Author Topic: TR - Stob a Choire Odhair - into the wild mountains above Rannoch Moor  (Read 1813 times)

richardh1905

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TR - Stob a Choire Odhair

19th August 2020


The MWIS forecast was good for our last day of our mini break in Tyndrum, with a 90% chance of cloud free tops, and visibility 'excellent to superb', so we decided to have another day out on the hill. We had thought about climbing Ben Cruachan, but ultimately decided to head on up past Bridge of Orchy, and climb Stob a Choir Odhair (945m), a rather obscure mountain on the western edge of Rannoch Moor, with the option of continuing on to Stob Ghabhar to the west if time and fitness allowed.



Viewranger route HERE

The short drive up the A82 from Tyndrum to Bridge of Orchy was a delight. Beinn Dorain in particular looked stunning in the morning sunlight, draped in wisps of cloud. Unfortunately I discovered too late that my phone camera would not focus through a car windscreen.


We turned off at the Bridge of Orchy and drove down the minor road to Victoria Bridge, stopping to admire the gorgeous views over Loch Tulla.


Cloud topped Stob Ghabhar across Loch Tulla

A panoramic view across Loch Tulla

We continued on past the Inveroran Hotel and parked in the car park a short distance before Victoria Bridge. We were on our way at 1000.


Beinn an Dothaidh (centre) and Beinn Dorain (left) wreathed in morning cloud

The Abhainn Shira from Victoria Bridge

A short distance after Victoria Bridge, at a junction by some houses, we took a track heading westwards through lovely pine woods before entering more open country.


Through the pine woods...


..and onwards up the glen


Stop Ghabhar finally clear of clouds - almost.

The track leads all the way up the valley of the Abhainn Shira, before descending Glen Kinglass to the shores of Loch Etive. This would be a lovely walk or cycle ride, but our destination was up a side valley, the path ascending northwards beside the Allt Toaig. The path started gently, but soon started to climb up towards Coire Toaig, and we started to suffer in the heat, being overhauled by two other groups of walkers.



Stob a Choire Odhair was initially hidden from view by the steep western spur of Beinn Toaig, but as we climbed, our reclusive peak finally came into view.


Stob a Choire Odhair finally comes into view  - we climbed the grassy ridge to the right

Our peak is separated from the steep western slopes of Beinn Toaig by a burn. After quenching our thirsts and refilling our water bottles, we left the good path leading up into Coire Toaig and tackled the rough path that climbs a steep grassy spur up the southern slopes - this was unpleasantly loose and brutally steep in places, and we struggled in the heat, but eventually we hit some well graded zig-zags, the remnants of an old stalkers path.


A brutally steep climb - we struggled in the heat.


The path climbs above Coire Toaig (we later descended the ridge to the right)


The fabulous views unfolding behind us gave us an excuse to stop several times! Ben Cruachan in cloud far right.

The zig zags were much easier going, and I started to enjoy the climb. The slope eventually eased, and the path petered out amongst rocky ground, a good place to stop for a bite to eat.


Tess with Stob Ghabhar beyond

As we climbed up the rocky slopes towards the summit, we started to see new mountains revealing themselves - in particular, a strikingly steep dark mountain to the north west - this I later identified as Bidean nam Bian - another mountain added to my 'to do' list.


Bidean nam Bian comes into view as we near the summit

And then we were there, and it was as if the World lay at our feet, with the vast expanse of Rannoch Moor laid out below us. I don't think that I have ever experienced such a dramatic summit view 'reveal' before.


Rannoch Moor laid out below us - no photograph could ever do the view justice


Another view of Bidean nam Bian, with Clach Leathad to the right


I couldn't tear my eyes away from Rannoch Moor


Panoramic shot of Stob Ghabhar (left), Bidean nam Bain (centre), Clach Leathad and Meall a Bhuiridh (right)

After lunch we descended down the broad western ridge, new views down into the valley of the River Ba to the north revealed as we descended. We also caught a peep of a secretive lochan nestling in a dark corrie on the eastern flank of Stob Ghabhar, frustratingly this stayed in the shade of the clouds now forming above the summit so I couldn't get a good photograph of it.


Clach Leathad to the north


The rugged terrain guarding the eastern approach to Stob Ghabhar, the summit now in cloud.

The ridge steepened but made for pleasant walking as the path wound its way around and between a series of small crags. Rather predictably, we decided that we didn't want to climb the steep rocky slopes ahead; instead we angled down easy grassy slopes into the head of Coire Toaig.


Looking back up the western ridge of Stob a Choire Odhair


Looking down into Coire Toaig, with Beinn Dorain and Beinn Odhar beyond

Initially the path down the valley was rather rough and boggy, but it improved as we descended. There were a lot of flowers in the valley - still some bog asphodel in flower higher up, heather on the slopes above us, and harebells, scabious and hawkweed lower down.

We stopped for a rest at the burn we had previously crossed, and I spotted some interesting red berries on the sunny northern bank - these were cowberries, and I couldn't resist trying a few - they were a bit tart and tasted rather like cranberries.



We still had a few miles to go, but it was all downhill from here, along a mostly decent path, and the views of the mountains in the afternoon sunlight were lovely.


