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Tom & BHK versus the Volcano: Binnein Beag & Sgurr Eilde Mor

Tom & BHK versus the Volcano: Binnein Beag & Sgurr Eilde Mor

Postby bobble_hat_kenny » Thu May 17, 2018 10:17 pm

Route description: Sgurr Eilde Mor and Binnein Beag, Mamores

Munros included on this walk: Binnein Beag, Sgurr Eilde Mor

Date walked: 06/05/2018

Time taken: 10 hours

Distance: 19 km

Ascent: 1730m

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Tom and myself both still had the two Easternmost Mamores to do, Binnein Beag and Sgurr Eilde Mor, and with a reasonable forecast for the Sunday 6th May, we thought we'd give them a whirl. I was just back from a week in Alicante with Mrs Bobble Hat, however, and having done nothing much more than over-indulge in beer and various tentacled seafood all week, I suspected that I'd find this a fairly tough day :lol: ...Ah well, nothing ventured, nothing gained!
We took the standard approach from the Grey Mare's Tail car park in Kinlochleven, as per the website's route description.

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The weather was a bit unpromising on the way up, and we arrived in Kinlochleven to find it deep in Clag, but the forecast was for that to lift as the day went on, so we set off cheerfully enough.
It's a fairly steep ascent on the zigzagging path up from Kinlochleven, but - uncharacteristically for me - we managed not to take any wrong turnings, and soon enough we were enjoying a bit of a cloud inversion over the town as we emerged above the low-level Clag.
WR1 - cloud inversion over Kinlochleven.jpg

A bit higher up, and Tom enjoying something of a Caspar Friedrich-style "Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog" moment, with a nice cloud inversion over Loch Leven:
WR2 - Tom as Wanderer above the Sea of Cloud.jpg

A bit further up the path, we crossed the vehicle track and continued on the stalker's path on the far side. Loch Eilde Mor soon came into view, although its pet Corbett, Glas Bheinn, still had its head in the clouds :roll: .
WR3 - Loch Eilde Mor with its Corbett.jpg

Soon after this, the path started to zigzag fairly steeply uhpill again, to gain the high shoulder of Binnein Mor's southern top Sgorr Eilde Beag, and we soon found ourselves fairly deep in Clag once again :( . There were several big lingering snowfields that had to be crossed, too - it was all starting to feel a tad adventurous, and the GPS was gotten out a couple of times to check that we were still on target! Fortunately, we were.
WR4 - crossing a big snowfield in the Clag.jpg

Just as we'd almost given up on views, the Clag suddenly decided to lift, giving us a tantalising view of volcano-like Binnein Beag looking deceptively close, but also our first proper look at the amount of height that we'd have to lose and then regain to cross the glen of the Allt a' Gharbh Choire :? ...
WR5 - BHK approaching the Allt a' Gharbh Choire with Binnein Beag in the distance.jpg

Almost down at the Allt at last, with Binnein Beag looking even more like Krakatoa in the distance :shock: :
WR6 - about to cross the Allt with Binnein Beag looking volcano-like.jpg

It turned out to be further than it looked up to the high lochan on the plateau immediately below Binnein Beag, with the path contouring quite high onto the shoulder of Binnein Mor en route. Eventually, however, we found ourselves up at the very scenic lochan, and Binnein Beag was now looking like a mere hillock: a result of the fact that the lochan sits at an elevation of almost 800 metres!
WR7 - Binnein Beag above its lochan.jpg

The ongoing path up Binnein Beag was a bit steep with occasional bits of scree, but better than I'd expected on the whole, and thankfully it didn't detain us too long. Soon enough we were up at the summit cairn and windshelter: Munro No 150 for me, and rather a nice hill to mark my "Third Fifty".
Tom at the summit, with Binnein Mor looming rather impressively behind:
WR8 - Tom at Binnein Beag summit with Binnein Mor looming behind.jpg

Stob Ban, being (like Binnein Beag) a rather lowly Munro, also had its head out of the Clag, but the rest of the Grey Corries were still well shrouded:
WR9 - Stob Ban just below the Clag but the rest of the Grey Corries shrouded.jpg

A grandstand view of Ben Nevis and the CMD arête:
WR10 - nice view of Ben Nevis and the CMD arete.jpg

The view back south across the glen of the Allt a' Gharbh Choire, to our next target, Sgurr Eilde Mor, with its own pet lochan curled at its feet:
WR11 - looking back to Sgurr Eilde Mor and its lochan.jpg

