AUG 2018 – 10 Miles – BEN NEVIS (SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS)

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Total Distance: 10 Miles
Highest Point: 4394 Feet
Total Realistic Time: 6.5 Hours

“The summit is the highest ground for over 400 miles (640 km), before the Scandinavian Mountains in western Norway are reached, which contain many peaks higher than Ben Nevis. The summit is much higher than the Faroe Islands as well as the rest of the British Isles. ”

– https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Nevis

Ben Nevis
Ben Nevis by The Mountain Path

DAY BEFORE THE HIKE

At 5:30am we set off from Morecambe to Hexham to get to our sister’s for 8:30am.  We had a quick bite to eat before setting off, bran flakes with fruit as my sister wanted to set off to Kinlochleven as soon as possible from Hexham.  At 8:45am a quick refreshment at my sister’s and loaded our stuff into her car, we then set off on our journey.  Went through Carlisle and Glasgow, stopped just after Glasgow which was about 2 hours into our journey at a services for a McDonald’s late breakfast.  Then we headed off again, last leg of the journey to go.  The last 2.5 hours to Kinlochleven was a lovely drive, small roads which took you through some beautiful mountain scenery, very picturesque and green.

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One of the many beautiful mountain scenes we had driving to Kinlochleven

Arrived at West Highland Lodge at 4pm. 

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West Highland Lodge home for a couple of nights.

Unloaded our bags into the room and set off to have a look around the area.  Had a small local co-op supermarket, a few bars and restaurants.  I put on my walking shoes and trousers as my brother mapped a small walk around the area which went through a camp area, a 3 mile walk which was very warm.  After which we headed back and decided to get dinner at a Macdonalds Hotel and Bar just by the camp area where we returned from our small pre-warmup walk.  I had salmon and sweet potato fries, with a pint of lager shandy whilst taking in the views.

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Inside the restaurant with a view

Walked to the local co-op before returning to the lodge for some food to make sandwiches for our Ben Nevis Hike tomorrow.  Made ham and cheese sandwiches on wholemeal bread with also some cherry tomatoes.  Then we packed our bags with Haribos, little protein bars from Aldi, nuts and dried fruit, beef jerky, salt and vinegar Seabrook crisps, made lemongrass and ginger tea in our flasks and also 1 litre of water.  Then a shower and off to bed in the bunk beds, it was very clean the showers are good, a very well run lodge.  We decided to stay at this location as it was more affordable and it was not a far drive to the start of Ben Nevis in Fort William.  

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Bunk beds were pretty comfy

BEN NEVIS DAY

Woke up at 7:00am got ready and went to the local bar and restaurant for a full breakfast before the drive to Fort William start of the Ben Nevis walk.  The drive from Kinlochleven to Fort William was lightly foggy and drizzly, a lovely drive by Loch Linnhe.

Parked at the car park where the Ben Nevis Hike starts.  There is a visitor centre and toilets available before starting and finishing the hike.

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To the left of the Visitor Centre is where the hike starts

Started well, it was a clear day at the bottom with clouds and a slight wind.  A path of stone steps lined pretty much the way.

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Little bridge near the start
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First part had continuous stone steps leading you on your way

Lovely views ~1/4 of the way up, you could see the light clouds moving across the scenery.

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One of the many views on the way up

Then further up it was cloudy and windy, unfortunately we did not get to see the glorious views due to the weather.  There were a few people doing the walk but not as busy as the Snowdonia Hike. 

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Many loose stones as you head further up
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Some of the many waypoints to keep us on track

It was a continuous uphill all the way to the Ben Nevis summit, the last 30 minutes was more of a challenging hill before the top, there were many loose stones.  Just before the summit you can see two ridges where there is a big drop but covered with misty clouds so you have to be careful around this area, especially when it is very windy as there have been deaths where someone has been blown over the edge.  The path which takes you to the summit lies close to the edge on the right side.

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What looks like a big drop – on a clear day you will get amazing views here

It was a very good feeling getting to the summit, great achievement as we have now done the three peaks in the UK. 

Warning:  The weather changed a lot towards the top so be extra prepared, bring more layers to keep warm.

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The views were not great but we have done it 🙂

The walk down was not as bad as I thought, I did use the hiking stick now and again on slippery rocks downhill, but most of the time I jogged down to help the knees.

Finished at the visitor centre where we all had a refreshing Mackies ice cream cone with a flake.

EQUIPMENT

  • Camelbak Backpack
  • Apple iPhone 7 with Apple iPhone Smart Battery Case
  • OS Maps app (signed up to 1 year auto renew at £19.99 to use the app with OS Explorer Map 1:25k – click here for more info)
  • Salomon Women’s Ultra 3 GTX Low Rise Hiking Shoes
  • Berghaus Women Mountain Master socks
  • Adidas Vest
  • Nike Long Sleeve Blue
  • North Face Walking Trousers
  • Women’s Montane Atomic Waterproof Jacket
  • Modetro Sports Knee Support
  • North Face Woolly Hat
  • Hiking Stick
  • North Face Fleece Scarf
  • Buff Neck Scarf
  • Smidge That Midge Insect Repellent (great for deterrent of midges and mosquitoes.  I seem to be tasty and usually get multiple bites, I tried this as it was DEET free it also smells nice and it seems to be working so far)

FOOD AND DRINK

  • 1 Litre Water Bladder
  • 1 x 500ml Flask with lemongrass and ginger tea
  • 1 x Ham and Cheese on Wholemeal Sandwich
  • 1 x Cheese on Wholemeal Sandwich
  • Handful of Cherry Tomatoes
  • Haribos
  • Aldi Cocoa Protein Bars
  • Mixed Nuts and Dried Fruit
  • SeaBrook Salt and Vinegar Crisps

WISH I HAD

  • Extra Buff Scarf to exchange the wet Buff Scarf

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