Falls of Steall in Glen Nevis

Ring of Steall

Hillwalking route bagging the 4 Munros on the Ring of Steall

The middle section of the Mamores mountain range is often referred to as 'The Ring o'Steall'. Some easy rock-scrambling is enjoyed while bagging 4 Munros including Sgurr a'Mhaim and An Gearanach.


Route outline


  Map base ©OpenStreetMap
Munros Sgurr a' Mhaim
Am Bodach
An Gearanach
Stob Coire a' Chairn
Ascent 1750m (5740ft)
Distance 15km (9m)
Time 6:45hr
Start/finish Achriabhach, Glen Nevis
Grid Ref : NN142684
Terrain
easy hard
Nav
easy hard
Effort
easy hard
Scenery
ok fab


The Ring of Steall is the name given to the circular route in the heart of the Mamores range of mountains situated between Ben Nevis and Loch Leven. There are 4 Munro peaks on this excellent hillwalking route, each linked to the other Munro summits by grassy crests and narrow rocky ridges.

Starting and finishing in Glen Nevis, the route takes in some spectacular scenery, including walking by the Falls of Steall, Scotland's second highest waterfall. Some fairly easy summer rock-scrambling can be enjoyed on The Devil's ridge to the south of Sgurr a'Mhaim and on An Garbhananch southern flank.



Route detail


Getting there »
  • In Fort William, just north of the Lochaber Leisure Centre, there is a small roundabout.
  • Take the turning into Glen Nevis and head up here for 7km to the Lower Falls car-park just before the bridges over the Water of Nevis (there is a charge to park here).

Sgurr a'Mhaim »
  • From the car-park, walk towards the bridges over the Water of Nevis and just before reaching them, you'll see a gate on your right, wth a stile to cross. Over this, follow a rough but obvious path south-east.
  • The path begins to climb up gentle slopes and after around 1km, there is a split in the path - take the left (east) fork.
  • Now climbing more steeply, the path goes through a gate in a deer-fence and strikes up Sgurr a'Mhaim's north-western shoulder. The path is rough and loose. At around the 900m contour, the summit screes are met, with the path zig-zagging a way through and onto Sgurr a'Mhaim's summit crest, where the ground levels and the large untidy summit cairn is reached.

Over the Devil's Ridge to Sgurr a'Mhaim »
  • Leave Sgurr a'Mhaim's summit behind and strike downhill on a rough and loose path on bouldery ground. As height is lost, the terrain becomes grass-covered and easier.
  • A small col (Bealach a'Chip) is reached with a rocky slab the other side - keeping slightly to the right (west), a ledge with good holds can be traced to ascend this obstacle.
  • The grassy crest narrows with a worn path leading southwards. The crux of the Devil's Ridge is reached - it's much easier than it looks (outwith winter conditions). Keeping to the right (west) with the big boulders on your left, a rough, steep and loose route can be climbed down, then back out the other side.
  • A worn path leads over Stob Choire a'Mhail and over boulders then loose scree up to Sgurr Iubhair's summit .

Am Bodach »
  • Sgurr Iubhair is a significant summit and was promoted to Munro status in 1984, only to be demoted back to a Munro Top in 1997 !
  • A path heads south-east from Sgurr Iubhair's summit. Though obvious and easy to walk on, this path seems to be quite tricky to run on - the rocks just seem to be awkwardly spaced.
  • The path reaches the bealach then makes a direct ascent up Am Bodach without any difficulties being encountered.

Stob Coire a'Chairn »
  • Getting off Am Bodach to continue a traverse of the Mamores can be slightly rough and some people find the next section challenging !
  • Aim north-east down steep and very loose ground on bits of worn path. Be careful with your footing as you pick your way down on the gravel using rocks as 'islands of safety'. Some small bits of easy scrambling are encountered, then some scree boulders as the bealach above Coire a'Bhodaich is approached.
  • Now onto grassy ground, follow the path up over one bump (marked 909m) , then up to the bouldery summit of Stob Coire a'Chairn . Although a fine vantage point, this summit feels more part of An Gearanach than a Munro summit in its own right.

An Gearanach »
  • A worn path heads initially north from the summit of Stob Coire a'Chairn. Zig-zagging through some scree, it drops just over 100m to the bealach below the steep climb of An Garbhanach.
  • Climb up the path on the right (east) side of the crest, then cross over to the left (west), then back over to the right (east), before clambering up onto the crest - the route is pretty obvious. Some sustained but straightforward scrambling lies ahead up to and over An Garbhanach as the route sticks to the crest - there are slightly exposed by-pass paths on the east side of the crest.
  • Passing the top of An Garbhanach (no cairn), there's a slight drop, and An Gearanach lies ahead - just a walk over a grass covered crest reaches the summit. The small cairn on An Gearanach's summit is an excellent place to stop and take in the views.

Return »
  • A stalker's path leads north from An Gearanach's summit. It twists and turns taking the easiest line avoiding rock buttresses. Lower down some landslips have taken sections of the path away, so a bit of care is needed.
  • The path reaches the Water of Nevis, it can either be crossed direct - some stepping stones can be seen if water level isn't too high. Or a very wet and rough path can be taken that leads westwards to under the spectacular Falls of Steall (tricky to cross in spate) to reach a wire bridge over the Water of Nevis on which a bit of fun can be had crossing it.
  • Get onto the path which leads down the north side of the Nevis Gorge (take care here).
  • The road-end is reached , from where a 3km walk or jog downhill will take you back to Achriabhach.




Route profile »


Maps and GPX downloads »


Weather forecasts & webcams »


Guided hillwalking events in this area »




Route photos


Sgurr a'Mhaim and the start from the Lower FallsSgurr a'Mhaim and the start from the Lower Falls
First awkward slab nearing the Devil's RidgeFirst awkward slab nearing the Devil's Ridge
Approaching the Devil's Ridge from the south, Sgurr a'Mhaim behindApproaching the Devil's Ridge from the south, Sgurr a'Mhaim behind
Am Bodach from Stob Coire a'ChairnAm Bodach from Stob Coire a'Chairn
On An Garbhanach with An Gearanach and Ben Nevis behindOn An Garbhanach with An Gearanach and Ben Nevis behind
The wire bridge over Water of NevisThe wire bridge over Water of Nevis




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