Third day running of good weather! Anne was ready for a rest day, so that meant I could do a Mamore traverse - starting in Kinlochleven, with Anne driving around to pick me up in Glen Nevis. And so the plans were laid.
|Looking back down on Kinlochleven from 300m up the path|
Soon the path reached a cross-roads at the landrover track from Mamore Lodge to Loch Eilde Mor. My way was up the good stalkers' path that we had descended 2 days earlier, coming down from Binnein Mor. Before long, I was climbing more steeply up below Sgurr Eilde Beag, and into Coire an Lochain. Leaving the main path, I struck across to the right over easy springy turf towards the pyramidal Sgurr Eilde Mor's south west corner.
Sgurr Eilde Mor from Binnein Mor (left)
(below) looking north through Coire and Lochain to Binnein Beag, with Aonach Beag in the distance across Glen Nevis
I was already at 750m, so the summit was only 260m above, but it was a stiff climb! A steep ascent on bouldery ground, with a series of short steps, the final one leading out onto the summit at 1010m. An excellent viewpoint all around: to the east, a wide expanse of moorland and lower hills; to the west, the Mamores - Binnein Mor dominating the foreground; to the north, the conical peak of Binnein Beag (right).
(left) view from Sgurr Eilde Mor's west ridge, where I stopped for lunch, looking across to Na Gruagaichean (in the distance) and the grassy ridge linking Binnein Mor (to the right) and Sgurr Eilde Beag (on the left).
By now it was 1.30pm and time for lunch, so I chose a dramatic perch on the west ridge, a couple of 100 metres from the summit, overlooking the lochan below - a perfect spot!
|looking down from my lunchtime perch to the weird shaped lochan 250m below|
Binnein Beag (above) is a perfect little cone, with evenly steep slopes all round. A good path led me steeply up through bouldery ground to the small summit area, where I was glad to have a seat (15.25) and a cup of coffee. Unfortunately, a short shower arrived there a few moments later, so it was cagoule on, and shelter behind the (small) cairn.
Which way down? I decided to head directly down in the direction I was aiming - towards the north west. This proved a little hair-raising down a steep scree-filled gully for a hundred metres or so, until the slope eased off. A return to the lochan might have been wiser!
On the summit of Binnein Beag, with Binnein Mor behind (right)
Easier gradients lay below, and a steady descent over grass and heather brought me down to the Water of Nevis, just crossable on boulders, then up the other side to join the (surprisingly boggy) path through from Loch Treig.
(left) looking back up to Binnein Beag from the Water of Nevis
A rapid 3-mile walk, and soon the Steall meadows were in sight, with the Steall Falls in full flow (below).
Anne had just timed her arrival perfectly, so we walked together down through the woods to the car park.
A wonderful day's walk over two delightful little Munros
.... which turned out to be the last outing of the 2009 season, with work and other holiday plans during September and October.
It has been a good year - 22 new Munros - my equal highest total in a year - and the target now within reach! Compleat in 2011?