Seven Club members made their way to the
Glen Nevis Youth Hostel on Friday 18th -- Vicky Herbert, Jim
Bryce, Alex Barbour, Michaela Vodičková, Viktor Musial, Sue
Chalmers and Alec Macmillan. The weather forecast was not
On the Saturday morning conditions were
surprisingly good and all of the group, except for Jim, headed
for the Achriabhach car park with Mullach nan Coirean (939 m)
the most westerly of the Mamores as the destination.
There is a diverted trail due to logging
works which takes you some distance up the Allt a’ Choire Dhearg
before breaking out of the forest. Thereafter it is a grim,
unpleasant and unrelenting slog up westwards on to the NNE
ridge. But once up it was pleasantly clear though the tops were
Thereafter there was an easy ascent to the
summit with crisp snow underfoot.
And typical Scottish conditions on the
Viktor, Michaela, Sue, Alex B and Alec M
reversed their route, but Vicky carried on and did the circuit
taking in Stob Ban.
Jim meanwhile had headed for the Dalwhinnie
area and he climbed the Graham Creag Ruadh which is to the west
of Meall Cuaidh.
The Sunday morning again dawned pleasantly,
at any rate down below in Glen Nevis. Vicky made an early start
with the intent of doing the round of Carn Mor Dearg, the Carn
Mor Dearg Aręte and the Ben. But the winds were too strong,
though she did make it to the summit of Ben Nevis by the Tourist
Route in difficult conditions.
There was a more leisurely start for the
rest of us.
It was better for Jim and Alec M. Jim
climbed Meall Blair (656m) a Graham on the north side of Loch
Arkaig. Alec headed up Glen Nevis and here to finish is the
Steall waterfall, the JMCS hut and the wire bridge across to it.
Alex B, Sue, Michaela and Victor also
headed for the Ben Nevis summit by the misnamed (in winter
anyway) Tourist Route.
The forecast for Sunday was more favourable
than Saturday, and Michaela was keen to climb Britain’s highest
peak before she returns to the Czech Republic in 3 weeks’ time.
So Alex Barbour, Viktor, Michaela and I set off optimistically
up the path to Ben Nevis which begins just opposite the hostel.
A good path leads steadily upwards and we
made steady progress and soon reached Lochain Meall an
t-Suidhe. The wind was strengthening all the time though and by
the time we put our crampons on in the gully at about 700m there
was little shelter to be found.
From this point on, the climb became
increasingly difficult, the wind making it hard to make progress
and at times hard to stay on our feet. The path winds steadily
upwards and as we turned on some of the zigzags we faced the
full blast of the wind. Progress became very slow. The weather
stayed dry but there was a lot of snow blowing about in the
wind, and the goggles came out. My camera stayed firmly in my
pocket as I was using all my energy to move forward.
Fortunately, Michaela being younger and fitter, managed to take
a few photos to record our epic.
Somewhere on the ascent, we met Vicky on
her way down. She had set off two hours before us with the
intention of going up via the Carn Mor Dearg Aręte but the wind
had meant that she’d gone up the tourist path too.
Eventually, at about 1100m, we found
ourselves not only making very slow progress but also in a
white-out, and at this point we made the decision to turn back.
It was disappointing but a relief at the same time. Several
other parties who had been following us up obviously made the
same decision and came down behind us.
As we came down, the wind eventually eased
and the views were quite nice at times. Even though we didn’t
reach the summit, it was certainly a day to remember. Here we
all are looking happier:
Michaela, you'll just have to return to
Scotland one day to try again! Thanks go to Alex for leading the
party, and for driving everyone all the way home afterwards.