Posts Tagged ‘Ben nevis’

Ben Nevis

Following a pretty full on week. I managed to escape Glasgow fairly early a few Saturdays past and headed for Ben Nevis. Then dashed back to Glasgow in time for a party. I have no recollection what that party was or what fate befell Sunday. But at least the mountain managed to help me redeem a little bit of my sanity, thanks for that Ben!

Tower Ridge

Sometimes there’s nothing for it: down tools and head for the hills.

I’ve wanted to take in Tower Ridge on the Ben for years now, and it finally occurred to me just to go and do it. An old mate, Andy Yuill was up for it and since he just finished his masters he actually had the time too. We met at the King’s house on tuesday night about ten minutes after the bar shut (poor planning) and minced for a while taking photos of the Buachaille while we polished off a couple of bottles of Deuchars that Andy had brought.

After a remarkably poor night’s sleep (top tip: don’t forget your sleeping bag) and breakfast at Morrison’s in Fort Bill we started the slog up to the CIC and the Douglas Boulder. The weather was pretty good but the rock still wet and slimy enough in places that soloing the VDiff direct route up the boulder in hiking boots and rucksacks had a little more spice than we’d signed up for…. It all went well though and the rope stayed in the bag, thanks in part to Andy’s technique of chucking a sling tied to your harness over any tiny nubbin that showed itself. I’m fairly sure that if you have to hold it in place it’s psychological protection at best, but it kept us happy enough at the time to carry on.

Once you get off the Douglas Boulder and onto Tower Ridge the ground gets much easier. With the rock at an easier angle and significantly drier we could put a lot more time into enjoying our position and less into bowel and bladder control. The weather towed with us from time to time but it was just playing, testing our resolve rather than teaching us a lesson. And it’d wouldn’t be a day out on the Ben without getting rained on at least a little, would it?

It was surprisingly quiet up there yesterday. We met two groups on the route: one couple gearing up at the bottom that never did seem to top out on the Douglas Boulder, and two lads on their third big ridge of the day and a bit of a mission. We could see a group of three on the North East Buttress from time to time and the occasional tourist poked their head over the skyline as we neared the top. It can’t be often that you get the north face of Nevis almost to yourself, and that combined with the lurking weather made the day all the better.

A fine route, finished with a wee dram on the summit and a spectacular sunset on the way down. You can’t really ask for much more. Except maybe a sleeping bag.

10 Under the Ben


Well it was another great race and a great day in the sun, rain and mud! Finally I managed to put some of the footage together to make this wee vid. Our group of friends had a total of 6 teams entered! I’m already looking forward to next years race but for now, we’ve got the Tour de Ben Nevis coming up in September…

10 Under the Ben on High 8

Spad

10 under the Ben

This years Ten under the Ben broke the lucky run of weather the event has enjoyed since it’s inception. We were treated to classic Fort William weather, with a two tone sky. Blue to the South, Grey to the North. Fraser and the No Fuss team do a great job of tweaking and adding to the course every year. As he says himself “the only consistency is inconsistency”. The fantastic new natural wooded sections of course which had been added this year soon turned into a quagmire. Had the weather been as hoped these sections would have been exceptional. As it was they posed a solid challenge in bike handling, line choice and preserving momentum. As always the witches trails sections were brilliant fun, easy to ride despite the rain and full of speed. I found the most challenging part of the course were the long shallow fire road climbs, the rain had turned the usually hard packed surface in to a drag ridden paste which sapped energy and enthusiasm quickly. The new technical, forest, singletrack sections were definitely the highlight for me despite the intensity of the mud, I can’t wait to make it back and ride them in the dry at speed.

We had quite a crew of folk taking part over 20 of us loosely related through mates of mates. The vibe in the pits was great, a big thanks to all who contributed with food, drink, tents, houses and particular kudos must go to Lindsey Barr for orchestrating such fine hospitality at the race and after. The craic flowed and we all helped sort out broken bikes, keeping the kettle boiling and enjoying the fine Fort William weather. The atmosphere at No Fuss races is superb; friendly, comic and easy going. There is of course a competitive element but this plays second fiddle to having a good time and getting the craic with like minded folk. Big up to all those who contributed to such a fine weekend and hopefully we’ll all manage to make it again next year.

Our team was called “The crank addicts” which included myself, Spad, Davie G and Bowie. We managed 7th place. Which was pretty good, had I not stopped for a slash and Spads chain not come off we could have got up to 4th. Iain Bowie put in a gallant effort going out for a final lap but missed the cut off by only 2 mins. Next year eh!

Spad’s on the case of getting a video together so check back soon for that.

Ben Nevis CMD Arete

Several weeks ago, just as the first snow was falling over Scotland’s high tops, we took off to climb Ben Nevis by the CMD Arete.  Just as as we got back to the car, about 8-ish hours after we left and just as it was getting dark, someone set off up the  mountain in a T-shirt and running shorts!  nutter.

About High-8

High-8 is a loose gathering of like minded adventurists who document first person, on the ground experiences with words, photos and film. The hope is to form a rough guide to outdoor adventure sports in Scotland and provide a warts and all, honest representation of what we find. No sport is excluded from mountaineering and mountain biking to gorge walking and kayak all are welcome and encouraged.

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The Code

The Country Code, which most of us learned in school (and we probably haven't read since!), was updated in 2004 when it became the Countryside Code. Here's the updated version:
  • Be safe - plan ahead and follow any signs
  • Leave gates and property as you find them
  • Protect plants and animals, and take your litter home
  • Keep dogs under close control
  • Consider other people
In Scotland, where there is a more general right of access, there also exists the Scottish Outdoor Access Code:
  • Take responsibility for your own actions
  • Respect people’s privacy and peace of mind
  • Help farmers, landowners and others to work safely and effectively
  • Care for the environment
  • Keep your dog under proper control
  • Take extra care if you are organising a group, an event or running a business.
There's obviously a lot to to be learned from these - it's amazing how many people get out to enjoy the countryside but are still happy to leave it in a mess. Even with the recent updates, the Countryside Codes seem slightly outdated when considering the wider issues involved when lots of people get out into the countryside. Some places just can't handle high volumes of people, no matter how they behave and publicity, no matter how interesting or well-done , has the potential to attract lots of people to an area. Blogs including video, pictures or words, form part the the wider media which could easily contribute to tipping the balance, and so we as bloggers have to consider the implications of what we decide to post. Can the place we're writing about take more people, and if not, it might be wiser to leave maps, place names or grid references out of posts. In Scotland, the Mountain Bothies Association has been careful to protect the location of some Bothies due to mis-treatment and, in some cases, even malicious vandalism. That is not to say they would not advocate people using them - in fact, a well used, maintained and loved network of bothies exist, and the MBA as an organisation is there to encourage this. Some bothies are busier than others but generally it is the less remote places which are more susceptible to abuse - something which might be worth considering when deciding whether to post information. It must be said, in most cases it's obvious what should or shouldn't be publisiced, but it's worth taking these considerations to mind.

Please note: The Code is constantly being revised and added to. If you like to add something login in to the discussion on the forum.