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novices on nevis

novices on nevis

Postby mrssanta » Sat May 26, 2012 6:29 pm

Route description: Ben Nevis by the Mountain Path

Munros included on this walk: Ben Nevis

Date walked: 21/05/2012

Time taken: 11 hours

Distance: 17 km

Ascent: 1352m

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In August a group of young adults (17-23 kind of age) from our church is going off to Uganda to spend some time at a church there, helping with the painting and preparation of a newly built school, a children's club and a food distribution project, and hopefully learning a lot and finding out about another culture. So we need to raise a whole lot of money to help pay for the trip and to be able to give something to help equip the new school.
Here is the bright idea. Our minister, not known for being an exercise freak, decides to do the "three peaks challenge," accompanied by her husband and a youth worker also not famous for fitness fanaticism. Not in 24 hours, that would just be daft, but over four days. People find the whole idea so amusing that they sponsor generously. It seems to work, we have £3000 in promises so we have to do it!!! Self and Rudolph volunteer as sherpas/advisers/support party/people who know what to do on hills. Much planning preparation and panicking later, and we are on our way.
On the way home from Skye the previous weekend there was noted to be quite a covering of snow on the plateau of Ben Nevis and so there was panic buying of Pogu Spiky things which arrived just in time.
snowy ben nevis from the north

So on Sunday afternoon we drive up to Glen Nevis youth hostel just timing it nicely for tea at the Real Food Cafe.
Monday morning at 9am we set off, fortified by bacon and eggs. It is steep and long. Certainly when compared with Roseberry Topping, our practice hill (300m). We stop often for rests. First lunch at the halfway lochan appropriately named - lochan of the hill of sitting. It is clear and dry and the views are tremendous. We point out all the hills we have been up and feel rather smug and experienced. We hope our friends are suitably impressed. We think they jolly well ought to be!! Second lunch at about the 950metre mark. It's warm and pleasant and we are beginning to think we were a bit silly about the pogus. But at about 1000 metres we start to meet people turning back because of the snow. One team of young people wearing t-shirts in support of a children's charity, really disappointed because they had turned back and felt they would have to return all their sponsor money. Lots of people are on Ben Nevis today. They speak in all sorts of accents and languages, you certainly don't come here on a fine day for the solitude.
not gone far yet, looking down to the Youth Hostel

bit further - going round the bend - gradually

near first lunch stop, Raven circling on a thermal, keeping an eye out for dropped titbits

Crossing the Red Burn. About halfway up.

view across Loch Linnhe

At 1050 metres we came to the snow line. It was pretty slushy and horrible. we put on the pogus and it made a real difference. Rudolph got his crampons on since he had brought them although it was not really necessary. One day he will get to use them in real winter conditions, but not today.
the Pogu spikes

alpine scene what a lot of people

lots of hills, Sgurr a'Mhaim front right.

We reach the summit at about a quarter to three and have a nip of Irish Whiskey - (our youth worker friend is Irish so it's OK) and savour the views for a while.
It was very wierd at the top. There were loads of people there huddled in little groups not talking to the other groups. very strange, as going up and down nearly everyone said hello.
huddles on the summit

scary looking cornice

Stob Ban with Bidean behind

most people passed us I think. then we turned round and went down again. We stopped for our third lunch at the 1200metre mark where there was no wind at all, and donated our spare chocolate beans to a small boy who was refusing to go any further. He passed us bounding on the way down, very proud of reaching the top.
There was much steepness going down as well, and we were beginning to flag by the time we reached the junction of the paths again. But eventually we made it down, 11 hours from start to finish. A bit more than the average, but who cares?
sgurr a'mhaim from nearly home

Kettle on, cup of tea, shower, large bowl of pasta, the most amazing apple crumble, and bed. Tomorrow we drive south to tackle Snowdon.
just for fun. Bog cotton at the head of Glen Etive.
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Re: novices on nevis

Postby PeteR » Sat May 26, 2012 9:10 pm

Verey nice report mrs santa :D You had a good day for it, that's for sure. Such a lot of snow for May.

I was up here on a sponsored night hike on the 19/20, but sadly we had only thick clag and snow when we hit the summit. Luckily my fellow team members loved the experience of being on top of the Ben in such alien conditions :D The snow and ice had certainly added another element to the walk for them too :D

And the summit's not that busy at 4.00 am :lol:

Of course, as we made our way down and the sun rose then the cloud startd to break. Seems these summits can be the same at night time as well as in the daylight hours :lol:
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Re: novices on nevis

Postby Gary1904 » Sat May 26, 2012 9:33 pm

Fantastic !!! Well done, I enjoyed that :)
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Re: novices on nevis

Postby morag1 » Sun May 27, 2012 7:02 am

No stopping you Mrs Santa, first the Inn Pinn, next Ben Nevis and all in the same week 8)

Walkhighlands very own action girl :clap:

Re: novices on nevis

Postby jonny616 » Sun May 27, 2012 11:48 am

A complete contrast to your Skye 8) week, but a grand day for it
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Re: novices on nevis

Postby dogplodder » Sun May 27, 2012 8:04 pm

Well done on safely shepherding the newbies - and all in a good cause! :clap:
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Re: novices on nevis

Postby Gavin99 » Sun May 27, 2012 9:04 pm

Some excellent sherpa duty there Mrssanta , . :clap: :clap:
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Re: novices on nevis

Postby mrssanta » Sun May 27, 2012 9:52 pm

Sadly I don't think they have caught the Munro bug, but we were very glad of good weather. the sponsorship total is now over £5000 which is just amazing. I personally got a hundred of that total but it all helps.
Morag you flatter me! I am not really a superfit person at all, just having a good streak! Back up North to Deeside next week for half term, and we hope to take in a Cairngorm or three!
Quite different from Skye. I never came downhill as fast as we did in skye, or as slow as we did on Ben Nevis, I think fast is a lot easier on the knees if you have the confidence and balance.
Thanks all :D :D
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Re: novices on nevis

Postby pollyh33 » Sun May 27, 2012 10:48 pm

Another amazing report Mrs S :D

You and Rudolph have certainly been blazing a trail over these Scottish hills despite the varying weather :clap: :clap:

Haste Ye Back! X
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Re: novices on nevis

Postby robertphillips » Mon May 28, 2012 10:40 am

Well done guys. :clap:
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