A week in Glenshiel

It’s been a busy start to the New Year – I’m working on three websites at the minute (including one for myself, watch this space!) and I’m also doing teaching assistant work alongside my PhD – which explains the lack of posts recently. The week after New Year’s, from 4-11 January, a group of 19 of us from Lancaster University Hiking Club headed up to Glenshiel for the annual club “Winter Trip”. Two years ago, we went to Badrallach, near Ullapool, and got blighted with all manor of bad weather, culminating in some of the worst storms Scotland had seen. The year after, we spent the week in a couple of cottages in Roy Bridge. The weather was better (marginally), but I was injured and hence out of action. Hence, fingers and toes were crossed for some better luck this year!

The week started relatively well, and with a 7am start on the Sunday we almost managed to beat a band of bad weather heading in at midday. Our walk, the three Munros of Carn Ghluasaid, Sgurr nan Conbhairean and Carn na Coire Mheadhoin, was picked strategically to be as east as possible (within reason) to again minimise the chance of the weather, which was coming in from the west, hitting us. The early start paid off as we got a few good views from the first summit, though things deteriorated from then onward. By the time we were returning from the third Munro the conditions were “full-on Scottish winter” – i.e. white-out and blowing a gale – which meant that as we descended below the freezing level the snow turned to rain and by the time we reached the road for the 3km walk back to the car, we were already soaked. I left my bag with Lorna and ran on ahead to pick up the car. Some of the others had been less willing to leave their beds earlier and by all accounts got the brunt of the weather on the third Munro (good navigation practice at least!).

Good time for navigation practice!

Good time for navigation practice!

Monday had already been written off to a 110-mile tour taking in some of the highlights of the ruggedly beautiful western coast of Scotland, including Sheildaig and Applecross. The sandy bay of An Cruinn-leum offered some fantastic sand dune running and impossible bouldering, whilst the pub in Applecross provided a very welcome coffee.

An Cruinn-leum

Tuesday wasn’t any better, but with the amount of water that had fell out of the sky over the past few days, we decided the Falls of Glomach were at least worth a visit. This also had the advantage of giving the opportunity to ascend the Munro A Ghlas-bheinn should the weather improve: It didn’t, but a few of us went for it anyway! The Falls were mightily impressive, both in their height and also in the amount of water plummeting over them. A Ghlas-bheinn was surprisingly good fun, and although it didn’t stop raining the entire day, a steep snow slope up to the summit and a devious route down just about made it worthwhile. I always think it feels more rewarding when you’ve been out and done something relatively big even though it’s awful weather.

Falls of Glomach

Falls of Glomach

Wednesday; more of the same! Lorna, Imogen and myself drove to the start of the Five Sisters, sat in the car hiding from the rain for a while, and then drove back. Some of the others got halfway to the start of the Forcan Ridge and then decided to head back. It did mean that I got the chance to go for a long run: Up Coire Uaine, over its western col to the Ratagan Forest, around the Ratagan Forest for god-knows-how-long trying to find my way out (the map lied!), over the hill and subsidiary tops of Sgurr a Bhraonain and then back down the road to Sheil Bridge.

Thursday now seemed like our only hope, with the forecast bad again for the following day. It was hence time to make a second attempt at the Five Sisters, and so whilst Jim, Ben and Stephen retraced their steps from the previous day up to the start of the Forcan Ridge, and as Richard et al. were enjoying the South Shiel ridge, Lorna, Imogen, Darren and myself were tackling the relentlessly steep slope running at an average angle of 35 degress from the A87 to the summit of Sgurr nan Spainteach. The snow was frustrating at best; at first it appeared solid on top, but every couple of steps you’d sink right through to knee-depth (or deeper!). That being said, I do love a good snow slope and I definitely enjoyed the 900m of ascent we polished off in under two hours.

On the ascent of Sgurr nan Spainteach

On the ascent of Sgurr nan Spainteach

We did get the occasional view!

We did get the occasional view!

Unsurprisingly, the views were nearly non-existent, except for a few breaks in the cloud here and there. The complexities of the ridge made up for this however; complexities not because of technicality, but rather because of the devious route it took, embracing everything from super-steep snow slopes (usually in descent) to twisting rocky passages. The descent from the third of the three Munros it passes over – Sgurr Fhuaran – was particularly steep and devious, and looking back at the summit from Shiel Bridge on a clear day, you can see why!

