It was my Birthday and i wanted to do something “challenging”. I had already done Mount Snowdon, so me and 5 others decided to grab our stuff and go off to Scotland for the weekend to walk Ben Nevis. We also thought this would be a challenge so me , Frosty and Bob decided to raise money for Crohns and Colitis disease as Bobs Dad suffers from it. We had managed to get many sponsors weeks beforehand so lets see how we got on.
The Journey There
I set out with Bob, Mart and Frosty in Marts car. We decided to take milk cartons with us to pee in for when were on the road. Unfortunately Mart didn’t like the idea of us peeing in his car so we had to stop off at service stations when we could. It took us 8 hours on the road to get to Fort William.
This is a small but nice town. It is along the Loch so the views are great. You can see Ben Nevis as it kinda “lingers” in the background behind the smaller mountains. It does look menacing. There are shops, pubs etc here. Seems like a normal place really.
We stayed in a 6 man cabin. We stayed at Lochy Holiday Park. We arrived at the cabin and it was small, but a nice size. It featured 3 rooms. 1 with 2 bed, 1 with bunk beds and 1 with a double bed. This was perfect for us. We settled in and went out on the porch which overlooked the river and Ben Nevis. It was a beautiful view. It was mainly rainy and windy , but we didn’t care. After a few beers we went to sleep ready for my bday and walk the next day.
The place where we stayed I am happy to advertise, as it was brilliant. No messing about, really friendly staff (Mora i think her name was , was amazing when i was booking over the phone). Heres their website. I will deffo stay here again. We paid £230 for 2 nights for 6 of us meaning it was only about £38 each for 2 nights which is a bargain!
Ben Nevis walk / My Birthday / Charity challanege.
I was woken By Bec who have me a big kiss and presents since it was my 29th Birthday. She got me a experience day in a camping hut, couple makeover, transformers watch, Airplane mug and travelers book amoungst other things. It was very kind of her :). It was 7am, no other fooker was up so i went and farted in each room to wake them.. lol.. i didnt really however now thinking about, that would have been awesome!
Everyone got up, we had toast and then we got our kit together. Now Frosty had completely over prepared which was funny. He had a oxygen tank, ropes, hooks , huge headlamp all sorts. I think he thought he was about to climb Everest 🙂
Me n Bob placed our BUFFALO T SHIRTS on to conintue our tradition of taking them on our adventures. The morning was dry, but still cloudy. We were fortunate to get some good shots on our porch with the Ben Nevis mountain in the background.
We all got in our cars and drove to the “GLEN NEVIS VISITOR” center as this was the starting point for the tourist track. It was about 6 mins away from where our accommodation was. One tip, the satnav did take us to this other car park that was the start of another trail up another mountain, however we soon realised there were no signs for Ben Nevis and new it was another car park. If you continue down the same road you will eventually see GLENN NEVIS VISITOR CENTER . You pay £3 parking for all day per vehicle. We got our shit together and then came the rain! ahhh.
The path direction is well sign posted. It says “BEN NEVIS TRAIL” this way!. You follow the sign and then you see the BEN NEVIS map just before you go over the draw bridge. We had our charity shot taken here since it was the start of the trail.
Now the draw bridge does state that only 5 people are allowed on at a time, however we witnessed a coach load of people – literally about 20 of them just ignore the sign and walk over.. so clearly that bridge is stronger than they make out.
Rob and Becci walked on as we kept stopping for lots of pictures lol.
The start of the trail is basically like walking up a hill. Its not steep at all, but the ground is uneven i.e rocks on it. There is grass either side. There were no sheep or animals thow.. hmmm.
As you continue up the trail you then go over a series number of small metal bridges. On the way up we noticed a hut that was randomly placed. Bob needed a shite so we suggested in there, but i think he got stage fright. ha. As we walked on we did notice people veering off into the bushes , off the track. We had a chat to them and they told us not to follow them as this was another route that was rather tricky. To be honest we saw this alot..people veering off into bushes, or down hills where there was no path at all.. so they clearly new the mountain well however were also crazy bastards! lol
We got to the stage where we had nice views so took some snaps.
Now after about 1.5 hours walking you hit a long straight which is alongside a lake / river – actually i have no idea what it is but its a lot of water next to marsh land. Mart started to struggle at this point as he had cramp. We had out group picture here.
At this point you can see little dots moving up the mountain and you realise thats people. You see them disapearing into the mist and where there walking looks steep as hell :(. We continued.
We got to a point that i would say was roughly half way and this was a huge waterfall. People stopped off her for lunch or topped up their bottles with water. We tried the running water and it was very fresh. This was a beautiful waterfall so had to have some more snaps.
As you get higher you hit mist. It wasnt that bad thow. We could still see in front of us, just couldn’t see down. It was weird thow how the mist would clear suddly and the view opened up and it was breathtaking.
We noticed crows circling us when we sat down which was weird to fook. There were literally only about 2-3 of them. Why the fook they were all the way up there i dont know. Frosty got a pic anyways.
Mart was really struggling at this stage. He wanted to turn back about 4 times, but we urged him to Continue as he would feel great at the end. The rain started really bad this time. We were soacked so on went the raincoats. At this stage i had a black t shirt on, buffalo t shirt and my raincoat. That was it. It wasnt that cold as when your walking i sweat like a mother fooker so you never feel how cold it is. I did start loosing my breath towards the top and a few shots of Frostys oxygen and i was on my way again – although i swear it was just breath spray as it tasted of mint lol.
