Ben Nevis 15th Septenber 2012.

The Ben Nevis challenge was an event on the 15th September, it raised funds for the CF Trust which is the charity that helps provide help and research for people and families with Cystic fibrosis. Our Granddaughter has this condition, so we all decided to go Climb the UK's highest mountain and in the process the four of us raised over £3000
Many thanks to all the people that donaited money towards Cystic Fibrosis, we made over £3000 in sponsership
Mitch, Gail, Kirsty, Ade
The trip up there was the longest ever, we took a plane from Luton to Glasgow international airport, which was very fast indeed at about one hour, however we then had to wait over seven hours for the coach to pick us up and take us to the Hotel. We finally arrived in the Hotel about 18:30 we had started the journey by getting up at 03.00 so we were ready for dinner and a few pints. The Hotel was ok with the rooms quite clean and large, however it was the food that was very strange, I ended up with a battered fish salad !! There was also one lady that had just batter with no fish inside. Before bed we had a talk from a guide that explained the route we would take to the summit at 4409ft (1344m) and just to check that we had the correct equipment, water and food. I went to bed dreaming of the looming breakfast Basil Fawlty would serve up in the morning, alas it was not as grim as I thought it would be however the tea was poor, I think they had used the same tea bag for a week. The coach took us just down the road to Glen Nevis and the Ben Nevis Visitor centre where we split up into groups and made a start to the walk, everybody walks at different speeds so later on in the walk various people went up or down into different groups all with guides so it was safe and well organised

OS map showing Elevation and Route taken

Stacks Image 1175
Stacks Image 1140

The Path started nice and steadily but after a while it got very steep and is a relentless gradient all the way with no easy bits, the path also contains very large stones and steps so great care is needed (as we found out later) also there is a lot of water running down from the peaks that surround the area, this also adds to the danger as the paths are very slippery indeed. The Path we took was from the West side Glen Nevis where there is a visitor centre and ample car parking.

The Path
The path is called the Tourist path and is about 5 mile to the top with 4388ft of ascent and is hard work all the way, there are large rocks to climb and also after the Red Burn it turns to scree making hard work even harder, it has maximum gradient of about a 1 in 5. It was first constructed in 1883 to allow ponies up to the observatory on the summit, after 1894 it was used by large amount of climbers that made there way to Ben Nevis by the new West Highland railway that arrived in Fort William
Stacks Image 1189

The tourist path starts at only 20 metres above sea level and you will soon cross the river Nevis on your travels. once you reach the saddle you will see a small loch called Lochan Meall t-Suidhe (also known as the halfway lake) at 570m, you will then start to Zig-Zag up towards the summit point. This path is hard work and like I said its relentless all the way, coming down is even worse on the knees and so easy to slip over, Gail fell on the rocks going down not far from the summit and it resulted to a trip to the local A&E department in Fort William. Luckily she was ok and we went through the hospital having X-Rays and seeing doctors in less than 1 hour (MK Hospital take note). The mountain has a large amount of accidents and in 1999 four people died up there due to various reasons

The Summit

Stacks Image 1198
The summit is very stony and fairly flat and the Plateau is about 40 Hectares in size, its a shame we could not take in the views due to the cloud base on top. There is a Trig point to mark the summit point with some steps there to help you reach it. There is a shelter that can be used in an emergency, and also a few monuments. You will soon find the Observatory that now stands abandoned near to the trig point, it was constructed in 1870 and used to take weather readings for the Scottish Meteorological Society and a man used to climb Ben Nevis daily to take readings. In 1883 the Observatory was manned permanently up until 1904 due to lack of funding, the twenty yards of weather reading still provide the most comprehensive weather data for the Mountain. The top is a Kidney shape with steep cliffs on three sides and in bad weather people have fallen to their deaths. You must take care with this Mountain and in bad weather it doesn't take long to realise you could get in serious trouble so please take a map and suitable clothing and know what to do in such conditions.
Stacks Image 1201

Once out of the hospital we headed back to the hotel and replaced fluids with a much sought after Guinness at the bar. They had some local scottish music playing with Bagpipes and all the dancing and jumping on swords etc. It was a great weekend with perhaps a bit to much traveling but well worth it for a great cause. Also this was the end to our climbing of the three peaks that we planned at the start of the year, we both agree that Ben Nevis was the hardest by a mile and we will both be back soon, we hope to the beautiful area and have a better look around.

Pictures (you need flash player) iPads click camera icon above right