Well after a 20 year break climbing any mountain we decided to take our American exchange student up Ben Nevis on what turned out to be the most spectacular day of the year so far. So, sun cream was needed but not all of us used it - hence pretty sore neck and arms thereafter.
I have plenty of experience being up in the mountains so why at 08:50 in the morning I decided to swap out my boots for trainers I dont know. I might just have been another fair-weathered tourist climbing the Ben - the slightest bit of rain and I think from what I now know of Ben Nevis, I would had done myself some damage!
I have just lost a bit of weight and certainly at 49 am not as fit as I was 20 years ago but in the weather that was presented to us, the ascent was in all quite easy. I personally found the initial climb up the granite steps to be the hardest part of the climb. Onwards from there was relatively easy. I did however take advantage of splashing myself with water from some of the wee burns along with a splash of snow when we neared the top.
The descent however was where my choice of footwear made me feel incredibly stupid. Every step can be felt going through your feet and pressing downwards on any lose stone or grainy surface makes you vulnerable to slipping or twisting your ankle. I fully deserve to be roasted for that decision, although others had "fashion" type trainers on it cannot excuse my own stupidity. My legs soon tired to the point that I almost did not make it down.
If the weather had been wet then a fall would definately had been on the cards.
We had additional clothing and supplies for the mountain but from that experience alone, dont risk not wearing the right footwear. If you are unfamiliar with being in the hills or cannot read a map and compass, it is obvious that navigating towards the summit if the weather closes in would be challenging and very dangerous.
Ben Nevis + the weather forgave us on this day.
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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.