Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Ben Nevis, The Aonachs and The Grey Corries: Stob Ban (178), Stob Choire Claurigh (15), Stob Coire an Laoigh (38) and Sgurr Choinnich Mor (52)

Walk date: 9/7/14
My Munro #'s: 251, 252, 253 and 254

Pronunciations - translations - heights:

Stop baan - light coloured peak - 977m
Stop corrie clowree - peak of the corrie of clamouring - 1177m
Stop corrie an looee - peak of the corrie of the calf - 1116m
Skoor choanyeech more - big peak of the moss - 1094m

Duration - 08:15 - 19:15
Distance -  approx 29 km
Total ascent -  1760m
Weather - Hot, hot, hot!  Mostly sunny with light wind.  Only cold with greater wind on final hill.
Team - with Paul P
Other hikers: 5 others

Day 5 - Wednesday

After the success of the Carn Dearg day, we were most definitely up for this one, the big boy of the week, the epic Grey Corries.  Driving down the thin country lanes after Spean Bridge's train station, we started to wonder where on Earth we would park as every turn and passing area seemed to have a 'no parking' sign on it.  Fortunately, we were behind another car that boldly drove straight through a private farmyard and then through a private gate, with the driver helpfully keeping open the gate for us to follow on.  Thus, we soon found ourselves parked relatively far along the forest tracks, which was helpful given the scale of this walk!

The walking starts easy enough, with a long but steady march to a handsome little bothy that marks the start of the climbing toward Stob Ban, the dwarf of the day at a mere 977m!  A good path takes you up beside a stream, but it becomes thin for a while as the incline lessens before the final push up to the bealach.

The final ascent of Stob Ban is actually one of the hardest parts of the day, and was certainly bad for my bruised toes, as the whole hill seems to be made entirely of scree, and every footstep up or down seems to throw a ton of it back down the hill.  The views of the rest of the circuit are great, if not a little unnerving! 

Once back at the bealach the ascent of Stob Choire Claurigh is a slog but a straightforward one, and the rocky top made a great lunch stop with views abounding.  At this point we met a fellow hiker who I noticed was just in Merrells rather than full on boots.  I made a mental note to perhaps try this to help with the toes.

Anyhow, the circuit progressed at high altitude on an impressive but easy walking ridge.  Stob Coire an Laoigh was soon reached and we were on a total high ready to finish things with Sgurr Choinnich Mor.  However, this proved quite a tough one to reach, the link out to this hill was brutal, with boulder fields and jagged rocks everywhere, the final descent off Stob Coire an Laoigh was a total trap for unwary ankles and I was very glad we were hitting it in dry weather.  

The ascent wasn't so bad, but it had cooled by this point so we didn't hand about as we had to retrace our steps to Stob Coire an Laoigh before we could head down.  After a great day, my pain really started now, as the long gentle descent over grass was a protracted series of knocks to the blackened toes.  Finally, we hit the forest tracks and could get back to straight marching out, but it was a very long way to the car, and they was great relief at seeing it. Much deserved ales on this evening!

A protective Rev welcomes you in:

It's starting out nice this hike:

The first look at Stob Ban:

The bothy before the rise to Stob Ban:

Looking back to Stob Ban from the start up Stob Choire Claurigh:

The rocky top of Stob Choire Claurigh:

And more:

And more!!

Coming up on Stob Coire an Laoigh:
The crazy link on to Sgurr Choinnich Mor: 

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