Ben Nevis Weekend

Well hello there Folks! That’s me just finished editing the batch of photographs I took from a successful but early retreat ❓ (more on that later) from our Ben Nevis trip last weekend.

Glen Nevis Campsite Featured Image

Here, below, I’ve tried to capture the highlights of that weekend away to share with you. It’s always difficult for me to choose which photographs to show you, because I take so many! But, with the help of Lynne, I hope we selected those that would tell the story as visually best as possible.

So, it’s time to grab your cuppa, sit back and enjoy, and let me be your guide as I take you through our climb up Britain’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis, last Saturday and then a short tour of the Lochaber area on Sunday, including Achnacarry, the home of the Cameron Clan, which is my mothers side of our family.

Right, so, let’s start with setting up camp shall we? 🙂

Glen Nevis Campsite Tent Pitch

We started the weekend by pitching our tent at the Glen Nevis Campsite, last Friday and just in time too, as the rain came on just after we pitched! And so, that’s the first and last photograph from Friday!

Ben Nevis Saturday 22nd August

Liam and Lynne setting off for Ben Nevis

The day started dry and bright and we met Liam at 7am at the visitors centre car park. This map shows our starting point and our route for the day. Liam and Catherine had also travelled up to Fort William on the Friday, but opted (sensibly) for hotel accommodation for the weekend, with some retail therapy for Catherine in Fort William itself, as she was not to be joining us on the climb.

Sign for Ben Nevis Path

It’s not all climbing around this area. There’s plenty of forest walks and the Riverside walk which you start out on, before joining the Ben Path, is an example of one such easier lower level walk. It’s also the start of the most popular route up Ben Nevis.

Start of Ben Nevis Path

As you know, we’ve had A LOT of rain in Scotland this year. Fortunately this part is passable as we start our upward journey. Just pointing out how saturated the ground is at this lower level now, to explain more our hasty retreat later!

View of Mamores from Ben Nevis Path

The morning sky at this point is rather beautiful, but it isn’t quite telling us, weather wise, what it’s going to do today. The mountains in the centre of this picture are the Mamores and form the Ring of Steall. You can reach the starting point for them further up Glen Nevis. This whole area is rich in walking as well as being the start / end of the 96 mile walk between Fort William and Glasgow known as The West Highland Way.

6_Liam and Lynne begin ascent of Ben Nevis Path

Time check at this point 7.30am. Hearty bowls of breakfast porridge at 6am providing us with that “striding forth” energy.

Looking back The Ben Nevis Inn and Bunkhouse

Turning round from the previous picture and looking back to the Glen Nevis Inn and Bunkhouse, which, unfortunately on this occasion, on our return from the summit, was just too busy for us to get into for a celebration drink. 🙁

8_Lynne on Ben Nevis Path

It’s a path, a long one, and there’s not much more to say other than that!

Glen Nevis Campsite from Ben Nevis Path

Turning and looking down to our right you can see the Glen Nevis Campsite, where our tent is pitched. At this point our height is only about 150m out of the 1344m we need to climb. Can you see our tent? 😉

Way down to Youth Hostel from Ben Nevis Path

Passing here the last access point where you can get back down (safely) to the Youth Hostel and the glen floor.

Liam and Lynne Ben Nevis Path

It’s really warm and sheltered here just climbing up the side of the mountain. As you can see from the photographs, we’re slowly beginning to shed layers of clothing.

Liam and Lynne Ben Nevis Path

Although it’s a long slog at this point (the whole distance covered from bottom to top is 16km) you’re so busy watching where your feet are going, and stopping occasionally to admire the view that, on the way down I can guarantee you’ll not remember the distance or any of the path covered here.

View of Mamores further up Ben Nevis Path

The Glen provides some fertile land for the grazing of cattle, mainly of the famous highland type, but not much else in the way of agricultural land. Most of the Glen is actually laid over for forestry which is far easier to grow than crops. There’s plenty of sheep roaming the mountain sides though, but they were “baa-d” 😆 and ran away whilst I was trying to photograph them!

View of campsite and path from Ben Nevis Path

Turning round and looking back down into Glen Nevis, the campsite and our dry shelter are getting further and further away.

Lynne climbing rocky part of Ben Nevis Path

Parts of the climb are like this, where you just have to climb over boulders, and watch your footing. And obviously staying well clear of the edge too, especially even more so with the wet conditions underfoot.

Lynne crossed over bridge on Ben Nevis Path

We cross this bridge and then we turn the corner…….

