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Nevis Nightmare!

Date: 8-11 Feb 08
Submitted by: Keith Monaghan

A week after George and Sandra K managed some good winter climbing in Glencoe, 10 of Fermanagh’s finest travelled on the early morning flight to Glasgow in search of similar adventure. However the weather forecast stated winds were to be ferocious and difficult accompanied by the usual horizontal rain.

On route to Fort William we travelled via Killin and climbed the Tarmachan ridge where we practiced the 45 degree walk into the gale. Best suited to the larger mountaineer like myself where a little extra body mass helps keep your feet on the ground. Sadly the snow had all but disappeared.

Having spent a very comfortable night in the Bank Street Lodge (very clean and warm and near to all the public houses) in Fort William we walked from the north face car park via new path up to the CIC hut where the snow was again non existent. Again the forecast was rather extreme so we dandered around towards the Half-way Lochan into a bit of shelter from the gusts and scrambled directly up to Carn Derg top before navigating across the plateau to the summit. No one was out climbing except for 2 Hungarian nutters who appeared out of the cloud at the top of tower scoop with icicles on their eyebrows.

The next day Sandra and I did a clockwise circuit of the Ring of Steall. Again there was little snow or ice buts lots of cloud and the most difficult section was the traverse of the wire bridge. The steall falls were in full spate resulting in the usual wet feet.

However that evening we encountered a “large” hen party in the Nevis bar. The lucky lady was huge in stature and dressed in the finest vango outfit. She roamed the bar carrying a collection bucket, attempting to catch the eye of anyone who dared to glance in her direction and demanded a kiss and £1 from each male present. Apparently it’s a Scottish custom (which I will have to confirm with Sandra K) but none of us were brave enough, or big enough, to argue. This was the closest we came to requiring any protection the whole weekend but we knew if we did a runner she would never catch us and if she followed none of the other pubs had double doors!

On route home some of us went to the ice factor and others went to Glencoe and spent an hour skiing around boulders. Not much in line of winter climbing but craic was mighty.

Photo of Route
Sandra M at home on Devils Ridge!