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Around and finally up The Easains

Around and finally up The Easains

Postby Quincy » Sat Sep 22, 2018 4:14 pm

Route description: Stob Coire Easain and Stob a'Choire Mheadhoin

Munros included on this walk: Stob a'Choire Mheadhoin, Stob Coire Easain

Date walked: 15/09/2018

Time taken: 6.5 hours

Distance: 16.5 km

Ascent: 1172m

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I had attempted these hills earlier in the year in the spring when the snow was still melting. I had got as far as the now renowned gully and could see no way to continue as the snow covered a lot of the path. I was also still recovering from a bout of vertigo and I could see the clouds racing above me so I quietly said to myself it would still be there for another time and retreated back down the hill. I came back weeks later to do Chno Dearg and Sgriodain on the other side of Loch Treig but I could see Stob Coire Easain mocking me with it’s fantastic rugged outline so I felt that I would have to get it done before the year was out. After a busy summer of activities there was finally a weather window just for the Saturday. I packed my gear the night before so I could make an early start and left the house at 6.30 watching the beautiful red sky that morning.

01 Stob Coire Sgriodain.jpg
Stob Coire Sgriodain

02 Nemesis.jpg
Meall Cian Dearg looking down on me from the car park!

As I arrived there were a couple of cars in the carpark, much less than there had been in the spring surprisingly. I started off along the track which I remembered well from the last aborted attempt. I could see the steep section of Meall Cian Dearg even from the carpark. I knew it would be about an hour to the foot of this. As the track turned into a footpath the rain started so the waterproofs all went on as I sweated up the hill the rain ceased so the waterproof trousers came off again but luckily the remainder of the day was mostly dry.

03 Autumn colours.jpg
Autumn Colours

04 Track.jpg
The track leaving Loch Treig

The path is quite straightforward to this point. Once it leaves the main track it is a little boggy in places but nothing compared to some walks I’ve encountered. A few small boggy areas to negotiate and then you’re up to the hydro pillar which is a great vantage point for looking out to Loch Laggan.

05 Hydro pole and Loch Laggan.jpg
Looking back to the hydro pole - a good vantage point

06 Meall Cian Dearg.jpg
Meall Cian Dearg

From here the ground steepens up to the base of Meall Cian Dearg. I stood at the bottom looking up to the precarious gully and then the path around the side. I have to say I’m not the best at exposure and a bit of a scardy cat on uneven ground but I decided this was not going to defeat me a second time even if my stomach by this time was doing somersaults! I found the path around the side of the rocks which zigzagged up the steep section. I quickly reached the top of the gully where the path had dropped away from some former landslip. This was where I had reached earlier in the year and turned back.

22 gully path.jpg
the gully landslide

23 Up up up.jpg
continuing up the detour

A new path headed off to the right which previously would have been under the snow. I continued on this and reached another gully type section which wasn’t too bad till I reached a section with a boulder in the way. I realised I could clamber over this without too much difficulty it was just a little awkward because I still had my poles out. I threw the poles over the boulder and with a bit of hands on scrambled up and over the boulder with ease. From here it was straightforward enough just a bit steep looking down so I kept my eyes fixed to the path until the ground levelled out a bit more. All in all not much more than 15 minutes but I was very relieved to see the ridge in front heading up to the next cairn.

07 onto the ridge.jpg
heading onto the ridge

08 Clouding over.jpg
cloud spilling over the ridge

As the mist was still quiet low I took a bearing just incase and headed on up the ridge. The path started to become a bit more distinct and I was soon up to the cairn and the mist lifted again to show the start of the next part of the ridge. The mist now swirling from Loch Treig over the beallach which totally gave the feeling of a cauldron below. Heading into the mist the path was still easy enough to follow and I soon reached the summit. It was a small cairn which looked like it had once been taller with a grander seat.

