Having lived in Fort William for all of three months, and having had a lot of very fit people already stay with us who had walked the West Highland Way and were then doing Ben Nevis followed by the Great Glen Way, I decided that it was about time that I had a go at “the Ben”.
Having cooked 26 breakfasts that morning, I set off to walk up Ben Nevis (about 11am). My intention was to get to the Red Burn, a small river that cascaded down Ben Nevis in a series of waterfalls, which was apparently about half-way. Having arrived there in fairly good time (1.5 hours) I thought that I could easily get to the summit, so on I trundled. I phoned texted Carmen to let her know all was well, and she replied to say it was OK to continue as long as I was home by 6pm. Great, I thought and continued.
Walking up Ben Nevis, especially in May is not a solitary activity. Ben Nevis is very busy in the summer months and as I went up, many people were already on their way down, including cyclists, runners, dog walkers and the like.
As I went higher, my legs got heavier and the second half was somewhat slower than the first, completing the climb in another 1 hour 45 minutes. But getting to the top in 3 and a quarter hours didn’t seem too bad to me!
The view from the top (and on the way up) is breathtaking to say the least, and there is a sense of achievement when you get there. I pity those who end up doing it on a cold wet day as they wouldn’t get to see very much, and I imagine it is also quite dangerous. It is important to be prepared when doing a hike like Ben Nevis as the weather can change dramatically and there is a very quick way down which would be fatal.
The descent was slightly faster (too fast at times) as at one point I stumbled in my haste and pulled my calf muscle (so be warned). But I eventually safely returned home by my deadline – although I wasn’t a lot of use that evening!