At the weekend I finally managed to climb the highest mountain in the UK – Ben Nevis. At 4409ft above sea level it’s not a particularly large mountain but still took 9 hours to ascend and descend (for me anyway!)
Situated on the western side of the Grampians and close to the popular tourist destination Fort William, Ben Nevis is not an amazing mountain to look at, it has this funny bulge, maybe to do with the fact that the summit is apparently a collapsed dome of an ancient volcano.
Starting at The Ben Nevis Inn, we headed out on the Pony Track, which was mainly steps, a lot of steps! And in my eyes probably the most difficult part was this first section, some of the steps are quite high and after a while, my legs were feeling the strain.
Letting the large majority of the group carry on, I took a slightly slower pace much more suited to me and took regular rest stops, catching up with the group every now and then, the ascent seemed to last forever!
Eventually the path levelled out somewhat and was a little easier to manage, until the dreaded snow part….thankfully, unlike Scafell Pike which I did a couple of months back, the snow wasn’t that deep and there wasn’t blizzards to tend with either. But even so still difficult in places to get a decent grip and yes I managed to fall over a few times 🙂
Heading towards the summit, counting down the cairns till we finally made it! Along with the summit cairn where the obligatory photographs are took, also stands the old walls of the Observatory that once stood, now housing an emergency shelter.
A few pictures and a quick bite to eat and we were back off down the mountain. Catching a glimpse of the steep drop to the right hand side, which I completely missed on the way up!
Going down was considerably quicker, sliding down the snow, falling over etc etc!
Again the path just seemed to go on forever and it felt like it would never end, my feet were hurting, my knees were hurting and after a few hours I’d had enough.
Pushing through, I finally made it back down to The Ben Nevis Inn for a well-earned drink and sit down whilst we waited for the remaining members of the group to come down.
Have you done any / all the highest peaks in the UK? Which one did you find the hardest?