Stob Coire Claurigh, Stob Coire an Laoigh & Sgurr Choinnich Mor
Ally and I were camping in Roybridge with the Bongo for our holidays with the intention of staying there as a base for a week, but as it turned out the weather was very localised and changeable so we ended up all over the Highlands chasing it.
The first day of our holidays started fine. Being the summer that it has been, and with plenty of more rain forecast, we jumped at the chance to do a good Munro round and chose the Grey Corries because it would fit in with our plan to head up north to follow the weather the next day. We didn’t really want to knacker ourselves too quickly at the start of the holidays so left out Stob Ban from this round.
We ended up parking right down by the bridge on the road near Corriechoille, not realising you could drive much further down the track by another two miles. This then ended up adding another 4 miles onto our walk – so much for leaving out Stob Ban!
We walked along the road and down the track where I saw there were cows freely grazing up ahead. Being terrified of walking amongst cows I tried to be brave but I could see they were mums and calves and that we were going to walk right through them! As we got closer they all started standing up – I refused point blank to walk through them and waited for a car that was coming up the track. Ally was mortified but I didn’t care, and asked the driver if I could walk beside his car as we walked past the cows. He was very understanding and let me hop in the passenger seat 🙂
With that out the way we headed back off up the track towards the Lairig Leacach. I spotted the famous Wee Minister and obviously could not resist the obligatory pose with him.
As we headed out the woods we left the good track and began the slow and steady plod up the slopes of Beinn Bhan. What a plod it was – it seemed to go on forever. However the views back towards Glen Spean enlivened this part.
Eventually we rounded a corner of the hill and caught a glimpse of the grandeur to come with the Grey Corries and their spurs branching out, with the Aonachs behind.
After a short rocky pull up to the point at 1121m and then another wee climb, we were at the first Munro summit of Stob Coire Claurigh.
Ahead the fantastic ridge stretched for at least 2km until the next Munro. There were lovely views out to Stob Ban, the Mamores, Aonachs and Glencoe.
Out of nowhere came this pea souper of a cloud, suddenly completely covering everything in clag and obscuring the views. The whole day, shower after shower blew over us, but they never came to anything. The MWIS forecast of 90% cloud free Munros was certainly not what we were getting. The cloud lifted as quickly as it blustered in and we enjoyed the great ridge walking.
Looking across to little Stob Ban dwarfed by its huge neighbours, it was hard to believe this is also a Munro. It does look a great hill though.
We carried on the ridge, across three tops before the next Munro of Stob Coire an Laoigh. It was raining and cold so we enjoyed the views briefly before heading on . I marvelled at the pointed peaks, having been used to soft, heathery hills for so long.
We reached the top of Stob Coire Easain which had a great view of the final Munro, Sgurr Choinnich Mhor. This was lovely and pointy and looked like a cracking viewpoint.
After a wee break and a chat to folk on the ridge, we carried on. There was a very rocky ridge here to clamber over, and when it looked like the ridge would have a sharp drop, we clambered down a boulder gully next to it. Needn’t have bothered – it was fine once we got past and could see back.
The climb up was steep but aided by a path that wound tightly round crags and involved some light scrambling. It was such a joy to be on but we were soon at the third and final summit. What great views there were from here in all directions.
The descent involved walking up and over the last top again – it was easier clambering back up than down – and then down the north shoulder of Beinn na Socach. This looked like a lovely easy descent on the map but the ground was fairly lumpy and steeper than it looked on the map so was hard going on tired legs. We picked up bits of path here and there but it was mainly rough ground.
The plan initially was to cross the burn on our right and pick up the forestry track on the east bank but then we saw that a good part of the forest west of the dam had been cleared. We thought we could nip through that and pick up another track on the map.
As we got closer, the clear-felling looked a right horrible mess and it was also blocked by a deer fence so we thought maybe we could cross over the dam after all. This lead to a very steep and rough bank to clamber down, but it was clear that the dam was impossible to walk across.
So we cut through undergrowth downstream to find a gravelly part of the burn to splash over. From here we picked up the forestry track and noticed there was a path that could take us to within 0.5km of where we were parked so went that way. It turned out to be a long but very pleasant path out.
It was a long day but on really great hills – I have long wanted to do this round and it was great to finally experience it at last.