A July trip to Scotland - and a pretty substantial "Munro" - July 2001
The Mamores - Sgurr a’Mhaim and the ex-Munro Walks with a Camera
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The Mamores lie south-east of Fort William - between the familiar mountains of Glencoe and Ben Nevis. Staying at Onich, on the road from Ballachulish to "the garrison", we studied the maps and guide books and decided that Sgurr a'Mhaim ought to make an interesting expedition, and should "bag" a couple of Munros too. The path starts at Polldubh in Glen Nevis. Pausing only for a quick look at the fine waterfalls, we took the path into the Coire a'Mhusgain. Climbing steadily, but never really steeply, this path reaches the ridge between the fine shapely peak of Stob Ban and Sgor an Iubhair. Turning left, we headed for the latter peak, which has fine views towards Kinlochleven and the south. According to Poucher, Sgor an Iubhair was a Munro - but later I discovered that we had climbed four years too late. Apparently, back in 1997 the Scottish Mountaineering Club decided, in their wisdom, that there was insufficient re-ascent for it to retain its inclusion in the list. And I thought trainspotters were a funny lot! (only joking.....).
From the sadly demoted summit, the very fine "Devil's Ridge" links to Sgurr a'Mhaim. For most of the route, a single-file path runs along the ridge, requiring care but not nerves of steel. A slightly awkward rocky step in the middle caused one of our party to have second thoughts, but we were able to skirt around it by descending a few feet. So we arrived at the fine white quartzite-covered summit of Sgurr a'Mhaim, at 3606' the highest point of our trip, and took stock of the superb view in all directions. The day had started cool and grey, but gradually the sun had come out, and with it the colour - and, eventually, the summit of Ben Nevis appeared, having previously been in cloud. The day was getting late - we had not hurried on this fine expedition - and we began the descent to Polldubh - the path is pretty direct, and unrelentingly steep for well over 3000'. The length of this descent (and a distinct lack of decent walks, the result of the foot and mouth epidemic), meant that, between the three of us, four of our legs had virtually turned to jelly by the time we got back to the car! But what a great day it had been.
Ben Nevis, seen from the summit of Sgurr a'Mhaim The path to Coire a'Mhusgain, looking back to Glen Nevis Polldubh - the waterfall The Devil's Ridge - looking to Sgurr a'Mhaim, approaching the "bad step" The view south, from Sgor an Iubhair The fine summit of Stob Ban, 3278', seen from the Devil's Ridge Onich The ridge - past the bad step, looking back to Sgor an Iubhair
Evening at Onich
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