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.

Big Ben Strikes 30

Big Ben Strikes 30


Postby roscoT » Mon May 23, 2016 11:54 pm

Route description: Ben Nevis by the Mountain Path

Munros included on this walk: Ben Nevis

Date walked: 21/05/2016

Time taken: 5.75 hours

Distance: 15.7 km

Ascent: 1370m

2 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).


ben nevis.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


A motley crew of 14 humans and one canine gathered with some degree of trepidation at a perplexingly busy Glen Nevis car park to try and get an old man to the roof of the UK before, now being a ripe old 30, his knees inevitably would not allow him to :lol:

Imagesquad at the car park by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

The perplexity was due to the forecast - zero visibility, heavy rain and gales. Whereas we had this in the diary for months, why so many people (many of them very obviously under-prepared) ventured out, I can only assume must've been out of a similar sense of duty to 'give it a bash' regardless. Ben Nevis via the 'tourist route' on a Saturday in May; surely the most widely underestimated walk in Britain?

And so, off we went in the drizzle, Meal an t-Suidhe poking out through the cloud above. For quite a few of the group this was their first munro, but all had arrived with adequate clothing and equipment after a briefing by the birthday boy - all of it would be needed eventually. Crossing the River Nevis, the rains stopped as we climbed and traversed the foothills, heating us up considerably, and most of the layers we had applied in earnest were soon removed. I still couldn't get my head round the amount of people on the hill - several hundred at least - most lulled into a false sense of security over what was to come.

ImageP1030115 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030118 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030125 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030126 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Almost as soon as we swung left into the Red Burn valley the rain, spitting at first, began, and the group was split up into pairs, so I stayed with those at the back. By the time we had almost reached the 'halfway' lochan, about an hour and a half since leaving, the rain was horizontal - the gale force wind unrelenting and visibility down to a couple of yards. I waited for Gordon and Millie then went down after them after realising if they turned round we had no way of knowing (plus I was becoming soaked through despite my waterproofs). Them having the small dog, they made the sensible decision to turn back, so I caught up with Grace and Scotty and we plodded on, past Graeme and Kev who also turned back due to being soaked through. 4 down, 10 still on the mountain.... :shock:
Passing many others who had turned round, prospects of getting to the summit seemed slim at best. I managed to get a couple of pictures when the rain relented somewhat after about 20 minutes, although I was worried for my (not waterproof) camera. The downpour had made the crossing of the burn somewhat treacherous.

ImageGrace, Scotty, Gordon and Millie as the rain came on by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
Imagered burn by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
Imagesoaking by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
Imageinvisble scotty and grace by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

At the zigzags, we caught up with Euan, Annie and El and informed them of the casulaties. The other 4 - Robyn, Cam, Conor and Niall - had gone on ahead. The rain had eased, the cloud even dispersed slightly for about 5 minutes, and we stopped regularly for food, water and rest. At about 900m, near the snow line, we put on all our available layers in anticipation of the cold wind on the summit plateau (since the downpour the wind had mercifully eased). My feet were soaked (nail in the coffin for them I then decided) and so was keen to keep moving. El was struggling a bit as we approached the snow.

ImageP1030140 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030144 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
Imageback to loch eil by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
Imageglen nevis by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
Imagehalfway lochan, loch linnhe and loch eil by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Back into the clag, and the thought of the summit nearing spurred us on in the last 300m of ascent - a volley of singsongs eventually settling on the fitting 'Will Ye Go Lassie Go' by The Corries. El was in quite a lot of pain but struggled on admirably. Before the plateau, we met up with the other group, who were coming down, not wanting to stay immobile for long, and exchanged some pleasantries - all of us buzzing (or maybe that was our teeth chattering?) at our unexpected success. In poor visibility, the plateau is surely a novice walker's nightmare (as has been noted by many), with the sheer cliffs of Tower Ridge on the left barely noticeable until you are practically above them. Luckily, having done the walk before I knew to expect this, and luckily for everyone else, there were footsteps to follow. A few more steps following the cairns erected for this very reason and the trig point and shelter appeared in the mist. Felt like a great achievement for all of us :clap: Euan had saved 'the glory' and saved it well - cue obligatory photos!

