Myself and two friends, Mike and Jennifer, had been talking for ages about going a camping trip and getting some Munros done, and I was desperate to camp somewhere up a Munro as opposed to the bottom for a second time. When deciding where to go, my friend Mike had seen a video of a natural flume and loch up the Munro Stob Ghabar, and was desperate to go and see it. I thought to myself, there are many lochs up many mountains, but as long as we were doing a Munro I was happy to go for it.
After much deliberation over how to do it, we settled on the plan to tackle Stob Ghabar’s neighbour Stob a’Choire Odhair on the Friday evening, camp at the loch and then tackle Stob Ghabar the next day and then camp at the bottom on the Saturday night. I was sceptical about heaving our stuff all that way and so I should be – it turned out to be impossible!
We set off on a Friday evening after work and I was so excited for the weekend away instead of just a day. We had a great trip up to Bridge of Orchy with road trip songs. Unfortunately when we got to Tyndrum the road was shut so we had to take a diversion to the left and cut through a single track road to get back over to Bridge of Orchy but fun was had with the music and a rainbow.
A single track road to the left after Bridge of Orchy then led us to the start point at Victoria Bridge.
It was around 8:30pm when we got to the car park, meaning we had a maximum of two hours daylight left. We were pretty certain we were never going to manage a peak and more in this time! We got loaded up with our gear, which felt okay at first but it wasn’t long until it felt very heavy – I have only walked a long distance with camping stuff once before. Our journey in minimal time wasn’t helped by us walking in the wrong direction for ten minutes back we went and eventually we got going on the right way. A flat track led us along for a mile or so, and as the sun was setting a lovely view of some mountains opened up.
Mike taking the brunt of the tent
Take your time going down sun
There was then a turn to the right which steadily brought us up Stob a’Choire Odhair. It was a bit boggy for a bit but then the track became stony and very clear. We were having to stop a lot because of our stuff, and it was getting darker and darker so we decided to call it a day and camp where we could. We crossed a river to the left of the path and got a good flat grassy bit to camp on. Head torches and music on and we got the tent up, looking forward to the next day.
It was lovely to wake up in nature the next day, I hadn’t in so long. The views weren’t incredible – we were reluctant to stop at this insignificant spot – however the sun was shining and it was still lovely to be there.
Home for the night
After a quick breakfast we packed a day bag – the tent was getting left behind and we would head back over to get it after Stob Ghabar. It was great to already be two thirds up a mountain when we started walking however my legs hadn’t had the chance to warm up so I was feeling stiff! We got back over the river and carried on up the path we had been on the night before. After a while our map told us to turn right, where this took us some long zig zags up the mountain. We were constantly saying how difficult it would have been with our camping stuff! We got to the top and there were amazing views over Rannoch Moor.
A cool little cairn
We chilled here for a bit – it wasn’t too windy and the sun was very much out. We then headed off to tackle the big one – Stob Ghabar.
It looked so daunting! We spent a lot of the time heading over to it wondering just how we were going to tackle it and how long it would take. By this point there were discussions of how good the pub dinner and pint were going to be after it all. After a big descent, and even bigger ascent, we began to see Mike’s beloved loch. It was far too low down for us to visit, but it was a lovely bit of the landscape. There was then a bit of scrambling, however due to having to concentrate on not falling it down we made a lot of height really quickly! There was then a ridge walk – my first ever! However it’s wasn’t too thin and we got along fine.
Jennifer appearing to under appreciate a photo in front of such views
Love this one
Finally, there was a steep ascent to the summit, and I was desperate to peak at this point! The views around were incredible, both over what we had just done, and to the north. It had been the most difficult climb for me, but also the most rewarding.
Down to the loch
Stob a’Choire Odhair on the left and the ridge on the right
We then only had a few things left to concentrate on - getting down, packing the tent and getting to the pub! We were glad that after getting down the final climb a path that went to the right would take us down, avoiding the steep scramble we had come up. Eventually we got back to the tent and quickly packed it up.
Come on you two we have a tent to pack!
We thought surely since we’re heading down the way it won’t be as much of a struggle with the stuff but nope! It was still hard going, the final stretch always being the worst. This trip taught me to never attempt the West Highland Way.
Always a laugh to be had despite the heavy pack
We decided to put the stuff in the car and worry about where to put the tent up again after dinner – at The Inveroran Hotel just along the road. The midgies were insanely bad but we suffered it sitting outside anyway, then got a lovely spot at Victoria Bridge by the river – who really needs to camp up a Munro?
The two mountains were great to concur, and it will take a lot for me to be more impressed than I was at Stob Ghabar!
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