walkhighlands

A scorching return to the eastern Mamores

Munros: Binnein Beag, Binnein Mòr, Sgùrr Èilde Mòr

Date walked: 24/07/2021

Time taken: 11 hours

Distance: 23km

Ascent: 1890m

Munros: Binnein Mor, Sgurr Eilde Mor, Binnein Beag.
Date: 24/07/2021.
Distance: 23km.
Ascent: 1890m.
Time: 11 hours.
Weather: Hot and sunny.

David had suggested a weekend of walking somewhere in the highlands, however I ended up going to my Uncle's funeral in Yorkshire on Friday, so settled on meeting up with him on my way home on Saturday for a day out. From David's suggestions, I had fancied the eastern end of the Mamores - somewhere I hadn't been in about 15 years. Despite being a connoisseur of the NW, David hadn't been up to the head of Glen Nevis until a few weeks ago and couldn't wait for another visit, so this ended up being our starting point. For me, having arrived back in Glasgow at 1am on Saturday morning, this meant being out of bed again for 5:30 - something I have long got out of the habit of doing!

Fortunately aside from an annoying M8 diversion minutes from the flat that I'd forgotten about, the run up to the head of Glen Nevis was smooth, and only took around 2 hours 30 minutes. It was around 9:15 when I arrived and fortunately there were still a couple of parking spaces left. David was already there, and we spent a good 45 minutes 'getting ready' :lol: . There was no real rush or time constraints today now that I'd got a parking space. Still, we were on our way by around 10.

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Waterslide Slab and Coire Eoghainn of Ben Nevis


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The drive up had been mostly in low cloud but the day was now hot and sunny. Despite its busyness, this part of Glen Nevis is probably one of the wildest and most impressive bits of glen in the country and it was good to be back again. Despite a 15 year gap in visiting, this was a regular walk for us as a family when I was younger.

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Looking down Glen Nevis

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Steall Gorge

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Carn Dearg

The light wasn't great for looking at Steall Falls on the way past so we pushed on past the ruin and into upper Glen Nevis. David had felt some twinges from an old knee injury recently and was concerned it might mess up our plans, but so far we were doing OK.

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Steall Meadows and Carn a Mhaim

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Ben Nevis from near Steall ruins

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Ben Nevis

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An Garbhanach

We had plenty of water stops on the climb up into Coire Gualann a' Bhlair, initially following the rim of an impressive gorge on the Water of Nevis, then more pathlessly into the corrie, picking up some lines of slabs on the way. We were aiming for the Sron a' Garbh Choire ridge that David was keen to go up. I had been up it before (a couple of times it turns out, although I only really remember one occasion), and knew that in this dry weather it would be straightforward.

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David on some slabs

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Central ridge (Sron a Garbh Choire) of Binnein Mor

After crossing over the floor of the corrie, we scrabbled up over steep ground and bits of scree to get onto the ridge. The upper section reared above us for some way - Binnein Mor is quite high!

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Ben Nevis to Aonach Beag from Sron a Garbh Choire of Binnein Mor

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Upper section of the ridge

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Easy rock in the dry

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The Ben

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Back down the ridge to Binnein Beag

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Looks good right at the top but it is easy

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Last bit of ascent to the summit

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Summit ridge

After more stops (great day so why not?) we emerged on the short summit ridge. Binnein Mor is definitely a proper mountain - the summit is narrow and rocky and actually feels quite remote. It was also the scene of my only ever ice axe arrest that wasn't just a practice - successful thankfully!

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Sgurr Eilde Mor and Blackwater Reservoir

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North along the summit ridge

No harm in having another break here to enjoy the situation. There were a couple of other folk on the summit but on the whole the day was quite quiet once upstream of Steall. We didn't hang around too long due to an attack of flying objects. Flying ants and a couple of midges were unwelcome but the worst thing was the clegs today. David seemed to attract more of these than I did, prompting us to get moving again.

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West along the Mamores

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Sgurr Eilde Beag

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Sgurr Eilde Mor and Beag

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Glencoe hills

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Looking back up Binnein Mor

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Coire an Lochan and Sgurr Eilde Mor

Sgurr Eilde Mor was our next destination. There is a good path down the corrie to the northern side of Coire an Lochain but since we wanted to go up the southern flank of Sgurr Eilde Mor, we took a chance and went over Sgurr Eilde Beag first. I remembered a stalkers path down the southern ridge of this even though it wasn't shown on either of our maps. I did wonder briefly whether my imagination had made it up, but the top zigzags duly appeared and we had an easy walk down. The path is actually on some versions of the map.

