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Nevis and Glen Coe cover
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Ben Nevis and Glen Coe

Cicerone Press, 2005
Paperback 175x120mm, 12.95
320 pages full colour photos, OS 1:50,000 map extracts, sketch maps
ISBN 978 1 85284 502 5

Cover: Aonach Eagach ridge, western end by Ronald Turnbull


      Over 100 routes, this guidebook explores the area from Ben Nevis southwards towards Glen Coe: some of the finest mountain walking in the UK. It not only covers all 43 Munro summits - among them such ones as Nevis itself and Bidean nam Bian - but also describes mid-level walks and easy strolls. The area is notable for longer through routes, using tent or bothy, that are wild in terms of scenery but reasonable in terms of paths and only moderately demanding: an excellent introduction to this kind of fun.
      Along with Ben Nevis, the Grey Corries, the Mamores, Glen Coe, and the Blackmount, the book reaches south as far as Ben Cruachan. It is illustrated with sketch maps and OS mapping, and many colour photos.

reviews

A better title for this book might have been The Bumper Fun Book of West Highland Walks. The actual title doesn't tell us that the book contains walks in the Oban or Glen Etive, or Blackmount areas, none of which are in Lochaber or, indeed, the Ben Nevis or Glen Coe areas... it really is a bu7mper guide to all levels of walking routes, from the ascent of our highest mountain to low level coastal walks...
    Despite its curious title this is a book to whet the appetite of any hillwalker, whether experienced or tyro, with aa list of walks in one of the most wonderful walking areas in Europe. Highly commended.
Cameron McNeish, tgo (The Great Outdoors)

Without a doubt, Lochaber is one of the finest mountain areas in the UK. This Cicerone guide describes a huge range of walks and scrambles throughout the area... The 100 walks here should keep even the keenest of walkers occupied for many years. It is the only Lochaber walking guide you are likely to need! Gordon Glennie, Scottish Mountaineer

