Ben Nevis: Climbing Britain’s Highest Mountain

21125625_10100239766967162_8322110996708701505_oOne of our goals while living in the UK was to climb the highest peak in Scotland, England and Wales. Our first year, we travelled to Snowdonia and climbed the highest peak in Wales, Snowdon, and spent some time enjoying ourselves among the castles and seaside.

Last summer, we visited the beautiful and remote Wasdale Head, and climbed Scafell Pike, the highest peak in England. That left the largest peak and longest drive, Ben Nevis at 1344 metres above sea level. We booked ourselves into the Achintee Farm B&B which is located right by the Ben Nevis Inn at the trail head and crossed our fingers for good weather.

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The Half Way Lake

The day we planned to hike was GORGEOUS. No wind, no rain and most of all reasonably good visibility for most of the hike. We followed the main trail up to the summit, also known as the Mountain Trail, the Pony track (because it was originally built for ponies to carry supplies to the observatory on the summit) or the tourist trail. We were 2 of over 1000 people who summited that day. The trail was absolutely heaving. For the most part, people were considerate, and it was fun to stop and chat for a bit with others making the climb.

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The last hundred metres of so of climbing were in the cloud, and sadly there wasn’t much of a view when we reached the summit. We waited in line for photos with the OS point and wandered around the ruins of the observatory and old hotel.

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Crowds at the top of the Ben

The descent was just as tiring as the ascent, and took about the same amount of time. After lunching on the top, we headed back down into the valley and stopped for a few pints at the conveniently located Ben Nevis Inn at the base.

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We definitely earned our post hike pint, and what a gorgeous place for it!

A few notes about climbing Ben Nevis:

I read a lot of guidance on line that said one needed to be proficient in the use of a compass to attempt the climb. It is true that the main path passes within a few feet of gullies that drop off hundreds of feet, and that the visibility on top can be poor or the gullies can be obscured by snow. That said, the mountain was absolutely packed with people, and on most days in the summer you’ll be following the masses.

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Gullies in the fog, only a few feet from the main path

It wasn’t windy when we ascended, but it can get chilly on the peak, so dress in layers and bring plenty of food/snacks. It’s a long day.

It took about 3 hours to hike up, 3 to hike down and a half hour on the summit, so 6.5 hours in total  including all stops and breaks. Nowhere near the record of about 1.5 hours up and down!

Oregon Girl Around the World

29 Comments Add yours

    1. It was an excellent day out and climb!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Well done on that climb!! We’ve been to Fort William before but the weather was so dreadful we couldn’t even see the mountain from the town. Your weather and pictures are gorgeous.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! We really lucked out with the weather, it was sunny ONLY on the day we did the climb.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on Travel Inspire Connect and commented:
    If I told my girlfriend that Jamie Fraser was at the top, I’d probably have to chase her up, otherwise I’d have go this one alone! 🤔

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    1. Haha. It’s not a technical climb, but it is a long slog! Unfortunately, there’s not much on top besides the ruins of the old observatory.

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      1. And gorgeous views, if it’s clear!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. treksandtors says:

    I’d always advise people to be prepared when ascending any of the mountains you list in this post. Correct clothing is a must, I’ve seen people in slip on shoes trying to walk around Ben Nevis and trips and falls are increased with bad footwear. Knowing how to use a map and compass is always sensible when going up into clouds, for the simple reason so you find your way back down the correct paths. Its very easy to drop into the wrong valley when you cannot see your way. Investigate the route, know the things you should see as you walk this will give you confidence on the mountain. Finally don’t always go for the top if the weather turns, summit fever can be hard to fight but the mountain will always be there another day, reaching the summit is optional but getting back down is mandatory. There are brilliant mountain rescue folk to help those that need it, but they are volunteers and don’t deserve to be dragged out to find people who haven’t prepared themselves

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    1. All excellent advice. We lucked out with the weather and visibility, but it’s easy to see how the climb could turn treacherous if the weather turned, and a lot of people aren’t prepared for it.

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  4. mountaindiaries says:

    Your pictures are great. I love this walk!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks-it was really enjoyable though I was sore all the next day!

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  5. Woo hoo! What an achievement Amanda. I know this isnt an easy hike so well done to you. So glad you had decent weather. Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I’m really glad as well, because I’ve read it’s only sunny at the top 1 out of every 7 days!

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  6. Read this with interest as we are planning to climb Ben Nevis next easter. We too are planning to climb three highest peaks of Scotland, England and Wales. Which one was toughest? #FarawayFiles

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ben Nevis was probably the most gruelling because it’s the highest. It depends what route you take for Scafell, the main path up is pretty steady and well marked but we opted for the more difficult and longer path via Great End, but the views there were worth it.

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  7. Sounds great, we hiked along Hadrian’s Wall Path and in the Northumbrrland National Park this past summer. I’d love to hike Ben Nevis and see Scotland next spring 💜 After your pics of the mountain, I actually cannot wait 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hadrian’s wall path is a great walk! We did a bit of it as well. I hope you get a good day for hiking, that part of Scotland is absolutely gorgeous!

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      1. Actually, the weather was as always: ever changing. we had sunshine, cloudy and windy weather. But with temperatures around 15-18 degrees, it was good for the hike 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Very nice! We are going to Scotland next month and thinking about doing this hike. Depends on the weather, I think! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope you get a chance to do the hike and the weather cooperates! Definitely more enjoyable with a little sun.

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  9. carolyneddie says:

    I used to hill walk (with the Clydesdale Bank Hill Walking Club) when I lived in Scotland. I just turned up and followed the two retired bank managers who choose the Munros we were going to bag that day. Sadly that means I have no memory of which hills I have climbed, but do not think I have been up Ben Nevis. Need to put it on my list, although not sure about the mist and sudden drops!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I didn’t keep track of the first few Wainwrights (Lake DIstrict) hills I climbed, but now I’ve gotten much more interested in trying to do as many as possible. I guess you’ll have to give Ben Nevis a try!

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  10. Clare Thomson says:

    Well done, Amanda! This is a seriously impressive achievement and the photo here on the left is stunning. How great that you had such good conditions for your climb. Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Angie says:

    Really enjoyed reading this. Well done on your achievement, and great that you had mostly good weather. Its definitely on my to be climbed list! #FarawayFiles

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I hope you get a chance to climb it, it’s a day well spent.

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  12. 1.5 hours – holy wow! No time for taking photos! I’m still impressed at 6.5 hours – what an accomplishment and so beautiful. Thanks for sharing this with #FarawayFiles.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can’t even imagine doing it that quickly, I was exhausted after slowly hiking!

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