The final peak – Ben Nevis July 8th

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So after we finished Scafell pike, headed up to Fort William to do the final and hardest peak Ben Nevis.

Sat nav had said it was 5 hours from Wasdale head. You forget what a long drive it is but also what a beautiful journey it is up the A82. It had been a few years since I was last in Fort William. Was suppose to be on motor bike trip but I had broken my wrist the week previously (yes a drunken injury!). But rather than miss out on the trip my friend lent us her Subaru impreza and we carried the luggage for the group. That car was nearly as much fun as 2 wheels! I just love the dump valve noise and the way you can fling it into corners and it sticks!

The problem when booking accommodation is like in the lakes, people are hesitant to let you stay for one night. But we found a place just outside Fort William and was a bargain at £65 for us both inc breakfast!! The owners were so lovely and said we could have an earlier breakfast so we could get a head start on the Ben.

We were starving and shattered so headed to the local hotel recommended by our hosts. When we walked in bumped into an ex farrers customer! Tina was stood mouth open as she saw us! It’s a very small world. Her friend Donald at the bar has been climbing the Ben for over 40 years and had only had 6 clear days. He said you’re going to be lucky tomorrow. I’d hoped so as the 2 previous climbs had been in a white out. Having read in Trail mag the expected time was 8 1/2 hours, Donald said with the weather 4 up 3 down when you get to the loch you’re halfway. So after an excellent dinner we said our goodbyes and headed back to the B&B. As soon as our heads hit the pillow we were sound asleep.

Early breakfast and could see Ben Nevis from the dining room. A few wispy clouds dancing over the top. As we were early, thought we would try to get parked on the roadside near the Glen Nevis YH. Paying for parking is so against my religion. So parked up, boots on and here we go. I was feeling exhausted, excited and nervous.

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My mind took me back to my previous climbs in a different life with my ex husband. Both times was spent walking up on my own as he had marched off. Getting cross muttering to myself and nearly having a hissy fit. So I was looking forward to enjoying this climb well as much as one person can!
Things I’ve noticed when doing the 3 peaks is how ill prepared people are. I know that wearing a boob tube when walking may be frowned upon. I always carry spare kit in my rucksack. What the weather is like at the start of a walk, in my experience is not what it’s like on the summits. Most of the walks last year I was in hat and gloves on the tops. Last time I was up Ben Nevis, gorgeous summers day when started, half way had every piece of kit I owned on. The weather turned and was snowing on the top and couldn’t see your hand in front of your face.
The other was the amount of rubbish on the summits with Scafell being the worse.
The path up is very defined and well trodden. With being early nearly had the mountain to ourselves for quite a lot of the time.

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It’s a steady climb, all this that women glow is a lie, I was quite literally dripping as the heat was searing. Lots of water and just plodding along. Soon the loch was in sight, Dave and I looked at each other, we had only been walking for 1:25hours. Halfway already, must be another loch further up but a quick map check and yes we were halfway. Then the zigzag path, last time I hated it but maybe as I had my OH actually walking with me, it didn’t feel so bad. The views were just simply breathtaking a few wispy clouds which I prayed would stay away so I could get my coveted view.
Donald had said when the zig zag path finished probably about 100ft then you’ve made it. I could see the summit cairns.

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There we were on the highest mountain in the UK, 3 peaks 3 days and was feeling very proud and nearly bursting into tears.

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At last third time lucky and wow what a view. Words couldn’t describe how chuffed I was in seeing that. I was thinking about all the things I’ve done this year. Training for London, my knee injury that nearly extinguished my marathon dream but was resurrected with the help from Graham my physio. Completing the K2B walk the hardest thing I’ve ever done, doing the crazy fun things off my list, bagging wainwrights, wobbles about being 40. I’m the worlds worse at taking compliments as never feel worthy of them. I’m just blown away when people say how I’ve inspired them or that I’m inspirational. I’m just me. Life is for living get out there and live it!
After a brief rest and more importantly chocolate it was time to say farewell and head back down. We were very pleased with our 2:48 ascent time. I do hate going down hills! Soon could see the loch again.

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The last part seems to go on forever, once we crossed the metal bridge knew not far to go…..
I could see the car, felt very proud of what we had achieved. Not sure would want to do it in 24 hours though. If I ever have that crazy thought please beat me!
Walkers reward and food was at the Clachaig inn. Someone on twitter had suggested we visit here. Excellent beer and chilli were just perfect. Definitely need to come up and tackle the munros one day. Got a lot of Wainwrights to finish first!


One thought on “The final peak – Ben Nevis July 8th

  1. Gina what a great report. I was in Fort William in ’93 and thought about climbing the Ben, but took a steam train ride to Malaig instead.Whats next?

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