Rope eaten by mice and the howling wind on the slopes of Ben Nevis

The emergency phone inside the CIC hut there is also one in the rescue kit outside, well used on this mountain.

It was great to get to the hut and see the kids so excited about staying up there for the night. The wind was howling by now and we were glad to be in out of it. The hut is a 2000 feet below the North East Face and were the sole occupiers apart from the mice! I checked my kit that I had left there and found that the mice had got in, probably during the renovations and enjoyed a bit of my rope and most of my food! A costly lesson, the hut is superb even with environmental toilets inside and powered by a big wind turbine which was racing away. We soon had a meal ready and then a few games of cards and some great fun with kids getting water from outside, they loved it. The wind was really going by now and outside was as black as hell, no one about, even our friends the deer had left for the night. I finished the night with a recital of my wee poem of the Ben inside the hut much to kids amusement, then off to bed after a few more stories.

Dishes time in the Cic Hut below Ben Nevis

The wind blew all night and as I was by the window it was an incredible noise. I was hoping for a great morning and a sunrise over the great cliffs. I was up early but it was pouring and the cliffs shrouded in mist, the wind was still wild, no photos, no sunrise, though an incredible place to be with the wind cracking round the cliffs and water pouring off everywhere, showing many secret winter lines in the occasional clearing.  We all had a leisurely breakfast and I decided to get moving as I had to pick up some stuff in Fort William. The rest was staying another night and hoping for the weather to improve to try to get the summit done.

The great cliffs of Ben Nevis begin to clear and the wind dies down!

As I left the wind died and they all decided to go for the summit, there was no wind at all and they began the long grind round to half way lochan and up the tourist path and down the Carn Mor Dearg Arete. They got back to the hut in the dark, a big day for 2 kids and Dad and Mum, a great effort. A fitting end to a great few days. I had a hard walk down with a huge back full of rope and kit and met a young guy who had crashed his bike in the forestry and went down with him to the North Face car park, then a long walk back to my car. My bag was 30 kilos full with 2 ropes and lots of climbing gear maybe my days are done on these big cliffs? I was in bits with the weight, but it was down hill and the path is excellent. Then off to Fort William to see Joss & Annie and pick up a 1950 Journal for my lecture in November. I then got a message saying there was wood left for me outside my house on the road! A busy drive back and my old body ached, but my neighbour had put the wood inside for me, thanks Irvin. A great 2 days and so glad they all managed to get up the Ben safely in the short daylight. These kids are hardy!


Todays tip – Short daylight means plan your day carefully it may save that walk out in the dark.

About heavywhalley.MBE

Mountain Rescue Specialist. Environmentalist. Spent 37 years with RAF Mountain Rescue and 3 years with a civilian Team . Still an active Mountaineer and loves the wild places.
This entry was posted in Enviroment, Friends, Mountain rescue, Mountaineering. Bookmark the permalink.

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