Petestack Blog

18 July 2010

Loch Treig round

Filed under: Running — admin @ 1:08 pm

While I couldn’t describe yesterday’s weather as uniformly nice, my round of Loch Treig with Jon was never blighted by quite such foul conditions as Friday’s ascent of Mullach nan Coirean. More of a mixed bag, really, with some pretty stern stuff punctuated by more pleasant interludes when the wind and rain relented, the cloud lifted, the sun broke through and it actually felt good to be out!

Now, this pretty well had to be the last big hill day before next weekend’s planned Ramsay’s Round attempt, and the original plan was to take the train from Spean Bridge to Corrour, run the five Munros anti-clockwise (as planned for the round) and finish back down the Lairig Leacach. But, thanks to this last-minute ‘eureka’ moment (not in the bath, but sitting in the van waiting for Jon!), it suddenly dawned on me that we could do all the peaks in the right direction but ‘wrong’ order by skipping the train, driving to Fersit and taking the ‘Easains’ first. So that’s what we did, starting up Stob a’ Choire Mheadoin and Stob Coire Easain (aka the ‘Easains’, which should be the fourth and fifth of this group on an anti-clockwise Ramsay’s), knocking up a bigger mileage in the process and causing some mental confusion because I’ve now inevitably got the Easains before Beinn na Lap in my head.

Not too many details to report, but some numbered points to accompany the map:

  1. While it’s certainly possible to cut this corner from the Dam to the ‘pylon’ on the ridge, we’re happy with our line along the track and up the path (especially as we’re now looking at doing this bit by night).
  2. While it made sense (in the context of yesterday’s round) to take the long southern ridge off Stob Coire Easain, we’ll be heading westwards down to the Lairig Leacach on the actual round.
  3. There’s no need to worry about height loss in crossing the Allt Feith Thuill almost anywhere because it’s almost flat up to the watershed at Lochan Ruigh Phail some 1.7 miles SW of where we crossed and doesn’t drop significantly immediately to the NE of where we were. So keeping to the crest of Beinn na Lap’s NE ridge for longer before cutting straight across would be equally good.
  4. Perhaps we cut NW off Sron na Garbh-Bheinne a little too soon (my fault if we did!), but at least we were losing height quickly down the steep, rough, but otherwise slow ground.
  5. While we were looking for the track (6) through the trees, we came first to this easy way (with helpful horizontal batten to facilitate climbing the deer fence) through the narrowest part of the woods and are happy with that (easy to locate from above, passing an obvious knoll then a small, ‘whaleback’ crag) despite some holes in the ground at the bottom.
  6. See (5) above, noting that the track (?) doesn’t actually breach the fence alongside the railway.
  7. With current water levels still not that high despite all the rain, it’s possible (and therefore desirable) to cross the ‘beach’ south of the Dam.

All told, we covered 22.84 miles with c.8,300 ft of ascent in 7:21:46 (19:20 mile pace), with nearly 50 minutes of stops (discussing navigation options, lots of jackets going on and off etc.) giving a ‘moving pace’ of 17:09 miling. Which seems pretty satisfactory with the required pace for the Ramsay (assuming a 60 mile total) being 24 minute miling and my new rule of thumb (second ‘eureka’ moment of the day!) saying that, given a proportional amount of ascent per mile over the same terrain, your average mile pace in minutes equates to your finish time in hours. Which, in turn, is telling me that we can afford to (and should, with all of yesterday’s splits considerably faster then Ramsay’s) be backing off a bit on the ascents to keep body together for the long haul!

Just a few miscellaneous points left to round off for today, the first being that (due to a number of factors including the mistiming of the ‘early’ train to Corrour for the second pacer, second thoughts about potential time losses from tackling the Mamores in the dark, and generally easier ground over the Loch Treig group) I’m now strongly in favour of reverting to ‘Plan A’, which was the eastern sector by night. And, guess what (?)… looking back at Charlie Ramsay’s original schedule, that’s exactly what he did in running from midday to midday. I’ve also had an email from Murdo McEwan requesting me to post a start time and proposed schedule with pacers for each leg, so hope to do that sometime but must point out now that our schedule is likely to stay as broad brush strokes rather than peak-by-peak minutiae. And, finally, we’ve heard about yet another favoured way off Binnein Mor, starting down the NW ridge (which we’d rejected as taking us in the wrong direction) but cutting back into the coire by the two lochans. To which I can only say I’d check it if I could, but won’t be heading up there again this week and think probably ‘better the devil you know’! :-)


  1. […] what about this schedule Murdo asked me for the other day? Well, as I said in Saturday’s post, we’re talking broad brush strokes rather than fine detail but, after meeting Jon and Noel […]

    Pingback by Ramsay’s Round ‘schedule’ « Petestack Blog — 22 July 2010 @ 8:26 pm

  2. […] na Garbh-bheinne (map, 3, taken because we thought we’d cut west to gnarly ground a bit soon last Saturday) turns out to be nearer eastwards and we have to loop right back towards the Loch and our meeting […]

    Pingback by My first and last Ramsay’s Round « Petestack Blog — 26 July 2010 @ 7:30 pm

  3. […] a mainly grassy descent when an over-zealous attempt to avoid the rougher ground encountered on our Loch Treig Round (green track) had led Jon, Gavin and me astray to the east on our […]

    Pingback by Ramsay’s with Rhonda « Petestack Blog — 14 August 2010 @ 6:15 pm

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