheetah & his mate fm under Ben More.jpg
Sgiath Chuil fm under Ben More.jpg
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Re: Crianlarich1: Ben More & Stobinian - The Round

Postby monty » Thu Oct 14, 2010 9:05 am

HI MC,
Nice set of pictures. You sprinting up Stob Binnean? you must be getting fit :D I must have passed you that day in my car as I done the black mount four munros just up the road. :D
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Re: Crianlarich1: Ben More & Stobinian - The Round

Postby walk aboot » Thu Oct 14, 2010 9:17 pm

Oh MC I didn't spy this report earlier, see, you do get blue sky days when you visit Scotland after all :D .

I saw my first brocken spectre on these two hills 8) , so this report and all the talk of cloud inversions on other threads is making me look forward to more days like that :) .

Straight up Ben More is steep, but it looked quicker to me. I think I would go that way if I was doing it again (went up the bealach last time).

Did you and Richard pop into the Rod and Reel afterwards? :)
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Re: Crianlarich1: Ben More & Stobinian - The Round

Postby gammy leg walker » Thu Oct 14, 2010 9:35 pm

The run on the floor of the Rod n Reel would make you feel drunk
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Re: Crianlarich1: Ben More & Stobinian - The Round

Postby mountain coward » Thu Oct 14, 2010 10:05 pm

monty wrote:HI MC,
Nice set of pictures. You sprinting up Stob Binnean? you must be getting fit :D


Thanks Monty - I often race people up hills - much to Richard's annoyance. I race them even more on the way to and from hills on the flat - I'm just too competitive :lol:

monty wrote:I must have passed you that day in my car as I done the black mount four munros just up the road. :D


Well you didn't wave! I would think you'd be way earlier than we were - don't you usually set off at silly o'clock? :D
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Re: Crianlarich1: Ben More & Stobinian - The Round

Postby mountain coward » Thu Oct 14, 2010 10:07 pm

walk aboot wrote:Oh MC I didn't spy this report earlier, see, you do get blue sky days when you visit Scotland after all :D .

I saw my first brocken spectre on these two hills 8) , so this report and all the talk of cloud inversions on other threads is making me look forward to more days like that :) .

Straight up Ben More is steep, but it looked quicker to me. I think I would go that way if I was doing it again (went up the bealach last time).

Did you and Richard pop into the Rod and Reel afterwards? :)


We took the route we did as I'm also trying to collect as many tops as I can and not just do the Munros...

Yeah we were in the Rod & Reel every night to eat - great pub! :D
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Re: Crianlarich1: Ben More & Stobinian - The Round

Postby mountain coward » Thu Oct 14, 2010 10:08 pm

gammy leg walker wrote:The run on the floor of the Rod n Reel would make you feel drunk


It certainly did! I was wearing heels and that makes it even worse! We wondered what was happening the first time we sat in the corner of the bar - never been in a place with a slanting floor!
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Re: Crianlarich1: Ben More & Stobinian - The Round

Postby fedupofuserids » Thu Oct 14, 2010 10:47 pm

Stobinian looks pretty cool first time I've seen any photos. Thanks. :D
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Re: Crianlarich1: Ben More & Stobinian - The Round

Postby mountain coward » Thu Oct 14, 2010 10:57 pm

It's a truly beautiful peak... but looks much better from 'the back' if you walk off to the top of Stob Coire an Lochan. Even if you don't do the round we did, I'd say it was still worth going and bagging that top as it's no effort. Of course, if you do these from Balquiddher, you'll see its best side anyway :D
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Re: Crianlarich1: Ben More & Stobinian - The Round

Postby alanmurray » Fri Oct 15, 2010 12:03 am

Another great Report MC.
Really want to climb Stobinian.
Two years ago when I first started hill walking, two of us started to climb Ben More.
Three quarters to the top my climbing buddy could not go any further ( he said his boots weren't suitable for the snowy conditions - yeah yeah! ).
Anyway , got to the top of Ben More - fab views - and felt I could not climb Stobinian cause I knew he would be waiting for me at the car.
It's not going anywhere, so after your report I am looking forward to climbing Stobinian, possibly without Ben More.

Cheers MC
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Re: Crianlarich1: Ben More & Stobinian - The Round

Postby mountain coward » Fri Oct 15, 2010 12:08 am

I'm seriously considering doing Stobinian again from 'the back', i.e. from Balquiddher - it looks a superb walk. Wouldn't want to add Ben More to that route though as you'd have the 1000 foot drop and reascent twice then! But I don't blame your mate for giving up on Ben More in snow - I'd find that really scary as it's just sooo steep!
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Re: Crianlarich1: Ben More & Stobinian - The Round

Postby ramblingsteve » Fri Oct 15, 2010 1:35 am

I did these 2 in late July, and, true to form had no views whatsoever!
Really appreciate the pics... might need to do it again some day and would definitely consider your route. :thumbup:

Oh yeah... the route up the hillside from Ben More farm IS steep... big time!
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Re: Crianlarich1: Ben More & Stobinian - The Round

Postby gedme » Fri Oct 15, 2010 12:32 pm

Hi just wanted to say looks fantastic and you had a great day to yeah what is that blue stuff next thing you know there will be a ball of fire in the sky!! Hope to do this soon so is great to see these photos.
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Re: Crianlarich1: Ben More & Stobinian - The Round

Postby skuk007 » Sun Oct 17, 2010 12:39 am

Great pics MC, so glad you got a good day for these - I missed out on these, so nice to see the views I didn't get. :)
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