Painful day, but still a great day!

Munros: Aonach Beag (Nevis Range), Aonach Mòr, Ben Nevis, Càrn Mòr Dearg

Date walked: 12/07/2019

Time taken: 11 hours

Distance: 19km

Ascent: 1982m

Aonachs, CMD & Ben Nevis.jpg
Aonachs, CMD & Ben Nevis

I left the car park at the end of the Glen Nevis at 7am sharp. It was still a wee bit misty but no rain, so i was hoping for a day in good weather to affront these hills. The path leading up to the ruin is really very straightforward and easy going. Once at the ruin the path goes left, uphill towards the first "top" of the day Sgùrr a' Bhuic (963m).

Track towards Steall Falls

Highland Cattle grazing on a wild campsite

Ben Nevis is already watching me on my left :-)

Inversion with CMD-arrete and Ben Nevis on the right, and to the left... The Mamores

Ben Nevis

The way up was a wee bit steep in someplace but no difficulties whatsoever. I was having a great time.
The views were opening up as I got higher and Sgùrr a' Bhuic was in sight. Ben Nevis looked almighty above the clouds and there was an awesome view to the south... The Mamores!
I would soon be on the first "top" of the day. Even though it's not a Munro, it does have the height. So I considered it as a good warm up for the rest to come.

Sgùrr a' Bhuic

The way up to Sgùrr a' Bhuic

Once I arrived at the top of SaB, I decided to take off my jacket and sweater, cause the sun was definitely doing it's best. By the time I put everything in my daypack and went on my way, I felt a horrible pain in my right knee. As if a knife was cutting through it. Where the hell did that come from? I didn't twist my knee on the way up, nor fell down on it. It was a riddle to me and I thought it would get better after a few minutes. Strangely enough going up wasn't a problem at all, but whenever i had to go down,... a living hell. This is the kind of thing you don't want on a day like that. My physical condition was great, i felt super good, the sun was out and then this!?!?!? Anyway, there were two options, to go for the two Aonachs and then go back to the car park. Or doing exactly what I planned to do. So, I moved on towards Aonach Beag, sadly enough without good views due to the clouds gathering around me.

Me at the top of Sgùrr a' Bhuic

Ben Nevis behind me, waiting for me...

Summit cairn of Aonach Beag

The way up to Aonach Mòr was in clags once more so no views at all, but I can imagine what a treat it must be on a cloudless day. As I checked my watch when arrived on my second munro of the day, i was happy to see that i was on schedule, despite the terrible pain in my knee. So, I made up my mind and decided to go for the other ones as well. Would it be painful? Surely, but then again, coming all the way from Belgium, I have to grab the opportunity while I'm here. With or without the pain. The reward at the end would even be bigger I said to myself. So, off I went.

Summit cairn of Aonach Mòr

The way down from Aonach Mòr towards the bealach was a real hell for my knee, with no path whatsoever.
At first it was impossible to see CMD because it was covered in clouds from the bealach to the summit, so I was worrying a bit wether I was going to find a decent way up, without having to turn back because of some cliffs, but then just before I got to the bealach the clouds just disappeared. There she was before me, Carn Mòr Dearg, what a splendid hill. And what a view. I was really determined now to go on :-)

Carn Mòr Dearg on the other side of the bealach

Looking back at my descent of Aonach Mòr

The way up CMD

The way up CMD was pretty steep but I loved it nevertheless. I was so determined to get up there that i didn't realize that i was just below the summit untill i heard some voices just above me. A young couple had just arrived at the summit. They came in from the west and planned to tackle Ben Nevis as well from the CMD-arrete. I just had my picture, a wee sip, 2 figues and went on my way. They left a few minutes before me but I still got in front of them, apparently they took of in the wrong direction. Everything was covered in the mist , which makes it understandable. The arrete itself was most enjoyable, not as exposed as I would have expected. I was really happy that, despite the extremely painful knee, I had not given up, and was now rewarded with this part of the route. There was still a pretty steep slope ahead of me, scattered with big boulders and rocks. The last effort before arriving at the summit of Ben Nevis. As happy as I was to arrive there,it was in clouds and no views whatsoever. I had my summit picture taken and had some more dried fruits and a drink while a piper was playing a tune behind me. What more can you wish for :D
But then, in my condition, the toughest part was still to come... all the way down, even though it's a very easy track. I knew it was going to be hell, and for sure, it was. I was embarrassed to be walking down, limping, holding on to my walking sticks like 90 yr old, and seeing all these people pass me by :oops: It was relentless and the pain was just awful. But after a way to long descent, I finally arrived at the bridge over the River Nevis and had a Irn Bru with my friends waiting for me at the Nevis Youth Hostel. I couldn't help but being proud of what I did today despite the handicap. I will do this route again some day, and hopefully with open skies from start to finish. I can only recommend this one <3

Summit cairn of CMD

Summit cairn of Ben Nevis

On the way down from Ben Nevis

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Activity: Munro compleatist
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Mountain: Ladhar Bheinn
Place: Knoydart
Gear: My boots
Camera: iPhone 12 Pro, Go Pro 4
Ideal day out: Any day in the Highlands of Scotland is an ideal day!
Ambition: To climbed every Munro...
Munro rounds: 19
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Munros: 19
Corbetts: 1

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Trips: 1
Distance: 19 km
Ascent: 1982m
Munros: 4


Trips: 4
Distance: 41 km
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