Last weekend we headed out west with plans to head to the highest point in Scotland..... The best-laid schemes o' mice an 'men Gang aft agley..... But in a good way........
Crowberry Gully – March 2015
Blog reports, photos and magic films from The Ben had been flooding the world wide web for the week leading up to our trip away and this had initiated a trip to the Ben with a number of possible objectives.
The alarm was set earlier than usual (04.45!ZZZzzzzzz) and we met at Crianlarich for 0600hrs. We were all tired but the weather was looking superb and I was certainly looking forward to the day ahead. As we drove north, dawn approached and the stars gradually gave way to crystal clear blue skies. Past Rannoch Moor and a quick stop at the Jacksonville car park. This is where the plans changed!:) On stepping out in to the sunshine we were greeted by an icy nip and an imposing Buachaille staring down on us. We stared back……… and noticed a fine white line weaving its way to the summit. Crowberry Gully looked in great nick. The binos were grabbed and a new plan hatched!!
Ten minutes later we were parked at Altnafeadh and getting our gear readyJ The sun was splitting the sky and the air was sharp.
The car park wasn’t busy although we were early and only two other teams were on their way about the same time as us – seemed they had a similar planJ
Round the Waterslab and the snow here was solid Neve which was a stark contrast to a week previously when we were wading through soggy wet mush!!! We were soon heading up Crowberry basin and into Crowberry Gully. Things were looking good!! We soloed a fair distance up the Gully before waiting behind the two teams of two ahead of us. It was a tad chilly in shade of the gully and not moving – however once the teams moved on things moved fairly smoothly. Thin Crack Chimney we soloed as most of it was well banked out and a short pitch brought us to the Junction Pitch.
Mark led this and the ice and neve was good. I even found myself enjoying this as I followed up behind Gerry. Mostly first time placements and my nice new shiny crampons were biting nicely!! The first part was steep then some easier ground before reaching the Cave.
Gerry led the Cave pitch which was similar to the Junction with good placements all the way. A fantastic couple of pitches in one of the most atmospheric places I visited J
Belayed just below the top I past Gerry and Mark to top out into glorious sunshine and still calm sharp air..The crystal clear views were astounding – smiles remained on our faces for about three days after!!!!
Lunch on the summit then a descent in to the Coire where there some impressive fissures, seracs and crevasses!!!!!!
Some thoughts and reports from my outdoors activties...