13
Sep 2006

Ben Nevis to the Grey Corries

Last weekend was glorious weather so I dodged home early from the pub and went running in Lochaber on Saturday. The plan was to run about a third of the Ramsay Round as a recce for next summer and just a good day in the hills.

I woke later than planned (didn’t dodge away that early) and only managed to start running from the Ben Nevis car park around 11am. The Ben seemed even busier than usual, with around a hundred people on the summit who were hip-hip-hooraying about something, so I was really glad to start dropping down to Carn Mor Dearg. After going off in a spak direction, I got to the arete which was rocky so I took it easy (I’m a bit soft when it comes to running on rocks). Steeper terrain leads down and then back up to Aonach Mor and Aonach Beag (water available at the bealach), which provided a great view of the approaching Grey Corries and the Mamores, which are the final stage of the round. Descending from Aonach Beag provided a bit of steepness and could perhaps be tricky to find in poor weather, but the Grey Corries involved less vertical action and were straightforward, despite the rockier ground and me feeling tired, until coming down from Stob Choire Claurigh when I got lost on a grim boulder field. Climbing Stob Ban was short but a three steps forward, two steps back affair and I was very glad it was the last hill. On the home stretch now, dropping down to the lairig was a complete joy – soft earth and heather made for a fast and delightful contrast to the rocks from the rest of the day, which just left the 7km downhill firetrack to the road.

As I approached the road, the light was fading fast and my plan to hitch back to the Fort (and the car!) was looking dubious. I was especially concerned as I realised I had left all my money in the car and that my phone had no battery left. I wasn’t really looking forward to having another ten miles to cover. Fortunately, I spied some walkers just getting in their car.

“I wouldn’t normally do this” I lied, “but I was wondering if you can give me a lift to Fort William.”

They were a little taken aback, but fortunately they were cool and had recognised me from the ridge (they were going the other way and had decended from Stob Coire Easain). After a decent chat about hills, I was back at the car and went direct to the chippy then necked a can of Red Bull for the drive home. Forty-five minutes later I was asleep in a lay-by. I woke up at 2am, headed home and sunk into my bed – I was knackered.

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