Mamores Challenge (10 munros in 1 day)
by Roidz » Wed Oct 10, 2018 6:25 am
Munros included on this walk: Am Bodach, An Gearanach, Binnein Beag, Binnein Mor, Na Gruagaichean, Sgurr a'Mhaim, Sgurr Eilde Mor, Stob Ban (Mamores), Stob Coire a'Chairn
Date walked: 01/10/2018
Time taken: 18 hours
Distance: 52 km
Ascent: 3700m11 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
First report, but definitely worth it as this is one of the longest walks I've done in one go! What a day it was as well, 18hrs of walking and by the time I got back to bed I'd been awake for 36hrs, phew!
Full disclosure, I only managed 9 munros in the end due to bad weather, but we'll get to that
So, I left Edinburgh on Sunday evening arriving in Fort William around 11pm. I nipped to a pub for a couple of hours and a pint as I knew I'd have to start walking super early as I wanted to get back to Fort William for the last train back to Edinburgh at 7:30pm, but didn't want to do too much of the walk in the dark. After some food, and chatter with the locals, I got ready, thermals and head torch on because it was pitch black outside and around 2*C.
I started out from Fort William centre at 1am, my expected time for the route was about 16hrs based on other people's walking times and Naismith's rule, which would get me back to Fort William for about 5pm and allow for a couple of hours leeway.
I was pleasantly surprised at how clear and calm it was despite being October, I barely really needed my head torch at all and was happy to navigate by the bright moonlight, I actually had a shadow from the moon at points. This first section was a nice easy stroll through Glen Nevis following the road the whole way until reaching the Glen Nevis car park at 3:30am, then a rocky, but clearly define path along the Water of Nevis to the Steall Falls. Even in the darkness it was a pretty cool sight, and I could hear it long before I saw it. The path opened out into a nice valley where I could see my first munro in the distance silhouetted against the sky.
I knew I was going to have to ascend the first munro of the day, Binnein Beag in near total darkness, so I'd looked ahead of time at it's shape. The last thing I wanted was to trudge up the wrong mountain right at the start haha I found a shallower part of the river and crossed via some large rocks, then pretty much just beeline-d it straight up the steep and wet side of Binnein Beag doing the 650m in an hour, that was rough going. I reached the top of Binnein Beag at 6:30am.
I then took the gentle path under the east side of Binnein Mor, following the contour towards Sgurr Eilde Mor. The sun rose during this section, not that I could see it for the cloud level, I was just glad it was still dry. The ground was very wet however, it had rained a lot over the last week or so.
It was then a case of scrambling up the steep scree slope onto Sgurr Eilde Mor, reaching the summit at 8:10am.
Back down from Sgurr Eilde Mor, carefully over the rocky slope, and I can see Binnein Mor's top shrouded in thin cloud. It looks so far away, and I've been walking for over 8 hours already, however I've just passed the furthest point from Fort William, so I have the cheery thought that every step I take is one closer to home.
I made it to the 1062m point on my map, and as I was coming back this way after summiting Binnein Mor, I decided to leave my bag against the cairn here. I sped towards Binnein Mor, the largest of the munros on my walk and got to the cairn on top just after 9:10am. I was now higher than every point in England, Ireland and Wales!
I retrieved my bag and continued towards Na Gruagaichean, which was a simple matter of following the ridge and not being blown off the side. It was still nice and dry, but the wind was picking up, especially along the ridge. This was where I encountered the first people since leaving Fort William, 2 guys out with their dogs. I made quick progress to the top of Na Gruagaichean, arriving at 9:45am and took my favourite photo of the day here:
Coming down from Na Gruagaichean I managed to catch a glimpse of the deer I'd been hearing bellow all morning. They were really quite loud, echoing through the valleys, even over the wind!
I looped round and under the right hand side (north west) of Stob Coire a' Chairn and up onto the 5th munro of the day, An Gearanach at around 10:35am.
The cloud was now sitting at around 900m so visibility was fairly low for the rest of the day. But I had my map and compass, and the route's fairly straight forward, just follow the ridges! I was now at the half way mark munro wise, but 10hrs into the walk, so I'd have to pick up the pace if I hoped to make the last train home! I had another 8 hours to do 5 more munros, and walk the 2 hours through Glen Nevis back to Fort William. That's a munro an hour, so totally doable! I set off again, strength renewed and blitzed it to Stob Coire a' Chairn for around 11am.
Heading now for number 7, Am Bodach, I could see that it was steep, even in the fog! And it was, very! I struggled up the steep slope, hitting a bit of a wall here. It's only a little over a kilometre peak to peak from SCaC to Am Bodach, but it took me an hour! My mood wasn't helped by the fact that more mountain just kept appearing through the fog. Every time I thought I was near the top, more munro would sneak into view above me.
I reached the top of Am Bodach with tired wee legs at 11:50am, but knowing I'd lost time on the ascent, I didn't linger. I took the much more gently sloping path exactly west from the cairn down towards the 8th munro Sgurr a' Mhaim. I'd planned to have some form of actual food for lunch around here, but it was cold and wet, and I was ever conscious of time, so I just kept eating cereal bars on the move, as well as about 2,000 calories worth of sweet chilli peanuts.
I reached a small dip at the 924m point where it was slightly more sheltered, and made a mental note that I'd be coming back this way for the ascent to Stob Ban. I rested for a minute or two and ate a little as I knew the next part was the narrow approach to Sgurr a' Mhaim. Keen to keep moving for warmth however, I pressed on and up onto the windy, narrow arête of Stob Choire a Mhail.
