The Clachet Traverse Four Munro’s (Black Mount)
Area: Glen Etive to Glen Lochy
Munros: Stob a’Choire Odhair, Stob Ghabhar, Meall a’Bhuiridh, Creise
Date walked: 26/09/2010
Time: 8 hours 15 mins
I hadn’t been feeling well for a few days but due to the great weather forecast for Sunday I decided it was too good an opportunity to miss and I was going to bag some Munro’s. My alarm went at 0400 but I was shattered so I set it for another hour and went back to sleep. When it went off at 0500 I looked at the clear sky and knew I had to go. My Munro’s off choice today were the Black Mount four munros, The Clachet Traverse, south of Beauchaille etive Mor and I arrived at the car park near Victoria bridge at about 0710. I passed a number of cars along the road with lots of tents pitched. All the cars were covered in frost and it was minus 3 degrees so it must have been an unusually cold night for camping at this time of year.
I was fully kitted so jumped out the car and set on my way at 0715, across the bridge then turn left down the track going along the Abhainn Shira, It was freezing and, still in my summer walking kit, my fingers and toes were quickly freezing up. I therefore started running along the track and in no time I had warmed up sufficiently in order not to add more layers. I knew if I had, they would have to come off as soon as I started ascending the hillside. After a couple of kilometres I arrived at the green hut. Just past here I take the small track heading north up the valley. The track would normally be boggy but due to the frost underfoot the conditions are nice and crisp. After another couple of kilometres I arrive at some big slabs and a large rockfall/burn. This would be interesting to cross in spate but there is not really much water here and I quickly cross to the other side.
The path continues up the valley but I leave it here and follow a smaller path directly up the hillside. There is an excellent waterfall up above but due to the lack of water it’s not so impressive today. My route takes me to the south of the waterfall up the ridge and onto the summit of Stob a’Choire Odhair. The summit is in the sunshine with barely a cloud in the sky. The northern slopes are still covered in hoar frost but the Southern slopes are thawing nicely and the views are excellent. I check my gps and it’s switched off. Looks like the extended battery is loose in the casing and disconnects when I run as it bounces about. Not too worry its easily fixed. With the excellent visibility today it’s not going to be used much anyway.
I now head west dropping to the beallach (spot height 668) for just over 1km and ascend the ridge up to the Aonach Eagach, with excellent views down into Coirein Lochan. This Aonach Eagach ridge is a tiny version of its more famous cousin 20km north of here in Glencoe. This takes you around a nice ridge for the final ascent up to Stob Ghabhar.
I now head North descending the ridgeline for 2km heading North east along the ridge around Glas Choirean. There are some paths here and there but in the main I make my own tracks and a further 1km brings me to the Beallach Fuar-chathaidh below Clach Leathad. It’s now a 450m ascent, with the first 200m quite steep, to the large sheltered cairn on this demoted Munro, now a top. My t-shirt is soaked with sweat due to the heat now so I take this opportunity to put on a clean top. It’s still quite chilly in the light wind (I was sheltered by the slope on the ascent) as I continue onto my next summit, Creise. Its boulder field all the way.
There are excellent views all around with a great view of the connecting ridge and the steep ascent to Meall a’Bhuiridh. As I cross the point where the scramble up the connecting ridge in this direction ends there is a large cairn marking the spot. This would be invaluable in bad weather. After another half a km, a slight ascent and after meeting my first walker of the day, I am at the summit of Creise. I meet my second walker of the day here. After a little chat I am again on my way.
I now retrace my steps over the boulders to the large cairn and descend the connecting ridge to the beallach. I chat with another couple of walkers and then ascend the steep climb up to Meall a’Bhuiridh summit. There are two false summits on the way up but it’s not too taxing and I soon arrive at the top. It’s been a great day with four munros bagged in excellent weather.
That’s the euphoria over with because I now have a damn long 12km walkout to do. I head east from the summit past the ski tow gear and along the ski run for about 500m. I pass a memorial to a guy here. I then leave the ski run and head South down the grassy slope. Its quite steep but not to taxing. After I descend approx 200m I meet a guy and a girl. The guy is laying out a parasail and is about to go parascending. I never thought I would meet anyone on this slope but I suppose we all have different hobbies. I had seen some paragliders above Clach Leathad on my round. I had intended to head down Coire Easain but it looks like a bog so I decide to head to Creag an Fhirich then head down the steep slopes to the cottage ruin and then join the WHW for the 9km walk back to the car.
I have not walked the WHW but this section is a nightmare on the feet. Its like someones built a cobbled road and put the cobbles at different angles. It certainly was not much fun on my soft soled running boots hahaha, but with some relief I eventually arrived back at the car.