Our blog - Black Mount Munros, Apr'17

A blog of our mountain adventures in Scotland, hiking, biking, rock-scrambling and more !

Black Mount Munros

18-9 April 2017
A weekend of hiking up the Munros above the Black Mount near Glencoe. John was leading...

A dry forecast meant we were all smiling as we met at the car park just before Victoria Bridge. OK, it gave drizzle and mist AM, and a possibility of gusty wind, but to be dry is a bonus in anyone's books. The plan was to do Stob a'Coire Odhair and Stob Gabhar anti clockwise, using the excellent stalker's path that is not marked on the 1:50k map, but which leaves the main path just as you enter Coire Toaig, and zigzags directly to the summit. My group of Valerie, Mark, Julia and Brogan were punctual as well as sharp kitted up, so we made the first summit in good time, having had a snack in some relative shelter just before the top.

It was misty on the top, so we didn't hang about, walking on a bearing back down towards the high bealach that leads onto Stob Gabhar's ENE ridge. But not before we took a summit piccy, and also a bespoke one of Julia who has a special celebratory summit pose that we all then replicated later....you will need to see the pictures to see what she does.

The ridge is another Aonach Eagach. Not as technical or celebrated as its nearby more infamous namesake, but it has a narrow bit that focuses the attention, especially if you are a novice scrambler as Brogan was, but she coped admirably. It was then a misty tramp to the shapely summit, a shame as the views would have been spectacular. As they were, we still got some great views back over Rannoch Moor, and into the atmospheric Corein Lochain, the mist adding to the mysterious and wild nature of the area.

As we descended, the sun broke through, and I jokingly asked if anyone wanted to go back up....I didn't get any takers. We saw a male ptarmigan, resplendent with his red flash over the eye, seemingly on the hunt for a mate, as he wasn't perturbed by our presence. He may have been so a little further on, as two large birds of prey wheeled above us in the thermals. I can't be sure what they were - too small for golden eagles possibly, but much bigger than buzzards. Kites maybe? We heard calls for a while coming from the crags, so possibly there was a nest?

Having previously descended by the broad ridge directly to the end of the wood at the Allt Toaig, this time we located the feint path the comes down the side of the waterfall at Creag an Steallaire, and we followed that to the burn crossing, and finally on and down the ascent track to the cars. 7.5hrs, but we took it leisurely, enjoying the fact that it wasn't as windy as forecast, and the day was getting better as it went on.

Sunday had a worsening forecast, mainly dry AM, but windy at 30-40mph from the West, veering North-Westerly and strengthening, with rain and summit snow by mid afternoon. After a couple of guys pulled out for differing reasons, we had a bijou little group of myself, Mark and Julia, and we moved swiftly as a result. The plan was for Meall a'Bhuiridh and Creise from the ski centre, and we plodded steadily up the path under the chairlift to 700m before it even opened.

The cloud was kind, and we had some brooding views of the steep face of Creise, as well as our route, initially grassy, then increasingly bouldery as it became more defined towards the summit. After a snack stop just short of the summit in the shelter of some rocks, we made the top and took some blurry pictures before dropping rapidly down the WSW ridge which links the two mountains. We had some shelter from the wind here as we climbed more steeply with some minor scrambling just before attaining the main ridge of Creise. It was windy on the final 600m to the rather insignificant summit - You can forgive Sir Hugh for giving the far more prominent Clach Leathad the munro status, which it held for years until it was discovered Creise was 1m higher. After the compulsory balletic pose at the summit, we high-tailed it back to the descent and some shelter for a sandwich. The weather kept playing with us, revealing views but then shrouding them before we had chance to get the cameras out!

We soon dispatched the re-ascent to Meall a'Bhuiridh again, passing two guys who were hoping to beat the encroaching cold front too, but who I fear may have gotten wet and blown about. The descent is easy once over the stony ground, and we marched down the grassy terrain sharply, to the top of the chairlift. Here we had a discussion over the merits of such mechanical uplifts, and the guys decided to walk down. I announced that I would look over them from above, and glided effortlessly down, (well , apart from the wee 'consideration' at the top, if you get my drift ;), to reconvene at the bottom for a well-earned coffee and cake.

I think the only thing better than the glow you have in the warm after a windy old day on the hill is knowing that you snatched the day just before the weather closed in. Another excellent day, good effort Mark and Julia, I am sure you'll both enjoy the summer walks you have planned.

More photos by John are here on Flickr.

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