Ben Nevis & Meall an t-Suidhe

Route: The North Face of Ben Nevis and the Allt a' Mhuillinn

Date walked: 18/12/2020

Time taken: 5 hours

Distance: 15km

Ascent: 950m

Ben Nevis North Face 18th December 2020

A last minute plan to get out on the hills in the west saw me arrive at the North Face car park at 10.30 am. I had a general idea that the forecast was poor and the chances of getting to the summit of the ben were very poor but I needed to get out and this is an area I know well.

Ominously the car park was deserted :shock:

I had no clear plan which is a bit like the story of my life but this is the route I ended up taking.

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The river was going to be a major obstacle so I crossed it early at the bridge and went up the west bank. I'd ruled out the summit of the ben at this point due to the wind speed, the driving rain and the lack of daylight though it probably would have been possible. The target now was Melantee. It's not a popular hill due to its illustrious neighbour and it's not on a list, but well worth a visit, a great winter hill.

Another obstacle passed - Carn Dearg as the backdrop

It's not a bad climb from the NF car park to the summit of Melantee and took me around 2 hours though I did get blown off balance at one point.

Meall an t-Suidhe summit cairn.

Yes, the bad weather attire requires a bit of fine tuning! :D

Looking down one of these gullies that you see from Glen Nevis and wonder if it's a good route up....... ok maybe that's just me.
Glen Nevis Youth Hostel

I dropped down off the ridge on to the ben path. Though I have been on the ben every year since, this is the first time I've been on this section of the path since November 2014.


It's now 12.45 on this Friday afternoon and not a soul to be seen on the pony track, I hadn't seen anyone on the zig zags either from up high, just goes to prove highlanders generally aren't daft enough to go out in weather like this though there is the odd exception. :D

The Ben Mountain Path

It was still early enough and I was tempted to go for the summit and get far enough down before the loss of light. The snow line was well above 3000ft but the weather conditions were an unknown so instead I went round to have a look at the north face. Another dilemma was I might not be able to cross the Allt a' Mhuilinn and have a rough walk down the left bank instead of the fantastic path on the other side but I was happy to take the chance and luckily the burn was crossable with care.
The Wild North Face

It was difficult to get half decent photos with the rain but it gives an idea of the conditions which were a world away from my last visit in august. These 2 photos are taken from roughly the same place.
Ben Nevis August 2020.........
.........& December 2020

I always see the CIC hut as a bit of an eyesore with its cages, gas bottles etc. but it's a great resource for the folk who use it and having a look in the window........
.......... they definitely have their priorities right! :D

A great path takes you from the CIC hut back to the car park in less than an hour and a half in these conditions and I arrived back at the car park in the fading light.

The walk home

There are very few reports on WH for this hill and quite hard to find (though I know Weaselmaster has done a report for it)
so for anyone who fancies it this is a good ascent route away from the crowds with many possible variations. :D :D :D

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Comments: 7

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Sunset tripper

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Location: Inverness
Pub: Black Magic Voodoo Lounge
Place: Argyll
Gear: coca cola

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