Monday, 20 April 2015

Stob Coire Easain

Stob Easain from Stob a' Choire Mheadhoin

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Ascent:      1355 metres
Distance:    21 kilometres
Time:         8 hours 1 minute

m     Stob a' Choire Mheadhoin           1105m       2hrs 35mins
m     Stob Easain                                  1115m       3hrs 12mins
c      Sgurr Innse                                    809m      5hrs  7mins

Mamores and Grey Corries
On the ascent

Loch Treig

Stob Coire Easain and the Mamores

Arriving at Stob Easain

Stob a' Choire Mheadhoin

Mark at ease with life on Stob Easain
Sgurr Innse and Creag Innse from Stob Easain

Skiing the  Easain way, one pole and two boots
Looking bcd to Stob a' Choire Mheadhoin and Stob Easain

At last a glorious spring day, I had missed the chance to walk on the previous two days but this was the best day of all. Not a cloud and the air still, crisp and cool with visibility near perfect. I had decided to make a longish day trip beyond Fort William to collect these two fine but rather inaccessible munros and, if time permitted, to consider two nearby corbetts. Mark as always was ready for an adventure. I left home at 7:30am and after the almost routine pleasure of a drive through Glencoe in early morning blue skies, we headed for Spean Bridge, Roy Bridge and then along the single track road to the scattered settlement of Fersit.

The first part of the walk is the most difficult, a two kilometre walk to Loch Treig and then a steep rising traverse aiming for the 806 metre top from where there is a far more walker friendly ridge. We sweated our way up in the morning sun and reached the remnants of snow just before reaching the ridge. There must be a path but as on my two previous ascents by this route we didn't find it until on the ridge. The joys of hillwalking then opened up more with each step and it was a stroll to reach the first summit of Stob a' Choire Mheadhoin. The views of the Mamore and Grey Corries were intricate snow laced ridges. We continued across to Stob Easain, marginally the highest of the two, there is a stiff descent and ascent of 140 metres between the two. I had once bivouacked at the col between the two hills at midnight after an evening start from Tulloch over the Easains, Grey Corries and Ben Nevis. The location did not look promising even on a day such as this.

We lingered over lunch admiring the views and sunning ourselves in the early afternoon sunshine. We could see Ben Wyvis and the Stratfarrar hills in the quite excellent visibility. The whole of the southern highlands were in view and the Ben stood like a sentinel beyond the Grey Corries. It was decision time, did we stay longer and retrace our steps or take the far longer route over the Innses. I was anxious to do the latter and for once Mark hoped I would take the shorter route.

The descent to the 551 metre bealach is aided by an obvious path, with sections of loose scree and then a meander round some hillocks before starting the south face of Sgurr Innse. It looked a difficult ascent and it was harder still in the heat; three or four ramps separated the rock faces and we angled our way up. It had taken longer than I hoped and we knew it was a long way back to Fersit over rough hillside. We finished any food and then debated the next step.

We knew it was well over 2 hours back to the car and we would need to add another hour and a half to take in Creag Innse as well. For once, logic entered the fray and we headed back. The initial descent to the north was steep and then there was a couple of kilometre fighting our way through the heather until we reached the Allt Laire. We crossed the river and followed it down until reaching the forest and an old railway embankment that curved round back to Fersit. By our standards it was not that late, about 7pm but we had a 3 hour drive back, a fact I had considered ed when deciding to give Creag Innse a miss.It had been a brilliant day on some very good hills. If only we had found a path up from Loch Treig up to the ridge.

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