My Second Munro
by jackmw » Mon Oct 03, 2011 6:10 pm
Route description: Ben Nevis by the Mountain Path
Munros included on this walk: Ben Nevis
Date walked: 29/07/2011
Time taken: 12 hours
Distance: 19 km
Ascent: 1343m26 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
I changed my mind about doing a Sponsored walk up Ben Nevis, I had been told people had died on the Ben - Granda explained that Mountain Climbing is dangerous but if you are careful and make good plans it should be OK. He showed me the pictures of other Climbers doing Ben Nevis so I decided to try it.
Granda had been watching the weather reports looking for a good weather window - good visibility (no heavy cloud or rain) but NOT too sunny - we wanted it all!
So on Friday 29 July we had an early start, after double helpings of porridge, at 06:00. Leaving Rhum (the wonder dog - she has climbed Ben Lomond a few times) at home in Rhu near Helensburgh, because we thought the scree on the Ben might hurt her legs or her pads.We arrived at Glen Nevis Visitors Car Park at 08:00 (£3.00 all day) and set off to climb Ben Nevis at 09:00.
We were surprised at the number of people about, all seemingly heading for the top of Ben Nevis, but by the time we were ready they had all moved on. Crossing over the bridge, the path to Ben Nevis followed the River Nevis for a short distance before heading skywards.
The midges were wearing their tackity boots, Granda had left his Avon "Skin So Soft" at home not expecting these beasties, he reckons it would have stopped them biting. Walking quickly we left some of them behind but they were still a pain, all the way up and down - they never made the top though!
The weather as promised was good though at 09:30 not too warm - blue skies, and no wind, but we paid a price - hordes of midges lurking in the undergrowth waiting for a ready meal.
With a steady plod (Granda says I have a good natural walking stride – “not fairy steps” like some take) the going was good up to 150m, then we came across one of a number of stone laid paths, which in some places were like a mini “Giants Causeway” at least that’s what it was like to me. I can understand why some Walkers we met were using the grass “verge” rather than the made up path.
But these were hard on the ankles, coming back down!
Walking on up to 400m it started to get really warm, with no shade and no wind, it was off jacket and bonnet! Just higher and to the left lay Lochan Meall an T-Suidhe (known wrongly as “Half Way Lochan” at only 507m), in the distance we could see our planned lunch spot just by the Red Burn crossing, the real half way point, with the track zigzagging up (past the dangerous Five Finger Gully, just over the brow) heading towards the summit.
More Giants Causeway took us up level with the Lochan (off to the left) where we caught up with the crowds resting, some having a plodge or even bathing.
Onwards and upwards - a gentle climb up past the Lochan to 540M where we met folk on their way back down after making the summit, they had set off at 05:30 - whilst I was still in my bed!
We reached 620m after another Giants Causeway, and feeling a little tired we decided stop for an early lunch it was 12:15 – break out the cheese and jam sandwiches (miners fare says Granda), the mars bars and the coke. The views all the way up had been really nice and the camel train of fellow climbers was now getting bigger with folk coming up and going down - “ it would be Standing room only” at the top said Granda. I had noticed a few people my age climbing up, but none of them carried a Rucksack - not self sufficient like myself (well Granda did carry the water, coke, tent, ropes, ice axes and crampons just in case the weather man/lady had got it wrong). It was cooler now even with no wind and the sun beating down - the altitude said Granda. Their were a number of (accompanied) dogs climbing the Ben and they looked to be OK but we still had a good way to go with the really rough ground still ahead. Later we met a Man with his dog coming down, he told us THEY were “practising” for the “3 Peaks Race”.
Feeling refreshed after lunch and wee rest, we set off again. At 800m we had a great view looking back down towards Fort William, with “The Narrows on Loch Eil” in the distance and the track zigging (or zagging) past the Lochan below us.
It was here that we came across a for real Mountain Rescue above us. The helicopter came roaring in, lowered two people and then stood off a good distance away waiting.
We walked on up to 900m passing the accident scene. Nobody seemed to know what had happened, the rescue was taking place some distance downhill off the path, all we could see through binoculars, was someone in a basket stretcher waiting to be lifted off and what appeared to be a sole companion, along with the two Mountain Rescue people we had seen lowered earlier.
We walked on in the blazing sunshine – still no wind, no clouds but nice and cool and far fewer midges. The going was getting rougher underfoot, we were glad we had left Rhum at Home, even though she would have bravely climbed up and down the Ben.
The Mountain Rescue Helicopter had lifted off the casualty and appeared to have dropped down to a Car Park below, SW of the summit, so we assumed that the problem may not have been too serious. The crowds seemed to thin out as we climbed, with the view back to Fort William behind us.
