Saturday, 19 July 2014

Ben Nevis and Carn Mor Dearg

Well this was it – my last week climbing Munro’s. The weather was looking mixed and we changed our original plans so that we could watch the World Cup Final. We had intended to leave Ben Nevis to be our final hill but logistically it would have been difficult to accomplish this and watch the football.

We were up early and arrived at the Ben Nevis car park at 8.45am but the sky looked heavy and I realised that I would be getting the compass out on more than one occasion.

There was a really good path that after an hour and a half took us to half way lochan. We left the tourists and tourist route and headed north to cut back around under the cliffs of the north-west face of the Ben. I have seen these before and they are mightily impressive. However, today they were shrouded in cloud and clag. We arrived at the CIC Hut got the compass out and took a bearing east and started the 90 minute grind up the west face of Carn Mor Dearg, it was just a case of putting one foot in front of the other and keep on stepping!  I was more than chuffed when we hit the ridge about 20 yards from the summit, I tried not to look surprised and marched to the cairn – three left!
Carn Mor Dearg from the Arete

Joy and Karen on the Arete

The four of us on the summit of Carn Mor Dearg

We met a pair on the summit that had come up the east ridge, he was old (older than me) and had a military bearing – and posh. The other was younger and was probable Canadian. They were a little confused and about to go down the ridge we had come up. He got his map out and realised he was about to go the wrong direction. It is surprisingly confusing when visibility is so poor, as we would find out later in the week!

We then headed south along the ridge then along the narrow arete, Colin and I followed the crest whilst the girls took the bye-pass path. It was quite exhilarating and enjoyable but took a fair while. We eventually crashed intothe east face of Ben Nevis and it was then just a case of picking our way up over the boulder field to the summit – two left. There were quite a few people, not many had followed our route, and most were not equipped properly, this is not a place for ill equipped day trippers!

The descent followed a good path and there was still a bit of snow around. It took close to three hours to get back to the car then we had the drive back to Perth. We were showered and sitting down to food and only missed the first five minutes of the football!
The summit of “The Ben”

Looking towards Fort William from about 2,500ft
Bird wise it had been poor, mainly due to the weather but we did see a couple of Snow Bunting one was sitting on a wall at the summit amongst the tourists.

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