How I Conquered Ben Nevis

It has been a long-held ambition of mine to climb the 3 highest peaks of the U.K. Jane and I were close to starting the ascent of Snowdon but the bad weather had other ideas, and it didn’t seem like a wise idea for us novices to attempt the summit in the rain and fog! I think Jane was secretly pleased but I was disappointed and have kept that one for another day.

As luck would have it the weather was great for my climb of Ben Nevis.

This time I was to be accompanied by mountain man Kev Heard. Although I thought I was fairly fit, I wasn’t sure that I could do it, but Kev had climbed the mountain several times before and convinced me that I could!

You can’t actually see the summit when you start off as it’s hidden by the hills you have to climb early on in the journey, and with every corner you turn you hope to get a better view!

On the lower slopes the pathway is well defined with large flat-ish rocks for you to climb over…………

And the further you ascend there are some handy boulders at the side of the path where you can take a breather, sit down and admire the view……………..

The further you climb, obviously the views get better, and when you look back the broad, wide path that you were walking on an hour ago now looks like a piece of string hanging on to the side of the mountain!

When we passed it on the way up I didn’t realise how important this stream would be on our return journey. It is recommended that you take at least 1.5 litres of water when you start your climb and that’s what I did. I also took the advice that the weather can change very quickly, and that you should take warm waterproof clothing with you and enough food to see you safely up and down. However, we were lucky enough to time our climb for the hottest day of year which meant that we got through our water so much quicker than we anticipated, and so we eagerly filled our empty bottles on our return!

As we climbed and talked to other climbers along the way, we were told how lucky we were to be on the mountain today as they only average 15 days a year when it is as clear as it is today!

It’s now getting a bit more serious; the boulders are getting bigger, and with larger gaps which are filled with loose easily moved shingle!

But the views are certainly getting better!

This was certainly the most difficult part of the climb, and you really had to concentrate on every step so that you didn’t twist your ankle

The loch that we passed a couple of hours ago now looks like a small puddle!

Mountain Man Kev takes a well deserved break!
Loch Linnhe in the distance
Nearly at the snow level!

By the time I had reached this point in our journey I had just about enough energy to take a photo, let alone build a stack of stones!

As you can see, not everybody can easily cope with the changing conditions underfoot…………

Even Mountain Men can slip……………and on the way back down Kev’s slip, and consequent descent on his bum, made everyone else think that this was certainly the easiest and most fun way to get down!

We made It!

One more photograph and now it time for my SANDWICHES!!!!

Well worth the effort!

A well deserved pint!
But just an orange juice and lemonade for me!

Back at ground level it doesn’t seem that bad.

It took us 4 hours up, we had an hours rest at the top and then another 4 hours down. It was probably one of the hardest, most demanding things I have ever done and I’m pleased that I accepted the challenge .

Now that we have reached its summit we are now entitled to just call it “The Ben”!

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