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Midges at 4000 feet - CMD arete

Midges at 4000 feet - CMD arete


Postby weaselmaster » Sat Aug 24, 2013 11:43 pm

Munros included on this walk: Ben Nevis, Carn Mor Dearg

Date walked: 24/08/2013

Time taken: 8 hours

Distance: 20 km

Ascent: 1715m

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For many months now the fact that I've never climbed Ben Nevis has been one of those that has rankled a little. Pretty much everyone has climbed the Ben, it seems, often when they were a kid. People that don't go hillwalking have climbed it. So it was time to put that right.

This weekend was going to be cut short by me having to work on Sunday, so we couldn't do as much on the hills as usual. Seemed reasonable then to head up to Steall meadows and camp out overnight on the friday, then get cracking up the Ben on Saturday morning. Took ages to get up the A82 - stuck behind giant road working vehicles at Onich for a bit, but finally got parked at the end of Glen Nevis and set off with the tent, through clouds of midges - that must be the worst I've seen them all year. An airless, damp night - midge heaven! Going for a pee in the middle of the night resulted in being encased in a swarm of the minibeasts :crazy:

It rained overnight and the hills were shrouded in mist when we dared poke our heads out of the tent. Views were not going to be on the agenda today. Drove down to the Visitor Centre, which was already packed at 10am.
Image
P1030760 by 23weasels, on Flickr

This was going to be an unusual experience - normally we see few if any folk when out walking, but today we could have been on Sauchiehall Street. Interesting combinations for clothing and footwear abounded - including Ugg boots and a lad carrying a 2 gallon plastic tank of water in his arms :shock: Quite a few seemed to be using the walk as a hangover cure given the fumes being exhaled :lol: Allison (AKA "Sickly Child of WH") was in the unusual position of overtaking people - albeit folk in plimsolls and mutant tights - I asked her what that felt like. She threatened to poke me with her walking pole :shock: :lol:

View back down Glen Nevis
Image
P1030763 by 23weasels, on Flickr

After a somewhat frustrating bimble along up the crowded mountain track it was a pleasure to head off past Lochan Meall an t-Suidhe and be the only walkers around.

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P1030764 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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P1030765 by 23weasels, on Flickr

The mist kept the buttresses shrouded from our eyes, but their looming presence could still be sensed. We got to the CIC hut after 2 hours or so and had something to eat in the smirry rain.

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P1030766 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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P1030770 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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P1030771 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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P1030772 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Next it was up the steep bouldery side of Carn Mor Dearg - there didn't seem to be any path so we just picked our way straight up.

Image
P1030773 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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P1030774 by 23weasels, on Flickr


Made for the top of Carn Dearg Meadhonach which I initially mistook for the CMD summit then promptly corrected my error and headed along in the mist to the simialr peak of CMD and treated to a double raven flypast
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P1030777 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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P1030778 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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P1030780 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Next up came the Arete. Back last year when we started off hillwalking, the CMD Arete was spoken of in slightly hushed tones, a bit like the AE ridge, something to sort the men out from the boys, or the weasels from the stoats. As it was, we were both well up for a bit of ridge fun. Although it had been raining on and off the rocks weren't that wet or slippy and we just stuck to the crest. And there were midges! Up here!! OK there was virtually no wind, but this is surely a bit too rarified air for them. Isn't it? :-?

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P1030784 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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P1030786 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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P1030787 by 23weasels, on Flickr


Allison did the leading and coped pretty well, despite bashing her thigh off a sharp edged rock - that'll hurt :roll: One of the pleasing things about the ridge was that it kept going, providing entertainment for a while. It was a bit disappointing not to be able to look over to the cliffs of Nevis, which remained stolidly behind cloud, but the experience was a pleasure nonr the less. Towards the end of the ridge we met a few guys we'd chatterd to earlier on the tourist path - they were up from Yorkshire /London and doing the ridge the other way. They also seemed to be having fun.

Us and some of the "six-egg crew"
Image
P1030790 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Near the end there was one short flat section where there was a bit of exposure and I did do a bit of a monkey walk on hands and feet across it, then - shame - no more ridge.

Image
P1030793 by 23weasels, on Flickr

A bouldery section of a couple of hundred metres led up through the mist to the top of the Ben and - people. Oh, and cairns and buildings and plaques and litter. Lotts of litter.