CONTENTS

As Cicerone already publishes the excellent Scrambles in Lochaber by Noel Williams, only three, quite essential, scrambles are included here.
Introduction
Glen Coe, Glen Coe, it's the place to go...
Oh, Sir Hugh Munro
Walking conditions
Weather and snow conditions
Safety in the mountains
Maps
How to use this book
level
Part 1 Fort William and Glen Nevis
1 Cow Hill and Druimarabinlow
2 Nevis Gorgelow
3 Meall Cumhannlow
4 down Glen Nevislow
5 Corrour Station to Glen Nevisthrough route
6 Caledonian Canallow
Part 2 Ben Nevis and the Aonachs
7 Ben Nevis by the Mountain TrackMunro
8 Carn Mor Dearg Arete Munros
9 Ledge Route scramble Grade 1
10 Half Ben Nevis (CIC Hut)low
11 Meall an t-Suidhemid-height
12 Carn Mor Dearg East RidgeMunro
13 Aonach Beag from the BackMunros
14 Aonach Mor by Gondola and Stob an Cul ChoireMunros
Part 3 Grey Corries and Spean Bridge
Summit Summary: Grey Corries
15 Grey Corries Ridge
16 Coire an Eoin
17 Stob Coire Easain North Ridge
18 Stob Coire Claurigh North Ridge
19 Cul Coirean
20 Lairig Leacach and Lochan Rath
21 Lairig Leacach to Stob Ban
22 Meanach Bothy to Stob Ban
23 The Innses Corbetts
24 Lairig Leacach: Corrour to Spean Bridge through route
Part 4 Mamores
Summit Summary: Mamores
25 Mamores Main Ridge Eastbound
25A Bodach Bypass Eastbound
26 Mullach nan Coirean North Ridge
27 Stob Ban North Ridge
28 Coire Mhusgain
29 Sgurr a’ Mhaim and Devil's Ridge
29A Escaping the Devil
30 Gearanach and Garbhanach
31 Escape from Coire a’ Mhail
32 Round the Back to Binnein Mor
33 Sgurr Eilde Beag to Binnein Mor
34 Coire na Ba to Stob Coire a’ Chairn
35 Am Bodach East Corrie
36 Sgurr an Fhuarain: descent
37 Coire na h-Eirghe
38 Mamores Main Ridge Westbound
39 Ring of SteallMunros
40 The Back of the BinneinsMunros
Part 5 Kinlochleven
41 Mam na GualainnCorbett
42 Kinlockleven's Pipeline PathLow
43 Blackwater DamLow
44 The Back of the BlackwaterMid-height
45 Loch Eilde Mor to Lairig Leacachthrough route
46 Gleann Iolairean or Leum Uilleim to Corrourthrough route
Part 6 Glen Coe
47 The Thunderbolt: Beinn a’ BheithirMunros
48 Meall Lighiche and Sgor na h-UlaidhMunro + Corbett
49 Signal Rocklow
50 Hospital Lochanlow
51 Pap of Glencoemedium
52 Aonach Eagachscramble grade 2
53 Am Bodach and the End of the Aonach EagachMunro
54 Buachaille Etive BeagMunros
55 The Big BuachailleMunros
56 Round Buachaille Beag: the Two Passeslow
57 Beinn a’ ChrulaisteCorbett
58 The Lost Valley VisitLow
Part 7 Bidean nam Bian
Summit Summary: Bidean nam Bian
59 Coire nam Beitheach to Stob Coire nam Beith
60 East Coire nam Beitheach
61 Aonach Dubh to Stob Coire nan Lochanscramble Grade 1
62 Stob Coire nan Lochan Northeast Ridge
63 Gearr Aonach by the Zig-zagsscramble grade 1
64 The Lost Valley
65 Beinn Fhada
66 Stob Coire Sgreamhach from Lairig Eilde
67 Dalness Waterfall Way
68 Beinn Maol Chaluim
69 Old Glencoe Roadlow
Part 8 Glen Etive
70 Beinn SgulairdMunro
71 Beinn Fhionnlaidh Munro
72 Beinn TrilleachanCorbett
73 Ben StaravMunro
74 The Back of StaravMunro
75 Glas Bheinn Mhor Munros
76 Stob Coir’ an Albannaich and Meall nan EunMunros
77 Loch Etive linear through route
Part 9 Black Mount
Summit Summary: Black Mount
78 Stob Ghabhar by Mam nan Sac
79 Stob Ghabhar South Ridge
80 Coirein Lochain of Stob Ghabhar
81 Stob a’ Choire Odhair to Stob Ghabhar
82 Meall a’ Bhuiridh to Creise
83 Sron na Creise
84 Beinn Mhic Chasgaig
85 Black Mount Traverse: Northbound
86 Black Mount Traverse: Southbound
87 Beinn Ceitlein to BlackmountCorbett
88 Beinn nan Aighenan Munro
89 Glen Kinglass through route
Part 10 Ben Cruachan and Oban
Summit Summary: Ben Cruachan
90 Cruachan Horseshoe
91 Mell Cuanail
92 Beinn a’ Bhuiridh add-on Corbett
93 Cruachan Ridge in Reverse
94 Dalmally Horseshoe
95 Stob Garbh Southeast Ridge
96 Drochaid Ghlas Northeast Ridge
97 Cruachan Reservoir low
98 Eunuch and Cockle Munros
99 Kerrera Island low
100 Beinn Lora low
The Long Routes The West Highland Way
Through Routes
The Three Ridges
Appendices
I Access (in particular during the deer stalking season)
II Accommodation and information
III Further reading


