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  • Darran Milne

My Scottish Adventures with Epic cloud inversion on the CMD

As you turn into Rannoch Moor on the A82 Stob Dearg rise's in front of you that iconic mountain that always looks amazing every time I drive along this road you can't help but just keep looking at this beautiful mountain.

My plan on my first night was to wild camp opposite Stob Dearg on the side of Beinn a Chrulaiste at 857m this mountain is just baby compared to the company it has around it.

After making my way up from the road I quickly managed to fine pitch that was flat enough for the tent. I set up my little camp site made cup tea and took in the amazing views around me Three sisters, The Mamores and Ben Nevis Range in the distance it was just amazing.


That evening the sunset I had was amazing with the sun lighting up the mountains and sky with its reds and pinks reflecting against the clouds.



The next morning I was hoping for amazing sunrise coming off Stob Dearg but as the cloud was getting thicker and the tops of the mountains were now covered in cloud this was not to be.

However all was not lost as I look over my shoulder I got glimpse of the moon starting to set between Stob na Broige and Stob Dubh it look amazing so I put on the long lens for my camera and managed to capture this image.



After getting packed up for the morning I headed back to the car and my next stop was Clachaig Inn for well earned breakfast.

Full video of my adventure in Glencoe is here on you tube.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZdnTD22R5Gs


DAY 2




My next stop was going to be North Face car park in Fort William.

After repacking my kit for my next overnight camp I set off at slow steady pace through the forest gaining height steady up on the path. I was carrying lot more kit than the night before as I had packed small rucksack along with my Ice Axe, crampons and helmet. As I started to near the end of the forest track Ben Nevis came into view the weather was being kind today and I had amazing view of the Ben.

After couple of hours I was next to the CIC hut the views of the North Face are just unbelievable I could see in front of my those famous routes Tower Ridge, No 4 Gully, Carn Dearg Buttress, No 5 Gully the list just went on and still lot of snow lying so I was pleased I had more my winter kit with me.

After finding some flat ground for the tent which proved difficult it was time to put the kettle on and relax with cup of tea and soak up the views.


Once I had my dinner it was time to prepare for my early morning start I had packed my daysack with crampons, Ice Axe, helmet warm kit food and water basically my normal kit I would take out for days walk I had enough kit to keep going for 8-10hrs if required, I always take water filtration kit which works well to keep water clean and safe to drink.

My alarm was set for 0300hrs plan was to have some breakfast cup of tea and get going for sunrise. The plan was to go straight up to summit of Carn Mor Dearg 1220m and onto CMD Arete and then summit of Ben Nevis from my camp location this turned out to be tuff climb up but half way up I could see the mist and cloud starting to roll in but due to the sun and the weather the cloud stayed below me was this going to be cloud inversion.



It was amazing never seen mountain look so beautiful as this with full cloud inversion around it, as I reached the my first Munro of the day Carn Mor Dearg the sun started to rise, in every direction was cloud inversion all that was poking through was the highest Munros in the area I could see in 360 degree direction it was something I will never forget.



After stopping and getting some more pictures I had to tear myself away from the summit and start thinking about the ridge in front of me. The hand holds are good and the exposure is not that bad and you can escape most difficult parts if you want I stuck to the ridge and took my time due to being by myself I did not want to take any risks that were not needed.

With the sun above me and little to no wind the crossing of the Arete was just amazing.




The only way I can describe being this high up above cloud inversion was like being passenger in air plane looking out of the window it was incredible.

Once I had reached the end of the Arete which is marked by stone Carin the snow increased up the shoulder of the Ben so I decided due to the overnight cold weather and it still being very early in the morning to put my crampons on and take out my Ice Axe and make push for the summit.





After a final push up the summit came into view wow it was amazing clear skies I could see for miles how amazing to reach the highest point in Great Britain and have these views.


After having another breakfast on the summit I started to make my way back down the Zig Zags only after 5mins of walking the mist rolled in and the whole mountain was in cloud how lucky was I to get those views.

I took me another couple of hours to get back to the tent in total I had been out for 8hrs what amazing morning. Once I had taken down the tent I made my way back along the path through the woods and back to the car.

What great 24hrs I had on Ben Nevis I really recommend wild camping the night before at the foot of the North Face.

Thank you for reading my Blog hope you have enjoyed it please leave any comments you may have.

I have added link to my video on You Tube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJs95_LooTw&t=511s



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