Tributory of River Ness coming off Ben Nevis

……and the scenery is completely changed. The summit of Ben Nevis being completely hidden in the clouds. Will this be my 6th ascent and still no view off the top? Well, one of the gaelic translations of the meaning of “Ben Nevis” is, after all “the mountain with its head in the clouds”.

Neil and Liam looking up Ben Nevis

So, Liam and I pause for a quick photograph here, which is at about 5oom high. And, further on, we’ll be crossing over that burn (stream) that you can see near the top right of this photograph at about 800m.

Man-made path Ben Nevis

Over 250,000 people are said to trek this path each year. It takes a band of volunteers spending their spare time repairing and maintaining this path many hours to keep it as good as it is here. For as long as the path is good, and walkable, this prevents walkers from straying off the path and damaging, or creating, further unnecessary paths and “scarring” the mountain side.

Liam and Lynne crossing burn on path

I mentioned earlier that we would be crossing over this burn (stream) that you saw coming down the mountainside earlier.

Looking up at waterfalls

Looking up at the waterfalls, I remember the last time I was here when this whole area, including the waterfalls were frozen solid!

ooking back down on zig zag path_

Turning with my back to the waterfalls and looking across and down to the centre left, where Liam and I had our photo taken, the zigzag path that we’re following, is slowly weaving its way upwards.

Looking up at rough part of path

Quite a bit of the path requires you to hop from boulder to boulder. You need good sturdy boots to support your ankles on this sort of terrain. That probably explains why this tourist needed rescuing after attempting to climb one of the sister mountains of Ben Nevis in flip flops!

Looking down towards Corpach

Fort William, the town situated at the end of Glen Nevis, is largely obscured behind the mountain in the centre of the photograph. Beyond that is the village of Corpach, which used to be isolated but has now largely become part of the Fort William spreading township.

Looking down in sunlit Glen Nevis

Looking down on a rare glimpse of sunlight moving through the Glen, the River Nevis snakes its way from the Mamores, hidden to the left of this photograph and will eventually end up in Loch Linnhe. You can just make out Loch Linnhe at the top right.

Looking over to Loch Linnhe and Ardnamurchan

Loch Linnhe can be seen more clearly in this photograph and the mountains over to the far right form the Ardnamurchan peninsula. The Ardnamurchan peninsula is an extremely remote, relatively inaccessible part of the mainland with only one single track road round it allowing the wildlife, particularly the nesting Golden Eagles, to live there in peace.

All year round snow on Ben Nevis

Anyone for a snowball fight? As we approach the summit and enter the clouds, patches of all year round snow like this one can be found. You’ll see the change in temperate too from what we’re now wearing in the next couple of photographs, compared to what we were wearing earlier.

No_bake Almond Oat Bars Ben Nevis Summit

And at this point you’ll be wanting to reach for those no-bake almond oat bars. Yep, there’s nothing like bribing your climbing friends into shamelessly promoting your recipes by suddenly producing free food. Oh and Talisker whisky to drink too. I’d basically had nothing to eat since I snacked on Liams lunch pork pies earlier! 😀

Obligatory selfie Ben Nevis Summit

Obligatory selfie on Ben Nevis Summit. 10.30am.

Trig Point Summit Ben Nevis

And that’s it. We have arrived. It’s 10.30am, and we are here at 1344m or 4409ft on the summit of Ben Nevis. Three hours is pretty good timing. We had good overall dry conditions throughout so were able to keep going to a good pace.

This trigonometry point situated on the stone cairn was the old fashioned way of measuring the heights of these mountains using angles and maths. Nowadays, of course, we’ve GPS and satellites for things like that.

There is a man-made emergency shelter structure, built just to the right of this trigonometry point, which is higher than this cairn. There were too many people around to take a photo of that, and not much to see due to the cloud cover anyway. Head on over to this site to see those images and other structures located on the summit without cloud, should you want to.

Real Ale and Cider in Ben Nevis Restaurant after walk

We manage to make it back down to the bottom by about 2.30pm. So, overall we did it in about 7 hours. The guides recommend allowing 7 – 9 hours for the whole round trip.  I put the camera away to concentrate on getting back down in one piece. You don’t need me to tell you, as you probably already know, but most accidents occur coming down mountains, so I like to keep both hands free.

Lynne and I headed to The Glen Nevis Restaurant and Lounge Bar to celebrate where she enjoyed a well deserved pint of cider and myself a pint of locally produced ale.

