We took the scenic Moonlight Gully Buttress variant, crossing No.5 Gully higher up, which avoids the wet and chossy sections of the route, and provides a great feeling of being 'in' the mountain as opposed to being 'on' it. We re-joined the standard route at the improbable teetering block, and then enjoyed the easy scrambling all the way to the summit of Carn Dearg.
We then joined the throng heading for summit, but not after peering into the various gullies as we skirted the North Face. At one point the sun broke through the cloud just enough to give us a brocken spectre down Gardyloo Gully - This is when the sun's rays create a halo around your shadow on the mist, and is thought to be the origins of the story of halos on angels. You can walk for years and not see one, and this was both Ray and Paul's first.
After a bite to eat, it was off South Eastwards alongside the Little Benva Face, descending awkwardly over the boulder field to the new cairn at the top of the Coire Leis, and then onwards onto the C.M.D. itself.
The weather was just good enough to allow us to stick to the crest the whole way, being careful when the dampness affected the grip in places, but enjoying the airy situation. Finally it was the final pull up to the summit of the Carn Mor Dearg at 1220m. By now the cloud was in and the temperature was 6c, so we wasted no time in heading down.
After a heavy shower and some bog-trotting in the lower reaches of the route, we were back on the excellent path down to the North Face car park quickly, and completed the route in just over 7hrs, a really good time. All that remained to round off a great day was an evening in the Clachaig! ;)