Fortunately, the cloud level was high enough so we got a great view out over Loch Duich on the descent, a view which we couldn’t help thinking reminded us of the view of the Pap and Loch Leven from Sgurr nam Fiannaidh.

Loch Duich and Sgurr an t-Searraich, aka the Pap of Glencoe and Loch Leven!

The final day was again spent avoiding the bad weather, though in the end the bad weather didn’t turn out to be so bad! We visited Glenelg, the Brochs of Glenn Bheag and Arnisdale, and got some fantastic views of Rum and Eigg on our drive back from Arnisdale. Ironically, the best weather of the week by far was on the drive home on Saturday, with crystal-clear skies and beautiful snow-covered summits!

The Brochs of Glenn Bheag

The Brochs of Glenn Bheag

Loch Hourn

Loch Hourn

Great lighting!

Great lighting!

The legendary Aonach Eagach

The words “Aonach Eagach” are enough to send shivers down the spine of many a hillwalker, conjuring up images up knife-edge pinnacles with stupendous exposure extending mile after mile after mile, finished off with all the complexities and challenges that the Scottish weather has to offer. Oft-described as “Crib Goch on steroids” and widely heralded as the “best ridge on mainland Britain” (it is presumably the Cuillin ridge on Skye that wins the overall “best ridge in Britain” title), the (in)famous Aonach Eagach ridge in Glencoe is a grade 2/3 scramble running between the summits of Am Bodach and Sgorr nam Fiannaidh, the highlight of which is a kilometre-long exposed section of “crazy pinnacles” from Meall Dearg to Stob Coire Leith. It is this section that gives the ridge its reputation and under a covering of snow makes the route a real mountaineering challenge, with a winter grade of II/III in the hardest of conditions. The name “Aonach Eagach” translates to “notched ridge”, which is an apt if not somewhat underwhelming description.

Lorna, Imogen and myself decided that last weekend’s Lancaster University Hiking Club trip to Glencoe would be a perfect opportunity to do the ridge, and so with the sentiments of the previous paragraph running through my head, I found myself on the slog up Am Bodach at 8.30am last Saturday morning, after arriving in Glencoe at 11.30pm the evening before. Lorna and Imogen had done the ridge before, in some deep and wet snow back in 2010, whereas it was my first time. On paper, the ridge shouldn’t have posed any problems for the three of us – in fact I’d read that it gets its grade more due to exposure and commitment, rather than technicality, and we’re all comfortable with exposure and used to commitment (the Alps is good training for that!) – but somehow the legacy and aura of the ridge still made me a little tentative.

Imogen tackling the first of the difficulties

Imogen tackling the first of the difficulties after Meall Dearg

We’d packed climbing gear, comprising a half-rope, a few nuts and hexes, lots of slings and the usual harness, helmet and so on. In the summer, the ridge is a sole-able scramble, however in the winter it is more common to move together on a rope and even pitch certain parts. We weren’t entirely sure how much snow was up there, but had imagined it would be a lot icier than it was.  Crampons were donned before the first tricky steps down at the start of the ridge, but we decided to leave the harnesses off for the moment.

The hardest parts of the ridge were probably the down climbs (as demonstrated nicely by Lorna here!).

The hardest parts of the ridge were probably the down climbs (as demonstrated nicely by Lorna here!)

The ridge looking rather ominous ahead

The ridge looking rather ominous ahead

The snow wasn’t too deep, and there wasn’t too much ice, making it easier going than we’d imagined. We soon found ourselves overtaking a roped party on the summit of Meall Dearg, before tackling the pinnacled section that, by that time, I was very-much-so looking forward to. It didn’t disappoint. The exposure was a-plenty (bar the clouds obscuring the view) and the scrambling challenging but extremely fun and long-lasting. I’ll spare the details, save to say that it lived up to its reputation as the best ridge in mainland Britain. We ended up taking our climbing gear for walkies, though others on the ridge were roped up and we noticed some newly-placed ab tat along the way.

Lorna and Imogen on the

Lorna and Imogen on the “crazy pinnacles”

The early start was worth it, as we were back down at the campsite whilst it was still light, at just after 4pm. We bumped into the guys that we overtook in the Clachaig later on, and they hadn’t got down until 7pm, after descending Clachaig Gully. The ridge itself took us 3.5 hours from summit to summit.

