Colin's Munros


Bidean nam Bian & Stob Coire Sgreamhach, Map 384; 10th June 2007

Route: 1530m = 5020' ascent; 8.0 miles; 7.25 hrs.

Route: This route is really only for those wishing to conquer the Munro tops. It includes Beinn Fhada (NN16435431) which has very steep sides and a tricky wall between it and Stob Coire Sgreamhach. Because of these problems, I would always do this route in a clockwise direction. For those skipping Beinn Fhada, the "tourist" route for Stob Coire Sgreamhach continues up the lost valley to the col west of the summit at NN15085370 rather than making a diversion left up the slope to Beinn Fhada.
The first point to watch in this route is that the path up to the Lost Valley crosses the river by a large boulder. I missed the crossing once and it led to some difficulties. Next, the steep climb up from the Lost Valley has many very minor rocks and crag bands to weave around. As they can be seen and negotiated more easily on ascent than descent, a clockwise direction works well. Once beyond the two tops of Beinn Fhada there is the aforementioned wall, the "bad step". A photo of it is given by Andy Wallace. To avoid scrambling up this, traverse to the left along the short path seen in the photograph and then ascend a rather exposed gully back to the ridge. According to Alex Roddie, the easiest way up starts with a "ramp of slow slants left" which is probably what I took. Another reference for the route is in Finally, "Mike216" describes the route past the bad step as follows: "it was a breeze to find the route up, starting on the left (south-west) side a narrow ledge passes under the initial crags before doubling back and onto the crest of the ridge".
The next choice is an optional detour from the summit of Bidean nam Bian to include its northern Munro Top.
Lastly, various descents are possible from Stob Coire nan Lochan, one by each of its three ridges. One can take the north ridge down to the col with Aonach Dubh before turning SE to a set of loachans where a made-up path descends into the Coire nan Lochan valley, as here. Such a choice is very hard on the joints, being 3000 feet of descent almost entirely over rocks or a constructed stone path. A similar descent can be made to the Coire nan Lochan valley via the east ridge of Stob Coire nan Lochan. In the table below the easiest choice is to return SW to the col with Bidean and descend SE to the Lost Valley. This is about half a mile longer, but involves marginally less ascent from crossing the River Coe back to the helipad parking.
Weather: Hot dry day, overcast, 18°C at start, cloud at ~1150m, very light wind.

10915 Park at Meeting of Three Waters Helipad 163    00.0 milesNN17125687Orange
20925 SE to bridge at Meeting of Three Waters 140 0.33 milesNN17335638 
31000 Path SW beside Allt Coire Gabhail
(crossing by large boulder at 305m alt.
where scree starts on the NW side)
to middle of plain in the "Lost Valley"
3652401.2 milesNN16465534 
Ascend SE to ridge, keeping right of gully. (There are
traces of a path beside the gully, more prominently
higher up, with a cairn where it reaches the ridge.)
7856451.6 milesNN16915480 
51111 SW to T Beinn Fhada, NE Top 9317902.04 milesNN16435431No Orange
61120 SW to col 876 2.17 milesNN16305416 
71125 W to bump 9358502.3 milesNN16115411 
81130 SW to T Beinn Fhada 9528752.4 milesNN15995405No Orange
91140 SW to col 902 2.57 milesNN15735388 
Ascend ridge going 20m to left of cliff up steep gully
(or possible scramble directly up rocks)
SW to M Stob Coire Sgreamhach
107210452.8 milesNN15495365Orange
111225 NW to Bealach Dearg 944 3.03 milesNN15085370 
121255 NW to M Bidean nam Bian (cairn) 115012553.6 milesNN14365421No Orange
13  Detour to NW top: W to col 1120 3.65 milesNN14255419 
141305 WNW to Bidean nam Bian W top cairn 114112703.75 milesNN14145427Orange
15  200yds W then NNW to col 10753.95 milesNN13915445 
161320 N to T Stob Coire nam Beith 110713004.05 milesNN13905457Orange
17  Return S to col 1075 4.1 milesNN13915445 
181335 SSE/E back to Bidean nam Bian W top cairn 114113704.35 milesNN14145427Orange
19  ESE to col 1120 4.42 milesNN14255419 
E to M Bidean nam Bian (cairn) 115013904.5 milesNN14365421No Orange
21  Descend NE to col 980 4.7 milesNN14595449 
NE to T Stob Coire nan Lochan 111515005.0 milesNN14845487Orange
231440 Return SW to col 980 5.3 milesNN14595449 
SE down discontinuous path to join valley
path 1 mile before plain of hidden valley
565 5.95 milesNN15535434 
251540 Good path NE to centre of hidden valley 365 6.8 milesNN16465534 
261600 NE to cross Allt Coire Gabhail by large boulder 305 7.25 milesNN16965581 
271620 NE to bridge at Meeting of Three Waters 140 7.65 milesNN17335638 
281630 Track N/NW to A82 at Helipad 16315308.0 milesNN17125687Orange

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