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The Great Outdoors: Four tricky Munros add up to quite the test

© SYSTEMRannoch Moor.
Rannoch Moor.

At 1,108m (3,635ft) Meall a’ Bhuiridh is the highest summit in a fine set of hills known as the Blackmount.

There are four Munros in the Blackmount and they neatly divide into sets of two – the northern pairing of Meall a’ Bhuiridh and Creise, and in the south Stob Ghabhar and Stob a’ Choire Odhair.

Both are good days out, but linking all four gives one of the best hill days around – the Blackmount Traverse, a Scottish mountaineering classic. It’s a testing day, one that only fitter walkers will want to take on.

Linking the two sets of hills could be tricky in poor weather, but what an outing! One of the reasons I recommend it is because, for me, all the skiing infrastructure on Meall a’ Bhuiridh kind of spoils that hill as a single or even, with Creise as a double, Munro outing.

The full traverse is so spectacular, it makes up for that. I fully accept that the ski centre brings employment, provides an enormous tourism boost to the local economy and is a fantastic leisure resource – but the lifts, buildings and bulldozed tracks it requires detract from the hill as a walking area. For experienced scramblers who want to avoid the skiing infrastructure, Creise and Meall a’ Bhuiridh can be climbed as a pair via Sron na Creise – a tough Grade 2/3 scramble.

It’s very exposed and loose and not for beginners. Reaching the start of the route involves either a long, pathless walk from the ski centre over boggy, tussocky, heathery ground, or by fording the River Etive – which is not always possible.

One of the highlights of the traverse is the chance to experience Scotland’s “other” Aonach Eagach. It’s the name given to a short, rocky and occasionally narrow section of ridge on the Munro Stob Ghabhar. It’s a simple, short and fun scrambly section – nowhere near as difficult as its better-known big cousin in Glen Coe.

Pronunciation: Me-yal a Vooray;

Meaning: rounded hill of the bellowing (of rutting stags)

Height: 1,108m (3,635ft). Rank: 45

OS Landranger Maps 41 & 50

Summit grid ref: NN251503 (cairn)

Nearest town: Glencoe is about 20km (12.4 miles) north-west. Although a small village it has great facilities. Accommodation options include hotels, B&Bs, caravan and campsites and a youth hostel. There are shops, a petrol station and excellent places to eat and drink. It’s also home to the area’s mountain rescue team.

Start grid ref: NN270418. Distance: 21km (13.1 miles)

Ascent: 2100m (6890ft). Time: 10hrs

Two vehicles make the traverse simpler – leave a vehicle at the Glencoe Mountain Resort car park then drive to the car park just short of Victoria Bridge, near the Inveroran Hotel.

From the car park, cross the bridge and follow the track west alongside the river until you reach the Glasgow University Mountaineering Club hut. Then head north on a boggy path that crosses a small river then zig-zags to the summit of Stob a’ Choire Odhair. West lies the bealach with Stob Ghabhar.

Continue west after the low point, before heading up steep ground to the crest of the Aonach Eagach – scree and loose rock requires scrambling. The ridge runs west and joins the Munro’s south-east ridge. Climb this to the summit. From here, north-west then north takes you on to long Aonach Mor ridge.

A spur a couple of kilometres along the ridge juts north-east – it leads to the bealach with Clach Leathad. Then it’s a steep climb to the east ridge of Clach Leathad – a Munro Top of Creise. Creise is 1km (0.6 miles) north.

Backtrack to the col at 1,070m (3,510ft), then head east down steep terrain to the bealach with Meall a’ Bhuiridh – this requires scrambling and care. From the bealach it’s a steep pull up rocky ground to the summit.

The descent is just east of north, well to the left of the ski tows. The final 1km (0.6 miles) follows steep ground beneath the ski lift, back to the centre car park.

The Glencoe Mountain Ski Resort – once known as the White Corries Ski Centre – has eight lifts and 20 runs on the north-eastern flanks of Meall a’ Bhuiridh.

It’s a relatively small centre, but enormously popular due to its proximity to Glasgow and the Central Belt – it’s barely a two-hour drive from Scotland’s biggest city and just 1km (0.6 miles) off the A82 trunk road. Some lifts carry snowsports enthusiasts almost all the way to the summit of the Munro. The skiing season in Scotland can sometimes extend into May, but the resort is open year-round.

In summer months, it operates mainly as a mountain-biking venue, with downhill and cross-country routes available. Other activities on offer include tubing – sliding downhill on a giant inflatable ring – and treasure hunting!

It has “microlodges” for accommodation and facilities for camping and motorhomes, as well as a cafe and licensed bar.

Robert Wight’s Explore The Munros is available from, priced £16.99.