The Ring of Steall offers everything you might order for a big day out in the Scottish Highlands – with that little extra thrown in. So you get 4 Munros and enough 3,000′ peaks to lose count, easy but airy scrambling, narrow snow-lined ridges even in July, a heart stopping clamber over a rope bridge – and a full day of fantastic views. The little extra ? That would be the ever present vista of Ben Nevis just across the glen, teasing you with a clear view of the whole CMD Arete ridgeline.
Start point for our anti-clockwise route was the car park at Achriabhach (NN 145683). Head East along the road for a 100m to pick up a good footpath, slowly climbing the glen beside the Allt Coire a Mhusgain. Leave this track at NN148676 and head up the shoulder towards the day’s first peak, Sgurr a’Mhaim at 3,400′. From here the views really open up, with sentinal of Stobb Ban to the West and the whole Ring curving round to the East.
The Ring of Steall : just count those peaks!
The next section provides much of the day’s scrambling excitement, earning it’s title of ‘The Devil’s Ridge’.
Sam and I climbed Ben Nevis a few years ago via the Pony track – and ever since then we’ve wanted to do it by the ‘other’ route – the CMD Arete! This is a challenging day out and not for the faint hearted – but you wouldn’t be reading this unless you were made of sterner stuff! Ben Nevis is not the objective here, even though that’s where you end up. This route is all about the journey – and what a journey it is.
Sam and I started at the car park at Torlundy, walking up through the woods and along the Allt a Muillinn burn. A mile or so along the burn, you begin to see why Ben Nevis is not the pussycat it’s sometimes made out to be. First the buttreses of Carn Dearg come into view, quickly followed by the sheer precipices of the North Face as you approach the CIC climbers hut. Take some time to drink in the views (the banner picture for Highland Scrambler was taken from here too). Tried to spot a scrambling ascent route of the North Face … Maybe next time …