Thursday 18 October 2012
14.5 km/1168 m/06:45 hrs
When I left Mull after climbing Ben More the previous day, the weather had changed for the worse – there was even a dusting of snow on Ben More. The drive to Fort William was in wind and rain, and my hopes to be able to do Tranter’s Round as a backpacking trip faded.
After checking in at the Glen Nevis YH I went for a bar meal and to use the WiFi at the Glen Nevis Bar. Unfortunately, all the weather forecast websites agreed about the next few days: It would stay windy and cold, with more rain to come 😦
I decided against the backpacking trip, booked another night at the hostel and tried to find a short easy walk that I could even do if the weather should be really horrible the next day. In the end I settled for the walk up Coire a’ Mhusgain from Achriabhach to visit Lochan Coire nam Mìseach, my planned camp site for the first night if I had gone ahead with Tranter’s Round.
As I didn’t have any big plans for the day, I started after 10:00 from the car park at Achriabhach. In opposite to what was forecast, it was dry, sunny and pleasantly warm!
Clouds rolling up the glen.
View down the glen, with a glimpse of snow-covered Ben Nevis on the right.
Impressive crags on Stob Bàn’s E flank.
View along Glen Nevis to Fort William.
At Lochan Coire nam Mìseach I met a family of four on their lunch break. After a brief chat with them I wandered around the lochan, trying to find a suitable pitch for a future camp, but due to the sloping terrain the only possible places seemed to be beside the stream near the outflow of the lochan.
With the weather being so much better than expected, I had already decided not to walk back the same way, but to return via the Devil’s Ridge and Sgùrr a’ Mhàim or to walk over Stob Bàn and Mullach nan Coirean. The fact that the Devil’s Ridge was in cloud whereas Stob Bàn was clear, made the decision easy.
From the lochan I took the path up to the southern edge of Coire nam Mìseach.
From there a clear path leads up to Stob Bàn.
Close-up of the summit crags.
The last part of the ascent is rocky but not difficult, as the path continues all the way to the summit.
View down to Coire a’ Mhusgain and Coire nam Mìseach.
Approaching the summit.
The last section of the West Highland Way, Beinn na Caillich and Mam na Gualainn on the left.
The ridge leading to Mullach nan Coirean.
View from the summit cairn – the Devil’s Ridge between Stob Choire a’ Mhail and Sgùrr a’ Mhàim in the clouds on the left.
Summit area covered in quartzite scree, with the N ridge behind (an interesting route to try sometime!).
The path follows the edge of Coire an Lochain and Coire Dearg over various tops, some of them marked with cairns.
A few rocky outcrops on the way can easily be bypassed on the S side.
Mullach nan Coirean summit and descent ridge.
The ruins at Tigh-na-sleubhaich down in the Lairig Mòr (zoomed).
View back along the ridge.
Unfortunately, the clouds over Ben Nevis were reluctant to lift…
Meall a’ Chaorainn and Mullach nan Coirean.
The summit above Coire Dearg.
Mullach nan Coirean summit cairn.
Above Coire Dearg – the start of the descent route.
I followed the NE ridge along a deer fence, on a good path at first which later turns into a boggy mess.
Coire an Lochain.
Shortly after crossing a stile follows the worst part of the walk. A large area has been deforested since my last visit, and a new path has been built.
Glen Nevis, with Meall an t-Suidhe on the left.
Back at the hostel, I tried to decide what to do over the next few days. I had already booked a bed at Loch Ossian YH for Saturday night, and had been looking forward to a meal at the Corrour Station Restaurant. By pure chance, I had a look at the restaurant’s website and read, to my horror, that they would be closed for a private function from 17:00 on the Saturday 😯
No dinner then… but maybe I could make it there for lunch? Looking at maps and websites, I thought through my options. I didn’t fancy another walk along Glen Nevis, it’s a nice walk but I’ve done it several times already. I even considered getting the train to Corrour and back, but eventually I came up with a better idea:
A round-trip from Fersit through Coire Làire and the Lairig Leacach with a camp somewhere along the way (and in case I felt very energetic, I could even climb the two Corbetts Cruach Innse and Sgùrr Innse). On Saturday I should make it to Corrour for lunchtime and then stay at Loch Ossian YH for the night. The next day I would return to Fersit via Strath Ossian.
This seemed to be a good plan, because it was a new and interesting route, apart from the section between Creaguaineach Lodge and Corrour Shooting Lodge which I had walked a few times in the past. Before I went to bed, I packed my rucksack for a three-day trip and hoped that the weather would turn out better than forecast, like it had today!