My first walk report. Could have picked a better one in terms of (a) weather and (b) photographic content but anyhoo...
My wife and three pals had undertaken to walk the West Highland Way in what turned out to be a more or less unrelenting rain-fest. I was going to meet them at the finish and had traveled up to Glen Nevis Caravan Site a few days before, intending to get a bit of walking in for myself. Stob Ban and Mullach nan Coirean looked tempting so, barring a total wash-out, that was my goal.
Come the morning, when I awoke, Glen Nevis was 'happed in mist', but after breakfast it had cleared somewhat and off I set. At Achriabhach the only other occupant of the car park was a German registered campervan. At least I had beaten the crowds...
My route, more or less as Walk Highland has it, apart from a few detours.
I started off with a look at the Polldubh waterfall in full spate.
The path was initially damp and muddy and up ahead clouds were gathering over Coire a Mhusgain.
Over to the north-east, Càrn Dearg and Bealach Cumhann rose above Glen Nevis.
The view back down Glen Nevis was still clear. In the foreground is an illustration of the general conditions underfoot. Across the burn I could hear stags roaring, and after some effort picked out tiny brown figures high up on the slopes.
The view forward was also still clear. Ish.
But soon came the clag.
I really shouldn’t have been here, having missed the zig-zags which take the path higher up the slope. This path crossed the burn and then after a slight scramble ended at a rock wall which would have been essayable in the dry, but not when it was running like Niagara Falls.
So I forged directly up the slope until I regained the proper track, much to the bemusement of the natives.
Getting across this involved a detour and a grazed hand. Once across I met the owners of the camper van who had decided to turn back because of the weather.
At the bealach. I dug out my waterproof trousers and carried on.
Phantoms loomed out of the mist. Some minor scrambling was required but nothing terrifying.
At the top of Stob Ban. I had half intended to return the way I had come up, but then decided I was doing not too bad, and although it was wet, it wasn't torrential, so I would carry on. I hunkered down in the lee of a rock and ate my lunch.
Discretion and the best part of valour and all that, I went round the base of the knoll, stumbling over the shattered rock.
A break in the mist revealed Coire an Lochain, and Glen Nevis beyond.
Looking back to Stob Ban.
Another break to the south-east briefly revealed the glen of the Allt Nathrach, and Kinlochleven away in the distance, towards where my wife and her chums were making their way from Kingshouse over the Devil’s Staircase. Tomorrow they would be taking their sodden 16 mile hike to Fort William.
After a bit of a plod I was happy to suddenly come upon the summit cairn of Mullach nan Coirean.
Hefty buttresses descend into the misty depths of Coire Dearg. I really must get back up here on a nice day (see also several other hills).
The Allt a’ Choire Dheirg being generously fed from Allt Coire an Lochain.
The descent down Sròn Riabhach started promisingly.
But then turned boggy.
Then steep, rocky, boggy and wet.
At last, the stile to the promised land of no more bog.
A last look back at the horror.
What Walk Highland describes as a ‘thankfully much drier’ path.
At the sharp bend on the forestry track there was a sign for the Achriabhach Trail, which I nearly took before realising it was (a) back uphill and (b) maybe involved a dodgy crossing of the raging torrent that was the Allt a' Choire Dheirg. Luckily I spotted the proper descent behind a pile of spoil and eventually made my sodden return to an empty, bar one, car park. Apart from the German couple I met at the start, I reckon I was the sole wanderer on the circuit that day.
The statistics. Not too shabby; generally as long as I get midway between the Walk Highland estimate I reckon I've not done too badly.
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