The wind was pretty unpleasant at this stage, so I just kept my head down and carried on. It seemed to take for ever, but I eventually made it to the huge cairn on top of Sgurr a' Mhaim, munro number 8! It was now 1:15pm, and I was getting pretty cold.
I quickly came down a little from the top, out of the wind slightly, and took a photo nearer a smaller cairn just to the side of the peak.
I made haste back along the ridge, where I passed two runners. I nodded in acknowledgement before tucking my head back down and marching through the elements. The wind along the ridge was much worse than when I'd come along it the first time and my fingers were starting to go numb, so I swapped quickly into my heavier duty ski gloves before making my way back to the 924 point, where I turned right (south west) and onward up to Stob Ban.
I was fairly uncomfortable at this point, and did not fancy walking another 2 or 3 hours in this weather. The rain was coming in sideways with the wind, and I was pretty much soaked through entirely by now. I'd also been walking in sodden boots and socks since about 10am due to the constant light rain and very wet ground. I trekked up the last 200m onto Stob Ban for around 3pm (I didn't stop to check), and had already made my mind up to trace my steps back to Lochan Coire Nam Miseach and turn left (north) into the wee valley and follow the Allt Coire a' Mhusgain river back to the main road. I was a little upset that I felt I couldn't make it to number 10, but I was miserable, and the map indicated there was a long ridge onto Mullach Nan Coirean, which would not have been fun in the ever increasing wind. I also don't think I would have had time, ach well, another day!
Coming off the ridge and north was a long, uncomfortable trudge through the soggy valley, where most of the paths had turned into small streams. The track was very clear, but also pretty uneven, so I was constantly having to think about where to put my feet, and at what angle, as well as trying too avoid the wettest parts, it was a real drain on my already tired brain, which had now been awake for over 24hrs...
I eventually made it back to the road by the bridge at Achriabhach and the lower falls car park for 5:30pm ish, and then endured the road walk back to Fort William, grumbling grumpily to myself the entire way. I was very cold at this point, everything was soaked through. I did have one more fleece layer in my bag, but I wanted something dry to put on on the train. My hands were numb and when I made fists, water leaked out of my gloves like I was wringing a sponge!
I got back to Fort William at 7:30pm, with only 20 minutes to the train, so it was a quick dash to the station to make it on time, and thankfully I made it. I sat down on the train, exhausted, but I was still soaking. I stripped off on the train to just my thermals as they'd dry faster than the rest of my clothes. I stuck my wet stuff my bag and put my (nearly) dry fleece on. My bag was even wet through, despite having had a waterproof cover on it for most of the walk. I did have to take it off for an hour or so though as the wind along the Sgurr a' Mhaim ridge kept blowing it off I also took my boots and socks off. I was surprised that my feet didn't hurt at all, despite being a long walk it wasn't particularly difficult. I shivered for most of the 5 hour train ride home, unable to sleep at all. I got into Edinburgh at 1:30am on Tuesday, and put my shoes back on and trudged home. I showered, ate, hung all my wet stuff up, and eventually got into bed around 3am!
So 18hrs of walking (1am-7pm), 9 munros, over 50km covered, 3700m of ascent, 36 hours awake, 2 tired legs, and a very sodden Neil later, I fell asleep!
All in all, a decent walk, and I'm glad the weather stayed decent till right at the end. I would recommend if you like longer walks, as I said it's not particularly hard going, just long haha. I'd also maybe recommend not going in October, when it's colder and there's much less daylight. I walked the first 6 hours in darkness. If you have a car too, you can park at the Lower Falls car park, of Ben Nevis car park at the end of Glen Nevis.
Hope this helps anyone who's interested in doing this route, I thoroughly enjoyed it, despite being grumpy and cold at the end!
by Coop » Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:26 pm
Well done with this epic.
I think you know you made the right choice to call it s day st 9.
by weaselmaster » Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:44 pm
Conditions pretty challenging - wise to omit Mullach nan Coirean I reckon
by Chris Mac » Wed Oct 10, 2018 8:19 pm
It's a shame you never got better views, maybe the remaining Munro will make up for that when you return for it...
by Alteknacker » Wed Oct 10, 2018 9:23 pm
Mullardoch round in a day next, eh...???
by Roidz » Thu Oct 11, 2018 1:42 am
I'm not normally quite as brazen with my walk choices, but I did it as a fundraiser so knew it had to be a fairly 'epic' hike!
Thoroughly enjoyed it though, definitely keen to do something similar again, maybe the Mullardoch round as you suggested Alteknacker, or the South Glen Shiel Ridge.
by Sack the Juggler » Thu Oct 11, 2018 9:30 am
Good call on pulling out of the last peak, and well done all round.
I'm with weaselmaster in that I'd aim for the longest day for the trip.... and I'd probably bring gaiters and waterproof overtrousers
- Sack the Juggler
- Posts: 351
- Joined: Aug 8, 2018
by razzah » Thu Oct 11, 2018 11:27 am
by yokehead » Thu Oct 11, 2018 11:53 am
A couple of points:
You may not have noticed, but some ba***rd has nicked the bottom half of your troosers - with these in place you would have been a bit warmer.
Roidz wrote:it's not particularly hard going, just long haha
Well, I will look forward to your next report when you get your finger out and do something that's a tad more taxing for you!
by nick70 » Thu Oct 11, 2018 12:49 pm
I hope you raised a sizeable amount for your charity? And I also appreciate your understated tone 'not far'. 50Km up and down hills truly is some achievement.
Again, very well done.
by Phil the Hill » Thu Oct 11, 2018 12:55 pm
by ScotFinn65 » Thu Oct 11, 2018 5:05 pm
by Colin1951 » Sat Oct 13, 2018 5:10 pm