Grey Corries – Spean Bridge to Glen Nevis
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The Grey Corries is one of the best ridge walking routes in the country. This is a satisfying, if long, linear traverse.
Route Start Location: Spean Bridge to Fort William
|42.7 km||1762 m||14 hours|
Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.
Activivity Type: Epic Walk
Summits and Places on this Route
Nothing en route.
Distance, navigation, steep ground – this is a toughie!
The route uses the West Higland Railway, but you can also park on the track above Coire Choille farm (rough road) and in Glen Nevis to reduce the distance.
We recommend checking out the official West Highland Line website for train times to Spean Bridge.
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Grey Corries – Spean Bridge to Glen Nevis Ordnance Survey Map and GPX File Download
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Grey Corries – Spean Bridge to Glen Nevis
The Grey Corries form an impressive ridge between the Aonachs and the Easains and are usually tackled as a circular route from Spean Bridge. While this may be a more practical approach to the Grey Corries, it’s inelegant as you either miss out the final summit of Sgurr Choinnich Mor (Sgurr Choinnich Beag is just a Munro Top) or add it as a dog leg and a painful reascent of Stob Coire Easain needed to regain the descent route. This linear option is much more satisfying, and at 42km is an ideal 2 day route. Walk in the first day to Lairig Bothy or perhaps get Stob Ban out of the way and camp in the bealach as we did. You’ve nothing but unadulterated ridge walking pleasure to follow on the second (not counting the walk out via Glen Nevis, but let’s not mention that just yet, ok).
Note that we’d walk this as a 2 day route, or reduce the distance at the start. It’s not easy reducing the Glen Nevis end as while there are buses, you’ll probably arrive too late for them and you may not have a signal for a taxi! The only realiable way to reduce the distance is by using two cars.
Grey Corries – Spean Bridge to Glen Nevis Route
1 The route starts from Spean Bridge Railway station where you need to follow the lane initially towards Coire Choille Farm befor heading uphill on the Lairig Leacach track – a steady 6km yomp to the forestry at NN255 789. You can alternatively park here – but the track is rough and care needed.
2 Another 6km yomp along the Lairig Leacach track, which is practically a road, brings you to Lairig Leacach Bothy. This makes an ideal stop for the night if the 42km is too much to contemplate in one day.
3 From the bothy, you can either head up the eastern ridge of Stob Ban, or we ascended directly to the Bealach Coire Rath for a spot of wild camping. A faint path leads to the bealach, and a steep pull up Stob Ban was made easier on this occasion having left our packs in the tents! Having bagged the outlier, you can now see the entire ridge of the Grey Corries stretching out ahead of you.
4 Take care as you descend from Stob Ban as the path is steep scree, traverse the bealach and ascend a faint path up Stob Choire Claurigh which is around 350m of ascent and just over 1km, becoming increasingly rocky as you reach the summit.
5 You’ve now reached the highest point on the Grey Corrie’s ridge with a rollercoaster of around 3km to folllow with 6 mountain summits to cross (including Stob Choire Claurigh which you’re on right now) as far as Stob Coire an Laoigh. The ridge keeps high, not dropping below 1000m as you cross summits in quick succession along the defined ridge. Over Stob a’Choire Leith, Stob Coire Cath na Sine, the fine peak of Caisteal, Stob Coire an Laoigh and finally Stob Coire Easain.
6 It’s a steep descent to Bealach Coire Easain which requires a couple of sections of down scrambling before the climb up the final munro of Sgurr Choinnich Mor. Alternatively, you can head down the ridge of Beinn na Socaich towards the forest – where you can either cross the river above the dam (not on the dam) or using the firebreak at NN235 764 to follow forestry tracks back to the start.
7 A final descent, and short climb brings you to the final summit of the day Sgurr Choinnich Beag, a Munro Top before you need to head on downhill, heading roughly south west towards Glen Nevis.
8 The route requires some navigation, with our route heading towards the Allt Coire a’ Bhuic and following it downstream until we could head directly for the Glen Nevis path.
9 From Glen Nevis, follow the path west for around 5km, passing the Steall Falls and continuing along the Water of Nevis until you reach the road at the Upper Steall Falls Car Park.
10 Unless you organised a second car, or a mobile signal, then you’ll now need to walk the 12.5 km down Glen Nevis to Fort William. You may be lucky enough to catch the final bus back – currently 5pm (visit Shiel Buses Website for more information on the N42 bus route) – note that this is a seasonal service and the page seems to be deleted off-season rather than more helpfully saying that this is a seasonal service…