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Descending to Sgurr Eilde Mor

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Binnein Mor

Coire an Lochan is one of those spots that just makes you want to put up a tent. Sadly we didn't have one with us. The path up the southern flank of Sgurr Eilde Mor winds around a bit and disappears a couple of times, but eventually we arrived on the summit. A couple of fellrunners we had seen on Binnein Mor were just departing down the NE ridge. I wondered if they were doing the Ramsay Round.

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Buachaille and Glen Etive hills

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Binnein Beag and the Grey Corries

We took another path down the northern flank of Sgurr Eilde Mor, which took in a short section of arete before depositing us on some scree - seemingly unavoidable on this side of the hill. Soon we were on the zigsags that took us down and round the back of Coire a' Bhinnein and towards our final hill of the day. David had been concerned that his knee wouldn't make it up all three summits, but despite a couple of worrying twinges, the ibuprofen seemed to have worked wonders at keeping any swelling down and he was going better than ever by this point.

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Me on the way down Sgurr Eilde Mor

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David descending Sgurr Eilde Mor

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Traverse to Binnein Beag

The lochan under Binnein Beag was a nice spot for another quick break - a bit like the lochan under the final ascent to An Ruadh-stac. The gradient up was steep but at least there was a path, so we ended up making quite short work of this last hill. It might be one of the lowest Mamores but it stands right on the edge of the range, and you can't really see any civilization from it at all - only a short section of the railway up the side of Loch Treig reminds you of the outside world. Binnein Mor looks pretty good from here as well.

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Looking back to Binnein Mor from Binnein Beag

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Black Mount

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Binnein Mor

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Grey Corries

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Binnein Mor from the descent of Binnein Beag

Traces of path started us off down the northern flank of the hill, then it was just a case of avoiding the worst of the scree and outcrops until the slope eased a bit. Then we made a straight line for the bend in the Water of Nevis where we had started the main ascent.

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Ridges and ridges looking down Glen Nevis

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Our ascent ridge of Binnein Mor looking good

Lower down there were intermittent bits of path on the eastern side of the Allt a' Bheithe. We eventually crossed this to cut a corner, and spotted an eagle above us. For once I was able to get a couple of half-decent shots before it disappeared again.

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Eagle

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Binnein Mor from upper Glen Nevis

We were now into the part of the evening where the hillsides had a golden glow, and also back on the easy path through Glen Nevis. David had been trying to work his way through a backlog of pressups from some daft challenge all day, and the bridge at Steall ruins presented the chance for a final 20. We also just about made it to the falls before they disappeared back into the shadow.

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Looking back to Binnein Beag and Mor

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Sgurr a Mhaim and Glen Nevis

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David takes his exercise seriously

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Steall Falls

It was Saturday night and Steall meadows were absolutely heaving with campers. As we wandered back down the gorge, loads more were still walking up with overnight gear, despite it being almost 9pm. We wondered briefly if we would be blocked in - this many people require a lot of cars! As it happened, we were fine - the carpark is bigger than you think. None of this really detracted too much from the place (despite spotting the odd unburied turd). This year probably is the busiest ever in the highlands, but the head of Glen Nevis has always been busy so the quantity of people comes as less of a shock than in some of the more remote places further north.

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Steall Falls and An Gearanach

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Back down Glen Nevis

Back at the car at 9pm, I wondered what to do. Jackie had gone off to Gairloch for a couple of nights worth of camping, so I could potentially have joined her or stayed in Glen Nevis with David to do Stob Ban the next day. In the end, I opted to go back to Inverness and sleep for a long time! It had been a great day out, and despite the continuing good weather I didn't feel at all like I was missing out by not doing it all again tomorrow.

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malky_c


User avatar
Location: Glasgow/Inverness
Occupation: Civil Engineer
Interests: Walking, Scrambling, Cycling, Mountain Biking
Munro rounds: 1
Corbett rounds: 1
Graham rounds: 1

Munros: 282
Corbetts: 222
Grahams: 219
Donalds: 74
Wainwrights: 122
Hewitts: 268
Sub 2000: 279
Islands: 38



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Statistics

2021

Trips: 38
Distance: 426 km
Ascent: 21255m
Munros: 4
Corbetts: 2
Grahams: 13
Sub2000s: 25

2020

Trips: 73
Distance: 840.25 km
Ascent: 43115m
Munros: 9
Corbetts: 4
Grahams: 21
Donalds: 2
Sub2000s: 41
Hewitts: 15
Wainwrights 23

