Climbing Ben Nevis
For my early summer holiday I caught a flight from Birmingham International to Inverness in Scotland. Our plan is to walk up Ben Nevis and climb as many of the Munros as we can. I’ve only been to Scotland once before, and that was bicycle touring around Skye during an unusually dry week. The success of that trip meant I was a bit unprepared for this one.
The evening I arrived I stayed in the university accommodation near Inverness. Out of term, they rent out the first-year halls for a reasonable price with the extra bonus of having a kitchen.
The first day of the holiday was spent buying the gear I didn’t have in Fort William. This was waterproof trousers (must have), dry sacks for my camera and sleeping bag, sunglasses as they were cheap not because I thought it was needed, and some tent reproofer.
The cloud was hanging low the next day so we decided to drive past Fort William and walk along the coastline.
We could see right across the estuary. This was the first panorama I took in Scotland and it made me realise that what I really would like is a wide-angle lens (along with a macro one and a good portrait lens!)
In the evening we saw more people arriving at the campsite which signified good things for the weather tomorrow. If you see people leaving in a hurry there is cause for concern. It was decided to climb Ben Nevis the next day.
We started the climb with the cloud gradually lifting. It never quite lifted from the top but we had good views from the half way Loch.
The loch is about half way up, and then a third of the way again is a beautiful waterfall coming down the hillside. But don’t worry, it means there is only another 2ish miles to go!
One thing I noticed was that the tourist achievement of climbing the highest mountain in the UK seems to trivialise it, people think ‘everyone does it, I’ll just pop up after tea’. Maybe not exactly those words but the result is people without proper shoes, layers, waterproofs or all three. If you’re planning to climb Ben Nevis check bennevis.co.uk for more information.
None of that applies if you’re Scottish though, I saw real life evidence that they don’t feel the cold. These two men sauntered right to the top and through the freezing cloud in kilts.
Next up, exploring around Aviemore and the Caledonian Forest!