Looking back on the ridge

Looking back on the ridge

Sgorr Dhearg’s NE ridge

The scrambling fun didn’t stop after the Aonach Eagach! Lorna had suggested doing Sgorr Dhear’s NE ridge, and coincidently a few others had independently been thinking the same thing, so a fairly big group of around ten of us set off early on the Sunday morning. The ridge, which gets a winter grade of I, was exposed and not altogether straightforward in places, and to steal a phrase from the guidebook we were using, had “a real mountaineering ambience”. Other rather apt phrases from said guidebook describe it as an “easy but invigorating scramble” with “exposed aerial passages”. This all made the slog up to the ridge from sea level seem worth it in the end.

Ascending Sgorr Dhearg's NE ridge en masse

Ascending Sgorr Dhearg’s NE ridge en masse

The impressive head wall of Sgorr Dhearg

The impressive head wall of Sgorr Dhearg

The morning was overcast, but the sun did make an afternoon appearance as we were making our descent. By the time we were setting off back to Lancaster, the sky was clear! All-in-all, another brilliant weekend in Glencoe. Bring on next year!

The snow is here! Exploring the Munros of Loch Lomond

I thought we might get a little bit of snow for Lancaster University Hiking Club’s first Scotland weekend trip last weekend, but I didn’t envisage we’d be wading through waist-deep stuff most of the weekend. We were staying at Beinglas Farm Campsite, at the very northern-most end of Loch Lomond in Inverarnan. This offered easy access to not just the Arrochar Alps but also the Munros to the north-east of the campsite, on which I spent most of the weekend.

The initial plan on Saturday was to bag all five Munros to the north-east of the campsite, namely: Beinn Chabhair; An Caisteail; Beinn a’ Chroin; Cruach Ardain and; Beinn Tulaichean. However, logistics dictated that only four (missing out Beinn Chabhair) were realistically going to be achievable and so we headed up to park just south-west of Crianlarich to start the walk up Coire Earb. The weather was pretty miserable at first, with plenty of sleety snow as we hacked our way up onto An Caisteal’s northern ridge. Things cleared up, fortunately, and we even got a bit of a view from the summit. As it was the first fall of snow, no freeze-thaw cycles had occurred and hence it was all very powdery and pristine, which made for hard going as we waded our way onto Beinn a’ Chroin, via a steep, exposed and somewhat direct route up it’s north-western face. The clouds cleared on our way up and we got some stunning views over the surrounding Munros and down to Loch Lomond.

Pristine powdery snow! Just off the summit of An Caisteal.

Pristine powdery snow! Just off the summit of An Caisteal.

The wind was biting and I don’t think I really warmed up all day long, even on the ascent. When we reached the col between Beinn a’ Chroin and Cruach Ardain, some of the group decided to head down, whilst Calum, Jim, Laura, Daniel, Ben and myself decided to head on. By the time we reached the summit of Cruach Ardain (which we later discovered wasn’t actually the summit; how frustrating!), it was already dark and as we didn’t fancy adding an extra couple of hours navigating in the pitch black out to Beinn Tulaichean and back, we decided to head down instead.

Great views when the clouds cleared!

Great views when the clouds cleared!

That evening, the campsite owners were hosting a bonfire and firework display. We received a phonecall just after leaving our final summit to say our van would need to be moved as it was too close to where the fire was going to be (Daniel had the keys), but when we returned we found they’d decided to crack on without us and instead had left a good layer of ash on the van. More annoyingly, they showed clear disregard for any tents nearby (i.e., ours) and gave them a good coating of ash as well.

The forecast was much better for the Sunday, and as I decided it was about time that I run up my first Munro. I’d weighed up the snow the day before and decided it wasn’t icy enough to warrant crampons, and that fell running shoes would be fine. Of course, I had in mind that I might need to turn back before the summit of my target – the most western of the five behind the campsite: Beinn Chabhair.

The weather was perfect, and the bog to Lochan Beinn Chabhair fortunately frozen – for the ascent at least! It took me 52 minutes to run the 3km and 500m ascent to the lochan, with a few stops to de-layer and take on some food. A lot of time was spent skirting around unfrozen sections of the bog. From there, where there were another few guys starting their ascents, I started the wade up onto Meall nan Tarmachain on Beinn Chabhair’s north-western ridge. The “ridge” was very undulating, with chest-high snow drifts in places, and by the time I reached the summit I was feeling physically drained. I finished off my first PowerBar, started on my second (my “emergency” one) and ate a handful of snow, before slipping and sliding my way back along the ridge and down to the lochan. The descent was, fortunately, effortless, and I did literally slide most of the way down. I really enjoy descending in deep snow!

View from the ascent of Beinn Chabhair. I didn't take my camera, so had to rely on my phone.

