When I was on holiday in Scotland back in summer 2017 we have climbed the Ben Nevis. It was more like a joke than a well-prepared plan. At the end of the morning, we were really close to Ben Nevis and we thought, well why not have a quick look?
We reached the starting point and after having a look at the map we said to each other let’s walk up to the lake to have a look and then turn around an go back. On the map, the lake looked around 1/3 of the total height. But while walking op we kept walking and walking but didn’t find the lake.. we came higher and higher still nothing. But we didn’t want to give up anymore. We were already walking for more than 1,5 hour hours so we decided to continue and try making it to the top.
We walked the Ben Nevis with minimal preparation, we had 3 bottles of water and some muesli bars…
The Ben Nevis
The Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in the United Kingdom and is 1.345 m high or 4.035 ft. The very first one that climbed to Ben Nevis was back in 1771, so were a few years too late to be the first. Nowadays over 100.000 people climb the Ben Nevis each year. About 3/4 of these people walk over the ‘pony track’, this path is also the one we used. It starts in Glen Nevis and is over almost the complete route a recognizable route. With 100.000 other people tracking the Ben Nevis you can understand that you do not have the path for yourself. There are a few moments that you can look around without seeing other people. Only on the last part, already high up in the clouds, we had a few minutes walking alone. With the result that we didn’t know which direction to go anymore… It was really misty and the path was just loose rocks without any recognition point.
And if you want to have a cloudless picture on the top, I have to disappoint you. on an average is the top covered in clouds for 355 days of the year.
Our climb to the top
So when we decided to continue walking to the top, we already have a lot of different tracks. Walking over paths made with big rocks but stable, paths whit just lose rocks, sandy and ‘flat’ roads and also parts where you had to climb from rock to rock. There were parts where you were walking in the thick mist and other parts it was completely open. After almost 2 hours of walking, we finally found the lake. But still wanted to climb to the top. It took us 3 hours and 15 minutes, especially the last 45 minutes where though. The mist was thick, it was cold and you couldn’t see more than a few meters. But the feeling of reaching the top was really good. But the top was dark, wet and cold. so after a quick picture, we decided that we didn’t want to hang around and get too cold. It was better to slowly start going down again.
Going down, the easy part?
We thought that the hard work was over, but not. Going down was maybe even harder than going up. It is really intense for your knees and there is no plat part in between to rest your muscles and knees. But because we had reached the top and where going down again we found a big bunch of new motivation. We just kept going down and enjoyed all the views with a regular stop to give our knees some rest and some stretching. After 3 hours of walking me returned to the valley, and back to our car. Completely exhausted but also very proud. We climbed the highest mountain in the United Kingdom from 0 meters up to 1345 meters. Not a bad start for our very first mountain climb. which one will be the next?