We had another Mars Bar and Coke break for a few minutes while we enjoyed the now peaceful views. The only wildlife we had seen so far were a few corbies (crows) flying about and that was it.
Granda kept on lagging behind, he said it was because he was taking lots of photos for my “Report” - that’s another reason he took so long to write this Report, he did not realise he was restricted to 25 pictures so he had alot of sorting to do!
I had Grandas GPS to check our progress up the Mountain, he showed me how to check our height against the Map contours.
I felt a bit tired as we got higher and the track got steeper so our Rest Stops were a bit more frequent. I told Granda that I felt OK and was happy to go on, we were nearer the top than the bottom!
We met more people now, coming down as well as up. A lot of them were from different countries, Japan, Austria, Germany, Sweden, France, Eire, England – everyone was congratulating and encouraging me, saying that we were not far from the top. Some mentioned a nice surprise waiting just ahead, Granda was hoping for a Pub.
SNOW and this was not in the shade – we joined in the snowball fight, but did not have time to build a snowman. It felt really nice and I reckoned I could go on for miles.
The path levelled out and we met more very friendly people happily descending. A lot of them were surprised to see me near the top and again they congratulated me. Looking around at the Cairns Granda asked me if I thought they got lonely, I pointed out that they would keep each other company.
It was now a little cold, even with the blue skies and sun shining with no wind. We had some spectacular views all around.
It wasn’t “standing room only” at the top although it was pretty busy.
We were both happy to be at the top, it was a great day out made all the better by the smashing weather. A good number of people told us how they had tried a few times to get to the top of Ben Nevis but the weather had been too bad – apparently we were very lucky to have such a good clear day.
One of the people on the top spotted my GPS and asked if it indicated the altitude, which it did - 1341 meters! He reckoned “either the GPS was wrong or his map was wrong, as the OS height was 1344 meters”! After he left we realised that we had not quite reached the top – that was by the “Trig Point” which was at 1343 meters by our GPS.
We had a good rest at the Top chatting to different folk. A banquet, with more cheese and jam sandwiches, bananas, cheese biscuits and mars bars washed down with coke and water all to make our rucksacks a little lighter. Granda declared “the bars open” and brought out his wine gums. By this time it was about 17:00 and we set off back down.
The trek down was uneventful but seemed harder than when going up, with the Giants Causeways being even harder on our feet, I don’t think my “crocks” would have coped as well as they did when I climbed Ben Lomond. The midges seemed even worse as we got lower and sunset approached. Surprisingly we met even more people walking up, than earlier. A good number of “teams” all dressed with their team shirts were climbing up. As we came down we could see lots of them stretching into the distance.
I was really happy once we were near the bottom. My second Munro, the highest Mountain in Britain done!
“Quite a pleasant stroll!” declared Jack with a smile and a RUN to the car.
21:00 we happily drove to MacDonald’s only to find that “because of the weather they had ran out of milkshakes so it had to be coke, again – sorry Mum!
I had to wait until the next day, back in Helensburgh, to visit “Dinos” for my Knickerbockerglory it was great - too much though, so I shared some of it with Granda.
I have not decided what’s next – Snowdon, Scafell Pike (the Three Peaks) or another Munro. Or maybe a trip to Eire and “Carrantuohill” which we were told about when sat on the top of Ben Nevis chatting to folk and I said I would like to climb all the highest mountains in the British Isles – then I could claim to have done the “Four Peaks”.
by jstalker66621 » Mon Oct 03, 2011 6:35 pm
by cheekykarma » Mon Oct 03, 2011 6:46 pm
Congratulations to you Jack and your wee happy feet, and of course to Granda for his help on the report.
by mrssanta » Mon Oct 03, 2011 6:48 pm
by Paul_Antonia » Wed Oct 05, 2011 3:03 pm
by lomondwalkers » Wed Oct 05, 2011 3:40 pm
by Jock McJock » Wed Oct 05, 2011 5:19 pm
by bennevis2011 » Wed Jan 11, 2012 2:08 pm
by Caberfeidh » Wed Jan 11, 2012 2:27 pm
- Posts: 6748
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by charliebloke1 » Wed Jan 11, 2012 8:37 pm
by MarilynMunro » Wed Jan 11, 2012 8:43 pm
Hope you have many more.
Just thought I'd add a little remark, I'll be using your trip report when I get round to this, and maybe even try the cheese and jam sarnies. Good man, well done Granda
by ChrisW » Thu Jan 12, 2012 6:14 am
by gibby1701 » Thu Sep 18, 2014 5:37 pm