For many mountain enthusiasts Ben Wyvis is the first Munro bagged. I guess it's the most popular hill in Inverness area, and strangely enough, not because it's the most interesting one. My husband calls it "Just-as-well" mountain Sometimes in the summer, when there's not enough time to drive anywhere further, he says "We still have 5 or 6 hours of daylight, just as well we could walk up Ben Wyvis." I haven't got a clue how many times he has been to the summit. Probably neither does he
The first time I "just as well" climbed The Big Wyvis Brother was in May 2009. It was a hell of a hot weekend, temps reaching +30*C, blue sky and not even a breeze. On Saturday morning we had some other duties so we could only start our walk at about midday.
The most popular route up Ben Wyvis begins from the car park south of the bridge over the Allt a Bhealaich Mhoir. There is a good path through the woods, all along the way to the bottom of the hill itself.
The lower top of Ben Wyvis, An Cabar, can be easily approached up the steep slope. On that day though, it felt like walking on a frying pan. Quite a few people had the same idea as me and Kevin, but many of them gave up and sat on the stony steps somewhere on the way up, admiring the views. We were determined to get to the summit - I hate being defeated by the mountain, I usually take it as a personal failure I had to turn back from a few mountains in my life (mainly due to bad weather), but how would I feel if I gave up on "just as well" hill???
Sweating and almost crispy-fried, we eventually reached An Cabar:
From the first top, walking along the relatively flat wide ridge to Glas Leathad Mor was now a piece of cake. As Ben Wyvis is a solitary mountain, views are great in every direction, especially towards Torridon and The Fannichs. The main summit is marked by a trig point. The summit cairn gave us just about enough shadow to hide from the killing sun. Not that Kevin could stay hidden for a long time...
One mountain looked great in particular - the sharp line of The Forge.
Finally we left the summit and walked back to An Cabar. It was still sweating hot but I was thinking - just as well I did it! It was too late to add Little Wyvis to our walk so we decided to come back to do it some other time - maybe in winter conditions for a change.
But the weekend wasn't over just yet. The "training session" on Ben Wyvis inspired me enough to wake up early the next morning and drag Kevin up the mighty An Teallach... But that would be a subject of another story
Share your personal walking route experiences in Scotland, and comment on other peoples' reports.
Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.