Morning view at Nevis-side campsite. When I arrived last night it had been tipping it down all day, thankfully the weather had cleared up a bit but the river was at least a good six inches lower and An Steall half the size it was. Just as I was setting off I found the remains of a Tunnocks wafer that something had carefully dragged away leaving the intact wrapper in my rucksack.
The fun began shortly after setting off with the (in)famous Nevis wire bridge – which the hardest thing about was getting on it! Not to say the rest was easy. Falling off isn’t going to kill you, but will probably spoil the rest of your day. I’ve never held on to something so firmly since my favourite hat in a gale. Anyways, I made it you be pleased to know, albeit gingerly.
As I arrived at the waterfall I met a couple there who were plotting their route across. “Made it across the wire bridge ok then?!” I enquired. “Yes, no problems!” they replied, “We perform in a circus…!”. Alright for some I thought as I imagined them juggling chain-saws on a unicycle as they crossed. As they scampered over the falls with agility that Barnum & Bailey would have approved of, I followed… my scampering skills not quite matching up to say the least. But with only one slightly wet foot we were all across and photos of each other were taken. They went down and I went up.
The Big Ben with his head in the clouds – I was toying with the idea of heading up it via the All Coire Eoghainn tomorrow and it didn’t look too bad from this distance. Meanwhile, the walk ahead was looking fine and ridgy.
A different view of the pipes to the aluminium works at Kinlochleven from the one on the West Highland Way a few years back, when we walked down alongside them. Knees in agony, but being kept amused by the leaky gaskets.
The ridge to Sgurr a’ Mhaim is what they the call the Devil’s Ridge but it wasn’t too bad at all I thought – unless I’d missed it. I did come across some walking poles though on the path, I wondered what I should do. Surely someone had dropped them and not realised as for most people the blasted things are quite unnecessary. I thought I’d be helpful and take them with me back to the car-park. Shortly after I met the chap whom they belonged to, and it turned out he left them on purpose as he didn’t think he’d need them on this stretch. Which I didn’t think he did but just after returning them he was using them straight away. Now with hindsight I should’ve just left them be, but surely he should’ve left it out of the way or put a stone on top to indicate they’d be left intentionally? I sometimes leave a bad en route to collect later and always make sure it’s well out of view, but there again a bag a large rucksack is unlikely to be dropped by accident. Anyways, that’ll teach me to be helpful! Next I might just chuck them down the glen or bury them to amuse myself as unnecessary use of poles is the epitome of “All the gear, no idea” IMHO.
Taking the obvious easy way round the chip, the trickiest part of the day (that wasn’t made of steel wire!) was sliding down this steep rocky bit. Not a fun few minutes but made it with minimal bum chafing.
Back home now and the midges were out in force but with the right protection I avoided getting bitten – apart from when I took my trowel and went to the toilet where the little blighters spotted some prime un-Deeted prime rump and went straight in. So I felt no guilt when I noticed I was killing many of them as I brewed up.
So after maybe four hours of nothing to look at Aonach Beag was bagged – and the magnificent views behind can only be imagined. I managed to get a little lost, or rather went the wrong way, on the way by annoyingly instinctively following the contour rather than just heading up, but with visibility like this I guess getting lost isn’t too hard to do!
The way down from Aonach More via Benang Aonach More was horrible. Steep and pathless – at some points very tricky and a tad worrying. The half mile or so took me about an hour and the way up to CMD on the other side would be very similar.
So sod that I thought, CMD and the arete can wait for another day – perhaps even a day when I could see something! So, home time!
On the way down as it briefly cleared I bumped into a chap coming up wearing a paper suit as if he’d just come from a scene of crime. He and his bedraggled but unphased little dog were camping out for the next three of four nights. His tiny bag looked as if there wasn’t room for his doggie biscuits never mind tent & sleeping bag & food and what-have-you. I should have taken some tips from on travelling light!
As I passed I just had to stop off at the Glen Nevis holiday park or whatever it’s called. This is where we used to come on family holidays in the dim and distant past. The rocky river beach and glacial erratic were regular summer holiday fixtures for us nearly 40-odd years ago. And as I recall, the weather was always like this!
But again, as when I on the WHW, an attempt to find the “rocking stone” marked on the map ended in failure.
As I approached Fort Billy I thought I’d reward myself with a nice cooling half of something so popped in to the Glen Nevis Restaurant & Bar. After a mouthful or two I went to get a paper to see how Manchester United had got in the Europa Cup Final the night before. But it was the front pages that were about Manchester, as well as back. They were of course reporting the Manchester Arena bombing four days earlier, of which I’d heard nothing. Could I have been one of the few people in the country not to have heard of this horror at a place I knew well?! I needed another drink.