What do you do when your boyfriend ups and goes off to New Zealand for two weeks? Go Munro bashing of course! Daniel is always willing to be dragged around the hills in pursuit of my Munro obsession, although following our adventures in the Cairngorms in August, he did put his foot down about backpacking and insist this trip be day hikes only. The Mamores had caught my imagination, so it was here that we headed.
Day 1. Sgurr Eilde Mor and Binnein Beag
We head up the hill from Kinlochleven in full waterproofs, expecting the weather to be a bit pants.
We follow the shore of Loch Eilde Mor a little way then take a steep path up alongside a series of small waterfalls to Coire an Lochain between Sgor Eilde Beag and Sgurr Eilde Mor. Looking back to Loch Eilde Mor the sky is beginning to brighten.
And the summit of Sgurr Eilde Mor (1010m), our first objective, is visible. I can’t believe our luck, are we to be blessed with cloud free summits after all?
I take pictures of this cloud free summit at several points on the ascent, just to be able to say ‘well it was free’ if it clouds over by the time I get there. But our luck holds, and we are able to enjoy the views.
We descend towards the west, down a sharp ridge and then a scree slope off to the north of this ridge, arriving back at the lochan for a spot of lunch.
From here we follow a stalkers path that leads down and around and then rises again to a small loch beneath Binnein Beag. A stiff grunt up the south face brings us to another cloud free summit (943m).
Retracing our steps, we go back past the small lochan, looking back to bid farewell to the summit on which we just stood.
Back past the other lochan, and Sgurr eilde Mor in the afternoon sunshine…
We descend again into Kinlochleven on good trails. Thoroughly enjoyable day out, good weather, good views and good company.
Day 2. Mullach nan Coirean and Stob Ban
We began this day by getting ever so slightly lost in forestry! Eventually finding the track from which the path departe, we found that the first part of the path had been very nicely laid into a mess of felled trees and churned earth.
Unfortunately it did not continue so well built, becoming very muddy and tiresome. Reaching the end of the felled area, we found some interesting fungi, and a very boggy patch,
Bog was in fact the theme of the next kilometre or so, as we crossed the fence line and began our climb up the north east ridge of Mullach nan Coirean (seen below looking back down the ridge). Its a long, long, broad ridge, mainly grassy except for the very top part.
At the summit (939m) we were treated to a view of looming dark clouds, and debated the relative merits of returning the way we had come versus continuing along the ridge to Stob Ban. We opted to continue, and were not disappointed, its a fine walk between the two, very straightforward going, with three small ups and down. Reaching Stob Ban (999m) I was in some pain, having done exactly what I spent several years telling my customers not to do – namely wearing in new boots ‘on the job’. But oh well, nothing to be done about that.
Ben Nevis opposite, wore a cloudy hat for the day.
Descending reveals what a beautiful mountain Stob Ban is on its north eastern side! The descent back into Glen Nevis seams very long indeed. Something that always gets me about the western Munros, they rise steeply from sea level, so in a lot of cases you really are climbing the whole mountain (as opposed to say, starting a couple of hundred metres up).