Most easterly Munros on the Mamore Range – [# 161 – 163]

Sgurr Eilde Mor (1010m); Binnein Beag (943m); Binnein Mor (1130m)

  • Pronunciation:              Skoor Edge-yer More; Beenyan Bayk; Beenyan More
  • Translation:                   Big Peak of the Hind; Small Peak; Big Peak
  • Total distance:              23.1km
  • Total time:                     8hrs 12mins
  • Total ascent:                 1769m
  • Weather:                        Rather drizzly for most of the morning, with a bright sunny interlude followed by thick mist (but no rain) for the rest of the day.
  • Start / end location:    Mamore Lodge (hotel) car park just north of Kinlochleven. Note that the hotel has now closed. [OS Map Sheet 41 – Grid Ref: NN 186 630]
  • Map:                               A map of route can be found here – it may take a few moments to load into a separate window. The map displays on most browsers, but not unfortunately Internet Explorer.

(L-R) NE ridge of Binnein Mor, Ben Nevis & Carn Mor Dearg in mist, and Binnein Beag - taken from the summit of Sgor Eilde Mor

Just as we had done on 27 May when we climbed Na Gruagaichan we once again parked at the Mamore Lodge Hotel (now closed) and followed the estate land rover track that contoured north to cross the Allt Coire na Ba burn. Once we had crossed over the burn we stayed on the track as it turned SSE and continued to contour around the SW flank of Na Gruagaichan where it then swung to the east as it approached the north side of Loch Eilde Mor.

Multi-coloured lichens on the slopes of Sgurr Eilde Mor

Approximately 500m from the west end of the loch we branched off the track on a path heading in a northeast direction. This path climbed up the hillside between Sgor Eilde Beag on the west and Sgurr Eilde Mor on the east to reach Coire an Lochain, a small loch that nestles in a large flat col between the two mountains. Up to this point in the walk the weather was delivering a constant drizzle from the low misty cloud. However, as we stopped by the side of the loch the drizzle stopped and the mist began to slowly evaporate allowing us to feel warm in the late spring sun as it broke through the cloud cover.

On the summit of Sgurr Eilde Mor with Ben Nevis poking out above the clouds

We crossed the small burn that flowed out from Coire an Lochain before it disappeared SSE down the hillside towards Loch Eilde Mor, and then we climbed steeply up the broad SSW flank of Sgurr Eilde Mor to reach its summit at 1010m or 3,314ft. The views northward opened up to reveal our next two objectives of Binnein Beag and Binnein Mor, and behind them on the other side of Glen Nevis the summits of Ben Nevis and Carn Mor Dearg simply floated ethereally above a blanket of clouds.

Admiring the view towards Binnein Beag from just north of Coire an Lochain

We descended the west ridge to reach the north side of Coire an Lochain where we joined a path that snaked its way NE to cross the infant Allt Coire na Gabhalach burn. From here we traversed around the east flank of Binnein Mor to reach a small unmanned lochan that was situated at the bealach between the two Binneins. A steep climb up some loose scree followed by a short section of weaving through some craggy outcrops took us to the summit of Binnein Beag at 943m or 3,094ft.

Elaine on the misty summit of Binnein Beag

We retraced our steps back to the little lochan and then skirted around its SE side before beginning to tackle the NE ridge of Binnein Mor. The initial part of the climb was up a very steep slope, which presented a mixture of loose scree and some grassy strips – the latter being easier so we tried to keep to that as much as possible. Higher up, the ridge narrowed and we enjoyed some delightful scrambling on some good friction rock. Near to the summit the angle of the ridge abated but it still remained knife-edged such that when we reached the summit the cairn was no more than a large rock that marked the highest point – which was also the highest point in the Mamore Range.

Cameron on the misty summit of Binnein Mor

From the summit we headed south to a subsidiary top at 1062m before we turned ESE to follow the ridge to the prow of Sgor Eilde Beag (956m). A short descent SSE from this prow on a good path brought us to an intersection with a path that ran from Coire an Lochain – this path was not the same one as we’d used earlier in the day but ran higher up the south slope of the Sgor Eilde Beag. After about 2km we had descended to the land rover track, which we rejoined about 1km west of Loch Eilde Mor. This was the track we’d used on our outward journey. It didn’t take us long to walk back to the Mamore Lodge where we shared a flask of tea whilst we walked around the outside of the closed lodge. The building is in need of some ‘tlc’ but is still in a decent condition. Hopefully it will not be left to deteriorate beyond repair.

About Cameron Speirs

Born and brought up in the Scottish Highlands, Cameron, has been interested in outdoor pursuits since he was a wee lad. Over the last few decades he has climbed extensively in the Italian Dolomites as well as summiting the Matterhorn and several other 4000m alpine peaks. Closer to home he has spent many wonderful weekends mountaineering and biking in Snowdonia, Cairngorms, Glen Coe, Skye and Lochaber.
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