Winter weather still clinging on to the high tops – [# 96]

Stob Coire Sgreamhach (1072m)

  • Pronunciation:             Stob Korrer Skrevuch
  • Translation:                  Peak of the Fearful Corrie
  • Total distance:             10.6km
  • Total time:                    5hrs 17mins
  • Total ascent:                 1104m
  • Weather:                       Started off with the summit peaks obscured by low cloud. Then cleared to a fine spring day. Reasonably warm with little wind except on the summit.
  • Start / end location:   Large car park on A82 near top of Pass of Glen Coe. [OS Map Sheet 41 Grid Ref: NN 172 568]
  • Map:                               A map of the route can be found here – it may take a few moments to load into a separate window. The map displays on most browsers, but possibly not Internet Explorer.

Looking back down the Hidden Valley from the snowy corrie headwall

It is great to be back on the road and starting our Munro bagging again after a short break back down at our house in the Midlands. We are now in the process of beginning a sweep back through Glen Coe to pick up the few remaining peaks still to climb before we head back over to the southern Cairngorms.

Elaine crossing the plateau boulder field on the base of the Hidden Valley

Feeding a friendly male chaffinch in the Hidden Valley

Elaine starting to climb the snowy corrie headwall

Our Munro today was the one that we ran out of daylight to climb as a second peak to Bidean nan Bian back in November.  Then, the deep snowy conditions caused us to take longer than anticipated to climb Bidean and so we made the decision to forego tackling Sgreamhach until another time: that time was today.

From our parking spot on the A82 we crossed the valley floor below the Pass of Glencoe and headed for the footbridge that took us over the River Coe at the “Meeting of Three Waters”. Once across to the south side of the river we followed the lovely path upward and into the “Hidden Valley”. In contrast to our last visit to this valley when it was raining heavily and getting dark, today it was much brighter and altogether cheerier.

This glen is an excellent example of a glaciated hanging valley whose mouth is guarded with some huge erratic boulders. Once we’d woven our way through this protective barrier we came out onto a huge flat “fertile” plateau with a small burn running through it. It was a very atmospheric location hemmed in as it was on three sides by sheer rock walls extending dramatically from the encircling peaks.

Part of the way along the plateau we were entertained by a very tame male chaffinch who appeared to have done his “repertoire” before for the other tourists who had visited his little patch. He was clearly looking for a reward for all of his efforts and he wasn’t disappointed when we crushed up a nutty biscuit for him to feast on. He was unbelievably tame for a small bird living high on a Glencoe mountain.

Cameron beginning the climb up the snowy corrie headwall

After our entertainment from the chaffinch we walked to the back of the level plateau from where an obvious path continued to climb up into the high corrie between Bidean nan Bian and Stob Coire Sgreamhach. As we climbed higher towards the steep back wall of the corrie we soon entered the snowfield that filled the upper reaches of the corrie. The snow was deep and fairly soft but did support our weight without us constantly plunging through. As the uppermost reaches of the corrie were quite steep we decided to don our crampons for some extra security. The climb up proved to be straightforward and without any cornice to negotiate we soon topped out on the ridge between the two summits. However, a slip from this position would have been rather disastrous.

Higher up on the snowy corrie headwall

From the top of the steep corrie we turned left (ESE) and followed the short path upwards along the ridge to reach the summit cairn of Stob Coire Sgreamach at 1072m or 3,517ft.

Our route down was to simply retrace our steps to the top of the snow-filled corrie where we descended facing inwards for the steepest few hundred metres until it felt safe enough to turn around and plunge forward down the slope.  Half way down I took off my crampons and then slid down the last few hundred metres of the slope on my behind: great fun. We met up again with our friendly chaffinch and also a few groups of tourists out investigating the mysterious Hidden Valley.

The weather had stayed dry all day and was even beginning to warm up as the afternoon progressed: altogether it had been a lovely outing.

Cameron at the summit cairn of Stob Coire Sgreamhach

Looking back to the summit of Stob Corrie Sgreamhach - peak on the left

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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