Midges at 4000 feet - CMD arete
by 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: 1715m4 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
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
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.
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 Quite a few seemed to be using the walk as a hangover cure given the fumes being exhaled 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
View back down Glen Nevis
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.
P1030764 by 23weasels, on Flickr
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.
P1030766 by 23weasels, on Flickr
P1030770 by 23weasels, on Flickr
P1030771 by 23weasels, on Flickr
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.
P1030773 by 23weasels, on Flickr
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
P1030777 by 23weasels, on Flickr
P1030778 by 23weasels, on Flickr
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?
P1030784 by 23weasels, on Flickr
P1030786 by 23weasels, on Flickr
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 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"
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.
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.
P1030794 by 23weasels, on Flickr
On top of the world - well the UK!
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
P1030797 by 23weasels, on Flickr
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
by PeteR » Sun Aug 25, 2013 11:02 am
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 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
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 Brass bands and Rhino suites 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
by Danccooke » Sun Aug 25, 2013 12:00 pm
I guess some jungle formula in the back pack wouldn't go a miss then
by ceaser » Sun Aug 25, 2013 4:54 pm
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
by trekker53 » Sun Aug 25, 2013 5:39 pm
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.
by dogplodder » Sun Aug 25, 2013 7:31 pm
by basscadet » Mon Aug 26, 2013 9:33 am
Dougie and I were also swarmed with midges this weekend.. So bad on Friday night I couldn't cook our tea Only seen them that bad once before..
by 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 Only seen them that bad once before..
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
by Collaciotach » Mon Aug 26, 2013 8:05 pm
Midges were hellish this weekend ..just hellish
by maryhillmoose » Mon Aug 26, 2013 9:06 pm
by GillC » Mon Aug 26, 2013 9:19 pm
- Arctic or what?
by tweedledog » Tue Aug 27, 2013 4:23 pm
This was it in March 2011... spot the little figure.
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by rockhopper » Wed Aug 28, 2013 12:40 pm