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Ben Nevis summit panorama
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Ben Nevis via Carn Mor Dearg Arete

Location: Fort William, Central Highlands

Length: 17km / 10.5 miles

Ascent: 1420m / 4600ft

Time: 9 hours

Difficulty: Whilst there is no great technical difficulty, the Carn Mor Dearg Arete is exposed and a little scrambly (Scrambling Grade 0.3), and the going is particularly arduous throughout. Peat bog and heather will be found by the side of Allt a' Mhuillin

and on the higher ground rough, stony, bouldery ground predominates.

Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in Britain, so conditions and weather can be extreme and may change very quickly.

  Carn Mor Dearg Arete


In poor visibility precise navigation on the summit plateau is essential, because to the north vertical cliffs plunge 650m directly from the rim, and to the south may hazards await.

Never underestimate this mountain: benign and smiling , Ben Nevis can become 'Big Bad Ben' in the wink of an eye.


Summer conditions may be expected from June to August and winter conditions from September to May.


Red granites and dark andesite are predominant in this area; for walking, friction is good and the rocks sound and dependable.

  Binnein Beag and Binnein Mor


Flora and Fauna:

Raven and snow bunting may be seen, also adder, stoat and mountain hare. Many saxifrages will be found in this region - alpine, yellow, starry and purple - also mass campion, starwort mouse-ear and alpine lady's mantle.


The finest view of the great north face of Ben Nevis is from the higher ground of the approach; it is also the most interesting hillwalking route to the summit of the mountain.

The huge north face plunges directly from the summit plateau and traversing the Carn Deargs provides a superlative vantage point to inpect its intricacies in safety

  Winter snow on Carn Mor Dearg Arete

Unless you actually climb the great northern precipices of the mountain - and that option is for experts only - there is no better route than this one, from which to view and begin to understand the sheer size and formidable character of Ben Nevis.

Rising by the Allt a' Mhuillin, the impressive ridge climbs in a great horseshoe around the rim of the huge glaciated basin, the great north corrie, scooped between the forbiddingly balck north face of Ben Nevis and the high, broad red shoulder of the Carn Deargs. Gentle at first, the stony back of the Deargs sharpens until it becomes the wonderful, rocky knife-edge of Carn Mor Dearg Arete, that curves in a graceful, aesthetic line around the head of the corrie (Coire Leis) to connect with the southern shoulder of Ben Nevis.

Thereafter, the climb is a steep, slogging ascent - but your reward is finally to have gained the highest summit in Britain.


  Approaching Carn Mor Dearg Arete

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