A big weekend up Ben Nevis - the UK's highest peak
With a group of 31 eager walkers split over two hostels and being looked after by four Mountain Leaders, it was a busy weekend for us on Ben Nevis – Britain’s highest mountain. After delays for road closures and with everyone turning up despite the less-than-encouraging weather forecast, we settled down in Glen Coe and Corran for a socialble Friday evening. The whisky may have also made an appearance, as everyone knows it’s important to embrace the local culture when travelling!
Saturday dawned with sunshine and fresh autumn air and we began the walk from the Glen Nevis visitor centre. Soon we were warm enough for most people to be down to one layer, and the view down the lush Glen Nevis was an excellent prequel to the hike ahead. Though the path is rocky, and in many places under repair, everyone tackled these bits with gusto and it wasn’t long before the views were opening out below us.
For quite a few members of the group this was their first trip to Scotland, let alone their first time up a major UK peak, so it was brilliant to be able to point out places we could see far below. They certainly got a good impression of what Scotland looks like, as we could see hundreds of mountains spread out into the horizon. Away to the west, the sea shone a bright blue, and Fort William looked tiny below.
We stopped for lunch on the way up, enjoying the cool air after the steep climb. Then, heading out onto the Ben Nevis summit plateau itself everyone was able to gaze down the famous North Face before our celebratory summit photos and plenty of time for a second lunch.
As the first group began the descent, we met the other groups coming up, all of whom were doing well. It was an especially emotional time for many people, as Ben Nevis is a life goal for lots of dedicated walkers, many of whom thought they might not be able to do it. Having views from the summit was an added bonus, showing that the mountain, notorious for its cloud, is indeed sometimes cloud free!
Back down in the hostels, we celebrated what had been an exceptional day in the Highlands, long and tough but certainly worth the challenge. The expansive views, the fresh air and the achievement of reaching our highest peak made this a special weekend. Sunday dawned with rain and wind; the spell was broken, it was time to depart, but we’d had the best weather window possible, and tired legs to prove we made the most of it.
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