The terrain started to get more challengeing. The rocks you were treading on were spikey and jaggerdy therefore our feet started to hurt abit. We had to shelter behind a rock to eat our sarnies. Since Mart was behind us, he told us this was a funny momment for him as he walked towards us and just saw 3 guys huddling behind a rock eating sandwiches lol. This was that rock:
We constantly asked people how long until the top.. some said 25 mins, others said an hour. So we hadnt got a clue. My knee started to go, so out came the knee strap which helped. Now with Ben Nevis you have whats called “ZIGZAGS”. If you look at the map you will see. You have about 6 of them. They are basically long sheepish walks up then to the right then up and then to the right (a zigzag) and once you have done these there is just one straight that leads to the summit. So this is kinda how the map looks.
The Zig Zags arent really hard terrain, just rocks everywhere, no plantlife / grass etc just massive bolders everywhere. It gets colder as you get on the zig zags and windier. I had to put my fleece on at this stage.Now you know when your approaching the summit as people have placed this rock mounds at the start of the straight. We referred them to Blair Witch rock mounds. When people go past they place a rock on it. I said to the others its good luck – im not sure if it is i just kinda made it up. You will cross about 5- 6 of these mounds that are about a few minutes walking distance from each other. You then notice they start to get closer to each other and thats when you see the SUMMIT! HURRAR.
It is very flat however just rocks everywhere. At the start of the walk up to the summit its basically pebbles.. however closer to the summit its huge bolders so you kinda gotta watch where your stepping. We did notice that there were also runis of a building up here. That added to the experience. We noticed a small hut aswel that had been placed on boulders We looked up and saw about 6 men come out of it with beers lol.. how the hell this small hut managed to seat 6 men i have no idea.
We waitied our turn to get our pic by the Summit. Bob got out the CHARITY T SHIRT and we had out Chairty shot. We also had a guy come up and place his whiskey bottle on the summit with us lol
Mart felt over the moon. Thanked us all for egging him on. He had achieved alot as he suffers with leg and back pains really bad so fair play to him. We found a spot on the edge of the mountain where we had more sandwiches. The good thing about the top of Ben Nevis is that there was mist everywhere. This is why we felt ok sitting by the edge of the mountain as we couldn’t see what was beneath us. This is what the drop was like where we were sitting
Also if you fancy a piss you only have to walk out abit over the boulders and just stand there having one as the only thing people see is a silhouette.. nothing else due to the mist lol 🙂
It took us 7 hours to get up Ben Nevis – mainly due to us stopping and helping Mart. The average time i would say would be about 3-4 hours up which is achievable.
We then headed down the mountain. Now as we went down the main thing that hurt was our feet. Again it sthe uneven terrain and the fist sized jagged rocks that are a pain as they dig into you. I guess maybe we should have got walking boots with thicker grip? As we went down the weather got better. We were lucky as it got sunny and the views were immense. The waterfall in the sun looked beautiful and once again we had pics by it. Johnny did almost fall off the edge at one point as he was trying to position his gorilla tripod on a rock on the edge to get us all in the shot.. only to have a women run up to him and offer to take the pic for him lol. This is what we saw.
The walk down was easier than the walk up. If it wasnt for the feet, i would have been fine. Mart did suffer abit towards the end but other than that deferantely did it quicker. Towards the end of the trail we saw the Ben Nevis Inn, which is a pub. .. the only pub at the bottom of Ben Nevis. We decided to have a swift one in here. It was well deserved and it was like 8:30pm lol. We sat down and that first pint of Guiness did the trick! What a great day it had been . We had amazing laughs, was challeneging and we raised money for charity. Much prefer to do something like this on my Bday, rather than just a piss up. Happy Birthday me!
Johnny had an app oin his phone called “XTRAIL”. This allows you to set your starting point, and hooks up to google maps where it will calculate how long it took you to each part up the mountain etc. These are some of the stats that we got.
How long did it take to go up there?: 7 hours up and about 6 hours down
Calories burnt: 7000 each
What was the worse part of the trail? – It was a reletively easy track to be honest. The worse parts were the zig zags as they seemed to go on forever. Also the journey down the fist sized rocks really pissed us off as our feet killed at the end.
Training recommended: I did cardio and had the tredmill at maxiumum gradiant and walked for half hour 5 times a week. Scrap this. Best training i would recommened is calf training. These are the main muscle that hurt on me. Stamina wasnt an issue at all. I did loose my breath abit at the top, but i put that down to the change in atmosphere.
Equipment needed: I took fleece, raincoat, walking stick, flashlight, 6 chocolate bars, 7 sandiwches, 3 bottles of lucazade, gloves, waterproof trousers, hat, scarf thing that covers ya mouth, camera, Handgel, emergency shelter and shades.
If i had to do anything different: I would take 2 walking sticks as offers more support. I would also take 4 bottles up as i ran out.. then again could have filled them with water from waterfall 🙂
How does the walk compare to Moutn Snowdon? – Snowdon had more sections. There was alot more flat ground on Snowdon, however Snowdon did have placed you had to climb a little as the rocks were so high where as Nevis didnt. Out of the 2 i would say Snowdon was more challaneging. ON Snowdon we picked the Pig trail up and the miners route down.