Image
P1030794 by 23weasels, on Flickr


On top of the world - well the UK!
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P1030796 by 23weasels, on Flickr



We popped up to the trig point then headed back for the tourist track down, passing a guy in a rhino suit and an entire brass band - did feel sorry for the guy with the tuba on his back - bet that wasn't something he thought he'd be doing when he joined the band :lol:

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P1030797 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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P1030798 by 23weasels, on Flickr

The return to the carpark was just as excruciating as the walk up the main path had been. I was surprised to see legions of folk still heading up the hill after 5.30 - but I suppose that's a weekly occurrence. Decided against a pint in the Nevis Bar, which was heaving, and set off down the road for a bite eat in the Clachaig, which was also busy. A glorious sunset was visible in the rear-view mirror as we headed through Glencoe - gonna be a good day tomorrow and I'm stuck at work :(
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Re: Midges at 4000 feet - CMD arete

Postby PeteR » Sun Aug 25, 2013 11:02 am

Good effort by you both Alistair :D I hear that climb up from the CIC hut is a bit of a killer :shock:

Shame you didn't get the views from CMD or while on the arête, but I imagine the clag added to the atmosphere as you walked the arête. One to return to when the sun is shining :D I quite fancy an early spring return when there's a good bit of snow about still, but the days are getting longer so I still have the daylight :D

It's a real contrast between CMD, where if you meet anyone its serious hill walkers and the Ben........where you're more likely to meet serious nut cases :lol: Brass bands and Rhino suites :roll: Mmmmm......The ones I particularly like to meet are the girlies dressed up to the nines and then "pure raging" at their blokes because their hair's all messed up or their make up looks a state :lol: :lol:
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Re: Midges at 4000 feet - CMD arete

Postby Danccooke » Sun Aug 25, 2013 12:00 pm

Thanks for the read and the pics. I plan to be doing that same route next weekend.
I guess some jungle formula in the back pack wouldn't go a miss then :-)
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Re: Midges at 4000 feet - CMD arete

Postby ceaser » Sun Aug 25, 2013 4:54 pm

another fine report as usual WM ,im saving this route for a good day

i was on the summit of bein Eunaich yesterday and was getting bothered with midges as well ....glad to see that poor lassie has got over her tonsilitis :D
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Re: Midges at 4000 feet - CMD arete

Postby trekker53 » Sun Aug 25, 2013 5:39 pm

Good report there weaselmaster,
A pity the cloud didn't lift even for a while to see the North Face. You'll just have to do it again but in the sunshine. You won't regret it.
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Re: Midges at 4000 feet - CMD arete

Postby dogplodder » Sun Aug 25, 2013 7:31 pm

The day before you did this we had the worst sustained midge attack I remember climbing Na Gruagaichean from Kinlochleven side - inhaling them and in your eyes. :shock: But once we got a breeze on top they were blissfully gone. :D
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Re: Midges at 4000 feet - CMD arete

Postby basscadet » Mon Aug 26, 2013 9:33 am

Och aye, looked like you had a blast - You made it sound rather easy though.. :D

Dougie and I were also swarmed with midges this weekend.. So bad on Friday night I couldn't cook our tea :shock: Only seen them that bad once before.. :o
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Re: Midges at 4000 feet - CMD arete

Postby weaselmaster » Mon Aug 26, 2013 11:38 am

basscadet wrote:Dougie and I were also swarmed with midges this weekend.. So bad on Friday night I couldn't cook our tea :shock: Only seen them that bad once before.. :o


Hopefully this will be their swansong before disappearing for the winter - which i'm sure will be upon us before long. F they'ingers crossed they're not as vicious or plentiful in the cairngorms this week however :shock:
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Re: Midges at 4000 feet - CMD arete

Postby Collaciotach » Mon Aug 26, 2013 8:05 pm

Good report . ... the ben is a feckin nightmare of people right enough , I made the mistake of wandering up with the dog one bank holiday thousands of folk on the path and the dog keen to nip them as they past :?

Midges were hellish this weekend ..just hellish :(
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Re: Midges at 4000 feet - CMD arete

Postby maryhillmoose » Mon Aug 26, 2013 9:06 pm

fab report, this route whatever the weather just cannot be beaten...
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Re: Midges at 4000 feet - CMD arete

Postby GillC » Mon Aug 26, 2013 9:19 pm

No midgies the day I did it,, approaching CMD top in MAY!!!!! (2012)
DSCN1961b.jpg
Arctic or what?
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Re: Midges at 4000 feet - CMD arete

Postby tweedledog » Tue Aug 27, 2013 4:23 pm

Great stuff, but you do realise you'll have to go again for the views :)
This was it in March 2011... spot the little figure.

cdm.jpg
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Re: Midges at 4000 feet - CMD arete

Postby rockhopper » Wed Aug 28, 2013 12:40 pm

At first it was the clegs, but now the midges are certainly fighting back ! Another good report from you both - pity about the clag but looked enjoyable nonetheless. Like you I wasn't keen on the tourist path but at least you're only on it part of the time - cheers :)
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