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If I'd known what I know now I'd not have gone

If I'd known what I know now I'd not have gone


Postby dogplodder » Mon Oct 07, 2019 5:06 pm

Route description: Sgurr Eilde Mor and Binnein Beag, Mamores

Munros included on this walk: Binnein Beag

Date walked: 26/08/2019

Distance: 18 km

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The other day Moira said out of all the walks we've done this year this was her favourite. And to think it nearly didn't happen! We were all set to do part of the Speyside Way when the forecast looked too good not to get high up and I suggested Binnein Beag. Despite the earlier start and longer drive she was up for it and we were parked at the Grey Mare's Tail car park and walking up through the woods by about 9.00. The sky was grey and cloudy but we knew it would clear by midday.

It was my fourth time up through the woods and I don't think the path has improved any, with multiple deep channels where it's most eroded. We agreed we would want to be down again before we lost light.

Kinlochleven and Loch Leven from above the woods
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We crossed the moor and then the vehicle track, noting that the section immediately after the track was wetter than in May 2018, but no surprises there after a wet summer.

Loch Eilde Mor and hills of Glencoe
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We stopped for a snack after crossing the second burn and continued round the flanks of Sgor Eilde Beag with views behind as magnificent as ever. We turned sharp left at the cairn where many feet have mistakenly made a path straight on (unless you are deliberately climbing Sgurr Eilde Mor from the south as I did with Rob and Mary) and headed up the zig zag path to a higher level above the lochans from where we got our first sighting of Binnein Beag.

Coire an Lochan
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I remember on that occasion with Rob and Mary eyeing up BB and thinking it didn't look so far and since we were in good time maybe we could include it. Rob was tempted too but Mary wasn't keen and I have to be honest that I didn't appreciate how big the drop was between where we were and BB. Because the drop is out of sight from where you're standing you don't take it into account, illustrating that maps are more important than what the eye thinks it can see.

Binnein Beag and Grey Corries
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At the left turn for Binnein Mor and right turn for SEM we kept going. To begin with it's a gradual descent but then it becomes more obvious how far down we had to go, but helpfully on a good stalker's path that descends in wide zig zags.

A big drop into Coire a Bhinnein
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At the bottom there is an easy crossing of the burn on large boulders and the path continues downstream before veering off to the left to climb again.

Burn at bottom with Stob Ban of Grey Corries peeking through
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Path visible crossing hillside top left
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After that big drop it's inevitable there's a fair amount of reascent but at least it's at a gradual gradient. That part of the route was wet and muddy and took us round to a point that felt like the foot of BB where the lochan should have been, but it wasn't. There was still a bit further to go.

Binnein Beag
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When we reached the lochan we found some nice level rocks to perch on for lunch. There was a steady breeze keeping midges away and we sat there for a while enjoying the sense of remoteness of the place and contemplating the climb ahead. It looked steep.

Lochan at foot of Binnein Beag
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To start with the path was good but higher up there was loose gravel that would need a bit care on the descent. Almost the most diminutive in height of the Mamores it may be, but Binnein Beag is no push over and shouldn't be taken lightly. In some ways it reminded me of Ben Vane in the Arrochar Alps, which packs more of a punch than you expect.

Climbiing the ridge with backdrop of Binnein Mor
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Ben Nevis from ascent
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A final steep pull and short walk took us to the summit and I had a pleasant sense of completeness to now be sitting on the last of my Mamores.

Binnein Beag summit
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For a fine viewpoint BB didn't disappoint. Sgurr Eilde Mor, Binnein Mor, the Ring of Steal, Nevis, Carn Mor Dearg, Aonachs, Grey Corries, Easains to the hills around Loch Ossian - all clear and looking fabulous. For a last minute decision to come here we couldn't have been blessed with better views.

Zoomed to Coire an Lochan from BB summit
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Binnein Mor, Ring of Steal and Nevis
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After drinking in the views we decided to get the descent out of the way. We took it carefully on the looser parts and found ourselves on a different path to the one we came up by, which we corrected to get on to the crest of the ridge as it felt more solid underfoot.

Not good for vertigo sufferers here
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Down by the lochan we rewarded ourselves with a coffee before the long trek down and up to the other lochans on our journey.

