Monday, 17 August 2009

Castle Ridge Ben Nevis

I've had a couple of days work cancelled this week (owing to circumstances beyond the clients' control) but with a better forecast this afternoon I left the house after lunch for a leg stretch on Ben Nevis.
Its been ages since I've been on Castle Ridge; often the people I'm with really want to go to the summit and this route finishes a long way from the top and it is shorter so I use it less often for work than the other big ridges on the Ben (Tower, Observatory and NE Buttress). I reckon that for the same reason it is the least visited of the ridges by other mountaineers.
What a wee treat I've been denying myself! I crossed the Allt a Mhuillin below the CIC and cut straight up to the lowest rocks of the ridge - things were a little damp but by taking the steepest line I found plenty of good dry rock. Climbing up slabs and past ledges carpeted in blaeberries I soon reached the steepening high on the ridge. The first of two chimneys was the scene of a nasty wobble for me many years ago (soloing the route in winter a small flake I had hooked with an axe but not checked popped out giving me a black eye and almost sending me for a loooong fall). Today it was a pleasure; steep, exposed, mostly dry and with plentiful jugs and views to sunny hills out west too. The second groove is shorter and less exposed and brings you out onto a final arete. From here I raced up Carn Dearg and back down the pony track and beyond to my bike at Torlundy. A grand afternoon out.

The weather looks like it is going to continue in the same vein for at least the next few weeks: The unsettled conditions we have been having are due to the jet stream sitting further south than usual. This bringing a series of low pressures crashing into the NW of the UK whilst England is often under of the influence of the high pressures sitting over the Azores giving a north south split. The air we get is often a returning polar maritime meaning cold and wet weather which if it continues into the autumn could give some early snow in October. and

No comments: