I planned to do this walk two weeks ago, but changed my plans suddenly while going past the Ben Nevis car park. This time I kept congratulating myself for that change as for most of the day the summit of Ben Nevis was shrouded in a very stubborn cloud, while I enjoyed clear views.
But it wasn’t that obvious from the beginning. When I arrived in the car park the surrounding hills were mostly covered with clouds. I relied only on the forecast that it would clear up by 11am. With that hope I left the car park and went along the tarmac road for a couple of minutes and then turned right onto a relatively wide path. It narrowed quite soon, climbing steadily up the glen; it was sometimes wet and boggy, but to an acceptable level and it didn’t bother me much – my gaiters were doing their job. What did bother me was that the overcast conditions were seemingly not giving up; instead I was caught in rain three times. About two hours later I reached the ridge, ready to climb to the top of Stob Ban, but it was still shrouded in clouds. Yet there was a sign of improvement: through the clouds I could see the hills on the south side. And when I was going up step by step, the clouds evaporated and I reached the top with very clear views (southwards was hazy).
After a few minutes I left the top of Stob Ban and went down the scree towards the plateau below. It was surprisingly easy and quick. I enjoyed my ‘price-cut’ Tesco sandwich and hot tea from the flask while sitting in the glorious sunshine near the cairn on top of Coire Dearg (the Red Corrie). It also gave me a chance to establish a great distance between me and a very nice, but unpleasantly noisy couple; the Dutch I reckon. After lunch I carried on towards the much flatter summit of Mullach nan Coirean, officially my one hundredth Munro. Well, it had looked flat from the top of Stob Ban, but actually was a bit more mountainous. After taking a photo of myself and Pole the Dog with Sgurr a’Mhaim in the backdrop I started my descend.
The last part of the walk was obviously leading back to the car park. The path ran quite steeply down the ridge. It’s most unpleasant part was its final stretch just before going into the woodland; it was steep, very unstable, boggy and wet. How happy I was with my gaiters on! Just beside the steps over the fence there was a pool of mud; on the other side of the fence a nice, hard and dry path through the woods. It led to a wide forest track and, maybe a mile down the road, a nice shortcut along the stream down to the tarmac road. A few minutes later I was back in my car. It was a great walk!