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Ben Nevis via Carn Mor Dearg and a Big Feartie

Ben Nevis via Carn Mor Dearg and a Big Feartie

Postby roycampbell » Thu Sep 21, 2017 3:54 pm

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

Date walked: 21/09/2017

Time taken: 9.5 hours

Distance: 16.1 km

Ascent: 1769m

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My daughter Roisin and I set off at 8.30 am on Tuesday 19th September 2017 from the Glen Nevis Camping Park. We only intended going up the tourist trail to Ben Nevis but when we got to Lochan Meall an t-Suidhe we decided that since it was an excellent day with perfect weather we would go have a look at the famous Arete.

Being very anxious in general I first started worrying when I saw that we were the only ones heading away from the Nevis trail. Still, it was a well made path and the promise of great views pulled us forward. I don't know how many times I mentioned turning back.

When we approached the Mountain Rescue Post we started to see other walkers in the distance which was more reassuring. Looking at our map we thought we would be best to strike east and take slight zigzags up the steep slope. We tried to keep to the grassy strips rather than over the boulders but didn't have much choice where we were. We had some awkward moments with rocks shifting underfoot and causing me to panic.

In hindsight it might have been best to carry on up the more gradual slope past the Mountain Rescue Post. However, we did make it up to just under the peak of Carn Dearg Meadhonach. We didn't bother going up to the top but held to our target of Carn Mor Dearg.

At this point I must admit to being way way out of my comfort zone and being very fearful and negative. I'm terrified of heights and though some sessions of rock climbing have helped I still get dizzy looking out of a second story window. I didn't fancy going back down the track I had just come up as I felt it was dangerously beyond my dodgy knees and my sense of balance. However, the ridge itself looked almost as formidable and scary as anything else I've ever seen. I was also terrified of the weather changing and started seeing every cloud as a potential disaster. Once again I noticed myself repeatedly mentioning all the dangers

Well, we started onto the ridge. I was determined to go forward and banish fear and we headed over the ridge. We hadn't realised that there was a path most of the way on the side of the ridge. This made it even more fun climbing from boulder to boulder for the first half of the Arete.

Getting to the mid point was a revelation. Either looking forward or looking back looked equally as frightening to me but I had just had an enjoyable and thrilling experience getting to the middle. We pressed on and scrambled up the slope beneath the observatory following the metal poles and some red flags and then to the top of Nevis.

Absolutely elated and delighted we both enjoyed the top with its ruins and monuments and beautifully made cairns and happily trudged down the path to return to our campsite.

I know that I am clinically anxious – I've completed several years of Psychodynamic Group Counselling – but I must confess that for once I was actually glad that I have a history of anxiety. The feeling of fear keeps you safe as you plan ahead and weigh up the risks and the sheer feeling of pleasure at doing something that terrifies you is incredible.

I'd like to thank my daughter for putting up with me on what was for her a long and very slow walk with a Big Feartie.

Carn Mor Dearg to Ben Nevis.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

On the Arete.jpg
Just about to walk over the Arete
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Re: Ben Nevis via Carn Mor Dearg and a Big Feartie

Postby Malkie » Thu Sep 21, 2017 6:29 pm

a really good report it is something i'd like to do myself someday especially the ridge i've done the tourist path.But i am more of a long distance walker.
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Re: Ben Nevis via Carn Mor Dearg and a Big Feartie

Postby spiderwebb » Fri Sep 22, 2017 9:09 pm

Good for you, well done. Not easy to overcome anxiety in such situations but you persevered and the emotional rewards make it all the more worthwhile, well done again :D
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