Nevis and CMD
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Burn crossing
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Top of the reascent
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Sgurr Eilde Mor and lochans again
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It really was that blue
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We maintained a steady speed on the descent from Coire an Lochan and enjoyed the views south in the late afternoon sun.

Loch Eilde Mor, Blackwater Reservoir, Orchy and Glencoe hills
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Zoomed to Black Mount and Buachaille Etive Mor
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Loch Leven framed by Pap of Glencoe and Beinn na Caillich with sun's rays giving interesting light effect
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We were glad to have full daylight for the final descent on the eroded path through the woods. Higher up there were signs of repair work on the path, but the path through the woods takes more traffic with folk going up for the view and is badly in need of attention.

What I didn't know when we did this walk was that I have a rotator cuff injury in both shoulders. I knew by the pain there was something amiss and put it down to arthritis but it now turns out I damaged them with pole use on a 40km walk to A' Mhaighdean in Fisherfield. Legs and feet were fine but shoulders bore the brunt apparently. So I was being canny with pole use on this walk and probably if I'd known the correct diagnosis I'd not have gone. Glad I didn't know as it was a fabulous day!
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Re: If I'd known what I know now I'd not have gone

Postby Graeme D » Tue Oct 08, 2019 10:04 am

I have to say I am quite glad you didn't know too! :lol: You had a fantastic day and have a fantastic TR to remember it by. I am sizing this pair up for next week, weather permitting (as ever! :lol: )
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Re: If I'd known what I know now I'd not have gone

Postby tweedledog » Tue Oct 08, 2019 10:20 am

Looks like a great day in spite of the injury. Was it just the sheer length of the Fisherfield walk that did the damage, or something about pole technique?
By the way, and on another matter entirely, I noticed in your response to BP that you fancied her alternative Dalmally Horseshoe. If you ever do make it you are welcome to drop in for a cuppa and, more important, to meet The Whippet who is now a venerable 14. He remembers that you liked his reports. Anyway, if you do visit the area message me. I can see Beinn a' Bhuiridh from my garden.
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Re: If I'd known what I know now I'd not have gone

Postby dogplodder » Tue Oct 08, 2019 12:29 pm

Graeme D wrote:I have to say I am quite glad you didn't know too! :lol: You had a fantastic day and have a fantastic TR to remember it by. I am sizing this pair up for next week, weather permitting (as ever! :lol: )


Hope you get good weather for it. They're a great pair - although having the luxury of being 'retired' I enjoyed doing them separately! :wink:
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Re: If I'd known what I know now I'd not have gone

Postby Huff_n_Puff » Tue Oct 08, 2019 5:49 pm

Looks just beautiful, and thanks for the detailed route description - now we just have to follow in your footsteps :lol: :lol: . Hope the shoulder injuries are recovering.
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Re: If I'd known what I know now I'd not have gone

Postby dogplodder » Wed Oct 09, 2019 9:50 am

tweedledog wrote:Looks like a great day in spite of the injury. Was it just the sheer length of the Fisherfield walk that did the damage, or something about pole technique?
By the way, and on another matter entirely, I noticed in your response to BP that you fancied her alternative Dalmally Horseshoe. If you ever do make it you are welcome to drop in for a cuppa and, more important, to meet The Whippet who is now a venerable 14. He remembers that you liked his reports. Anyway, if you do visit the area message me. I can see Beinn a' Bhuiridh from my garden.


I've used poles for the past 10 years with no problem so think it must have been a repetitive strain thing due to the length of time on rough terrain. I wasn't immediately aware of anything wrong - just a stiffness in the shoulders - but over the next days and weeks certain movements became very painful. The first doctor I saw thought it was frozen shoulder, I thought arthritis as my mother had it, but my GP says it's rotator cuff injury probably from over use of poles and worse on left side from lead training our new dog. :?

That would be great to meet The Whippet but I dont think for above reason it would be any time soon. I will certainly keep it in mind if I'm down you way in the future. Thanks for the invite! :D
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Re: If I'd known what I know now I'd not have gone

Postby BlackPanther » Wed Oct 09, 2019 10:41 am

Lovely photos :D I didn't get to see much from BB when we did it a few years back, yet I still enjoyed it. Must be a record amount of ascent for a single Munro route though.

