walkhighlands

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.

Ben Nevis .. Charity Walk by the Cumbernauld Ladies

Ben Nevis .. Charity Walk by the Cumbernauld Ladies


Postby DonnyW » Mon Oct 01, 2012 1:50 pm

Route description: Ben Nevis by the Mountain Path

Munros included on this walk: Ben Nevis

Date walked: 29/09/2012

Time taken: 8 hours

Distance: 17 km

3 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 first climbed Ben Nevis thirty years ago via Tower Ridge. Since then I have been on top of the mountain five other times, but I confess I have never climbed it via the mountain path. It never appealed to me because I am generally a lone walker and prefer the solitude of far more remote hills.

However all that changed on Saturday. I climbed Ben Nevis by the mountain path for my first time, on one of the busiest days of the year, in the company of seven other walkers, and I must admit, it was one of my most enjoyable days on the hills yet.

What changed my mind about the mountain path walk ? Well ... It started with this conversation.

LL “Hey DonnyW, care to sponsor me for my charity walk ?”

DW “OK..where are you going and when ?”

LL “Ben Nevis on Saturday. We are doing it for the Breast Cancer Charity”

DW “Wow..the weather this week is wicked ..are you sure you know what you are doing”

LL “ Nope..but we will have some fun and we will get to the top.. or die trying”

DW “ Sounds like you could die trying .. have you been on mountains before? “

LL “ Yup..we all went up Ben An in the Trossachs as a test run..it was fantastic. A couple of us have also done Ben Lomond. We are sure Ben Nevis will be OK for us. Perhaps one or two wont make it ..but Im sure I will”

DW “Can any of you use a map and compass ?”

LL “Nope..but we just follow the path..dont we ?”

DW “ What will you do if one cant make it”

LL “ We will go on to the top and they can wait until we return, or they can go back themselves..we are all sensible so won’t get into difficulties”

During this conversation I googled the weather forecast on Ben Nevis on Saturday. It was for heavy rain in the morning, with gale force winds and snow on the summit. Dry spells in the afternoon with strong winds, then severe gales and torrential rain during Saturday night.

I thought of bursting this woman's bubble of enthusiasm by giving her a lecture on mountain safety but I knew it would do no good so instead I said ..

DW “Its going to be a rough day for your party on the mountain. The weather is bad and your safety could be at risk. Would you like me to come along to ensure none of you get into trouble, I can guide you when the mist is down. That way you and your friends need only worry about the walking aspect of the challenge”

LL “Wow..you would do that for us ? I would love you to come along as I was a little concerned about the weather forecast myself”

DW “OK..its a done deal.”

I knew I had just taken on the responsibility for the safety of a party of six women whom I knew little about, except that they were of different fitness levels. I would never dream of leaving a straggler to wait in a freezing cold mist for our return, so summoned the assistance of another experienced walker to accompany us. Both my thanks and the ladies thanks go to RTC, another member of this forum, for volunteering to assist with the journey.

It became obvious around the half way point that a couple of the ladies were not as fit as the rest. However by working as a team, and by carrying their packs for them, motivating them with small talk and encouragement, EVERYONE made the summit and got back home safely. They raised £1500 for their chosen charity.


At trip report is not the same without some photos.. so here is their story .. I hope you enjoy reading it. I thoroughly enjoyed my day walking with them :-D

Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in the UK and to reach the top involves a 10 mile hike which climbs steeply to a height of 4370ft. It is a demanding challenge even on a day with good weather but in bad weather it can easily become an impossible journey. On Saturday six brave women from Cumbernauld set off to try to reach its summit in an effort to raise money for the Breast Cancer charity. The weather forecast for the journey was heavy rain, gale force winds and snow showers near the summit, but the ladies were prepared.

They were full of smiles and laughter as they got their boots on at the Nevis Centre which is where the hike begins.

ben01.jpg


Spirits where high as they started their way up the mountain path walk towards the Ben. The low cloud and heavy rain prevented them seeing their target.

ben02.jpg


It always takes a while to catch breath and find a walking rhythm on a steep start, but the ladies were full of fun right from word go.

ben03.jpg


As the path levelled near the half way lochan, they stopped for a break. The rain was still relentless. They knew that soon they would be in the mist, and it would be too cold to stop for long.

ben04.jpg


The path steepens considerably as it zig zags its way up the barren shoulder of Ben Nevis. Leg muscles and knee joints were now being stressed to their limits.

ben05.jpg


A brief respite in the rain and a quick break in the clouds reviled some amazing views. The walk started at those white specs of houses, far below in the green of the valley floor. However, the ladies knew they were little over half way up the mountain.

ben06.jpg


Soon they were engulfed in a freezing fog on the ever steepening rocky path. The wind was beginning to howl and tear at loose clothing. The chill factor made temperatures feel like minus 10 degrees centigrade.

ben07.jpg


Then the path entered the snow line around an altitude of 4000ft. Although it was bitterly cold and everyone was very tired, the ladies now knew it wasn’t too far to the summit.

ben08.jpg


Great care had to be taken while passing Gardiloo Gully as a strong gust of wind can easily blow the unwary into its bottomless abyss. Three feet further forward and it is a 2000ft fall to the bottom of the gully. Sadly, it has swallowed many walkers in its dark past. The six ladies passed it with no problem.

ben09.jpg


Then it was only a short stroll across the summit plateau to the trig point and ruins of the old Observatory.