View from the ascent of Beinn Chabhair. I didn’t take my camera, so had to rely on my phone.

By the time I was back at the lochan, my feet had recovered from the near-frostbitten state they were in on the way up (note to self: must invest in some waterproof socks) and the PowerBars had started to work their magic. The run back to the campsite was very enjoyable – despite an excessive amount of bog-wading – and I took the time to take in the surroundings in the euphoric I’ve-just-ran-up-my-first-Munro, my-toes-don’t-have-frostbite state I was in.

I can’t wait to get some more Munro runs in over the winter!

A luxurious weekend away in the country – Steall Hut

Steall Hut, taken in February 2011.

Luxurious might be pushing it a little bit, but for £4 per person per night, Steall Hut is definitely well worth the money. After a recent refurbishment, the hut not only comes with a gas supply, but also a gas-powered generator and running water (provided the stream said water comes from isn’t frozen…). The hut is situated at the base of Steall Waterfalls, in the stunning surrounds of the tranquil Glen Nevis. Here, the Nevis river peacefully meanders along a the flat-bottomed valley, providing a perfect backdrop for a weekend’s get-away. The word Steall itself actually translates as “spout”, and the traditional name for the falls, An Steall Ban, means “white spout”, and the area itself contains a number of ruins of a past settlement.

The hut itself, owned by Lochaber Mountaineering Club, and also the path up Steall Gorge, managed by the John Muir Trust, have both seen upgrades in recent years. Most notably, new gas hobs have been installed, the previously-stolen generator replaced, and an arguably over-dramatic “Danger of Death” sign installed at the end of the public road and the start of the Steall Gorge path.

As is usually the case, we didn’t leave campus until gone 5pm on Friday, and so it was gone midnight when we started the half-hour walk in to the hut. The walk in involves an infamous wire bridge, which always seems much more daunting in the dark. After a quick discussion about the routes we were planning for the following day, we headed to bed.

Richard and myself had originally planned to do the Ring of Steall, but owing to the very windy weather forecast and the members of the group, we decided exposed scrambling probably wasn’t the best option for the day. Instead, I chose a horseshoe of Sgurr Eilde Mor and Binnein Beag. Jim and Calum, who originally had planned to go climbing, instead opted for a scramble up the NE ridge of Binnein Mor, and Richard tagged along with them.

The walk in to the base of my route was a rather long 7km up the valley, and a few others who wanted an easier day tagged along until we started the ascent. We had started in the rain, but by the time we were half way up Sgurr Eilde Mor’s NE ridge, the clouds had started to lift and we started getting some great views. The descent route down the SW ridge was a bit hairier than I’d imagined. It started off with a narrow ridge, before deteriorating into a steep boulder/snow slope. Alex, who was new to crampons, did well to negotiate this steep section without too much difficulty.

We had a quick break at Coire nan Lochain, before picking up the obvious path leading to the col between Binnein Mor and Beag. The ascent of Binnein Beag’s broad southern shoulder involved a bit of scrambling up boulder fields and rocky steps, but it was only made tricky by the amount of ice that was about (we had opted to remove our crampons due to the lack of snow on the ridge). The shoulder was in a great position and offered a considerable amount of exposed, making it fun, exciting and well worthwhile. The summit, whilst being quite broad, is in a prominent position and offers great views in all directions. We spent a while refueling and taking in said views.

Summit of Binnein Beag

The walk out seemed to take an age, and we eventually arrived back at the hut at 8pm, pretty knackered and ready for an evening of cheese, wine, port and whisky.

The next day, we awoke to a perfectly clear sky and quite unbelievable visibility. We’d talked about the two Munros on the western end of the Mamores the evening before, and with the weather being as it was, any achey legs and tired eyes were ignored in favour of another day out in the hills. Jim, Richard, Calum, Laura and myself were the only ones that fancied the option, and so we set off at 9am back to the minibus, dumped our heavier gear and drove further down the glen.

Great views across to Ben Nevis from Mullach nan Coirean

The ascent of Mullach nan Coirean’s northern ridge was arduous, not just because of the day before but also because the sun made it quite hot work. We were pleased to find a well-made paved path (described by Laura as “cute” in reference to it looking a bit like a garden path!) weaving its way up through the forest at the base of the ridge – this certainly made things easier going.

As I thought might be the case, as soon as we reached the summit plateau, we were faced with a bitterly cold wind. We didn’t hang around too long – just long enough to take a few photos and grab a bite to eat. Jim described it as one, if not the, coldest day this winter, and I’d be inclined to agree. The weather closed in slightly as we traversed the ridge to Stob Ban, but fortunately the views still remained when we reached the summit.

