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Ben Nevis - Never again

Ben Nevis - Never again


Postby Clairepm » Thu Sep 01, 2011 9:14 pm

Route description: Ben Nevis by the Mountain Path

Munros included on this walk: Ben Nevis

Date walked: 27/08/2011

Time taken: 7 hours

Distance: 17 km

Ascent: 1352m

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I'd been dying to do Ben Nevis for a while now, so i was rather excited when some people from work also said they wanted to do it, so that was it date set for 27th Aug :D
So off we went, left Inverness at 8am with the intentions of walking by 9:45 - but the tummy's were grumbling so we took a detour to MacDonalds in Ft william for a coffee and egg McMuffin...fantatstic.. stomaches well lined off we went to the Glen Nevis car park :)
The car park was very busy had to circle it quite a few times to get a space.... any how we set off with all the usual fresh leg/feet excitement the weather was looking ok, was quite warm and next to no wind, even 10 mins in to the walk, the views were fantastic.

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a wee bit of cloud, but the tips of the hills looked fantastic

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Ohh i can see the sun starting to peek through the cloud

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As we got about 15 mins into the walk, i all of a sudden seen 100's of walkers apearing behind and infront (think a massive group came up from the youth hostel path) i had never ever seen so many people on a hill!! :shock: it was a whole trail of lemmings in every direction... it did become a right pain in the rear end, as sometimes you get stuck behind slow walkers and at the same time impatient walkers behind banging their walking poles and breathing right down my neck... not the normal enjoyable climbing experience i have come to expect.

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Lovely View ... oh and a lemming trail :P


we had reached the loch and had a brief rest and a quick handfull of jelly babies :D then set off up the zig zags
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Fantastic views were starting to open up
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The path up to the Loch


The paths were great at this point a little relief if the thigh muscles had already started to ache...but then comes the real steeper parts
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View back down to the Loch

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by this point i was really starting to feel the pain :? but nothing too bad, the cloud was blowing in a bit but blew away just as fast and strangely there was not much wind at all, although i must admit by this point i was praying for a couple of cold blasts of air to help cool me down a bit this was the sweatiest i had been in a long time. (all good for burning off the cheeky MacMuffin)
Suddenly the path seemed to get even busier with the people in their way back down... now this is when i really started to get a bit irritated, instead of people being courteous and walking down single file so we could carry on walking up, they stayed groups of 3-4 wide taking up the whole path making no effort to move in a bit - so everyone walking up found themselves pinned against the edges waiting for the huge lines of traffic to pass. :(
not to worry we were nearly there (so we kept being told) then all of a sudden the cloud blew in, it is so amazing how quick it change up there it took seconds to change, so we couldn't really see much of where we were headed thank goodness for the cairns that lined the way.

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this was it we were almost there, we had almost reached the top of the Ben, my thighs were really starting to feel the burn now, and also huffing and puffing away really feeling the struggle we thought puuushhhh we are nearly there, only to be overtaken by a man runnung past us wearing plimsoles and shorts and holding a carrier bag :shock:
I was so shocked at the amount of people wearing trainers and shorts and trakkies(not too sure if they all made it) with no ruck sacks, so clearly no adverse weather clothing packed, is it any wonder so many people get in to trouble in these hills and end up wasting the valuable time of the MRT's :?
And finally we could see the summit although we had to be very quick with the camera as the cloud came and went in seconds
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My friend having a wee pose

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Admiring the view

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what a mess people leave behind!!!


Sadly we didn't get a group shot of us all at the top, due to the fact that the queues were bigger than the January sales.
So we started our decent and boy was that sore on the knees, again thats where we came in to even busier traffic more and more people were getting leg and knee injuries, then all of a sudden we could hear a big rumble......
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Here come the rescue team

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i do hope these guys were on a serious job, or a training session and not called out to rescue unprepared trakkie wearing eejits.

Sorry if the report seem like 1 big moan but i did enjoy the climb, the day was great as was the company and i must say the paths were very well maintained and the Ben was great to climb, with some spectacular scenery, sadly it was the sheer amount of people that has put me off climbing it again.
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Clairepm
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Re: Ben Nevis - Never again

Postby PeteR » Thu Sep 01, 2011 9:29 pm

Ah, the Ben. The best of hills, but due to it noteriety it can also be the worst of hills. I guess that is the price it pays for being the 'big one'. I'm glad though, that despite the hoards and the lack of hill etiquette from some you still enjoyed your trip. You had some good shots there :D And you can't whack a McMuffin to start your day :lol: :D That's how many of my walks have started this year too :D
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Re: Ben Nevis - Never again

Postby Clairepm » Thu Sep 01, 2011 9:40 pm

Thanks Pete :D and yeah we all still had a great day it was all still worth doing for the experience :lol:
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Re: Ben Nevis - Never again

Postby HighlandSC » Thu Sep 01, 2011 10:41 pm

Oh dear. A summer saturday on the Ben tourist trail. An inevitable, if unfortunate, outcome.