We made our way carefully back down the gritty path to the lochan to begin the traverse. A shot of Tom on descent, with Binnein Mor looming rather threateningly behind him, and some nice icebergs visible in Binnein Beag's lochan:
WR12 - Tom on descent with Binnein Mor looming behind and icebergs in the lochan.jpg

A view back from the Allt a' Gharbh Choire, with the Grey Corries and Binnein Beag now completely Clag-Free :) :
WR13 - looking back from the Allt with Grey Corries and Binnein Beag now Clag-free.jpg

We zigzagged our way back up from the Allt to regain the plateau below Sgurr Eilde Mor, then cut up to the north of its lochan to begin the ascent. The day's second Munro was looking a tad steep from down here :shock: :
WR14 - approaching Sgorr Eilde Mor with the Munro looking a tad steep.jpg

The first section of the path up Sgurr Eilde Mor proved to be in surprisingly good nick, and I made quicker progress than I'd expected (quick for me, anyway, although Tom was well ahead by now :lol: ). Higher up, however, I found it fairly hard going, with some quite steep scree to negotiate. I took my time (well, to be honest I didn't have much option!) and I got there in the end.
Me on ascent, with Sgorr Eilde Beag looking rather fine in the background:
WR15 - BHK on ascent with Sgorr Eilde Beag behind.jpg

A grand vista back down to Sgurr Eilde Mor's lochan, with the much larger Loch Eilde Mor also visible further in the distance:
WR16 - lovely view back down to Sgorr Eilde Mor's lochan with Loch Eilde Mor in distance.jpg

Having finally conquered the steep-scree section near the top, we eventually topped out on a short but very pleasant wee bit of ridge, with the summit cairn not too far away now.
Tom always seems to get great shots of me from above on ascent; I can't think why; anyone would think I was a bit slow or something :lol: ...
WR17 - BHK on final summit ridge.jpg

At the cairn at last! Here's Tom on what was Munro No. 190 for him, with Binnein Beag in the distance:
WR18 - Tom on Munro No 190 with Binnein Beag behind.jpg

And yours truly, on Munro No. 151 with Ben Nevis visible over my shoulder:
WR19 - BHK on Munro No 151 with Ben Nevis behind.jpg

A pleasing vista southeast, towards the desolate environs of the Blackwater Reservoir:
WR19B - distant view SE towards Blackwater Reservoir.jpg

I had been a bit nervous about how that steep bit of the path would be on descent, but actually it wasn't really that bad, and soon enough we were approaching Sgorr Eilde Mor's lochan again, with a nice view of the Glencoe hills off to the south.
WR20 - descending back to Sgorr Eilde Mor's lochan with Glencoe hills in the distance.jpg

The sun was out by now, and Sgorr Eilde Mor was looking improbably Polynesian across its lochan, doing its level best to impersonate Bali Hai:
WR21 - Sgorr Eilde Mor looking a bit Polynesian across its lochan.jpg

It felt like a bit of a trudge back down the path past Loch Eilde Mor and on down to Kinlochleven ... well, to be honest it definitely WAS a bit of a trudge :roll: . Eventually, however, we were enjoying a nice late-afternoon vista down Loch Leven, with the Pap of Glencoe prominent to the south:
WR22 - nice late-afternoon view down Loch Leven with Pap of Glencoe.jpg

A bit lower down again, and Kinlochleven impersonating Rivendell in the early evening sunshine:
WR23 - Kinlochleven as Rivendell.jpg

They turned out to be great hills, these two, with a surprisingly remote feel, and with their fairly steep, conical summits giving grand views in all directions. We fair lucked out with the weather, too :D !
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Re: Tom & BHK versus the Volcano: Binnein Beag & Sgurr Eilde

Postby Chris Mac » Fri May 18, 2018 9:01 am

Great report Tommy, really enjoyed reading that and there are some brilliant photos of you both, nice one! :clap: :clap:
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Re: Tom & BHK versus the Volcano: Binnein Beag & Sgurr Eilde

Postby Mal Grey » Fri May 18, 2018 10:37 am

Good stuff, enjoyable report.

I really need to get to this end of the Mamores.
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Re: Tom & BHK versus the Volcano: Binnein Beag & Sgurr Eilde

Postby Fractral » Fri May 18, 2018 11:22 am

Great report and photos- brings back some fond memories of doing those two. You're spot on about the sense of isolation, despite only being a few km past the main ridge they don't feel at all like the rest of the Mamores!
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