Hills: Stob Coire Gaibhre, Stob Coire na Ceannain, Stob Choire Claurigh, Stob a' Choire Leith, Stob Coire Cath na Sine, Caisteal, Stob Coire an Laoigh, Stob Coire Easain, Beinn na Socaich
Date: Friday 29th April 2022
Company: Myself and Ann-Marie
Distance: 20.7km, Ascent: 1400m
Time: 8Hrs 5Mins


On Friday morning, we set off early to ascend two Grey Corries Munros and seven Grey Corries Munro Tops. We drove to Corriechoille and parked one mile beyond up the unsurfaced Lairig track where there is room for several cars.

I last ascended Stob Choire Claurigh and Stob Coire an Laoigh, along with five Munro Tops, on a Cairngorm Club weekend meet in November 2003. On this ascent, I would be ascending two additional Munro Tops which were missed during my previous ascent.

The MWIS forecast looked good suggesting 80% cloud-free Munros .


Route:


Once suited and booted we set off walking along the Lairig track with a view to undertaking a clockwise circuit.

The Lairig:


I last walked the Lairig track in January 2019 for an ascent of Stob Ban. On that day I set off early using my headtorch to light the way and got a bit of a fright when out of the darkness I was confronted by the Wee Minister. It was nice to again meet the Wee Minister but this time without jumping out of my skin .

The Wee Minister:


Beyond the Wee Minister we left the Lairig track skirting round Ruigh na Gualainn and then following a faint track up the hillside at the edge of the forest. The weather was as good as forecast.

Looking back during initial ascent:


After ascending several hundred metres we began to get great views looking across to Aonach Mor and Aonach Beag. I last ascended these hills in November 2021.

Great early morning view of the Grey Corries and the Aonachs:


The easy grass slopes continued all the way to our first Munro Top of the day, Stob Coire Gaibhre.

At the summit of Stob Coire Gaibhre:


From Stob Coire Gaibhre, we descended a short distance to Bealach Coire na Ceannain before ascending another couple of hundred metres to the 1121m top.

Stob Coire na Ceannain from Bealach Coire na Ceannain:


During the ascent, while taking care on the quartzite screes, we passed a couple of Ptarmigan. Due to recent back issues, probably from years of carrying too much in my rucksack, I was not carrying my DSLR .

Stony ascent towards the 1121m top of Stob Choire Claurigh:


On reaching the 1121m top, we took a short detour out to our second Munro Top of the day, Stob Coire Ceannain. The ridge out to Stob Coire Ceannain is the narrowest section of ridge. Walkers who are only bagging Munros, will generally miss out this top.

View from the summit of Stob Coire Ceannain:


Ascent from Stob Coire Ceannain col back to the 1121m top:


On returning to the 1121m top we had a good drink before commencing our ascent to the summit of Stob Choire Claurigh.

I always keep an eye on the weather when walking and was a little concerned on seeing several cumulonimbus clouds. Despite not being forecast, I wondered if there might be thunder later in the day.

Stob Choire Claurigh:


Ascending Stob Choire Claurigh:


We soon reached the summit of Stob Choire Claurigh our first Munro of the day. To reach the next Munro, we had to first traverse three more tops.

At the summit of Stob Choire Claurigh:


Descent from Stob Choire Claurigh:


It didn't take long to reach our third Munro Top of the day, Stob a' Choire Leith.

At the summit of Stob a' Choire Leith:


Between Stob a' Choire Leith and Stob Coire Cath na Sine there is a rocky section which is much easier than it looks. Just a walk.

Rocky outcrop en-route to Stob Coire Cath na Sine:


In recent years, I have seldom walked on quartzite scree. Some of the Grey Corries ridge reminded me of awesome Foinaven and Arkle in the North-West Highlands.

At the summit of Stob Coire Cath na Sine:


View from Stob Coire Cath na Sine:


As the day progressed, the blue sky increasingly filled with cloud. We were however fortunate in that almost all of the darker clouds were passing us to the north.

Looking back along the ridge:


Caisteal, the Castle, is one of the finest of the Grey Corries peaks. The rock again reminded me of Foinaven including Lord Reay's Seat.

We stopped for lunch at the summit of Caisteal which consisted of chocolate and jelly babies . After also drinking about a litre of water, we were again on our way.

At the summit of Caisteal:


Heading from Caisteal out to Stob Coire an Laoigh:


Looking back to Caisteal:


View over a wee cornice:


The walk out to Stob Coire an Laoigh was straightforward and the views from its summit were pretty good. With two Munros now ascended and five Munro Tops, we now had just two more Munro Tops to ascend before descending back towards the car.

The Aonachs and the Ben from the summit of Stob Coire an Laoigh:


An out and back to Sgurr Choinnich Mor can also be included in this walk if desired. However, it is a nice ascent on its own from Glen Nevis which we did in 2021.

Ridge out to Sgurr Choinnich Mor:


Stob Coire Easain:


Looking back during ascent of Stob Coire Easain:


The summit of Stob Coire Easian, another Munro Top, provides great views across to the Aonachs and Ben Nevis.

At the summit of Stob Coire Easain:


Heading out to Beinn na Socaich:


I think I missed the summit of Beinn na Socaich during my first ascent of these hills as it has such little prominence it is barely a hill in its own right.

At the summit of Beinn na Socaich:


Grey Corries panorama from the summit of Beinn na Socaich:


With two Munros and seven Munro Tops in the bag, we now had a pleasant grassy descent ahead. It was fantastic to walk on grass instead of quartzite!

As we made our way down towards the base of the hill, the clouds were becoming real moody. While we did have a short hail shower, thankfully there was no thunder.

Worrying skies:


These days I rarely use guide books or look at websites to plan routes. Instead I just look at the map and make it up as I go along. On paper, the route we took looked good but I would say the descent was steeper than expected.

We descended to a dam with a view to picking-up the start of the track leading back towards the car. Given the footprints and the stile at the other side of the dam I suspect many also follow this route. If coming this way just be careful on the descent to the dam as it is steep. Coming this way could also be problematic if the allt is in spate.

Dam:


Dam:


After crossing the allt above the dam, we briefly ascended to reach the start of the track which we followed out to the car.

Onto a track leading back towards The Lairig:


Despite the good weather we did not see or meet anyone else on these hills . The same generally can't be said when walking in the Lakes .

A good day out leaving just 15 Munros to complete Round 2 and 45 Munro Tops to complete the Full House i.e. all Munros, Corbetts, Grahams, Donalds (including all Donald Tops), Furth and Munro Tops.