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Last updated: 26/02/11


Glen Nevis Weekend Meet
18-20 Feb, 2011

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 optimistic!

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 not visible.




Thereafter there was an easy ascent to the summit with crisp snow underfoot.




And typical Scottish conditions on the summit.



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.


Authors - Alec Macmillan & Sue Chalmers
Photos - Alec Macmillan & Sue Chalmers