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Grey Corries twice

Grey Corries twice


Postby HalfManHalfTitanium » Thu May 31, 2018 9:23 pm

Route description: The Grey Corries

Munros included on this walk: Stob Choire Claurigh, Stob Coire an Laoigh

Date walked: 23/05/2018

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Of all my planned walks for my few days in Fort William, it was the anticipation of the Grey Corries that excited me the most.

My first sight from the parking spot was the Aonachs in the dawn light. (PS my little car was fine with the infamous road, just a matter of going slowly)

ImageIMG_3992 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Obligatory shot of the Wee Minister. When I took this photo I thought he was looking in quite a party mood, now I'm not so sure.

ImageIMG_3998 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

When I walk alone, I tend to start walking early (5am on this occasion), and walk very slowly, so as to soak in the ambience of the hills. There is a lot of talk these days about "mindfulness" and "being in the moment" but that simply happens, when you're in the hills.

So I spent an unknown amount of time on the top of Stob Coire Gaibhre, doing nothing except watching the clouds billowing above Coire na Ceannain. The summits were hidden, revealed and then hidden again. Best telly in the world.

ImageIMG_4021 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

To the west, I could see the rest of the Grey Corries peaks and ridges also disappearing and emerging - this is Caisteal.

ImageIMG_4058 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

There was a Turner-ish view down into the Lairig Leacach.

ImageIMG_4031 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

From a little way along the ridge, the lochan in the corrie was like a round blue mirror reflecting the sky. However, the boulders right at the bottom of the lochan were also visible (can be seen by clicking on the little plus button on the Flickr image)

ImageIMG_4065 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Then, I entered the clouds. Above a snowfield, a saw-backed arête ran straight towards the summit. It was very easy scrambling, but the mist made it very atmospheric.

ImageIMG_4076 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Looking back down the arête.

ImageIMG_4080 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

I reached the cairn of Stob Coire Claurigh. My sandwiches did not look Masterchef standard but they tasted bloody delicious.

ImageIMG_4087 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

As I sat at the cairn, the mists began to break up. The first hill that came into my view was Stob Coire Cath na Sine, with sunlight filtering onto its snow patches.

ImageIMG_4104 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

The mist then closed in again, so I set off down the ridge, and as i did the clouds rolled away. From Stob a' Choire Lèith I could see back all the way up to the summit of Claurigh.

ImageIMG_4105 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

The clouds were clearing from the ridge ahead of me too - this is the view west from Stob a' Choire Lèith.

ImageIMG_4109 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Caisteal, Stob Coire an Laoigh, Stob Coire Easain, and the distant Aonachs starting to emerge from the clouds.

ImageIMG_4112 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

I stuck to the crest of Stob Coire Cath na Sine to enjoy more simple scrambling. A gully gave a view back to Claurigh.

ImageIMG_4122 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Perfect easy scrambling terrain.

ImageIMG_4124 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

The view west from Caisteal. Ben Nevis was now coming out of the clouds.

ImageIMG_4133 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Looking back from the cairn on Stob Coire an Laoigh.

ImageIMG_4148 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Sgurr Choinnich Mor, Sgurr a'Mhaim and Aonach Beag from the top of Stob Coire an Laoigh.

ImageIMG_4146 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Aonach Mor and Stob Coire Easain.

ImageIMG_4149 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Closer view of Sgurr Choinnich Mor and the Mamores.

ImageIMG_4151 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

I then began to retrace my steps. Rather than the recommended WH route, I wanted to repeat the ridge, and see it all in the different light and shadows of the afternoon, especially as in my experience, quartzite is the most extraordinary rock for looking bright in sunshine, dark in shadow.

So I went back to the top of the Stob Coire an Laoigh crags, where I had a superb view of Caisteal.

ImageIMG_4160 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Pinnacles on Stob Coire an Laoigh.

ImageIMG_4162 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Caisteal, Ben Nevis and Aonach Mor.

ImageIMG_4174 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Looking from the crags of Stob Coire Cath na Sine towards Stob Coire Claurigh.

ImageIMG_4175 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

The Ben above the ridges.

ImageIMG_4176 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Stob Ban from the ridge.

ImageIMG_4183 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Remains of cornices on Stob a' Choire Lèith.

ImageIMG_4186 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

The ridges in afternoon light from the top of Stob Coire Claurigh.

ImageIMG_4194 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Another ridge study - all in parallel.

ImageIMG_4200 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Stob Coire Ceannain from the summit.

ImageIMG_4202 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

And then the whole ridge was, just on cue, lit by bright sunshine as I sat at the summit cairn of Claurigh.

ImageIMG_4192 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

I realised it was time to head down. This is the afternoon light on Coire na Ceannain.

ImageIMG_4205 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Looking back to the ridge from the easy descending slopes.