That evening we met up with Liam and Catherine for a fabulous dinner in the Alexandra Hotel in Fort William. It wasn’t a late night, as you can imagine we were pretty tired out. We slept well in the tent that night, only awoken once during the night by a torrential downpour!

Touring around Lochaber and Achnacarry Sunday 23rd August

Commando Monument

As the weather forecast looked good for Sunday, we had decided to have a bit of a drive.  Fort William is situated in the area of Lochaber which has stunning scenery. There’s plenty to see and do, not to mention the rich history of the area. I’d also wanted to visit the ancestral home, Achnacarry, of my family clan Cameron for many years now, so today was that ideal opportunity.

Travelling to Achnacarry you have to stop and pay your respects at the Commando Memorial. During the 2nd World War, Achnacarry was their base, and this whole area trained 25,000 Commandos during that time. The Commandos went through such intense training here to qualify for that accolade. Many didn’t make it. But, many did and went on to be one of the most affective and feared fighting forces in the world. This memorial is a tribute to those feats of the past, the also the continuing bravery and lives lost by British servicemen today.

Cameron Gates Achnacarry

Above, the gates to Achnacarry estate and castle, are emblazoned with the Cameron motto “Aonaibh Ri Chéile,” which roughly translated means “Unite” or “Let Us Unite“.

Clan Cameron Museum Achnacarry

Situated in the grounds of the Achnacarry estate, and built in a renovated and previously derelict old post office, the Clan Cameron Museum, tells the history of the clan from the 14th century to the present day. The Camerons were instrumental in joining and supporting bonnie Prince Charlie and taking part in the Jacobite uprising in 1745. The museum is a wealth of historical facts and information as well as having many historical artifacts and memorabilia to see.

Clan Cameron Museum Achnacarry Lynne at Cairn

Lady Lynne surveys her estate here. Lol 😛

View of Achnacarry

Achnacarry castle. Seen here, through the trees. Where the current 27th chief, Donald Angus Cameron, known to the Camerons, simply as “Locheil” lives with his wife and family. Naturally, this is a private residence, and this is as close as we could get. But, actually we did see him, when he drew up at the museum to drop someone off. One of those moments where you really don’t know what to do. I think I stared. How rude. Should I not have bowed? 😮

View from Achnacarry over Loch Lochy

So, the weather forecast was good, as I mentioned earlier. Beautiful, warm and sunny. But windy. In fact extremely windy with gusts enough to make you have to hold your ground. The white crests on the waves here in Loch Lochy demonstrating that fact.

View from Achnacarry of Ben Nevis

I took this picture driving back to the camp site. Ben Nevis is actually the third peak from the left. You could possibly have seen off the top today. But the conditions up there would have been pretty dangerous and likely you would have been blown off and ended up in Norway!

Tent blowing away in Glen Nevis Campsite

So, here is where I explain about the reasons for our early retreat. Does the state of the tent say enough? 😐

We returned to the camp site for what we had planned and hoped, to be a chilled out Sunday afternoon. Snacking on olives and bread, a glass of wine in the sunshine and a reading of our books. We’d even bought in steak and salad for our dinner too!

Unfortunately, relaxing in the sun, just wasn’t to be. No matter how many times we replaced and hammered the tent pegs back into the ground, they just would not hold in the wet saturated ground. The fierce gusts of wind instantly whipping the pegs right back out of the ground again.

And so, reluctantly, we packed up. A day earlier than planned, and we headed home, on what should have been a 3 hour drive back to Glasgow. Unfortunately a series of accidents on our usual route home, and indeed what would have been the alternative choice route home, meant we had to take the third option, a very long 100 mile coastal detour. A five hour journey instead of three!

Still, looking on the bright side there was some pretty stunning scenery on that route home. And, at least the weekend wasn’t in any way challenging with the rain, like Loch Brandy! We did what we came to do, and enjoyed every minute of it. 😀

If you enjoyed this have you checked out my other hillwalking posts?

Oh, and you still have time to enter the TioTina Cookware Oven Gauntlets Giveaway. Make sure you do soon as the winner will be announced next Tuesday, when I’ll have a brand new recipe then too.

This has been an extremely long post. Thanks for reading and following. I really do hope you enjoyed it, and if so please feel free to add your comments below.

If you’ve got this far and you’re still up for more reading, then please head on over to Ms Spoons for the usual Thursday link up. Otherwise, I’ll see you Tuesday. Have a good one!

