First ever walk report - be gentle! By way of introduction, I've only really started on the Munros this year. I think up until February this I'd managed eight, with multiple ascents of the local ones. I've done some other hill stuff but hadn't really given the Munros a second thought. Cue the lockdown in spring and I was beginning to go stir crazy at home so decided on the evening of Friday 26th February that Saturday morning would see me above 3,000 feet. True to form I walked up Ben Chonzie, which I'd done about 10 times previously. But the following weekend it escalated a bit and as I write this just over 6 months later I've managed to pack in 41 since then and have got the bug.
My teenage daughter has been on a few of them with me and when a friend suggested that the CMD arete was one of the best hill days out he'd ever had, we decided we'd better have a go. We set off from home at 5am and walked out of the North Face car park at 7. The weather was looking ok:
It wasn't too long before we were up at Càrn Mòr Dearg looking over to the Mamores, but there looked to be a fair bit of snow on the ridge. We'd met a hill runner coming down and she'd been wearing fell shoes, so we reckoned it couldn't be that bad.
The ridge opened up on us and the scale of it and the Ben suddenly became fairly obvious. But with the clear weather and beautiful light it was clear why my friend had enjoyed it so much. My daughter was wearing in a brand new pair of B2 boots and I was armed with tape and Compeed in case there was a blister-fest, but she seemed to be absolutely fine. Being half my weight probably helps...
We had a really enjoyable walk/scramble along the arete, meeting a group of hill runners at the most dodgy bit and having to skirt round each other but it was fine. As we got to the lowest part of the ridge it all looked quite rolling and gentle, although a quick glance north made sure we didn't think like that for long.
I made the rookie mistake of straying onto a bypass path for the last part, which was much less secure than being on the ridge would have been. I sort of knew this as the path opened up in front of me but we had to make a concerted effort to get back on top as it was the only time I was a bit nervous on behalf of my daughter - it's always fine when you don't have your offspring with you! There was no snow until we got right to the summit.
We'd only seen 12 people so far: 3 were walkers and 9 were runners. So when we climbed up the boulders and arrived at the summit it was horrendous, with about 200 people milling around. Wow. We took a photo, touched the trig point and basically ran down the Tourist Track until we could bear right at the half way loch and escape the crowds.
And so... back down to the car, making it round in 8.5 hours which we were quite pleased with. My daughter slept all the way home in the car and went straight to bed! I pretended I was just fine...
Share your personal walking route experiences in Scotland, and comment on other peoples' reports.
Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.