2019

Trips: 72
Distance: 1114 km
Ascent: 66725m
Munros: 23
Corbetts: 19
Grahams: 17
Donalds: 4
Sub2000s: 43
Hewitts: 12
Wainwrights 2

2018

Trips: 74
Distance: 1529 km
Ascent: 85110m
Munros: 20
Corbetts: 29
Grahams: 21
Donalds: 28
Sub2000s: 41
Hewitts: 51
Wainwrights 20

2017

Trips: 59
Distance: 1009.8 km
Ascent: 54765m
Munros: 27
Corbetts: 11
Grahams: 9
Sub2000s: 36
Hewitts: 23
Wainwrights 9

2016

Trips: 55
Distance: 1132.8 km
Ascent: 59985m
Munros: 18
Corbetts: 20
Grahams: 20
Donalds: 4
Sub2000s: 33

2015

Trips: 50
Distance: 1009 km
Ascent: 58815m
Munros: 10
Corbetts: 18
Grahams: 35
Donalds: 5
Sub2000s: 26

2014

Trips: 52
Distance: 1143 km
Ascent: 56245m
Munros: 11
Corbetts: 23
Grahams: 43
Donalds: 33
Sub2000s: 23

2013

Trips: 45
Distance: 1121.2 km
Ascent: 52310m
Munros: 9
Corbetts: 23
Grahams: 36
Sub2000s: 26

2012

Trips: 61
Distance: 1911.9 km
Ascent: 64050m
Corbetts: 8
Grahams: 16
Sub2000s: 19
Hewitts: 96
Wainwrights 16

2011

Trips: 49
Distance: 867.2 km
Ascent: 45165m
Munros: 5
Corbetts: 21
Grahams: 31
Sub2000s: 11
Hewitts: 18

2010

Trips: 45
Distance: 987.3 km
Ascent: 49290m
Munros: 7
Corbetts: 33
Grahams: 32
Sub2000s: 10
Hewitts: 4

2009

Trips: 43
Distance: 741 km
Ascent: 35725m
Munros: 8
Corbetts: 35
Grahams: 14
Sub2000s: 5
Hewitts: 1

2008

Trips: 47
Distance: 540.5 km
Ascent: 37865m
Munros: 15
Corbetts: 22
Grahams: 18
Donalds: 3
Sub2000s: 6

2007

Trips: 40
Distance: 471.5 km
Ascent: 30550m
Munros: 22
Corbetts: 19
Grahams: 7
Donalds: 3
Sub2000s: 4

2006

Trips: 36
Distance: 472 km
Ascent: 32785m
Munros: 39
Corbetts: 7
Grahams: 4
Hewitts: 1

2005

Trips: 29
Distance: 464 km
Ascent: 27635m
Munros: 29
Corbetts: 7
Grahams: 1
Sub2000s: 2
Hewitts: 5
Wainwrights 8

2004

Trips: 43
Distance: 839.4 km
Ascent: 47975m
Munros: 60
Corbetts: 6
Grahams: 2
Donalds: 2
Sub2000s: 1
Hewitts: 1

2003

Trips: 45
Distance: 798 km
Ascent: 51905m
Munros: 68
Corbetts: 5
Hewitts: 5

2002

Trips: 47
Distance: 634 km
Ascent: 42245m
Munros: 46
Corbetts: 3
Grahams: 3
Hewitts: 24

2001

Trips: 61
Distance: 738.5 km
Ascent: 59035m
Munros: 45
Corbetts: 1
Sub2000s: 1
Hewitts: 53
Wainwrights 23

2000

Trips: 51
Distance: 512.5 km
Ascent: 42190m
Munros: 19
Corbetts: 2
Sub2000s: 1
Hewitts: 55
Wainwrights 26

1999

Trips: 47
Distance: 504 km
Ascent: 43786m
Munros: 23
Corbetts: 1
Hewitts: 48
Wainwrights 4

1998

Trips: 37
Distance: 378 km
Ascent: 33525m
Munros: 12
Hewitts: 46

1997

Trips: 43
Distance: 512.1 km
Ascent: 44205m
Munros: 19
Corbetts: 4
Grahams: 1
Donalds: 2
Hewitts: 63
Wainwrights 6

1996

Trips: 40
Distance: 476.5 km
Ascent: 40740m
Munros: 12
Corbetts: 2
Hewitts: 75
Wainwrights 17

1995

Trips: 2


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