Monday, June 28, 2010

the name of the munros

Let's clear up the outstanding Munro business from the Scotland trip - as last time we managed four, which brings my personal tally to fourteen. In an unexpected but welcome break from tradition, we had clear and sunny conditions throughout. Here they are:
  • Stob Dearg (3353 feet, 1022 metres). This is the highest point of the ridge better known as Buachaille Etive Mòr. This is the iconic Glen Coe peak, the one on all the postcards that marks the entrance to Glen Coe from Rannoch Moor. It looks impressively impregnable from the front (though some nutters do scramble straight up the cliff wall) but fortunately if you continue into Glen Coe a bit there is a chink in the armour round on its north-west flank where you can make a slightly scrambly way up - as it happens this is the scene of the 2009 avalanche that resulted in some deaths, but in the summer it's considerably less deadly, I'm glad to say. From the top of the scree here it's a short walk to the top and some impressive views over Rannoch Moor from the cliff edge.

  • Stob na Bròige (3136 feet, 956 metres). This is the fairly recently promoted (1997) second Munro at the other end of the Buachaille Etive Mòr ridge. From here you either plunge downwards off the end of the ridge into Glen Etive, or make your way back along the ridge a bit to a point where you can scramble back down to the river valley and make your way out back to the car park (we chose option 2). The whole walk can be seen here.
  • Aonach Mòr (4006 feet, 1221 metres). The two Aonachs are the seventh and eighth highest mountains in Britain, there being only nine over 4000 feet. So they're big. We started from the car park in Glen Nevis which you get to by heading out from Fort William - from here you trek down the valley a bit, then head north up to the high bealach between the Carn Mor Dearg ridge and the Aonach ridge (which, just as an aside, is a bit of a tautology, or possibly a pleonasm, as "aonach" just means "ridge"). From here it's a bit of a hands and knees scramble up onto the Aonach ridge, but when you get there it's a surprisingly wide and grassy plateau. The summit of Aonach Mòr is a couple of hundred yards to the north and is marked by a large cairn.
  • Aonach Beag (4049 feet, 1234 metres). From Aonach Mòr you turn back south and head back along the ridge, via a bit of a dip, to the rockier conical summit of Aonach Beag. Then it's a steep descent on grassy slopes back to the path you left in Glen Nevis, and thence back to the car park. The route can be seen here.

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