1094 m. |
Translation: Big peak of the moss
Pronuncation: skoor choanyeech more
Roughly four years after Frank had bagged Sgurr Choinnich Mor in one go with Sgurr Ban and the Grey Corries, June 2016 saw us return to Glen Nevis so that I could bag the Big Mossy Peak as well. It was a damp and overcast day with massive clouds clinging to the Munros all the time, so when we set off from the parking at the Nevis Gorge we did not expect to enjoy panoramic views from the summit of Sgurr Choinnich Mor.
The approach path to the hill of the day was of course well-known to Frank and me since we had been there at least four or five times before. Nonetheless it is always worth the while to come back to this beautiful spot after a few years and to see the gorge and the hills again. As usual we made good progress and soon reached the flats where the Water of Nevis meanders. The Falls of Steall boasted quite some water since there had been no real shortage of rainfall the days before. Very white and very beautiful. We pressed onwards and soon reached Steall ruin where the path towards Carn More Dearg and Aonach Beag branches of to the left.
Now we made the first steps on new terrain but the path continued onwards in a steady fashion: Well-engineered, mostly dry and very easily angled. After another two kilometres on the path we headed for the hill walking on a faint grassy path that clung to a stream coming down the hill from the environs of the col between Stob Coire Beallaich and Sgurr Choinnich Beag. We gained height very steadily. Soon we had to make a decision as to whether we wanted to include Sgurr Choinnich Beag in the hike or head for the col between that hill and Sgurr Choinnich Mor. The faint path that kept appearing and disappearing took the decision for us since it lead to a height of about 600 or 650 metres and disappeared. It had deposited us due south of Sgurr Choinnich Beag and with some help from Franks GPS we made it alright over grassy terrain peppered with the occasional peat hag to the col between Sgurrs Beag and Mor.
From the col near to which we dropped our rucksacks it was a straightforward climb to the rocky and not too spacious summit of Sgurr Choinnich Mor where our gloved hands touched the cairn. At the summit: Zero views, strong wind, some rain. Well that was the downside of the deal. On a more positive note this was the last Munro south of the Great Glen I still had needed to bag: High Five!!!
The way back to the car was almost identical to the way up to the summit. Back to the col, down the grassy slopes and along the path beside the Water of Nevis. We had a short break to replenish our batteries munching sandwiches and drinking some water once we were below the cloud line. Soon we reached Steall Ruin, the Falls of Steall and the Gorge. Needless to say that there were many tourists some of whom were really frightened by the wet and stony path along the gorge. 🙂
We on the other hand stormed back towards our car like horses on their way home to the warm stable. At the car we were greeted by a small army of midges so stripping off our damp clothes was a hurried affair performed rather unceremoniously and accompanied by some swearing and slapping our own faces. BGMB indeed.
So? Unfortunately the weather was not too good and there were no views from the summit. But we had the hill to ourselves, there was no other soul on Sgurr Choinnich Mor while we were there and the approach path is of course second to none in the whole country. A good day.
Max elevation: 1097 m
Min elevation: 137 m
Total climbing: 1091 m
Total descent: -1090 m
Total Time: 06:08:40
On 3 May 2012 Frank and I wanted to walk on tracks we had done nine years before together with Alex. To complete the Grey Corries we still needed to visit Stob Ban and Sgurr Choinnich Mhor, the two outliers of the Grey Corries ridge.
As before we approached the mountains by way of the single-track road on the south bank of the River Spean. At Corriechoille we passed the farm and continued on the dirt road for another mile or so. Then we parked our car at a signpost and continued on foot beside the Allt Leachglach first trough some fir plantations and then through the open glen. On the right side of the glen the steep flanks of Stob Choire Gaibhre and Stob Coir nan Ceannain looked inviting indeed. Cruach Innse and Ston Innse on the left side were also very interesting Corbetts. But we had set our compass on climbing Stob Ban. After maybe 90 minutes we reached the bothy which lies at the foot of the north-east ridge of Stob Ban. There we rested for a short while and then contiuned up Stob Ban’s north-east ridge. First there is a steep section of the path that surmounts a rocky hump and then continues through a grassy depression. At the top of this section of the climb a nice and airy path runs a couple of dozens of metres below the skyline above and provides for an airy continuation with great views of Stob Choire Claurigh, the Grey Corries and the Giant’s Staircase below. Then the path reaches the ridge at a grassy saddle before, after another rise in the ridge, the final steep section of the climb starts. This is the summit pyramid of Stob Ban which consists of quartzite. White stones everywhere, loads of loose quartzite scree but the path is always clear albeit sometimes very steep and scree-strewn.
At the summit we paused and drank some water. The weather was very good and sun was shining brightly. I decided that after two days of major expeditions (Etive Five and Ulaidh/Fionnlaidh) this was enough for 3 May 2012. Frank, however, being in much better shape and mental condition decided to go on and do the whole Grey Corries ridge plus Sgurr Choinnich Mhor. He would then return by the Back Basin and the long walk back through the north-east parts of the Leanachan Forest. I returned to the car by way of the north-east ridge, the bothy and the track down the Lairig Leacach. Back at the car I switched into dry clothes and drove to Fort William to do some shopping. I got back to Corriechoille thirty minutes before Frank reappeared from the forest. He had had a grat day and I half a day off. (Un)fortunately I now have Sgurr Choinnich Mhor left to bag. But the mountain will still be there tomorrow and I’ll be back. That day will be another walk up the Nevis Gorge into the upper reaches of Glen Nevis. Another great day out.
As for this 3 May 2012 we had a marvellous day out in the Grey Corries. There’s nothing more you can ask for.
Max elevation: 1171 m
Min elevation: 129 m
Total climbing: 2103 m
Total descent: -2112 m
Total Time: 10:16:31
Description Sgurr Choinnich Mor is a fine pointed peak at the south-west end of the Grey Corries range. The summit ridge is quite narrow and the rocky north-west face drops steeply on the Glen Spean side of the mountain, but the south-east face overlooking the watershed at the head of Glen Nevis is more grassy. The south-west ridge goes over the outlying top, Sgurr Choinnich Beag, which is very similar in shape to its higher neighbour.The best approach to Sgurr Choinnich Mor is from the end of the public road in Glen Nevis. From there follow the path through the splendid Nevis gorge and continue along the path on the north side of the Water of Nevis past the Steall ruins and for 1 kilometre further. Then head north-east on a rising traverse across grassy slopes towards Sgurr Choinnich Beag. The ridge becomes steeper and narrower near the summit. Descend east to the col and climb the narrow ridge to Sgurr Choinnich Mor. On the return it will save a little time to drop down from the col between the two peaks to the path in Glen Nevis.