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Mamores on a crisp day - 10 Munros, 23 miles, 11.5 hours

Mamores on a crisp day - 10 Munros, 23 miles, 11.5 hours


Postby goingforawii » Mon Dec 31, 2018 4:57 pm

Munros included on this walk: Am Bodach, An Gearanach, Binnein Beag, Binnein Mor, Mullach nan Coirean, Na Gruagaichean, Sgurr a'Mhaim, Sgurr Eilde Mor, Stob Ban (Mamores), Stob Coire a'Chairn

Date walked: 27/10/2018

Time taken: 11.5 hours

Distance: 37 km

Ascent: 3700m

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This was the start of the last weekend in October when we had the very icy blast from the Arctic blow in and the forecast in the run up to this was promising a very clear few days. I'd seen quite a few posts on here talking about the Mamores challenge, so I decided to give it a go! :D I was looking to start to the North of the Mamores and head anti-clockwise, so if at any point I couldn't go on, I could take one of the more defined routes off from one of the peaks of the Ring of Steall and complete the remaining peaks another day. There was to be about 9.5 hours of sunlight and there was a fair old whack of snow and ice lying around the Mamores - so I guess I would just see how progress went.

I managed to book into the Independent Hostel in Glencoe at very short notice and got up here at nearly midnight on the Friday night. A quick 30 minutes drive or so from there to Glen Nevis in the morning - with a stop off at McDonald's in Fort William for a caffeine hit and some stodge.

I parked at the Lower Falls car park (56°46'11.1"N 5°02'12.2"W), which is the nearest car park to start the walk up to Mullach nan Coirean. If I were to complete the full circuit, then I knew there'd be a 5 miles/8km walk along River Nevis/the road back to the car park and most likely in the dark. I figured this would be the easiest section to walk in the dark too, should I get to that point.

The Met Office was predicting a wind chill of -20C up the Mamores peaks, with a -25C wind chill up Ben Nevis - so I figured I'd start with the running tights on... and I'm very glad I did :) It was the last day before the clocks went back, so sunrise wasn't until 08:18, so I had a beautiful moonlight start to the walk for the short section through the forest, which then takes you to a vehicle track and from here it's just a walk up a grassy (but snowy today) bank to get onto the ridge. There may have been a path but it was lost in the snow today:

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It was simple going and the views back to Ben Nevis were glorious and gave huge promises about how the weather was going to pan out:

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Once on the ridge, you meet a fence and a stile to climb over before a straightforward walk up to the summit of Mullach nan Coirean, all the while getting some spectacular views across the Mamores:

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From here the route to Stob Ban was well defined all the way to the summit with further fantastic views:

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From the top the view to the little lochan infront of Sgor an Iubhair is seen and you can almost make the route out that takes you up onto the ridge (top-left from the lochan):

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You can quickly get down to the lochan and the crags up above look wonderful:

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Once you're on the ridge, the view back up to Stob Ban is great:

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The walk out to Sgurr a'Mhaim is straightforward but spectacular and offers great views back along the ridge towards Am Bodach:

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The views from the Sgurr a'Mhaim summit are splendid over to An Gearanach and right across the Mamores:

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The route back down Sgurr a'Mhaim towards Am Bodach along the ridge is well defined being part of the Ring and all and the walk up Am Bodach offers views down into the valley:

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The views back to Sgor an Iubhair and Sgurr a'Mhaim:

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The view from Am Bodach summit to Stob Coire a'Chairn seemed, daunting but it's a quick 200m descent and 160m re-ascent:

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From the Stob Coire a'Chairn summit onto An Gearanach is about a 130m descent and re-ascent

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From the top, the route back down and round to Na Gruagaichean can be done by skirting round the bottom of Stob Coire a'Chairn, rather than having to go back up it:

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And then you're back on the ridge heading up Na Gruagaichean with views back across to An Gearanach:

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At the Na Gruagaichean summit, the wind started to pick up a bit and that -20C that the Met Office were predicting was beginning to feel more realistic... but this was the first time I'd been able to see Loch Eilde Mor and Black Water Reservoir all day:

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And you could even just about pick up Loch Leven facing to the south of the range when looking back across them:

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The route up to Binnein Mor is simple and has only a 110m descent before a 180m re-ascent up to the highest point in the Mamores range:

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From the top the views across to Coire an Lochain and Sgurr Eilde Mor - and across the Mamores are striking:

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To get down and onto Sgurr Eilde Mor I decided to go around the south side of Coire an Lochain and up the south face. The Lochain to the top is a 250m so was a short and sharp climb. The wind and sleet had started to really pick up now, so I had to get a move on and try and finish before the conditions got any worse. Nearly all of the water bottles inside my back pack were now partly frozen :roll: so these last two summits really would just be a plod up and down.

