John and Fi are over from Australia to sample some of Scotland's best bits. There are few better places to start than the CMD Arete onto Ben Nevis. They were expecting cold, damp weather with lots of cloud and bits of rain. Luckily the weather today did not ruin their expectations but we did get some brilliant views and it was mostly dry. It's a long pull up to Carn Mor Dearg over the wet peat slopes that slowly give out to a path through the red screes on the flank of the hillside. The cloud kept teasing us with glimpses of a view of the north face to keep us going on. As soon as we arrived at Carn Mor Dearg though we enjoyed a brilliant view down to Steall and all around.
The rocks on the arete are mostly pretty grippy after lots of people have worn away the lichen. Even with a couple of light showers the rock was mostly good and the wind was light enough so we enjoyed the best of the scrambling right on the crest. John and Fi have not experienced anything quite like this despite some treks in Australia but they got on really well and soaked up the exposure and the atmosphere.
It was really interesting to chat about land management in Australia and to compare it with what goes on here. Around Melbourne there is a big problem of having too many deer like we do here and no big predators to keep the numbers down. But they do have lots of smaller predators that have a very bad impact on the small marsupials and mammals. It's always a very difficult balance to get right with pressures from many different sides. It was cold on top today and it will be even colder tomorrow with a chance of sleet or hail on top. We might also get a frost at the weekend! Time to turn on the heating?
Self reliance is a fundamental principle of mountaineering. By participating we accept this and take responsibility for the decisions we make. These blog posts and conditions reports are intended to help you make good decisions. They do not remove the need for you to make your own judgements when out in the hills.