Stob Ban’s northern ridge

One of the main reasons for doing this walk, for myself at least, was Stob Ban’s northern ridge. Jim, Calum and myself had been over it almost exactly a year ago, in the pouring rain and with zero visibility. Even then, we got a good sense of exposure and I made a mental note to myself that I must do it again in good weather. The ridge starts with a narrow exposed section with a little bit of scrambling, before descending steeply over a number of tricky rock steps. Last time, we found it awkward and time consuming as the rain had made the ridge very slippy, but this time everything was frozen and with crampons on it felt much easier. One of the aforementioned rock steps had a bit of ab tat (a piece of rope tied around a rock left behind by someone to abseil off) and so I thought I’d test out the club’s new scrambling rope that I dragged around the walk with me, and also practice South African abseiling before my Mountain Leader Assessment in a few weeks.

Looking back on Stob Ban from the ridge

It started snowing quite heavily on the way down, leaving a good thick layer on the already-frozen ground, which was quite lethal. Added to that the fact that we were a bit behind schedule and so making a fast descent, this resulted in numerous falling overs, including a quite comical one where Calum seemed to end up facing completely the wrong direction.

The drive home was quite eventful as well, and at times we were in a complete white-out on the motorway – something I’ve never experienced before (and don’t wish to experience again!).

Glencoe with LUHC

This weekend just gone, the Hiking Club ran a trip to Glencoe. It was touch-and-go as to whether the trip would run or not right up until the evening before, as not many people had signed up for it, but fortunately it was decided it would go ahead!

The trip was actually down as “TBC”, with Tyndrum being the other option. We finally made the choice that it would be worth the extra journey at Tesco’s in Lesmes – the decision was a necessity at this stage as if we were to be staying in Tyndrum, we’d have to stock up on beer as there wouldn’t have been the Clachaig down the road from the campsite!

We arrived just before midnight and after pitching our tents and deciding on a 8am departure time in the morning, went to bed. My hip is still bothering me, but I decided that Buachaille Etive Beag might be an option as it’s northern summit is only a few kilometres from the road. Alex, who is going in for his Winter ML assessment in a few weeks, decided that would also be a good chance to get some nav and winter skills practice in. Lorna and Laura also came along with us, whilst the rest opted for the Aonach Eagach.

Summit of Stob Coire Raineach

The weather was rather good, with only bits of cloud scattered about. We worked our way up the usual route to the col, picking out interesting contour features on the OS 1:50 map and trying our best to find them exactly. I tend to use Harvey’s BMC 1:40 maps and I was quite surprised when comparing this against the OS at how much more detailed the Harvey’s are – especially when it comes to contour lines. The 15m intervals, as opposed to 10m on the OS, makes them much easier to read (and negates the necessity for fading out contour lines like the OS do).

Stob Dubh

From the col, we branched north and up the rocky ridge to the summit of Stob Coire Raineach, admiring the extensive views over the Bidean range to the west and Buachaille Etive Mor to the east. The summit itself was quite airy, and though not pinnacle-like in the slightest, still offered a good deal of exposure.

Back down to the col and my hip was still feeling okay, so I decided it would be worth doing the southerly summit, Stob Dubh, as well. The decision was cemented in place upon seeing the Alpine-esque snow ridge that lead to the summit. After cautiously negotiating a wind-slabbed snow-loaded slope, with last week’s tragedy on Bidean fresh in our minds, we gained the middle summit of the Buachaille and then pressed onwards along the aforementioned snow ridge. What with the sun, still air and narrow snow ridge, it really did feel like we were in the Alps. We must have spent at least twenty minutes on the summit, admiring the breathtaking views down Glen Etive and again over the Bidean range.

Lorna and me on the summit of Stob Dubh

On the way down, we made use of the good snow covering to make some snow bollards, bucket seats and stomp belays. I’d never used a stomp belay and I was surprised at how strong it was. A platform is “stomped” out in the snow, big enough for your two feet, and then your ice axe is buried shaft down in the snow. The rope is then cleanly passed through a caribiner attach to the head of the axe, and then run across your back and over the opposite shoulder, giving enough friction to hold the your partner.

As always, the Clachaig provided great craic on Saturday evening, with entertainment from a lively folk duo who’s name unfortunately eludes me. On the Sunday, Lorna and myself had intended to go ice climbing at Kinlochleven’s Ice Factor, but there were no spaces left when we arrived, and so instead we took a windy and wet drive down Glen Etive.

