Black Mount Traverse Walking

A famous landmark on the drive over Rannoch Moor, the Black Mount is a range of big, butch hills, wrapped around deep corries. A classic walk, sometimes called the Clachlet Traverse, links the Inveroran and Kingshouse hotels via every summit in the range. Though traditionally treated in linear fashion it’s logistically more straightforward (if physically harder) as a circuit, making use of a fine stretch of the West Highland Way to finish.

Buachaille Etive Mor from the Aonach Mor ridge of Stob Ghabhar  © Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com
Buachaille Etive Mor from the Aonach Mor ridge of Stob Ghabhar
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Detailed description

1
NN2704241901 Follow the road north over a bridge to Forest Lodge. Go left on a track running through trees and then alongside the broad Abhainn Shira to reach a private club hut. Turn right here onto a muddy path beside the Allt Toaig. This ascends steadily to a junction beside the burn.

2
NN2513643945 For Stob a' Choire Odhair stay on the east side of the burn, to reach a second path junction at a side burn. Here go right, climbing the steep southern flank of Stob a' Choire Odhair via a series of zigzags before crossing the stony upper slopes.
The Bridge of Orchy hills from Stob a' Choire Odhair  © Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com
The Bridge of Orchy hills from Stob a' Choire Odhair
© Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com, May 2019

3
NN2572345993 Descend the western spur (care locating the right path at first, if it's misty). This is quite steep and rocky in places, but soon leads down to the col at the head of Coire Toaig. The path continues west up the side of the upper corrie to reach a shoulder overlooking the huge glacial bowl of Coirein Lochain. Now turn south to climb an eroded path on steep scree. Bear slightly right to reach the crest of the Aonach Eagach ridge (no, not the famous one). This soon narrows into an entertaining scrambly arete, sadly short lived. On joining the upper slopes of Stob Ghabhar, follow an old fence line up right beside the cliff edge to reach the summit.

4
NN2300945504 The section from here to Clach Leathad is tricky to navigate in poor visibility. Descend north-northwest, then continue briefly around the almost-level corrie rim. Trend left to bypass the top of Sròn nan Giubhas, following a sometimes-disappearing path downhill onto the Aonach Mor ridge. Stay with the high ground over several knobbly mini summits. After about 1km of complex ground cross a dip and ascend onto an 850m top; here turn northeast, descending steeply onto a grassy saddle. Continue over a minor summit to reach the low point of the Bealach Fuar-chataidh.

5
NN2298148527 A sketchy and easily-lost path now attacks the steep flank of Clach Leathad, at first near a small burn and then following your nose up steep grass and scree patches. The angle eventually relents, the path veering rightwards over the stony upper slopes to reach the summit cairn on the edge of craggy Coire an Easain.
Creise and distant Ben Nevis from Clach Leathad  © Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com
Creise and distant Ben Nevis from Clach Leathad
© Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com, May 2019

6
NN2403749261 Head north along the corrie rim (often corniced), passing a cairn at the turn-off for Meall a' Bhùiridh (NN238500) and continuing gently uphill to the top of Creise. It's worth carrying on to the slightly lower northeast top for the view over Glen Coe.

7
NN2384250654 Retrace your steps to the cairn at the turn-off, then descend east down a rocky spur with some very basic scrambling. The continuation up Meall a' Bhùiridh's rubbly west ridge includes further very minor scrambly steps, though nothing unavoidable.

8
NN2506950369 Continue east along the rocky summit ridge, passing the top tow of Glencoe Mountain ski centre and following a walled track to the easternmost top, where there are a number of signposts for skiers. A rough, easily-lost path now descends the mountain's blunt eastern spur where steep stony slopes eventually ease into bogs. Pass just left of the grassy dome of Creag an Fhirich, picking a pathless line down peaty ground. Then follow the right bank of a burn to reach the ruin of Bà Cottage. A short track now leads to the West Highland Way.

9
NN2775049416 With superb views of the hills you've just traversed, this is one of the best stretches of the West Highland Way. The trail here follows the course of an old cobbled road, and though it's hard on the feet at the end of a long route it does make for speedy progress on the 7km return to the car park.

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Further Routes

by Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com