09 Stob a choire Mheadhoin.jpg
Stob a' Cjoire Mheadhoin summit

I had a quick stop for half a sandwich but with no view I decided I might as well continue on. Taking another bearing to get myself off the stony plateau in the right direction I soon came to the path heading down towards the beallach. The cloud thinned out enough to see a fair distance in front but it looked like there was no hill in front at all. I couldn’t even gauge how steep the ascent was going to be. After my earlier scramble I felt like I was ready for anything. I came out of the clouds as I reached the beallach and started to see Stob Coire Eassain rising in front, it didn’t look too bad. The path zigzagged up the hill on some rocky steep ground but it didn’t take long to reach the summit on such a good path.

10 Clouded view.jpg
not much view between summits

11 Stob Coire Easain in the cloud.jpg
Stob Coire Easain ahead in the cloud

I reached the cairn which had a steel fence post sticking out. The wind made it sound terribly eerie. Just then the cloud lifted enough to see a great chasm below and the impressive rocky slab in front. I could see north but any views south were obscured by cloud. I sat for a while having the other half of my sandwich till I decided it was getting a bit cold to sit and wait for a view. Just as I gathered my things to begin the descent the cloud lifted to reveal fantastic all round views. I quickly reached for my camera, took some photos and then the cloud lowered again. This time I was happy to head back down.

12 Stob Coire Easain Top.jpg
looking pretty pleased on the summit of Stob Coire Easain

13 Where's the view.jpg
Where's the view?

14 There it is.jpg
There it is!

15 Back to Fort William.jpg
Looking North West

I decided it was worth heading back over the first summit again for another view rather than the boggy path around the bottom of the hills, even if it did include the steep ascent. As I descended I met the first hillwalker of the day another walkhighlander heading towards his 96th munro and looking to get number 100 in before the end of the year. Goodluck. The next couple I passed were a little less sociable but I had a nod of acknowledgment as they were sheltering for a bite of lunch.

17 Easain in view.jpg
Stob Coire Easain now in full view

I continued back up to Stob a Choire Mheadhoin which seemed to take a fair bit longer on the way back up but as I reached the summit for the second time the cloud cleared giving fantastic views back to Stob Coire Eassain now looking like a very shapely peak. I could also now see right down to loch Treig and follow the train line as it crossed the Rannoch moor and make out where Loch Ossian began and the three peaks around it I had climbed over the summer. The grey corries were also looking absolutely splendid tempting me for my next visit to the area.

18 Grey Corries.jpg
The Grey Corries looking splendid

19 Loch Treig and railway.jpg
LochTreig with the clear outline of the railway line above

I finally pulled myself away from the views and started my descent back down the ridge now clear all the way. I met another group on there way up cheerily chatting as they went. All ladies and a dog. As I came to the steep path over Meall Cian Dearg and looked over the edge it didn't seem quite so daunting as earlier. Apart from awkwardly having to turn myself around at the boulder and dangle my legs to find a place for my feet I found my way down quite quickly and was even brave enough to stop for photos this time.

20 back over the edge.jpg
heading back over the edge

21 Eroded path.jpg
the eroded path

As I came off the steep section and headed back across the boggy section I took a little detour up to the hydro pole for some views back and also out to Loch Laggan. I then quickly descended back to Loch Treig and along the track. As I reached the dam I could see the rain heading towards me along the loch. I quickened my pace and was soon back at the car park.

26 the two towers.jpg
the two towers - looking back to Meall Cian Dearg

27 a last look.jpg
a last look back

28 Loch Treig dam.jpg
Loch Treig dam - here comes the rain

This was a really great day out and it felt even more satisfying the fact that I'd conquered these hills second time around. Some new found confidence for my next big adventure.
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Re: Around and finally up The Easains

Postby gld73 » Sat Sep 22, 2018 7:06 pm

I did these 2 a few weeks ago; my photos are very similar to yours, I think we both got the same weather! :lol:
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Re: Around and finally up The Easains

Postby bobble_hat_kenny » Mon Sep 24, 2018 8:37 pm

Nice WR :clap: - that's a good photo of the recent landslip on the Maol Cian Dearg path; I remember that all too well from when I did these two back in July this year :? !
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