Stob Coire Sgriodain is one half of a walk that got my attention at the end of last year. On Stob a' Choire Mheadhion we'd seen it rise above Loch Treig, forming the eastern end of the Ben Nevis range along with the other munro it forms a horse shoe shaped ridge with, Chno Dearg. It looked an interesting walk and I was keen to try it.
Starting from the car park at Fersit, we set off along a short road that took us past a few farm houses before the bowl of the mountain opened up to us. Leaving the road we met our first obstacle of the day, a herd of cows and everything that comes with them. Clustered around a feeding tray, they had pretty much buried the start of the walk under cow pats of all size and shape, but it was better than a peat bog and we squelched our way through them, being watched all the time by the cows with that strange and aloof, almost arrogant look they have when they see humans in their territory.
Trying not to make eye contact, we quickly passed their judgemental stares and the walk turned into a series of hummocks, each rising higher than the first as we began to gain height. The ground was solid underfoot, without sodden peat bog or long grass and it made for easy walking despite the heat.
Fortunately, as we began to heat up, rock pools were found to cool down in.
Refreshed from the cooling skinny dip, Karla now led the way, pushing up the hill and veering right towards the ridge. We ascended up over the rocky ground that made up Stob Coire Sgriodain's north ridge, and it brought us up above Loch Treig. The view was beautiful, a reflection of the view we had last year on Stob Coire Sgriodain. As we looked at its ridge we traced where we had walked the previous year, reliving a past success as we stood a short distance below the main summit.
Its always interesting to see a mountain route you've walked from another angle. To follow the land with your eye that your feet have touched is almost like returning there, feeling the struggle of the climb, even the elation of the summit again in your memory.
But we had no time to linger on such thoughts. Stob Coire Sgriodain lay above us, atop the steep and boulder ridden slope that rose ahead of us.
Looking at the terrain before you can provoke all kinds of thoughts. A hummocky peat bog can sink the heart even before it sinks the feet, while steep, bare rock quickens the heart and the breath. But the slope above me inspired one thing – the urge to summit. Steep yet rocky. Uneven yet dry. It was perfect terrain for a last push to the summit, steep, interesting and perfect for rapid progress. We stormed up it, pushing onwards and upwards, winding out way past boulders and rocks before attaining the summit.
If I had to describe the summit of Stob Coire Sgriodain, I'd call it an interesting mess. Boulder strewn, with exposed bedrock beneath clumps of grass, is a fascinating place to run around, with opportunities for a little fun scrambling in abundance. Especially interesting was the great cleft in its side, threatening one day in the distant future to bring a huge slump on the side of the mountain plummeting all the way down the the loch below.
The landscape was beautiful, and so was the light. We got some wonderful pictures there but the day was not over. We still had one more munro to go.