ben10.jpg


There were many walkers on the summit celebrating their achievement and raising money for various cancer charities. However there were just as many walkers who didn’t reach the top. The weather and fatigue took their toll on the way, and they had to turn back before reaching the top.

ben11.jpg


However I am delighted and proud to inform you that the six ladies from Cumbernauld who set out on this amazing journey all made the summit.

ben12.jpg


This story is only half the battle, as they then had to then get down off the mountain. They all got home safely and under their own steam although I’m pretty certain there will be a few sore muscles for a day or two.

ben13.jpg


I’m sure you will all agree .. By working as a team, the ladies performed brilliantly on their chosen task to raise the money for charity

Well Done ..to the Cumbernauld Ladies :-D
User avatar
DonnyW
 
Posts: 478
Joined: Dec 18, 2009

Re: Ben Nevis .. Charity Walk by the Cumbernauld Ladies

Postby monarchming » Mon Oct 01, 2012 1:57 pm

Absolutely fab! A big well done to all involved! :clap: :thumbup:
User avatar
monarchming
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 257
Munros:158   
Joined: Aug 25, 2009
Location: South Ayrshire

Re: Ben Nevis .. Charity Walk by the Cumbernauld Ladies

Postby robertphillips » Mon Oct 01, 2012 4:58 pm

Well done those ladies. :clap:
User avatar
robertphillips
Hill Bagger
 
Posts: 295
Munros:282   Corbetts:222
Grahams:219   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:405   Hewitts:143
Wainwrights:214   Islands:25
Joined: Dec 28, 2010
Location: Kilbirnie North Ayrshire

Re: Ben Nevis .. Charity Walk by the Cumbernauld Ladies

Postby mrssanta » Mon Oct 01, 2012 7:24 pm

fantastic and kudos to you and RTC for helping.
I love the pink tutus. can I have one?
User avatar
mrssanta
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 2977
Munros:245   Corbetts:10
Grahams:3   
Sub 2000:9   Hewitts:44
Wainwrights:40   Islands:8
Joined: Jul 18, 2011
Location: north yorkshire moors

Re: Ben Nevis .. Charity Walk by the Cumbernauld Ladies

Postby gammy leg walker » Mon Oct 01, 2012 7:51 pm

:clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: To all the Cumbernauld Ladies, :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: to also you & RTC Donny W,this will live with them for the rest of their lives,brilliant effort to all and a brilliant cause to boot.
User avatar
gammy leg walker
Walker
 
Posts: 3257
Munros:261   Corbetts:7
Grahams:3   Donalds:3
Sub 2000:2   
Islands:7
Joined: Jan 30, 2010
Location: Central Region

Re: Ben Nevis .. Charity Walk by the Cumbernauld Ladies

Postby DonnyW » Mon Oct 01, 2012 9:18 pm

Thanks for your comments ..Im sure the ladies will apprecate them. They put a lot of effort into getting to the top.

Im not sure but perhaps the tutus were part of the charity's pack for people raising money for them ?

They certainly attracted a few kind comments on the way up the mountain :lol:
User avatar
DonnyW
 
Posts: 478
Joined: Dec 18, 2009

Re: Ben Nevis .. Charity Walk by the Cumbernauld Ladies

Postby HighlandSC » Mon Oct 01, 2012 9:30 pm

Good stuff. Well done to all :thumbup:

And credit to you and the other helper for guiding them up, Donny!
User avatar
HighlandSC
 
Posts: 2179
Munros:33   Corbetts:4
Grahams:2   
Sub 2000:13   
Islands:8
Joined: Jul 12, 2009
Location: USA (formerly Inverness)

Re: Ben Nevis .. Charity Walk by the Cumbernauld Ladies

Postby rockhopper » Mon Oct 01, 2012 10:12 pm

well done all - that's quite and achievement especially in those conditions :clap: and well done to you and RTC for ensuring their safety :thumbup: - cheers :)
User avatar
rockhopper
 
Posts: 6380
Munros:282   Corbetts:207
Grahams:60   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:8   Hewitts:2
Wainwrights:3   Islands:19
Joined: Jun 1, 2009
Location: Glasgow

Re: Ben Nevis .. Charity Walk by the Cumbernauld Ladies

Postby sloosh » Tue Oct 02, 2012 6:37 am

I'm very disappointed Donny. I thought at least one of those pics would be you wearing a pink tutu. :(
User avatar
sloosh
 
Posts: 1452
Munros:62   Corbetts:1
Joined: Apr 26, 2009
Location: Lost, probably.

Re: Ben Nevis .. Charity Walk by the Cumbernauld Ladies

Postby scooby0511 » Fri Oct 05, 2012 10:08 pm

Well done, and a great cause to. Everyone enjoying themselves is what it is all about.
scooby0511
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 53
Munros:46   
Grahams:1   Donalds:3
Sub 2000:1   
Joined: Sep 2, 2011
Location: Larbert

Re: Ben Nevis .. Charity Walk by the Cumbernauld Ladies

Postby Tomsie » Sun Oct 28, 2012 9:55 pm

Well done folks, enjoyed reading this after Russel sent me link :clap: :clap:
User avatar
Tomsie
Munro compleatist
 
Posts: 1161
Munros:119   Corbetts:58
Grahams:34   Donalds:33
Sub 2000:14   Hewitts:5
Wainwrights:1   
Joined: Jan 8, 2011

3 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).



Walkhighlands community forum is now advert free

We need help to keep the site online.
Can you help support Walkhighlands and the online community by setting up a monthly donation by direct debit?



Return to Walk reports - Scotland

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Owen b and 45 guests