Spate solution: climb a tree

Munros: Am Bodach, An Gearanach, Sgùrr a' Mhàim, Stob Coire a' Chàirn

Date walked: 10/07/2019

Time taken: 11.5 hours

After admiring the ring of Steall from Ben nevis and the CMD last year, it was high on my 'munro to-do list'. Little was I to know, this was the best view of it I'd get...

Ring of Steall from Ben Nevis/CMD

The walk into Steall falls was easy enough, and warm enough that I decided to remove a couple of layers. Apparently the opportune moment for a small slug to take up residence on my backpack. Met a guy with 2 lovely black labs (with their own kitbags) who advised the river crossings weren't great...he wasn't wrong.


I soon came across the rope bridge, which I shakily made my way along. I was extremely glad the route was a circular and I didn't have to repeat the ordeal.


Next mission, cross Steall falls. I hadn't bargained how in spate the river would be (I'd later meet 2 guys who'd decided to do the route in reverse so they could get the paddling out the way nearer the end of the walk - sensible). I spent a good half hour panicking trying to find the best rocks to make my way across. Unable to find a way in which I felt I wouldn't fall in (any potential jumps would have involved slipping on the wet landing rock) I eventually walked downstream and found a shallower area. Here I felt I could make it about 3/4 of the way on small rocks before it got too deep. After that, my saving grace was a tree which was branching out over the river. Thankfully these branches were strong, so I clambered into the tree, threw my pack through the small gap in the branches and then manouvered myself through the gap and back onto dry land. Hallelujah!


The relief after all this water based problem solving was short lived as the ground on the other side was much boggier than expected and I ended up knee deep at one point (what would we do without waterproof trousers!?).


Thereafter the path up hill was steep and stony, but a pleasant relief after the previous events of the day. I made it up to a viewless An Gearanach and took a cheery summit selfie to document the days achievement so far.


Next, to Stob Coire a'Chairn. The bouldery ridge was soon in sight, along with one of the only other people I saw on the day. I used the time it took him to traverse along the ridge to rest and when he emerged at my end, we had a quick chat about which routes we were doing - he was wild camping and had decided to cut short a 10 Mamores attempt given the miserable weather (impressive all the same).

Getting to the summit cairn was straight forward and took little time. It was also the last time I'd see any other humans on the hills. I met the 2 guys doing the route in reverse - who sarcastically promised me sunshine and beautiful views further along. The top of Stob Coire a'Chairn was where I took a wrong turn and ended up on the path to Na Gruagaichean. Thankfully I checked the map before too long and decided the best plan was to re-ascend Stob Coire a'Chairn. Once back on top, I double checked the map and path bearing and then continued on in the right direction this time.


The rest of the walk was without views, which admittedly probably made the ridges less scary (no visible plummets to earth). Sheep and a mountain hare were the only company on the hills from here on and I frequently jumped when I came across them as I was so used to being alone. I traipsed along the hillside, grabbing and knee-ing various rocks along the ridges as I went towards Am bodach.



By the time I summited Sgorr a'Mhaim I was wet, cold and more than ready for a nice hot shower. The quartzite scree for the descent was far from a welcome sight - slippy underfoot and reminding me of bum shuffling down Ben nevis to the CMD last year. However I made it down and finally emerged below the cloud to where the road was in sight. Podcasts and a bag of monster munch kept me going until I reached the road, where the boring tarmac slog back up to the car began.


Though I was disappointed not to have any views, you can never know what expect on the hills. This was the my first solo multi munro route and the most munros I've ever done in one day. I'm proud to say I made it to the end, and didn't break down in tears at the water crossings near the start.

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Comments: 4

Backwards, Boggy and a Broken Bridge

Attachment(s) Date walked: 15/06/2019
Distance: 30.3km
Comments: 1
Views: 725


Munros: 52
Corbetts: 10
Grahams: 4
Wainwrights: 3
Hewitts: 2
Sub 2000: 26
Islands: 7

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Trips: 2
Distance: 30.3 km
Munros: 4

Joined: Aug 25, 2015
Last visited: Jul 02, 2022
Total posts: 2 | Search posts