Stob a Choire Odhair from the east, via Beinn Toaig. 11th Nov 2017.

Date: Saturday 11th November 2017
Distance: 15.7km
Ascent: 850m

Although the MWIS forecast looked a little ropey, Met office suggested a bit of sunshine. Given a NW wind we thought that the SE side of Blackmount might have the best chance of sunshine.
We’ve had a plan to wander north up the WHW from Victoria Bridge for a while, to ascend Stob a Choire Odhair from that direction. Decided to try that out.

Arrived at Victoria Bridge car park at about 0730 – near sunrise. The car park was surprisingly quiet. Got booted up and headed out on the WHW.

A bit cloudy with hints of sunrise out along the glen towards Ben Starav.

West along the glen:

Early light from bridge:

The old Telford road, which forms the WHW, was a little greasy underfoot but made for quick progress out towards Ba Bridge.

The sun was mostly obscured behind clouds above the Bridge of Orchy munros. Occasional bursts of sunlight hit the hills.

Beinn Toaig:

There are a few patches of commercial forestry on either side of the WHW.
Forestry south of Bridge of Ba:

We cut off the WHW at NN 6850 8722 – there’s a natural ridge line from here heading up Beinn Toaig.

As we ascended the views developed across to Clach Leathad.

Clach Leathad:

The little bumps of Mealls Mor and Beag were catching the sun – a visit to the little monument on Meall Mor is well worth it for the view.

Meall Mor and Meall Beag:

The view into the colossal amphitheatre that is cusped by the Blackmount improves with height, as do the open views back over Rannoch Moor. This approach is very distracting – I can see us revisiting this one in future.

The light was a bit challenging for photos – bright white sunlit snow down to dark unlit moor has rather a high dynamic range for a camera.

Marker stone:

River Ba catchment:

As we headed uphill a male Hen Harrier zipped over the ridge line and briefly flew around a little way off. Can’t recall seeing one in this area before.
The sunlight became a little more reliable and there was a pleasant few hours of light from here on up.
Ascending Beinn Toaig:

Meall a Bhuiridh and Clach Leathad loom like walls to the north. We really must go to the top of Clach Leathad one of these days.

Across the coire:

Clouds to the south on Beinn Dorain:

At about 700m we crossed above the snow line. Completely unconsolidated stuff, but it looks nice.

Crossing the snow line:

Stob a Choire Odhair is a bit of a looming lump from the upper parts of Beinn Toaig.

Stob a Choire Odhair:

Not being proper winter mountaineers this approach suited us well, mostly easy-angled with a great view. Plowtered up to the 834m summit of Beinn Toaig.

Ascent in snow:

A bit of a brisk breeze stirred up a little spindrift every now and again.

Spindrift and the Orchy Hills:

Once at the summit of Beinn Toaig the view of Stob Ghabhar emerges – it looks a rather fine hill from here. Ben Cruachan was a little less prominent in the conditions, although the impossibly spikey summit still caught the eye.

Stob Ghabhar from Beinn Toaig:

Ben Cruachan from Beinn Toaig:

Sat out of the wind and had our lunch. We had plenty of time to kill as doing this munro singly is a pretty short day.
We could hear ravens calling to our south but they were unseen. Eventually 2 birds emerged, circling one another. Realised that these were a pair of adult Golden Eagles (probably what the ravens had been calling about). Unusually one of the eagles made a beeline for our position and we had a decent look through the binoculars. Then, suddenly, there were 4 eagles, another 2 appearing from the north. Two headed off at an amazing pace in a stoop towards Meall Mor and the other 2 disappeared.
I’ve never seen 4 eagles at once before – think that it was two adult pairs. Great experience, between eagles and a hen harrier that more than made the day.
Finishing lunch, and with the sun beginning to be shaded, we headed up the 145m ascent to the munro summit, meeting our first walkers of the day.

Ascending Stob a Choire odhair:

The sun had clouded by the time we reached the summit – still the munro is a great wee grandstand.

Rannoch Moor from Stob a Choire Odhair:

Bridge of Orchy hills from Stob a Choire Odhair:

Stob Ghabhar from Stob a Choire Odhair:

Crianlarich Hills from Stob a Choire Odhair:

We headed off south down the stalkers path, the route had been trampled in by other walkers by this point. It steeply descends down to the Allt Toaig. Had another wee break once we reached the Allt before proceeding out the return route.

A little more light returned intermittently as we passed by the waterfall of Creag an Steallaire – the Stob Ghabhar red route (and not my favourite).

The waterfall of Stob Ghabhar:

The track down to the green hut is pretty decent, just a little muddy, but given the pounding it gets from hillwalkers it’s holding up well.
There were the usual chilled stags along the Abhainn Shira on the way back to the bridge.

Stag near Victoria Bridge:

A last view from the bridge before getting back to the car.

View from the Bridge:

We were very pleased with the day – the route up Beinn Toaig is great, and far preferable to the usual approach that we used in descent.

I think we’ll return to this one, perhaps going over Stob Ghabhar and down via Clashgour.

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