Aug 10

Fort William – Ardnamurchan peninsula

Iestyn is actually proud of this picture

Oh no, Iestyn’s knee hurt in the morning, and got swollen and red from yesterday’s slip on the rocks, so we couldn’t go do Ring of Steall trail. We decided to do a nice scenic drive up North instead, tuning into the smooth sounds of radio Nevis (really :)).

We dropped in the award-winning information centre near Fort William, which hosted a beautiful exhibition of wildlife photographs. Other than that, the award-not-winning information centre was equally as nice, and we got our postcards there.

Continue reading →

Nov 09

Ben Nevis (and name sake for the Blog)

Today, didn’t go as planned. Today was a day that will stick with me for the rest of my life. Fact. It’s a day that I feel made me and Regi grow to be really close. It had it’s high points, but boy, there was desperate times. Times where I closed my eyes, and wished that I wasn’t where I was. Teamwork got us out of this day – alive – and I’m so thankful  for Regi for being there, and doing what she did at the time. We both worked so well as a team, and it made me truly realise how amazing she is.

Before coming up to Scotland, I prepared some walks for us to go on. These walks were based from the Trail Magazine, and an awesome wee book called ‘Walking the Munros’ by Steve Kew. I was stupid on this day, I didn’t bring a map. The one thing that I’m never ever doing again – the only ‘map’ I had was the map that was in this book – it’s a very very simplified map, which doesn’t show much of anything.  I was stupid.

We were heading up Ben Nevis. The route was to go from Glen Nevis, up towards Loch Meall an t-Suidhe, drop down into the heather filled valley to the North of Ben Nevis, up Carn Dearg Meadhonach, Carn Dearg, over the CMD Arête, and scramble up the last 200m or so to the summit of Ben Nevis.

We set off early, and it was all going really nice and well.

On our way up Mr. Nevis

Regi by Lochan Meall an t-Suidhe

We reached the Lochan Meall an t-Suidhe, and hooked left to go round the Ben, so we could drop down the valley, to go up Carn Dearg Meadhonach. At the bottom of this beautiful valley was a beast of a river – and it’s been raining. It took us a little while to find a safe crossing place – Regi just took her boots off and walked through, while I waded through – and my lovely boots kept my feets all nice and dry. The super steep climb up towards Carn Dearg Meadhonach was a climb and a half. Walking through heather, for me is a nightmare, I hate the stuff. I was being really slow – my foot was giving me some intense pain (the bath incident), but I put my head down, and went for it. About half way up, I stopped and looked up to see where Regi was – she was a good 50m ahead, and about another 50m ahead of her, was this weird looking sheep. I thought to myself – ‘what a weird looking sheep’. I stood there, wondering, what on earth is wrong with this sheep? I could only see his head at this stage, but when it moved, it became clear what is was – it was a deer!! This was my first ever encounter with a wild deer!! I loved it! It totally made the horrid slog up the steep hill worth it.

Once the gradient started to ease out, we flew up to Carn Dearg Meadhonach. The snow was awesome. I really like walking in snow, and fresh virgin snow is just beautiful. We stayed and got our pics taken. Regi had bought with her an awesome, awesome walking ‘biscuit’ from Prague – Tatranky. It’s awesome!!

Me ontop of Carn Dearg Meadhonach

Tatranky muching

We carried on, and reached Carn Dearg quite quickly. The weather was holding, but the daylight was starting to fade. In front of us was the CMD Arête. It looked beautiful, and we really fancied walking over it;

CMD Arete

CMD Arete

It was just like my old friend Grib Goch on Snowdon, but bigger and snowier. We went on. The weather came in. And it came in fast. It was soo cold, the blizzard was so powerful, high winds, and very unstable ground. I’ve been growing my glorious beard for a few weeks, so my little face was all protected, but I felt so sorry for Regina, it must have been so cold for her, but she didn’t complain. This took us a really long time to cross. It was getting really dark, and the blizzard was not easing up. I felt totally out of my comfort zone. It was something else.

I decided to take a look over the Ar̻te Рto see what I could see Рany signs of anything, and just as I did this, the fog lifted for about 10 seconds, and I could see a sign and some metal posts. I decided to head for those.

Panic and fear set in. I told Regi that I really wanted to go down, and we should follow these metal poles. Regi was amazing. She led the way, down the super steep slope. The wind blew her off her feet a few times, and she went flying. Oh how I hated it.

I think it’s safe to say, that I owe my life to my head torch this night. It got dark really quickly, and we just had to get off this mountain. It was something so surreal. The beam of light from my head torch shinning down on the snow covered rocks, and seeing the snow being blown at such a force made it seem unreal.

I think it took us about an hour to get below snow level. We slid down on our bums. Covered in cuts and bruises, torn my waterproofs. I was so happy to get down from that slope. The next challenge was to navigate down, to the river (the same river we crossed earlier) and follow it down the valley. This proved to be a challenge, but I’d calmed myself down a lot with the help of Regi, and just decided to go for it. It wasn’t so bad. Once I hit the Charles Inglis Clark hut at the middle of the Valley, I knew we were alright.

It took us a further 2 hours to get to civilization. We were both wet to the bone, tired, in pain, and just wanted to have a shower. The promise of a Shower, Indian Food, Family Guy,  and bed was keeping us going.

We got to the B&B, after some great generosity from the locals by calling us a taxi. We were sooo happy to be back, safe – and without any serious injuries.

The Indian, and the Beer I Had that night was the best I’ve ever had. We slept so well. It’s a day that I’ll never, ever forget. Thanks for being there Regi, it would have been something else if you weren’t there.