The walk Perfection defined in mountain splendour
© CROWN COPYRIGHT 2018 ORDNANCE SURVEY. MEDIA 059/18
Location: Lochaber Grade: Mountain walk Distance: 8 miles/13km Time: 6-7 hours
While many would suggest winter is Scotland’s best hillwalking season, my preference would be spring or autumn. The promise of spring tends to be in your heart, uplifted by the thought of the summer ahead, but the beauty of autumn is more immediate and on a good day lies all around you in golden splendour.
Stob Coire Sgriodain (976m/3,202ft) and Chno Dearg (1,047m/3435ft), the two Fersit hills beyond Loch Treig, certainly make a marvellous early winter round.
The circuit of the pair also makes a fairly easy day out, although many Munro-baggers are happy to lengthen it by adding nearby Beinn na Lap. While it’s great to get the extra Munro it does add a big descent from the subsidiary top of Meall Garbh. That’s followed by a long climb of nearly 500m to the summit of Beinn na Lap before turning round and repeating it all over again. Alternatively, you could drop down to Corrour station from Beinn na Lap and return to Tulloch by train.
I first visited Fersit many years ago with Hamish Brown. We had planned a day on the tops but dreadful weather forced us into low-level sloth. We thought that afternoon tea with the late Nancy Smith at Fersit would round off a pleasant, if wet and windy, day but Nancy wasn’t in, although a note pinned to the door invited visitors to come in and make themselves at home. Fersit, in those days, was one of Scotland’s early private hostels, a role model for those to come. Today the bunkhouse at nearby Tulloch is altogether grander, but equally welcoming.
The road-end at Fersit is the logical starting point for the round of Stob Coire Sgriodain. Once past the last of the houses, the track gives way to rough pastures which in turn run into the lower slopes of Coire an Lochain. Several burns tumble downhill from the corrie and you can follow any of them because they all eventually form one stream, the Allt Chaorach Beag, that begins its life high below the crags of Sron na Garbh-bheinne in Lochan Coire an Lochain.
The first time I climbed these Munros everything was covered in snow and the steep, craggy face of Sron na Garbh-bheinne looked fairly intimidating. Instead I opted to bypass the crags and tackle what I thought would be the easier eastern slopes of the ridge. I eventually found a wide, snow-filled gully and even today I
can nervously recall the trepidation I experienced as the slope got steeper and steeper.
When I eventually reached the relative safety of the ridge the exhilaration I felt was made even sweeter by relief but the sustaining and most rewarding emotion was even greater – a sense of privilege at being part of that magnificent scene.
Beyond Sron na Garbh-bheinne the ridge led me to the summit of
The ridge dropped down to a high