In order not to miss future updates and new recipes, make sure you’re following neilshealthymeals by adding your email* to the subscription list at the very top of this post and clicking “Subscribe” or by “following” me via your favourite social media channel below.

*I do not use your email for anything else other than adding you to my blog subscription list which you can opt out of at any time.

Comments

  1. YAY now I’ve summited Ben Nevis. I loved going for the hike with you! The changes in the terrain and environment remind me of Kauai, where you can experience just about everything on a single walk. After reading my book on the Hebrides, I don’t doubt those winds for a second. I’d be amazed if anything stayed put!
    Going to the bathroom must be eventful…
    Susie @ SuzLyfe recently posted…The Hilarity that is My Life. SERIOUSLYMy Profile

    • neil@neilshealthymeals.com says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed the hike Suz, there will be more! 🙂

      The thing with the wind is, I actually had our 2 tents with us. The large one you saw in the photographs, which is more “comfortable”, and allows us to sit inside it when it’s raining, and a smaller one. We would have put the smaller one up first had we known the wind would have got so bad as it’s more “secure” in the wind!

      As for going to the bathroom….bahahahahaha 😉

  2. Omg, your pictures are so great! I’ve got to got to got to get in a few walks before the weather gets worse (ooh I hate even thinking about that). I’m gonna check out more of your walking adventures. I want to try and do something this Sunday if weather permits so who knows, maybe I’ll throw a photo or two up. I definitely need to invest in some hiking boots, that’s for sure!

    • neil@neilshealthymeals.com says:

      Hey Erin, the weather forecast (so far) for Sunday looks good. You might be able to get out and do Ben Lomond which is only an hours drive away from us. 🙂

      If I didn’t already have commitments for the Sunday, I’d be joining you!

  3. Neil – your pictures of Ben Nevis or “the mountain with its head in the clouds” and Achnacarry are STUNNING! Love the photos of the burn! I wouldn’t know what to do if I saw Donald Angus Cameron either – I’d probably have starred too! So sad y’all had to cut your trip short – but, way to go focusing on the bright side of it all!
    Shashi at RunninSrilankan recently posted…Gluten Free Potato & Bacon PancakesMy Profile

    • neil@neilshealthymeals.com says:

      Thank you Shashi, I’m thrilled that you enjoyed the pictures. There were so many I took and it was difficult to choose from which ones were going to tell the story best. Fortunately, as I mentioned, Lynne helped out in selecting the pictures, otherwise this probably wouldn’t have been published this week! 🙂

      Yeah, it was disappointing having to leave early, and I didn’t want to sound negative about that, though tempted to do so. Trying to keep positive whatever life throws at you is something I try and portray throughout my ramblings on this blog! 😀

  4. You seriously go on some of the best adventures, and these are absolutely gorgeous shots. I know what you mean about having the hardest time choosing which pictures to show because you take so many — I struggle with the ams thing all.the.time, but it’s a good problem to have 🙂
    Amanda @ .running with spoons. recently posted…. thinking out loud #145 .My Profile

    • neil@neilshealthymeals.com says:

      Thanks for your comment Amanda 😉 , it’s nice to have those who hike themselves, with an equal love of the great outdoors appreciate your photographs!

  5. Camping and hiking are things of the past for me. I am from WY and used to do that a whole bunch way back when, but now that I live in LA… My “camping” is essentially “glamping” in that… Its when I stay somewhere that isn’t my own home… But still have a bathroom, shower, etc, etc! LOL!

    Looks like you had a wonderful time though, getting out there in nature. Nature is neat and quite a beaut if you ask me! lol
    GiGi Eats recently posted…Sandwich Your Way InMy Profile

    • neil@neilshealthymeals.com says:

      Oh, I’m totally with you there GiGi on that “glamping” front!

      It’s great to be out in the big outdoors, close to nature with the tent, but then again it’s also nice to still have all those “home” comforts like some warmth, no wind and a bathroom, that’s close by and isn’t a walk away! Lol

      Our next trip away, planned for September will indeed have those home comforts. 🙂

  6. i bet those no bake bars tasted divine at the top!it looks like new zealand! gosh, so beautiful!

    • neil@neilshealthymeals.com says:

      You cannot imagine (actually I bet you could 😉 )just how good they were!

      Thanks Lindsay, I knew you would love appreciate this post and its photos. 😀

Speak Your Mind

*

CommentLuv badge