The Clachaig on Saturday night

Fingers crossed this is the start of a full recovery for my hip!

A weekend in Glen Nevis and a day on the CMD Arete

I’ve been waiting to climb Ben Nevis for years now and I finally got my chance this weekend with the Hiking Club’s trip up to Steall Hut in Glen Nevis. The hut itself is owned by Lochaber Mountaineering Club and is a rather basic cottage, boasting gas and running (cold) water but not much else. Apparently they had a generator but it got stolen a number of years ago. It’s the perfect kind of place for me, in a beautiful location a few miles walk up the glen from the end of the road and across the river by a wire bridge. I think I may have fallen in love with the place.

The wire bridge

The wire bridge. Crossing it upside down is optional!

Steall Hut

Steall Hut in Glen Nevis

The journey to Scotland wasn’t without incident. We had particularly high winds and the going was very slow up the M6 and M74 – down to 40mph in places. The amount of cars pulled over on the hard shoulder because of the winds was unbelievable. Because of this we didn’t get to the hut until 2 am and weren’t in bed until 3 am after settling in and having a wee dram of whiskey.

Day One

Up early-ish the next morning to see a noticeable change for the better in the weather. The wind had died down and the rain had disappeared, which was good as the plan was to ascend Ben Nevis via the CMD Arete – a route that I didn’t fancy in the howling winds of the night before!

Start point: Steall Hut, Glen Nevis, NN 178 684
Summits: Carn Mor Dearg, Ben Nevis
Distance: 7.7 miles / 12.4 kilometres
Ascent: 4480 feet / 1370 metres

The route started following the well-trod path up Glen Nevis alongside the Water of Nevis, before branching left up one of its tributaries just before Steall ruins. This brought us into a quite stunning flat bottomed valley between the CMD Arete and Aonach Beag. At this point the sun came out and gave some quite magical views over the Mamores to the south.

The Mamores

Sun breaking through the clouds with views out over the Mamores

The Mamores

Looking out over the Mamores

The valley raised to form a col between Carn Mor Dearg and Aonach Mor, giving even more spectacular views. The snow had started to harden at this point and it was time to don our crampons and brace our ice axes.

The Mamores

The Mamores from higher up in the valley

The route up to CMD was particularly steep and hard work. 400 metres vertically were climbed in 800 metres horizontally, which would have been tough even without the snow and ice. The views from CMD over its Arete were worth it, although the wind was so ferocious up there that we didn’t hang about for long. Fortunately it died down somewhat whilst we were on the Arete and I managed a couple of photographs towards the end. The snow conditions were ideal for me, nice and frozen making the crampons as effective as possible. There was a lot of water ice frozen on the rocks but it didn’t pose too much of a problem.

The Arete is a fantastic ridge, narrow enough to offer fantastic views and a little bit of exhilaration but wide enough to make you feel comfortable. It’s long as well, which adds to its appeal. I’ve never been up Ben Nevis before but I’m very glad that my first time was via this brilliant route.

The CMD Arete

Crossing the Carn Mor Dearg Arete.

CMD Arete

The end of the CMD Arete from half way along

The ascent to the summit of “The Ben” saw our first cloud of the day and make navigation rather tricky in the near whiteout conditions. Fortunately we have an extremely competent leader within the group who was able to pace out our ascent and descent with pinpoint accuracy.

Summit of Ben Nevis

Myself on the summit of Ben Nevis. Apologies about the quality, but it wouldn't be the same without a summit shot!

The descent down was in the dark and followed a short ridge emerging at the start of the flat bottomed valley we started the walk in. It was then just a case of retracing our footsteps back to the hut for a few beers, some home-brewed blackberry wine and dehydrated vegetable tikka and rice (yum yum!). Unbelievably we were out for 11 hours!

Day Two

The next day we took it easy and took a leisurely wander up the glen, having a look at Steall waterfall along the way.

Steall Waterfall

Steall Waterfall

Steall Waterfall

Steall Waterfall across the Waters of Nevis

Glen Nevis

Looking down Glen Nevis towards Steall Hut

Inside Steall Hut

Inside Steall Hut

Steall Hut

Steall Hut

Overall we all had a fantastic weekend and will definitely be returning next year. I highly recommend the hut to anyone wanted a bit of peace and tranquility – it’s a fantastic place to get away from the stresses and worries of life.