It's something that I've been meaning to do for a while.  With every mountain climb I've done, I've always said Ben Nevis will be ticked off the list soon.  For those that don't know, Ben Nevis is the UK's highest mountain.  At 4,409 feet, it's not a molehill, but certainly not in the same league as the Rocky Mountains in America, or the Matterhorn in Switzerland.  That being said, it wasn't exactly easy.  The legs definitely suffered the day after.

Setting the scene, we were wide awake at 5:30am to get started after staying in our beautiful Shepherds Hut we had booked nearby.  If you're at all interested in visiting the area, I cannot recommend the Riverside Bothy enough - it was simply incredible. 

After a quick breakfast, we grabbed our gear and were off.  Arriving at the foot of the mountain by 6:45am.  The initial climb was relatively steep, but nothing that can't be handled by most.  The path was very clear, so that definitely helped - I'm not one for straying off the walking path (at least not on purpose).


With the path being that clear, almost the entire way up, we quickly made progress, climbing faster than anticipated.  After some research prior to the trip, we estimated it would take around 7-8 hours to summit, and back down, but it seemed we would take less time.

After bending round the hill we were on (and foolishly thinking it wasn't too strenuous), in the distance, we saw the actual mountain we'd be climbing.  Despite the quick second to accept it, it didn't discourage us, and we carried out.  


Around 1 hour and 30 minutes, we reached the point of the 'half way loch.  I was on the lookout for it, as I had read on the map that it was a point to stop and rest, but we almost stumbled upon it after reaching a certain height - and we weren't too tired, so we continued onto the 'true' halfway point, which is the waterfall.  At which point we did stop to catch our breath and have some lunch (at 8:30am haha).


15 minutes later, we set off again hoping the second half would be as straightforward as the first - we were wrong.  The path was still very clear, but rocky.  I do believe that without the right footwear, people would struggle, but also hurt themselves.  It's definitely not a level path.   Although, there were sections that had been built into steps, which was a welcomed site after dealing with loose rocks. 


I wish I could say that beyond this point was easy and not too tiring, but if I'm honest, it was a bit exhausting.  Breaks were taken more frequently to catch our breath and give the legs a rest.  But after the seemingly never-ending climb, the feeling of seeing the summit on almost flat ground was amazing.  The sense of achievement was something that I believe everyone feels climbing it.  No wonder people aim at Everest - that feeling would be inconceivable.


At a total time of 3 hours 43 minutes to reach the summit, I was pleased with that.  Truth be told, it wasn't about the time, but rather about the climb.  (I'm sorry - I swear I didn't mean to make it rhyme!).  The obligatory photos were taken at the top, along with a lengthy break for some food and water before heading back down.  


Although, she was super happy at reaching the top, Anne-Marie wasted no time in telling me that "we're never doing this again" haha.  She might be right.  It's put my ambitions of climbing Machu Picchu into perspective!


The summit features several cliff edges, so I really tried not to get too close - but me being a bit annoying, I had to try and look over the edge.  It's pretty terrifying.  I presumed the cliff would come from half way up the mountain, but no.  It's a straight drop to the bottom it seemed.  Not something I want to toy with, so 6 feet back from the edge is fine.


Ben Nevis - Conquered

8 July 2019