Me and a mate did this route on a late Sep Tuesday morning and it was still mobbed (but not half as bad as you seem to have had it). Try to take it for what it is- Britains biggest mountain with a motorway going up it, packed with tourists. Expect solitude and you'll have a ruined day. We actually had a laugh, laughing at tourists half dead a quarter of the way up, people in flip flops half way up, a bag piper on the summit, etc, etc.
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Re: Ben Nevis - Never again

Postby Clairepm » Thu Sep 01, 2011 10:44 pm

Ha ha ha well i must admit we did do a wee bit of tourist bashing lol it did keep us laghing a bit of the way.. :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: Ben Nevis - Never again

Postby dacky » Fri Sep 02, 2011 12:28 pm

I climbed the Ben on the same day but went over CMD arete, could cont on one hand the number of people we came across before we got to the summit! I dont think I will ever go over the tourist path, its much too crowded. The MR helli was only out on a training execrise by the look of it, stoped right above us :)
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Re: Ben Nevis - Never again

Postby Phil the Hill » Fri Sep 02, 2011 1:13 pm

I climbed the Ben on the same day but went over CMD arete, could cont on one hand the number of people we came across before we got to the summit! I dont think I will ever go over the tourist path, its much too crowded.


I agree. The CMD arete is a much better route and much less crowded. It's best done in winter, when those awkward-sized rocks on the final slope are covered in nice firm neve that you can crampon up (assuming you're lucky enough to get perfect conditions). Less people on the summit in winter too.
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Re: Ben Nevis - Never again

Postby Mountainlove » Fri Sep 02, 2011 8:51 pm

I have only done the Ben once so far...13 years ago and with less crouds...always wanted to do it again...but I guess a winter walk would be hopefully better! Your day sounds indeep like a nightmare! Mountain Highway up Ben Nevis
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Re: Ben Nevis - Never again

Postby Redrock » Fri Sep 02, 2011 9:12 pm

Hey Claire - you've climbed the Ben and bagged the biggest Munro! Well Done!! :D And you've taken some really good photos too! :D But it's not the quietest Munro - by a long shot - as you discovered! :( It's still a great mountain - despite the tourists - and well worth visiting again! The CMD arête route, a mid-week day or a winter approach are all good ideas. Actually, I must give it a go myself soon - it's years since I've climbed the Ben! 8) I must try the McDonald's Muffin boost for the hills too! :D But we'd better beware McDonald's don't try to set up a branch up there given all the crowds! :lol: :lol: Enjoy the hills - there are plenty of quieter ones out there! 8)
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Re: Ben Nevis - Never again

Postby sloosh » Fri Sep 02, 2011 10:14 pm

Last time I did Ben Nevis there was a huge Three peaks event on the go - hundreds and hundreds of them. I made it my mission to say 'hello' to every single group and person I passed on the way down, much to my son's disgust haha. I actually had some good cracks with quite a few folks so it turned what could've been a dreary trudge through the throng into a really enjoyable experience.
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Re: Ben Nevis - Never again

Postby HighlandSC » Fri Sep 02, 2011 10:16 pm

Last time I went to McDonalds before going up a hill I ended up in a heap half way up puking out my bagel! :sick: :sick:
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Re: Ben Nevis - Never again

Postby Border Reiver » Sat Sep 03, 2011 11:40 am

The path up The Ben is like I've found almost all Lake District paths to be - I even tried arriving in The Lakes at 6.00am to avoid crowds and that didn't work, so I gave up and continued with my search for peace and quiet in Scotland. The 3rd time I was up the Ben, it was early March and although cloudy, the snow level was about 2,000 ft and it was in great condition for cramponning. Just above the Red Burn I met 2 climbers coming down and even though I spent 20 mins at the summit, I saw no-one else until I got back down to the Red Burn, where there were 3 walkers discussing whether to continue further up onto the snow or not. With 2 ice axes and no crampons between them, I advised against it. So I only saw 5 other people all day. I've also been up the Ben in Mid October and it was quiet then as well and those that bothered were well equipped for their climb.
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Re: Ben Nevis - Never again

Postby Merry-walker » Sat Sep 03, 2011 10:33 pm

Great report and pictures

I did the Ben alone last month unless you count the millions of people with trainers, flip-flops, long flarey skirts, no coats, water or fluid. I really enjoyed the walk which had me sweating (rucsack weighs about a stone and a half of food and corn plasters) and only had clag right at the top.

The only thing that made it uncomfy was having to appropriately time the corners without poeple so I could pee in peace without being gorked at by someone who's never seen a lass pee before. Got so desperate at one point that I didnt care so dropped my kecks until a sheep came outa no where and flegged me with it's horns.....

I groaned every step ater that.

I'll be going again via the CMD cos I pretend to be hard ha ha ha :D :D
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Re: Ben Nevis - Never again

Postby morag1 » Sun Sep 04, 2011 11:44 am

Congratulations on climbing the Great Ben :thumbup:

To be honest crowds on the hills dont bother me, I very much enjoy being part of the group, all with one aim in mind, to reach the summit no matter what. I enjoy meeting others and spending time with them. However its also nice to get a bit of solitude so we usually go out early in the morning when all is calm and peaceful.

Merry-walker, there is now..ahem.. a device for ladies so you dont need to drop your kecks on the hills anymore :oops: , will PM you the details if you want
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Re: Ben Nevis - Never again

Postby Driver84 » Tue Sep 06, 2011 12:51 pm


:lol: Lemmings! :lol:
Brilliant description!

At least you got what looked like semi-decent weather, particularly when on the summit.

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