Our blog - Mamores, 21-23 Oct'17

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

Mamores

21-23 October 2017
Hiking on the Mamores range, bagging 10 Munros over 3 days. Emma was leading with Martin joining on the Sunday....

Day 1 - Eastern Mamores

The word wet definitely sums up our October Mamores adventure! With Storm Brian forecast for the weekend we were pleasantly surprised to set off in the dry on Saturday morning. It's a long approach to Sgurr Elide Mor and we enjoyed good views back down Loch Leven to the Pap of Glencoe. Although the summits and ridges were all shrouded in mist it was an atmospheric morning with superb autumn colours in the glens. Some heavy showers blew in as we climbed the steep ridge to the summit, and there were even some breaks in the cloud giving us glimpses across Rannoch Moor and towards Glencoe, it was a first Munro for Michael too.

With Binnein Beag our next Munro we pushed on, making good use of the excellent stalkers tracks which zig-zag across the Mamores. It was a windy climb up the ridge in some more heavy showers, though we weren't rewarded with a view from the summit. Descending back to the loch, Kevin decided to head back from here whilst the rest of us headed up to the north ridge of Binnein Mor. This involves 400m of steep, pathless ascent, and we were very happy to be rewarded with some views for our efforts as gradually the whole of the Mamores ridge started to reveal itself.

It was already 3.30pm and after some more food we headed along the ridge towards Na Gruagachian, our 4th Munro of the day. We took a very steep descent from here towards the glen as we were very aware of the shortening daylight and we managed to reach the track to the Stalkers Cottage and the old Mamore Lodge Hotel before dark.

Day 2 - Ring O'Steall

There were some fresh faces joining the group at the end of the Glen Nevis road for the Ring of Steall on a very wet Sunday morning. With heavy overnight rain the amount of water running off the mountains was very impressive. We headed back down to the Lower Falls car park in less vehicles and began an anticlockwise circuit of the ridge. This has 2 advantages, for us today, it left the crossing of the River Nevis until the end of the day, and it also means that we climb up the long slopes of Sgurr a'Mhaim, avoiding a knee jarring final descent.

The footpath was running with water and all of the waterfalls and rivers were white. It wasn't long before we were in the mist and we continued upwards to the summit. There were a few clothing changes near the top as everyone was already pretty wet. We headed across the Devil's Ridge and other than a couple of sheep did not see anything or anybody else all day!

Sgorr an Iubhair, Am Bodach and Stob Choire a'Chairn all followed, but it wasn't until we were descending from An Gearanach, our 4th Munro of the day that the clouds lifted revealing some of where we had been walking all day. It was the waterfalls thundering down the mountainsides that were most impressive. We were looking across to the waterslide on Ben Nevis aswell as waterfalls from Aonach Mor and Aonach Beag. The route down to Glen Nevis makes use of an excellent stalkers path and it wasn't long before we were at the foot of the Steall Waterfall. A decision was made to cross the bottom of the falls then use the wire bridge to cross the Water of Nevis, avoiding a knee deep paddle across a fairly full fast-flowing river. The wire bridge crossed we ended the day with the walk down the gorge back to the road head.

Day 3 - Western Mamores

With an improving forecast for day 3, we set off with rain clouds not far away and headed up the glen between Sgurr a'Mhaim and Stob Ban. The cloud base was much higher than on Sunday, but all the summits remained covered in mist. The rain blew in on our way up to the ridge and we were fairly wet by the time we reached the saddle, however, with Jackie and Christine being fresh legged they were happy to be out and very much enjoying the day.

The ridge onto Stob Ban is steep, climbing up quartzite steps with some easy scrambling. We stopped for some food on the summit and then headed across the ridge towards Mullach nan Coirean, and at last the clouds broke! We were able to see down to the West Highland Way and into the corries towards Glen Nevis aswell as east towards Stob Ban of the Grey Corries. The rock changes to granite soon after Stob Ban and we passed some large granite towers along the ridge. We didn't quite get a view from the second summit, but had wonderful views all the way up Glen Nevis on the descent back to the road, making a very good end to a good mountain day.

More photos by Martin of Sunday on the Ring o'Steall are here on Flickr.



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