Stob a’ Choire Odhair

28 01 2014

March 2010
While staying at the Bridge of Orchy bunkhouse, after a wild night of banging… of high winds and sleet and hail on the window 😉 we awoke to find even more hills had turned white overnight. The weather wasn’t great and I wasn’t feeling great either so we decided on an easy day of just Stob a’ Choire Odhair (we’d already said we would just do that if we were to have an off day – I was leaving Stob Gabhar to do alone as I wanted to ‘collect’ all its tops and Richard isn’t into top-collecting…)

(click on photos for full size/resolution)
We drove to Victoria Bridge carpark to find the day had become much sunnier and we were the only ones there – as it was 1030 we were obviously going to be alone on the hill… it was much less snowy down this glen than it had been back at Bridge of Orchy.

Loch Tulla & Stob Gabhar
Loch Tulla & Stob Gabhar

Stob Gabhar from Inveroran Bridge
…from Inveroran Bridge

We strode off up to the tin hut in the glen (the old schoolhouse) and then turned right off the glen track to the grassy, wide path heading straight (and it goes straight for miles!) for Coire Toaig…

Stob a' Choire Odhair's long straight walk in
Stob a’ Choire Odhair’s long straight walk in

The track obligingly goes slightly uphill to lessen the climb later. To be honest though, the whole of the climb into the corrie and up to the col is very easy indeed. The way I was dragging behind Richard though, you’d think it was hard – I was having a day of feeling dreadful for some unknown reason.

Stob Gabhar's Sron nan Guibhas
Stob Gabhar’s Sron nan Guibhas Ridge

We’d originally been going to go up the south ridge zig-zags but changed our mind as it was still a strong and very cold NW wind, preferring to ascend the western ridge instead with the wind on our backs. That turned out to be a great decision as it was also exceedingly easy (but I continued to labour as I ascended it). I had a look at the route up to Stob Gabhar from the col for the future and decided it was way too steep for me after all – that was okay as I’d decided the south ridge was going to be the best route for taking in its two western Munro tops anyway and hopefully also the lesser hill of Meall Odhar on the end of the ridge.

Stob Gabhar from SacOdhair west ridge
Stob Gabhar from Stob a’ Choire Odhair west ridge

As we turned onto the western ridge from the col, the snow cover increased and, due to the windchill, was quite icy in places. The ridge was broad and gentle however so there were no problems and no tools were needed.

Even though I felt completely rotten and thought I was about to collapse, we were soon at the summit. We had a quick break in a sheltered spot for a warm coffee. For once we had a view but, due to me feeling so awful, I only took one photo then just flopped in the snow and drank my coffee.

Stob Gabhar fm SacOdhair

We then set off down stony ground, which was awkward with a soft snow covering, to the flatter and grassier ground just above the ridge of the zig-zags. We descended these and I have to say I must truly have been having a bad day as I was finding the views into the gill on my left and down to my right, unnervingly steep! Richard waited on every corner for me to cautiously pick my way down…

Stob a' Choire Odhair's South Ridge route
Stob a’ Choire Odhair’s South Ridge zig-zag – not really steep – just me having a bad day!

When we got to the foot of the zig-zags, Richard found a superbly sheltered and very sunny slab in the river for us to lounge on while we finished our flasks and ate his superb tea-loaf. I took quite a few photos towards the Bridge of Orchy Hills as we returned.

Stob Gabhar fm Forest Lodge
Stob Gabhar from Forest Lodge

Beinn Achaladair through Forest Lodge trees
Beinn Achaladair

West up Abhainn Shira fm Victoria Bridge
West up Abhainn Shira from Victoria Bridge

We were surprised at one point to see a herd of deer on the far bank of the river suddenly run across the river towards us! Just before they reached us, only yards away, they decided they didn’t like the look of us after all – or they just decided we weren’t the folks who feed them – and they wheeled and ran back across. I was too stunned to take any photos unfortunately…

On arrival at the car I had a bit of a kip in the sun and then back to the bunkhouse and the hotel for tea. That night there was yet more snow…

See next post for part 3…

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10 responses

29 01 2014
stravaigerjohn

I like Glen Orchy etc.

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30 01 2014
mountaincoward

I like Rannoch Moor in general. Funny that as I used to absolutely hate it – maybe I’ve just got used to more wildernessy places as I’ve done the Munros…
Carol.

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29 01 2014
bob

Some nice photographs Carol. It’s 20 years since I’ve done any hills it that area so I’ve been thinking about them for this spring as it’s only a two hour drive.

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29 01 2014
mountaincoward

Well don’t forget Ben Lui as well – I’ve decided on my route now to get Beinn a’ Chleibh first and Lui as the final one! 🙂

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28 01 2014
jackie sowrey

Stunning photography carol!

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29 01 2014
mountaincoward

Thanks Jackie – it’s just a scenic area. I defy anyone to get a bad photo of Loch Tulla – it always looks great 🙂

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28 01 2014
McEff

I’ve not climbed Stob a’ Choire Odhair, Carol, so I’m looking forward to it after reading that. I’ll try to lay off the whisky the previous night, though. And I like endings like that. A kip in the sun after a good walk makes all the difference.
Cheers, Alen

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29 01 2014
mountaincoward

Done on it’s own, it has to be about the easiest Munro. Of course, most people combine it with Stob Gabhar – in which case it’s a bit harder and you get a bit of excitement along the ‘other Aonach Eagach ridge’ – haven’t done that myself yet but think I’ll give it a go sometime. Needs to be a non-windy day for that section though…

Oh – and I hadn’t been on the whisky, honest – I think the prevailing cold weather got to me – it tends to make me ill after a couple of days. Luckily the sun that day thawed me out in the afternoon…

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28 01 2014
fedupofuserids

Thought I’d accidentally stumbled on the wrong blog with the first line 😉

Great pictures Carol, I’ve always got a soft spot for photos of Loch Tulla 😀

Looks a nice hill without drama, might be one for this years list.

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29 01 2014
mountaincoward

See above for my reply to Alen – it’s a supremely easy Munro in any weather but not normally done on it’s own.

I couldn’t resist the pun in the first line 😉
Carol.

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