INTRODUCTION

Glen Coe, Glen Coe, it's the Place to go ...
The best of walking is ridge walking. Swoop downwards from the peak, level off along a rocky crest, then rise again to another summit; and then do the same thing again, four or five or even eight times over. Let the ridge sides drop steeply 900m to a green valley where a river gleams among the alder trees; and beyond the valley another steep ridge, and another, and the sea reaching silver-grey into the furthest west. For added interest let the ridge top be composed of three different sorts of stone. And you've started to understand why the area from Ben Nevis southwards to Glen Coe is some of the finest mountain walking there is in the UK.
       I put that 'some of' so as not to annoy the lovers of Snowdonia, or the English Lakes, or Skye, or Torridon. There's a lot more of Lochaber than there is of Snowdonia; it's one and a half times as large as Lakeland. It's a whole lot easier to get to than Skye. Still not convinced? In that case...
       Follow me first onto one of the less celebrated summits, Ben Starav at the bottom of Glen Etive. Its long ridge (Route 73) is stony with moss, and leads into an easy scramble over blobby boulders of grey granite. But now, drop into the green valley on the left and enjoy another aspect of it all. Steep grass and granite slabs shut out the sky. Below the path, a gloomy ravine, with the flash of a waterfall. And at the valley foot, under green birch and dark pine, the cuckoo calls, and white water slides over granite that mysteriously is now coloured pink.
       Next, let's visit Bidean nam Bian. The rocks now are volcanic, grey-blue andesite and pinky-grey rhyolite, all of it great to climb on if you're a rock climber. Enter Bidean up one of its three ravines, each with some of that great climbing rock hanging impressively overhead. It's steep, and it's gloomy, and it gets steeper, until all at once you emerge onto Bidean's ridge, with bright sky around you.
       Granite and volcanic: the third rock is called quartzite. It's flat but cracked, like a city pavement after earthquakes. Follow it along the Grey Corries, where its sharp edges will slash your boots, but its flat slabs give almost-easy walking above the precipices.
       By now you're getting tired. So take a break; and come back in February or March. The eroded path along the Mamores is gone, and instead a snow edge swoops like a breaking wave. Gawk but also walk: this snow is crisp and crunchy for your crampons. In the clear cold air of a classic winter day, views are southwards over half a dozen ranges to the dome of Ben Lomond.
       At the bottom of every steep-sided ridge there's a steep-walled valley. Some of those valleys contain the A82 (alas, how even-lovelier would be Glen Coe without its busy road). But the others offer long through routes, with rugged paths and smooth Landrover tracks. A comfortable track leads between the jaws of the Lairig Leacach, and down past small waterfalls while looking up at Ben Nevis and the Mamores. Then it's down a river whose alder-shaded bank has green levels for the tent. An even lonelier glen -- but still with a good footpath -- leads you to a lochan and bothy that are completely out of it. And however bleak the Blackwater, the last four miles, through a deep, steep glen of beautiful birchwoods, will leave you at Kinlochleven longing for the next really long walk with the big rucksack. Just as soon as your feet and shoulders have recovered from the first one.

Oh, Sir Hugh Munro
An oddity of hillwalking in Scotland is that it takes place almost entirely above the 900m contour line. Sir Hugh Munro in 1892 listed the hills above 3000ft (914.4m) -- after revisions there are currently 284 of them, of which 44 are in the area of this guidebook. Almost all hillwalkers are engaged in visiting these 284, and the 284 are indeed worthwhile hills to visit. But the consequence is that the well-trodden ways and rebuilt paths are on these, rather high, hills. The lesser heights, of 914.3m and below, are largely pathless, and their lesser altitude usually means denser and tougher vegetation for those paths to be absent from. Accordingly, the lower hills are interesting, and unfrequented; but they are not easy. The less difficult of them, and the most interesting, are included here.
       The 'standard routes' up the Munros are detailed in several existing guidebooks including Steve Kew's Walking the Munros Volume 1 published by Cicerone. So, while I have described them here briefly, I have also sought out the more interesting ways around the back, the unfrequented corries, the more demanding rugged ridgelines from the less convenient car parks.
       But on the finest of them all I've left the choice to you. Bidean is a hill to visit many times by many different routes; and so, in the south, is Ben Cruachan. The Mamores is one great ridge of many mountains: where you go up and where you come down depends on how much of it you want to do today. The Blackmount's great complex sprawl also deserves to be explored in detail.