Beinn Achaladair, Beinn an Dothaidh and Beinn  Dorain from the path beside the Allt Toaig

With a mile to go, we spotted a couple of stags on the far side of the Abhainn Shira, these were rather unperturbed by our presence, even when we had a paddle in the river a couple of hundred yards further downstream - it felt so good to cool our pummelled hot feet.





What a day out on the hill - a 'quality mountain day' if ever there was one. There is something about the vastness and wildness of the Highlands that puts them in a league of their own when compared to other British mountains.

Pronunciation and more information on Stob a Choire Odhair can be found on the WalkHighlands website HERE.




Photos of me and of the red deer by my wife.
« Last Edit: 16:37:13, 22/08/20 by richardh1905 »
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Ridge

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Stunning scenery  O0 looks a superb day.

karl h

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That looks a perfect mountain day out, thanks for taking us along with you Richard O0
I've only ever driven across Rannoch Moor but even from the road it's a stunning place :)
show your love for Lady Nature. And she will come back again.
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richardh1905

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Stunning scenery  O0 looks a superb day.
Thanks - it certainly was. You been up that way, Mark?
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richardh1905

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That looks a perfect mountain day out, thanks for taking us along with you Richard O0
I've only ever driven across Rannoch Moor but even from the road it's a stunning place :)


My pleasure, Karl  :)
It was my first foray into the mountains around Rannoch Moor - I do fancy losing myself there for a few days, so many mountains, so many remote corries and glens.
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richardh1905

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I've re-posted the summit panorama shot - click on it to enlarge, and then you can use the scroll bar that appears.


Panoramic summit shot of Stob Ghabhar (left), Bidean nam Bain (centre), Clach Leathad and Meall a Bhuiridh (right)


Goodness knows what all the mountains in the far distance are!
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sparnel

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Another great report Richard. The mountain to your left, Stob Ghabhar, on the way to your summit is another great day out. A bit longer and the ridge up to the summit is fantastic. It's quite narrow and exposed but not too difficult to get across.
Your photos are superb and if they don't whet the appetite of other forum members to get themselves up to the area, then nothing will!
Sounds as you had a great four days.......... O0




richardh1905

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Another great report Richard. The mountain to your left, Stob Ghabhar, on the way to your summit is another great day out. A bit longer and the ridge up to the summit is fantastic. It's quite narrow and exposed but not too difficult to get across.
Your photos are superb and if they don't whet the appetite of other forum members to get themselves up to the area, then nothing will!
Sounds as you had a great four days.......... O0

Thanks Sparnel. I am constantly amazed by how good phone cameras can be for landscape shots  :) 

Stob Ghabhar does look like a complex and rewarding mountain, but time was marching on and we had had enough, so it was a peak for another day.

I really fancy a multi day wild camping trip, doing a big round from Glen Etive, perhaps, and really getting to know these hills. Or maybe Taynuilt to the Kingshouse Hotel over the tops, and back to Bridge of Orchy for the return train. So many possibilities. No idea when I would be able to fit this in, though.


I suppose that distance is an obstacle to many forum members, but the Highlands have so much to offer. Well worth the long drive or train journey.
« Last Edit: 14:16:11, 23/08/20 by richardh1905 »
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April

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More wonderful photos Richard  O0


It certainly is great scenery up there, we will be going further north again when we have have a week away  :)
"Who would've thought...... you are light and darkness coming through" words by Tim Armstrong

richardh1905

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Thanks April  :)


Much as I like the Lake District, the Highlands are the place to be as far as I am concerned.
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snaderson

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Thanks for the reports, Richard. The shot(s) of Rannoch Moor is fab. Whetted my appetite for my late September trip to Ben Lawers (fingers crossed).


A couple of other "big reveals". Hitting the ridge on Suilven and looking south to Cul Mor and Stac Polliadh, over the otherworldly knock-and-lochan landscape of Assynt. And climbing out of Fionn Choire in the snow up to Bruach na Frithe and getting a view over Loch Coruisk; it was mind-blowing, a proper "mine eyes have seen the glory" moment.


I climbed Bidean nam Bian a few years ago after summiting Stob Choire Sgreamhaich for my mate's final Munro. I don't think the whisky we shared helped me get over BnB, I was wiped out!

richardh1905

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Thanks, a pleasure to write them.  :)

Yes, we had the big Assynt reveal when we climbed Suilven decades ago - a spectacular landscape that I love. Not had the pleasure of walking (if you can call it that) on the Cuillin!

Enjoy Ben Lawers.
« Last Edit: 17:01:30, 24/08/20 by richardh1905 »
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pasbury

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Thanks really enjoyed that, great pictures of a range I've always driven past to get further NW. My mistake!


Bidean nam Bian is an amazing peak to climb as it has a real 'inner sanctum' feel to it, pretty much invisible from Glencoe. Not to be underestimated though - it's a hard day out.

I've just looked up what the name means; 'pinnacle of the mountains' pretty much sums it up
« Last Edit: 16:01:47, 24/08/20 by pasbury »

richardh1905

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Thanks really enjoyed that, great pictures of a range I've always driven past to get further NW. My mistake!


Thanks for the feedback, pasbury  :)
 - I too have made the mistake of driving past on many occasions too; same applies to the wonderful Cairngorms when I have been flogging up the A9. Mind you, Torridon, Assynt and the far North West are a pretty powerful lure!
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Vincent82

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Great pictures! and it looks like we went to the same place a few weeks apart.