Corrour to Tulloch via 2 Grahams and an Easain summit camp. May 2012.

Date: Sat-Sun 26th-27th May 2012
Distance: 15.8km + 13.8km
Ascent: 1350m + 500m

Another High Pressure – another wild camp plan. This week’s fly in the ointment was the forecast temperatures – after the previous week’s bitter northerlies we were now into ridiculous heat. Welcome to Scotland.

After a very pleasant evening in the Clachaig on Friday we departed Glencoe late at about 1030 heading for Tulloch Station. Saw our first osprey of the year near Spean Bridge.

Pitched up a wee bit early so sat and ate some scran picked up in An Gearasdan until the 1214 train arrived.

Tulloch Station:

A 17 minute train journey saw us alight at the Corrour Halt for only the 4th time. Had a brief chat to a couple of others who were cycling towards Geal Charn and then set off for a circuitous route back to Tulloch.

The path running north has a reputation for severe bogginess but other than a few very deep soupy pools it was dry and easy walking until joining the estate road at NN 342 681.

Corrour Summit and Ben Alder:

Corrour is at 400m so there are various views of different hill groups – the view down to Glen Nevis between the Mamores and the Ben/Aonachs was of interest.

Looking down towards Glen Nevis:

The track then drops down to the foot of Loch Treig – another unvisited corner for us. The Graham Creag Ghuanach is a bit of a pimple given the height of the surrounds.

Foot of Loch Treig and Creag Ghuanach:

A couple of tents were here along the south shore of Loch Treig – not a bad spot.

North along Loch Treig:

The heat was significant – the advantage of the later train was the hope of temperatures dropping in the evening but in the height of the afternoon even relaxed track walking was uncomfortable.

The first hill Creag Ghuanach looks rather sporting above Creaguaineach Lodge.

Foot of Loch Treig and Creaguaineach Lodge:

A profusion of new flora and fauna this weekend – the end of spring has compressed in the cool of April/May and there has been a massive emergence in the last week.

White Lousewort:

The Bridge at Creaguaineach Lodge is substantial to say the least:

Took shelter in the woods here and had some food – the shade was welcome.

Headed west along Abhainn Rath towards Staoineag – a pleasant walk. Up to this point in the year we’d seen no dragonflies at all. Suddenly the air was rich with 4-spotted chasers and the occasional hawker. A very welcome sight. The downside of the heat was that all the insects and lizards were positively turbo-charged and impossible to photograph.

The plants, turbo or not, could not escape.

Flowering butterwort:

H heading W along Abhainn Rath:

Staoineag bothy:

Having already consumed our water we purified some more for the ascent of Creag Ghuanach. Heading out to Staoineag allowed us a reasonably easy ascent with developing views.

Mamores and the Ben from Creag Ghuanach ascent:

After a rather slow ascent in the heat we spent a while on the summit and enjoyed the rather good views.

Foot of Loch Treig:

Mamores and Innses from Creag Ghuanach:

Despite the early hour a motion was put to the floor that we camp here. A split vote necessitated the casting vote system (stone/paper/scissors) be employed. Onwards and downwards.

We took an easy sloped line first NW then NE to descend to the Allt na Lairig under Creagan a Chaise. Time for a rinse and more water gathering in the heat.

Although by now it was past 5pm the heat had not relented. As the planned campsite was on Stob Coire Easain that meant an 850m ascent. Started uphill with the lack of oomph that heat seems to deliver.

Still – always the odd distraction.

4-spotted Chaser eating moth:

Slow progress – if the temp had been 15C less we’d have managed Naismith – in the event – not nearly.

H climbing Creagan a Chaise:

Once up to the bealach with Creagan a Chaise things improved.

H at bealach with BEM backdrop:

Over the last few months I’d been looking forward to warm sunshine – so here we were – and the prospect of ascending the hill in the shade is invigorating. No pleasing some folk.

Ascent to Easains bealach:

About an hour saw us up to the bealach between the two munros. Followed the watercourse until about 950m and then purified the water for the overnight. Set off on the munro path up Stob Coire Easain.

Arrived at the summit to find only a minor breeze. I’d perused previous reports of the hill and one in particular showed a nice flat strip of grass.

Right enough – it was there. Alternatives were sparse/zero so we stuck the Nallo up at the very top and hoped the forecast for low winds had held.

Then enjoyed the substantial views.

SW from Stob Coire Easain:

Stob a Choire Mheadhoin:

H and Nallo:

Ben Nevis summit:

Made and ate tea amongst taking pics and looking around.

Sgurr na Ciche summit with Skye Cuillin to the left:

H and Nallo:

Sun and moon:

Sunset:

Red Sky post-sunset:

K taking photos:

Unfortunately the wind picked up fairly substantially. About 20-30mph. Not a hazard, but tunnel tents are flappy and I sleep poorly in higher winds. On a plus side our minimalist carriage of insulation and use of a duvet instead of bags was still too hot.

The wind dropped a bit towards dawn – head out at 0440.

Sunrise:

The haze meant that the low sun had little power so I went back to bed for an hour. Got up to full light and a warm morning.

Glencoe and Blackmount:

Ben Nevis, Aonachs and Grey Corries:

Nallo and the Ben:

Nallo and the South:

Bidean nam Bian:

Sat and had our cocoa and nibbles watching all of this for an hour before gathering up the gear and heading down the NW arm of Stob Coire Easain. This is steep and a bit eroded for the first 150m but there is a path and cairns.

Male Ptarmigan:

We’d wondered about going back to Sgurr Innse – a motion put to the floor was unanimously voted down due to heat.

Descent route off Stob Coire Easain:

Simply dropped straight NW to the glen floor. I’d forgotten how tall these munros can be. A nice glen tucked away from most feet.
Grey Corries and Innses pano:

Reached the Allt at the floor and partook of another rinse and water-gather.

Took a line straight for the Graham Cnap Cruinn. Dragonflies were guarding almost every pool, drying out or not.

Tadpoles:

Croosed the last Allt before the climb – took the very hot option of dipping t-shirts and hats prior to the ascent, which took the edge off the heat.

The Easains behind as H climbs Cnap Cruinn:

Cnap Cruinn has a rather undulating top and the best views W come at the W top.

Grey Corries and Innses:

From the summit there are reasonable views E along the A86.

E from Cnap Cruinn:

Sat on the summit for 30mins and had lunch, hot in the sun. Headed E off the summit and kept to easy slopes to drop to the Allt at NN314 771 – grabbing more water.

We entered the forest at about NN 316 773 – there’s easy groud to a road which leads NE to the main forestry track.

View S along Coire Lair:

From there it’s just about 6km on track/road back to the car at Tulloch Station.

These railway access and walk-back routes are fun and Corrour is a favourite. The heat made it a lot harder than it should have been but still well worth the effort.

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