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Stob Ghabhar from Stob a'Choire Odhair
Stob Ghabhar from Stob a'Choire Odhair
Country: Scotland
Location: Bridge of Orchy
Accommodation: Hotel, bunkhouse and some camping at Bridge of Orchy (close to train station). Inveroran Hotel at head of Loch Tulla.
Transport: Train station at Bridge of Orchy. Buses run along the A82 (Glasgow to Fort William).
Maps: Landranger Map 0050: Glen Orchy & Loch Etive
Trip Date: 12 June 1993
Also See:
Stob Ghabhar Ascent (big, beautiful winter pictures)
Stob a' Choire Odhair - Stob Ghabhar - Creise - Meall a' Bhuiridh by Paul Kennedy
Introduction

Stob Ghabhar (1087m, goat peak) and Stob a'Choire Odhair (943m, peak of the dun-coloured corrie) are the eastern most peaks of the ranges between Loch Etive and Loch Tulla. Stob Ghabhar makes a fine sight from the A62 road along the side of Loch Tulla. These peaks can be bagged as part of the classic traverse of the Black Mount range, linking the old and famous inns of Inveroran Hotel and Kingshouse Hotel (see the second link above). This route though is a round trip from Bridge of Orchy (where I was staying).

Route

Leave the hotel at Bridge of Orchy and immediately turn to cross the River Orchy. Cross the ridge of Ben Inverveigh along a path straight on from the bridge (this is part of the West Highland Way). The path is an old military road built in 1752 or 1753. There is a cairn at the highest point (Mam Carraigh) with good views across the loch and west to the day's objectives. The path drops down to meet the lochside road at Inveroran Hotel.

Follow the road as it crosses the Allt Tolaghan. I noticed quite a number of tents set up here - a good option for campers with the pub so near (ask at the inn first). It is about a kilometre from the hotel to Victoria Bridge. Cross the bridge and turn left at Forest Lodge. Easy walking along a landrover track leads in 1.5 kilometres to a small corrugated iron hut. Turn north here along a well-defined path, forsaking the Abhainn Shira river for the Allt Toaig stream.

The path rises gently until it gets to the entrance of the corrie Coire Toaig. Across the stream you can see a waterfall with a rough path dropping down its right side. This is the path used on the descent from Stob Ghabhar. Continue along the path as it starts to climb more steeply. into the corrie. After the second side-stream (point 252446 on the map), the base of a broad heathery ridge is reached. Climb up the ridge for 300m on the generous zigzags of a good stalker's path. This takes you to about the 800m contour where the path ends on open bouldery ground. Make your own way northwards up the ridge to the summit of Stob a'Coire Odhair.

This summit is a good place for a breather and perhaps lunch. Take your time looking over Rannoch Moor with its patchwork of lochs.

Descend down the broad west ridge to the wide bealach (pass) between the two hills. The photo at the top looks along this ridge to Stob Ghabhar. Continue west until you gain the crest of a SW ridge - dropping left to right on the photo. Climb steeply up the ridge on a path up rough slopes and some scree. You emerge on a ridge called the Aonach Eagach ('notched ridge') - nowhere as narrow or notched as its namesake in Glen Coe. Turn west on the ridge and walk along the narrow crest for 500 metres. The ridge turns to met the SE ridge from Stob Ghabhar and this is climbed steeply to the summit along the edge of the vertical NE face of Stob Ghabhar.

Stob a'Choire Odhair
Stob a'Choire Odhair from the ridge leading up to Stob Ghabhar

On a clear day the summit is a place to sit and admire the mountainous nature of this part of Scotland. To the north you can see Ben Nevis in the distance (40 kilometres away), the Glen Coe hills in the middle distance and the rest of the Black Mount range stretching from your feet to Kingshouse. To the west the valley of Loch Dochard gives way to the hills grouped around Ben Starav. To the south the Bridge of Orchy hills (Beinn a'Chreachain, Beinn Achaladair, etc.) lift up above Loch Tulla and further away (SW) the Ben Lui group makes up the horizon. Rannoch Moor completes the view to the east.

Leave the summit the way you came dropping down to the start of the Aonach Eagach ridge. Here you can choose to descend via the south-east ridge for about 1.5 kilometres and then turn to the ESE across open grassy slopes to cross the Allt Toaig and regain the path. I chose to continue down the Aonach Eagach past the ascent route until it was possible to work my way around crags and down into Coire na Muic. The head of the waterfall was easy to reach over marshy ground and a rough steep path lead back to the path.

Once you get back to the Inveroran Hotel (and a couple of well-earned pints), the return route can be varied by following the road around the lochside.


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