Magnificent Mamores

Magnificent Mamores

Jake // July 22, 2020

In the previous days I had to cut routes short due to horrific weather conditions, for my final day in Scotland I was looking for an iconic route to remember. The mamores is a mountain range consisting of ten Munros in Lochaber forming a ridge running east to west. Coming to Scotland I wanted to tick off as many Munros as possible as the other mountainous areas of the UK have limited mountains over 3000’s ft in height. I planned a circuit that would tick off two Munros, one of them a Mamore, while hopefully getting a good view of the rest.

The initial ascent was really pleasant, it was on a loose path which ran up the valley from Glen Nevis. I would have been enjoying myself if not for one reason… I needed a number 2! I had spent two days in the mountains and not seen a single person now suddenly when I needed some privacy everyone and their nan was out for a walk! I finally started climbing and after a short ascent I hit the ridge. To my left I had the rest of the Mamore range, the photos don’t really show the impressive scale is. To my right I could see Stob Ban the only Mamore I would get to summit on the trip but it was a good one. You don’t appreciate the scale of Scotland’s mountains until you get up high, the view makes the Lake District look like lowland. I can only imagine what it feels like to be in the Alps with mountains up to five times the size, I can’t wait until I start alpine climbing.

Most of the ascent was up a scree slope and a bit of a scramble, the view of the range was stunning but I wasn’t  able to appreciate it. Fortunately I finally caught a break doing the deed in a carefully constructed hole. It’s not my proudest field poo but it had to be done. What a relief I was now able to enjoy the rest of the ridge.  The summit is covered in quartzite which gives the mountain its iconic image making it stand out from the rest. It’s regarded as one of the finest mamores, I may have only been able to bag one but what a one it was. The next mountain on the list was Mullach nan Coirean which was connected to Stob Ban by a very fine ridge, just a really nice walk. 

With the sky starting to look angry it was time to get down. On one of the days that I had retreated I had ascended to a point which linked to the ridge I was on, so I confidently started my descent without checking my map. After maybe 30 minutes of walking I suddenly got the feeling every walker dreads “this doesn’t feel right”. I had been walking too long and not reached the feature I was after, it turned out I had descended via the wrong ridge. It’s a classic end of day mistake that I only made because I switched off.

I was too far down to really turn back so I carried on hoping to find a way through the fencing and an alternative route down. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The reason why my previous attempt to reach the Mamores had been a complete failure was due to the marked path I tried to follow not existing. I had to trudge up a steep hill through a felled forest, it wasn’t fun. This mistake led me to a proper path that was not on the map, but offered a well formed track from the road through the forest and out onto the mountains. Perfect!

I really enjoyed this route, lots of the iconic mountains in the UK require either a monotonous ascent or descent at some point of the day. This route was great all the way through. The journey through the valley was a pleasant start with plenty of interesting features and places to stop for breaks. The ridge itself provided some simple scrambling and interesting walking, alongside an impressive view of the surrounding landscape. While the way down included a further minor summit, a pleasant grassy descent and a walk through a logging forest which takes you back to the car park. A perfect circle. You really get the feeling of being in serious mountainous terrain without the need to be particularly skilled in navigation or confident on your feet. 

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