ImageP1030152 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageAnnie pretending to have fun by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030155 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030157 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageA shot at glory by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030159 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030161 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

We had a bite under the shelter then wasted no time in beginning our descent, following a line of equally cold walkers and not stopping again until below the snow line. Euan and I were pretty horrified, given the conditions, to see a few people, including a child (!) wearing jeans - fail to prepare....
On we went, slowly warming, until we were back down to t shirts in the foothills. We caught up with the others at the Ben Nevis Inn for a well-deserved beer, the first of many as it transpired.

ImageP1030162 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
Imagere-crossing the burn by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030171 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030177 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Ok, it's Ben Nevis and it's full of tourists and the path is long and 'easy', and there were no views - hardly one for the purist I admit - but there's something about successfully climbing a big mountain in a big group, particularly in challenging conditions, that warms the sole.
A grand day on a grand occassion for El Stracko Grande himself - well done everyone
...and we all went together!

User avatar
roscoT
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 231
Munros:131   Corbetts:24
Grahams:13   Donalds:14
Sub 2000:14   Hewitts:8
Wainwrights:5   
Joined: Jul 26, 2014
Location: Glasgow

Re: Big Ben Strikes 30

Postby Sunset tripper » Tue May 24, 2016 3:10 am

Sounds like a good day despite the conditions. A well deserved beer or two after that :D
User avatar
Sunset tripper
 
Posts: 1536
Joined: Nov 3, 2013
Location: Inverness

Re: Big Ben Strikes 30

Postby Jaxter » Tue May 24, 2016 8:55 am

I agree, there's something very satisfying about overcoming the elements! Nothing is "easy" in those conditions! Well done for persevering :clap: :D
User avatar
Jaxter
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 1094
Munros:199   Corbetts:106
Grahams:43   Donalds:45
Sub 2000:41   Hewitts:41
Wainwrights:53   
Joined: Aug 8, 2011
Location: Glasgow

Re: Big Ben Strikes 30

Postby roscoT » Tue May 24, 2016 1:09 pm

Sunset tripper wrote:Sounds like a good day despite the conditions. A well deserved beer or two after that :D


Cheers! The conditions made it that bit better I think - made the beer taste better anyway!

Jaxter wrote:I agree, there's something very satisfying about overcoming the elements! Nothing is "easy" in those conditions! Well done for persevering :clap: :D


Thanks Jaxter! Loved your recent report on the Black Mount - somewhat different conditions :lol:
User avatar
roscoT
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 231
Munros:131   Corbetts:24
Grahams:13   Donalds:14
Sub 2000:14   Hewitts:8
Wainwrights:5   
Joined: Jul 26, 2014
Location: Glasgow

Re: Big Ben Strikes 30

Postby teaandpies » Tue May 24, 2016 2:28 pm

Oh mate, all of this is my worst walking nightmare :lol:
teaandpies
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 925
Munros:94   Corbetts:16
Grahams:8   
Sub 2000:7   Hewitts:6
Joined: Mar 19, 2014
Location: Glasgow

Re: Big Ben Strikes 30

Postby Andymac75 » Tue May 24, 2016 6:24 pm

Blimey :shock:
Still very white up top.
Thought about doing it again last week ,but my available day wasn't convincing enough for going.

Doing it on a wet day is not always a bad thing.helps keep you cool :lol:

And once you're wet,you're wet.or very wet .

Great achievement indeed :clap: :clap: .its a big, lump of a hill ,and like you say,you don't realise in advance just what a big hill she is.
Andymac75
 
Posts: 101
Joined: Feb 23, 2016

2 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: kennymck001, larry groo, nigheandonn, Scottk, Sgurr, thepigguy and 45 guests