Our grand plans for a few days adventure in the North West Highland had been scuppered due to a series of deep Atlantic lows that were to provide some watering a high speed blasting in the mountains, so we decided to make a day trip in between the watering and see if the high speed drying would benefit us during this outing.
The overnight deluge had passed as we left the North Face car park but the remnants of the weather front had decided to stick around (seemed like they were waiting for the next front to see how much rain it would produce!!).
The atmosphere was damp as we trudged up the well-constructed path from the car park. This part of the walk is steep and I always breathe a sigh of relief when the first views of The Ben come into sight. Not only do the views improve but the gradient does too ;)! The lower ramparts of the major ridges were only just visible whilst the rest of the North Face was under a curtain of dark grey cloud.
Grey sheets filled the air as showers came and went and soon we were headed towards the cloud, following the right flank of the slanting gully that exists Castle Corrie.
After a little toing and froing on steep grass, we made it to the start of the route proper. The frictional properties of the easy angled rock was the same as the wet vertical grass and our progress was slowed as each foot placement wasn’t to be relied upon! The first difficulty was soon reached – a grimy, wet, slippery corner, although not the crux – it certainly felt like it today with water dripping down it and Teflon feeling surfaces! Over the top of this we continued up on what would have been relatively easy ground ;). A wet set of slabs led us into another dripping corner and we knew the crux corner was approaching.
Photo below of me taken by - SB-G
This turned out to be delightful. It was actually the only part of the route that was dry, and although exposed, the few moves here were fantastic, an absolute pleasure. The holds were all there and gear was in abundance. All too soon though it was over and a ledge provided numerous points for a belay. A short distance on and the route meanders up to a corner that is a little narrower – some thrutching and bridging may help, but it was also enjoyable. From here it is relatively straight forward and a teeter along a rooftop arête provides a little exposure and fun before the North Castle Gully meets you on the left to conclude the route.
From here the rain and cloud worsened and we navigated to the Pony Track before the long walk out. The second front had now arrived ;)
Some thoughts and reports from my outdoors activties...