I hope your injury recovers fast. We are both in the same wagon, sadly. Minor back/neck pains, overstretched muscles and sore tendons. Little annoying aches, but they can spoil the day badly.
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Re: If I'd known what I know now I'd not have gone

Postby past my sell by date » Wed Oct 09, 2019 6:32 pm

Great Report and a lovely walk - Sorry about the injury. when I first used poles I put my hands in the straps (as recommended I think - stops you losing them ) but a slip on a muddy descent in New Zealand gave my hand a huge jerk back - resulting in a frozen shoulder - which is a really dire injury and took me an age to recover from :( :( :( So I never use the straps now. For some reason I grip the L one by the handle, hold the R one on top - in push-up mode - no idea why - it just happens :lol: :lol:
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Re: If I'd known what I know now I'd not have gone

Postby dogplodder » Fri Oct 11, 2019 11:32 am

Huff_n_Puff wrote:Looks just beautiful, and thanks for the detailed route description - now we just have to follow in your footsteps :lol: :lol: . Hope the shoulder injuries are recovering.


No sheep on this route so fine for the spaniels. 8)
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Re: If I'd known what I know now I'd not have gone

Postby dogplodder » Fri Oct 11, 2019 11:39 am

BlackPanther wrote:Lovely photos :D I didn't get to see much from BB when we did it a few years back, yet I still enjoyed it. Must be a record amount of ascent for a single Munro route though.

I hope your injury recovers fast. We are both in the same wagon, sadly. Minor back/neck pains, overstretched muscles and sore tendons. Little annoying aches, but they can spoil the day badly.


Sorry you're suffering but when you think what we ask our bodies to do it's not surprising we pick up some aches and pains along the way. Don't know about you but I reckon It's still worth it (mostly!). :wink:
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Re: If I'd known what I know now I'd not have gone

Postby Sunset tripper » Fri Oct 11, 2019 8:48 pm

Looked a great day out. Injuries are really annoying :( , hope you get back to full fitness soon.
I've done that as a solo hill also, but from Glen Nevis. It's a great route though there is a river crossing that could cause problems if water levels high.
The advantage of the Glen Nevis approach for me was, that though slightly longer you get the Glen Nevis scenery plus it saved me 30 odd miles in the car. Less ascent from Glen Nevis also.
Great wee hill to do from any direction though.
All the best :D
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Re: If I'd known what I know now I'd not have gone

Postby dogplodder » Thu Oct 17, 2019 4:37 pm

past my sell by date wrote:Great Report and a lovely walk - Sorry about the injury. when I first used poles I put my hands in the straps (as recommended I think - stops you losing them ) but a slip on a muddy descent in New Zealand gave my hand a huge jerk back - resulting in a frozen shoulder - which is a really dire injury and took me an age to recover from :( :( :( So I never use the straps now. For some reason I grip the L one by the handle, hold the R one on top - in push-up mode - no idea why - it just happens :lol: :lol:


Poles can be a mixed blessing. A simple trip over a grassy tussock turned out worse than it should have because I landed wrist on pole causing a small fracture. :eh:
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Re: If I'd known what I know now I'd not have gone

Postby dogplodder » Sat Oct 19, 2019 12:17 pm

Sunset tripper wrote:Looked a great day out. Injuries are really annoying :( , hope you get back to full fitness soon.
I've done that as a solo hill also, but from Glen Nevis. It's a great route though there is a river crossing that could cause problems if water levels high.
The advantage of the Glen Nevis approach for me was, that though slightly longer you get the Glen Nevis scenery plus it saved me 30 odd miles in the car. Less ascent from Glen Nevis also.
Great wee hill to do from any direction though.
All the best :D


I looked at doing it from Glen Nevis for similar reasons but Moira prefers a proper path and I thought the ascent from the river crossing was probably pathless? 8)
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Re: If I'd known what I know now I'd not have gone

Postby angusb » Fri Sep 18, 2020 10:37 am

Thanks for a very helpful report. I did this walk yesterday, in glorious conditions. When I left the car park, I wasn't sure what combination of the three eastern Mamores left to climb I was going to do, but by the time I got up to the top of the track, I thought that going out to Binnein Beag would at least remove the need to have to trail all that way again, so that is what I did - the two Mors can wait for another day. Lots of folk out on the track yesterday, and a great way to spend the day. I knew Rob and Mary through their time in Inverness Choral Society, so hope they have settled in well down south.
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