Walking The Ridge to conquer Mam Tor
As the oldest of all the national parks in Britain, The Peak District has been delighting walkers and ramblers of all abilities for 65 years.
OS GetOutside Champion Cat Webster takes us on a two-day bothy adventure, taking in two Munros along the way.
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There’s something quite magical about staying in a bothy, especially on a starry winter’s night with a good fire, whisky and company to warm the soul. Many are also ideally situated to tackle some of Scotland’s more remote Munros, breaking up a long walk in and out. This two-day route can be adapted either as a short trip for a night at the tiny Lairig Leacach bothy at the foot of Stob Ban in the Grey Corries, or extended to include a more strenuous ascent of the fine peaks of Stob Coire Easain and Stob a'Choire Mheadhoin, together known as the Easains.
To complete the full round it’s necessary to leave a car at the carpark at the north end of Loch Treig, at the end of the road signposted for Fersit, the usual setting off point for the traverse of these two Munros. Our starting point is at a small parking area at the end of a very rough and potholed track leading from Coirechoille, near Spean Bridge. From here a good track leads up through the forestry. Look out for the Wee Minister on your right – a wooden replica of a statue said to bring good luck to walkers and climbers heading into the Grey Corries accompanied by a donation box for mountain rescue.
The track crosses the Allt Leachdach and wends its way gently up through the Lairig Leacach – the pass of the flagstones - following the route of an old drove road from the Great Glen south over the pass and down until the shapely peak of Stob Ban (the white peak) comes into view with the bothy nestling below. Its location makes it a popular place for Munro baggers with sleeping platforms for just eight (with more space on the floor) so it’s worth bringing a tent just in case and remember to always follow the Bothy Code. The benefit of a relatively short and easy walk in leaves plenty of time to refuel, watch the stars and make new friends by the fireside.
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In the morning, after catching the sunrise over the surrounding peaks, the first day’s journey can be reversed back to the car for a shorter trip. To take in the two Munros however, the route backtracks a short distance before crossing the Allt na Lairige and joining a faint track, striking upwards to the bealach at 551m below the smaller but distinctive peak of Sgurr Innse.
From here head south-east/east along a ridge to pick up the steeper slopes leading up to the summit of Stob Coire Easain (the peak of the coire of the little waterfalls) at 1,115m. It’s a rocky final haul up to the top but the views that open up over the Grey Corries and beyond to the Aonachs and Ben Nevis are stunning.
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Heading onwards, follow the ridge north-east to the bealach and then up to Stob a’Choire Mheadhoin (the peak of the middle coire), with a great view down over Loch Treig and Rannoch Moor and back to the shapely pyramid of Stob Coire Easain.
From here it’s a long but lovely ridge walk down to the dam at Loch Treig, with extensive views and the only potential obstacle, particularly in winter, a steep craggy section off the nose of Meall Cian Dearg. It’s then just a short distance back to the carpark for a shuttle back to the starting point and a welcome stop in Spean Bridge for some well-earned fish and chips.
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Cat Webster grew up walking, camping and skiing in the Scottish Highlands. Despite now living in Edinburgh, she can still be found up north most weekends climbing mountains, scrambling ridges or messing around on skis.
She is a lover of wild swimming, bothy nights, summit sunrises and bivvying under the stars, and as an keen photographer shares her adventures around Scotland on her Instagram page in the hope of inspiring others, particularly young women, to get outside and explore the beautiful country we live in.
Cat is a trainee Mountain Leader, a walk leader with the Edinburgh Young Walkers group and hopes to soon complete her first round of all 282 Scottish Munros.