At the top of Sgurr Eilde Mor, there was a surprising amount of snow and there was a nice parting of the mist. From the top it was far more simple to come down the west side and back to the Lochain, where views from this side are more impressive:

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The route onto Binnein Beag was well defined as it skirted up and around the side of Binnein Mor, but now any hope of clearer weather had well and truly gone and it really was icy, icy cold and the sleet/snow had set in. Any views back to Sgurr Eilde Mor, up to Binnein Beag or down to the Water of Nevis had disappeared sadly. The route leads you round the bottom of the little lochan at the base of Binnein Beag and straight up the south side - a 200m short sharp climb:

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The route back down to the Water of Nevis was straightforward and managed to pick up the path just before it fell dark, so did have the 5 miles route back using the head torch.

I wasn't sure if I'd be able to fit all of the peaks in during daylight at this time of the year especially reading other reports, but I think because it was rather chilly :roll: it helped me to keep moving and not hang around too much! It's certainly very possible in these conditions with not much snow and very little ice :D
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Re: Mamores on a crisp day - 10 Munros, 23 miles, 11.5 hours

Postby timmunro86 » Thu Jan 10, 2019 2:28 pm

Hey mate, great report and you got some cracking photos! It's these early winter days that I love, just enough crisp snow to make it beautiful and not too much to slow you down! Still, saying that, looks like there was no chance of slowing you down! That's a cracking time for the full round!

Did you have crampons on or where they not required?
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Re: Mamores on a crisp day - 10 Munros, 23 miles, 11.5 hours

Postby Alteknacker » Thu Jan 10, 2019 6:12 pm

Some really superb pics there - it looks so different with a covering of white!

That's a phenomenal time also, especially in winter - it took me almost 4 hours longer in summer going clockwise!

I had to smile about the frozen water bottles - it's happened to me also in similar conditions, and the unexpected thing is that you can get quite dehydrated, even when it's so cold, if you're pushing along and aren't able to drink.

I guess it'll be the Mullardoch round in 13 hours next....???? :D
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Re: Mamores on a crisp day - 10 Munros, 23 miles, 11.5 hours

Postby kevsbald » Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:08 pm

Nice ten.
Pretty sure Mullardoch round is doable in 12 hours.
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Re: Mamores on a crisp day - 10 Munros, 23 miles, 11.5 hours

Postby goingforawii » Fri Jan 11, 2019 1:25 am

timmunro86 wrote:Hey mate, great report and you got some cracking photos! It's these early winter days that I love, just enough crisp snow to make it beautiful and not too much to slow you down! Still, saying that, looks like there was no chance of slowing you down! That's a cracking time for the full round!

Did you have crampons on or where they not required?


Cheers mate. It was a beautiful day with the snow covering. It was remarkable that Glencoe the next day had almost no snow at all... and now it’s pretty much all gone everywhere! Hopefully it’ll be back soon.

No crampons needed - enough snow for plenty of grip this time around!
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Re: Mamores on a crisp day - 10 Munros, 23 miles, 11.5 hours

Postby goingforawii » Fri Jan 11, 2019 1:33 am

Alteknacker wrote:Some really superb pics there - it looks so different with a covering of white!

That's a phenomenal time also, especially in winter - it took me almost 4 hours longer in summer going clockwise!

I had to smile about the frozen water bottles - it's happened to me also in similar conditions, and the unexpected thing is that you can get quite dehydrated, even when it's so cold, if you're pushing along and aren't able to drink.

I guess it'll be the Mullardoch round in 13 hours next....???? :D


I did have a flask of tea with me as well but even after only 3 hours it was very cold... I poured water into it in the end just to make sure I had some that wouldn’t freeze! :D

I’m eyeing the Mullardoch round this year... it does sound like a real good day out! :)
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Re: Mamores on a crisp day - 10 Munros, 23 miles, 11.5 hours

Postby goingforawii » Fri Jan 11, 2019 1:33 am

kevsbald wrote:Nice ten.
Pretty sure Mullardoch round is doable in 12 hours.


Cheers. I’ll take that as a challenge! :D
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Re: Mamores on a crisp day - 10 Munros, 23 miles, 11.5 hours

Postby Woodsy Boy » Fri Jan 11, 2019 5:24 pm

Absolutely superb effort for that time of year.
4 of us managed to do it a few years ago in summer but it took us 20 long hours so hats off to you.
Well done :clap: :clap: :clap:
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Re: Mamores on a crisp day - 10 Munros, 23 miles, 11.5 hours

Postby goingforawii » Sun Jan 13, 2019 10:25 pm

Woodsy Boy wrote:Absolutely superb effort for that time of year.
4 of us managed to do it a few years ago in summer but it took us 20 long hours so hats off to you.
Well done :clap: :clap: :clap:


Thanks very much! There really wasn't much ice at all, so I think being able to jog/slide down some of the hills in the snow helped speed up the round a bit... and being how cold it was - I was glad to go as quickly as possible :D
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