Ben Nevis might be the highest mountain in Scotland, but it’s surrounded by three other mountain ranges that just exude quality. These mountains are the immediate neighbours, and they’re all classic Munro walks – each and every one a must do on the hill walker’s to do list. Anyone who wants a REAL mountain challenge can walk across all three, as well as Ben Nevis and the CMD by completing the Ramsay’s Round.
The nearest neighbours to Ben Nevis are the Aonachs. Aonach Beag is the tallest (yes, we know Beag is small) and Aonach Mor is slightly shorter at 1234 and 1221 metres in height respectively. The walker up these munros can cheat by riding the Nevis Range gondola up to arund 650m and walk the rest of the way. In winter, you’ll need to fight your way through the skiers – which is what these mountains are best know for. They can be approached from Glen Nevis, a much rougher proposition.
The Grey Corries
Just beyond the Aonachs on the northern side of Glen Nevis, or actually what is now the Abhainn Rath – are the Grey Corries with their distinctive quartzites screes making them unmistakable. They are usually ascended from the north, for the simple reason of accessibility, although even then any approach will be an epic day out.
Stob Ban is particularly awkward – being an outlier it’s not easily added to a full traverse and may need a trip down Lairig Leacach and an overnight stay at the bothy. We approached them from the Lairig Bothy after camping out on the twin peaks of Stob a’ Choire Mheadhoin and Stob Coire Easain the previous night. The ridge walk between Stob Choire Claurigh and Stob Coire Easain (another one, not the one previously mentioned!) is absolutely sublime, with airy views and a few sections of scrambling. One that should be on everyone’s to do list.
While the Abhainn Rath and Glen Nevis is bound to the north by the three ranges of Ben Nevis, Aonachs and the Grey Corries, the south is all Mamores. An extensive mountain range with numerous Munros, often ascended from Kinlochleven. However, the best route on the Mamores is the Ring of Steall. This is an adventurous grade 1 scramble up Sgurr a’ Mhaim, Stob Choire a’ Mhail, Sgurr an Lubhair and Am Bodach before a return along Stob Choire a’ Chairn, An Garbhanach and An Gearanch and past the Steall Falls to the beginning of the route.
That still leaves a number of outliers to those wishing to bag the lot, with Stob Ban and Mullach nan Coirean to the west and the highest point in the Mamores – Binnein Mor and numerous other summits to the east. Binnein Mor has it’s own awkward outliers so you may need a couple of walks to climb the lot!
For more information on these routes – we recommend Cicerone’s Walking the Munros: Southern, Central and Western Highlands Volume 1 (British Mountains)