|Date||Saturday 19th September, 2020|
|Start postcode||PH50 4SF|
Part of the Skyline Scotland weekend - also featuring the 5/10/18K Trail Races, the Mamores VK, the Ben Nevis Ultra and the Glen Coe Skyline.
Detailed Route Description:
This skyrunning race route incorporates two lofty ridges, and these ridges combined, normally accessed from Glen Nevis to the north, have long been known as the Ring of Steall – a classic mountain walking round. Steall is the name of the old house, wire-rope bridge and An Steall waterfall just above the famous Nevis Gorge. This location is often the backdrop used in some Harry Potter filming. Most of the trails in this area, including the renowned West Highland Way have a very Alpine surface and general feel to them.
A stiff ascent of the West Highland Way is used to depart Kinlochleven, and then ascend further into Coire na h’Eirghe to reach a col at the foot of The Mamores ridge. Turning west and ascending brings us to the first Top (CP1) – Sgurr an lubhair (1001m) then onwards to reach the Top of Stob Choire a’ Mhail (990m) and then an ascent to the highest Munro on the route, our CP2 - Sgurr a’ Mhaim (1099m). This ridge sequence is called the Devil’s Ridge and provides and thrilling and airy traverse with Glen Nevis visible ahead and as a yawning drop far below, and Ben Nevis beyond and towering above.
The descent to Glen Nevis and our low-level support CP3 is significant - over 1000m. After recharging, we head up Glen Nevis beside the river on a good path to a footbridge and then join a tarmac road briefly. At the road end is a classic trail that squeezes through a short dramatic gorge, and materialises in an idyllic flat glen with the An Steall waterfall ahead. Conditions dependent, the route will cross either the wire rope bridge here, or wade through the river, then ascending beside the waterfall on a path into Coire Chadha Chaoruinn.
Now starts the other biggest climb of the race route, to the Munro and our CP4 - An Gearanach (982m), and the start of another lofty ridge traverse towards the Top; An Garbhanach (975m). After a tough drop and ascent again, the third Munro is reached, and our CP5 - Stob Coire a’ Chairn (981m), a hint of Loch Leven far below, but staying high on a heading of south-west to reach CP6 on the stunning final Munro - Am Bodach (1032m).
From Am Bodach, it is nearly downhill all the way, at first back down to the col at the foot of The Mamores ridge, then turning steeply down into Coire na h’Eirghe reversing the ascent route from earlier in the day. At the bottom, there is a slight kicker of a climb on a section of West Highland Way double-track, then it is a final dash down steeper single-track and just the flat roads of Kinlochleven that separates you from glory at the finish line.