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Three Stobs on/off the beaten track

Three Stobs on/off the beaten track

Postby zatapathique » Sun Aug 25, 2019 4:38 pm

Route description: Stob Ban (Grey Corries)

Munros included on this walk: Stob a' Choire Mheadhoin, Stob Bàn (Grey Corries), Stob Coire Easain

Date walked: 14/06/2019

Time taken: 11.8 hours

Distance: 33.2 km

Ascent: 1882m

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Altitude profile

As so often this week, the weather forecast spoke of showers, strong winds, and temperatures just above freezing on the summits. One last time, I started directly from my cabin at Corriechoille to bag Stob Bàn, and hopefully also Stob Coire Easain and Stob a' Choire Mheadhoin. It was rather chilly, and the first drops of rain were already falling down.
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Setting out

I was hardly on my way when a car occupied with three ladies overtook me on the track. By the time I reached their parking spot, they were still getting their equipment ready, and we had a little chat. They had done Stob Bàn the previous week, and now wanted to do the Grey Corries. I said goodbye and went on, thinking that I might see them on the ridge from Stob Bàn.
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A hint of a rainbow

As I entered the forest plantation, a group of girl scouts with their guide were coming down the hill towards me, twelve of them were, in groups of four, carrying a sort of stretcher made of tarpaulin, with heavy backpacks on the stretcher. The guide felt obliged to let me know that this was "just a scenario", practicing to get wounded off the hills. Reassuring to know.

When I arrived at the Wee Minister, I dutifully said hello to him from the lady of the elderly couple who had rented the cabin next to mine and who had departed in the morning. Going on and up towards the Lairig Leacach, cold and rain increased, with the wind driving the rain at me and into my hood. Not so much fun to walk. I briefly considered turning around, but then decided to go at least to the bothy and wait there until the rain would stop. As soon as I had passed the highest point, though, rain stopped, and there was even sun on Stob Bàn!
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Passing the highest point

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Sun on Stob Bàn - go for it!

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First summit of the day in view

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The bothy

I did not want to follow the route as describe on Walkhighlands, but take the path behind the bothy along the Allt a' Chùil Choirean shown on the map, and see the little lochan at Coire Ràth which I had seen from Stob Choire Claurigh a few days before. But, as a leopard cannot change his spots, I cannot help missing paths. :-?
What I thought to be the path was nothing but a deer tread, too high above the stream. Somehow I managed my way up to the lochan off the path which I thought had ended. A look at the map (in the backpack because of the rain) would have shown me that the path continued on the other side of the stream, whereas I thought to remember that the path stayed on the northern side all the time.
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My "path"...

Shortly before arriving at the bealach, I joined the path again. It would have been a much nicer walk on the path... The lochan was less picturesque below the grey sky than as I had seen it from higher above, and it was cold, so I did not stay for long.
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The lochan at Coire Ràth, the scree slope leading up Stob Bàn visible

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Looking down Coire Ràth

Walking up the scree slope posed no problem. Has anybody walked this one and the one at Sgùrr Alasdair on Skye? Are they comparable?
On the summit, it was raining again, then thankfully stopped to let me eat my pasta. With the binoculars, I tried looking out for the three ladies, curious if they had made it to the ridge or abandoned their walk because of the weather. They were nowhere to be seen.
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Rain approaching Sgùrr Innse

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Rain approaching Binnein Beag and Binnein Mòr

Panorama: Almost 360° from Stob Bàn. Click to see very large and all the details.

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From left to right Sgùrr Innse, Rain, Stob a' Choire Mheadhoin, Stob Coire Easain

Going back down along the ridge was very easy and fast, I arrived at the bothy at only 1:30. With all the rain and the walk off the path, I had somehow already resigned to not climbing the Easains, but now I was quite eager to include them in the walk. Just as I had crossed the Allt na Lairige and found a small path running almost level along the slopes of Stob Coire Easain, rain began to pour down again quite heavily. I soon left the path and tried to find my way up as well as possible. As usual on such occasions, Paula Abdul started playing "Straight Up" in my head...
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Stob Bàn and the Grey Corries from the lower western slopes of Stob Coire Easain

The rain stopped before the really steep ascent began. The good thing with such a steep ascent is that the horizontal distance is small, but that's about the only good thing about it...

On the summit, it was again very cold and windy, hardly the day to sit and enjoy the panorama. Here's one to enjoy from the comfort of your home:
Panorama from Stob Coire Easain: Stob Bàn, the Grey Corries, Stob Innse and Cruach Innse. Click to see large.

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Stob a' Choire Mheadhoin

Going over to Stob a' Choire Mheadhoin was like a walk in the park after the ascent to Stob Coire Easain. It didn't feel like a third Munro at all, and I was all the more happy for it. On the bealach, I scouted for the path down into Coire Easain Beag, my intended way back, and found it.
On the summit of Stob a' Choire Mheadhoin, it was again cold and windy, and it seemed to rain all around me.
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Sgùrr Innse and Cruach Innse behind a veil of rain

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...and already the rain is gone not even 10 minutes later. Typical showery weather.

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Stob 2 from Stob 3, Stob 1 very tiny to the right of Stob 2

I didn't stay longer than necessary and went down the steep path into Coire Easain Beag. The idea was to go around the northern end of Stob Coire Easain and to lose as little altitude as possible. I wanted to avoid walking down all the way into Coire na Cabaig, and then up again to the Bealach an Sgùrr between Sgùrr Innse and Stob Coire Easain.

I should have done so.

The ground was rough and heathery, and I didn't find a good place to walk. Some deer/sheep paths lured me deeper into the heather and then ended. They can be helpful, but they can also be so deceiving... In the end I had to go down almost all the way into Coire na Cabaig anyway, which would have been much easier following the Allt Coire Easain Beag. Annoying!
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Coire Easain Beag, the northern shoulder of Stob Coire Easain, Sgùrr Innse and Cruach Innse

Walking up to the Bealach an Sgùrr was strenuous enough, it seemed that the little stream had the wrong direction of flow (towards me) for much too long... It didn't help that it was really warm down there, sheltered from the wind. Finally the stream ended, and I had reached the Bealach. From there, Sgùrr Innse was so close, and for a split second, I was very much tempted to go for it, but my senses and my beginning feeling of hunger kicked in and stopped me.
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Sgùrr Innse

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Cruach Innse on the way back

On the long way back, I first met a young (and very pretty!) lady who wanted to stay at the bothy for the night and then go up Stob Bàn the next day. A while after that, I met two guys who also wanted to stay at the bothy and then do the same circuit as I had just done. They told me they didn't know the way, but "Craig knows the way, he's a little behind us."
They seemed nice enough, but I have to say I felt a bit uneasy about the girl. Says something about the world we live in if you start having dark thoughts (or parental instincts) like this...
Oh, and I never met Craig. Given that I still walked for more than an hour on the only way leading to the bothy, it made me wonder what happened to him...

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Mountain Walker
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Joined: Sep 3, 2014
Location: France

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