ImageIMG_4207 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

It had been one of my very favourite walks - a place I know I will return to again and again.

I will always do the there-and-back, too. I think it doubles the pleasure of this mesmerising ridge and the shifting sunlight on the quartzite.


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Last edited by HalfManHalfTitanium on Fri Jun 01, 2018 8:19 am, edited 2 times in total.
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HalfManHalfTitanium
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Posts: 1384
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Re: Grey Corries twice

Postby Sunset tripper » Thu May 31, 2018 10:57 pm

Great pictures of a great place. Nice sandwich too....Cheese and chilli marmalade? :D
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Re: Grey Corries twice

Postby HalfManHalfTitanium » Sat Jun 02, 2018 3:41 pm

Sunset tripper wrote:Great pictures of a great place. Nice sandwich too....Cheese and chilli marmalade? :D


Spot-on, 10 out of 10 for sandwich recognition!

Perhaps the WH website should replace the Name That Corrie thread with a Name That Sandwich thread.

Tim
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HalfManHalfTitanium
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Re: Grey Corries twice

Postby dogplodder » Sun Jun 03, 2018 1:42 pm

Your photos are great giving an almost tangible feel of how it is on the ridge. I was up there last July and have to admit the snow adds to the beauty of the landscape. That was some walk to do the ridge twice! :clap:
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Re: Grey Corries twice

Postby HalfManHalfTitanium » Mon Jun 04, 2018 11:54 am

dogplodder wrote:Your photos are great giving an almost tangible feel of how it is on the ridge. I was up there last July and have to admit the snow adds to the beauty of the landscape. That was some walk to do the ridge twice! :clap:


Thanks so much dogplodder - much appreciated!

I always find your reports very useful, actually - they have great photos and give a very good indication of the route.

Quartzite is one of my favourite types of scenery, I love the way it reflects the light, especially on a day of shifting sunshine and shadow. Some people don't like it because of the sharp stones - but to me, any kind of stony hillside is pretty painful!

I felt lucky to have been able to do the full walk that I planned. My second knee replacement may not be that far away, and of course it may not be as successful as the first knee... But if I am able to do more hill walks, I'll re-do the Grey Corries the next time I return to Lochaber. I think it would look good in Autumn colours.

It was a big walk, although due to my knees I am always very careful to look at all the factors so as not to get too tired. The recommended WH descent route off the Grey Corries involves two more ascents (Stob Coire Easain and Beinn Socaich) and a long walk back to the start, so my route was probably not much harder than that anyway.

Tim
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HalfManHalfTitanium
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Re: Grey Corries twice

Postby dogplodder » Mon Jun 04, 2018 12:37 pm

Even more impressed you did it it with a knee replacement and another pending!

Always good to know others find the reports useful. I got chatting to a guy in Grey Mare's car park last week and when he found out I was dogplodder gave me a big handshake and said he likes reading my reports. Better watch what I say in future! :wink:
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Re: Grey Corries twice

Postby Sunset tripper » Tue Jun 05, 2018 12:31 pm

HalfManHalfTitanium wrote:
Spot-on, 10 out of 10 for sandwich recognition!

Perhaps the WH website should replace the Name That Corrie thread with a Name That Sandwich thread.

Tim


Ha ha good idea.

Gourmet food is important on the hills.

High class dining above Glencoe last summer :D
20170724_171711.jpg


All the best :D
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Re: Grey Corries twice

Postby HalfManHalfTitanium » Tue Jun 05, 2018 5:40 pm

Thanks Sunset tripper!

A superb lunch you have there!

I recognise the background hills as Clach Leathad and Stob Ghabhar, so you must I guess be on the top of Meall a'Bhuiridh or Creise.

Fine dining at 1100m!

The only way i can top that is with this authentic photographic evidence.

Summit of everest.jpg
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Re: Grey Corries twice

Postby HalfManHalfTitanium » Thu Jun 07, 2018 10:33 am

dogplodder wrote:Even more impressed you did it it with a knee replacement and another pending!

Always good to know others find the reports useful. I got chatting to a guy in Grey Mare's car park last week and when he found out I was dogplodder gave me a big handshake and said he likes reading my reports. Better watch what I say in future! :wink:


Celebrity status! - watch out for the paparazzi and the stalkers (not the ones on the hill, either...)

On the subject of stalkers and deer, I especially remember your report on the deer on Bidean nam Bian - https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=69113 - it was fascinating, especially the bit about the stags waiting for the lame one. Shows that animal relationships are far more complex than we give them credit for!

TIm
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Re: Grey Corries twice

Postby Sunset tripper » Mon Jun 11, 2018 8:29 pm

Well spotted I was on Creise.

Regarding your last photo.......... too far :lol:
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