The Ben Nevis Chronicles: The Ascent

After the mad scramble mentioned in my last post, we set off to the steep shortcut path directly opposite our cottage. Instead of the more gradual path from the visitors centre…

Ben Nevis path

Approximation of the path we took up the mountain

The path starts out as a really easy rocky path, then very rapidly becomes a very steep ascent up the side of the mountain next to Ben. To get to Ben you first have to make your way up the adjacent peak, then across to Ben. I knew pretty much instantly that I was not fit enough to go up a mountain. I was slow, had to stop a lot, and was really feeling the strain on my legs. Despite this, I pushed on and made my way up the steep zig zags.

About halfway up, I inexplicably ended up in tears. I had forgotten a little quirk in my personality… extreme physical exertion makes me emotional. Ups and downs like you wouldn’t believe. ugh. After my little crying jaunt I got up and carried on. And on. And on. It was much easier to concentrate on the ground making sure I didn’t trip over a rock/stone/myself than look ahead at how far I still had to go…I did look at how far we had come however.  It was astonishing how far we had got in a short space of time. I was in no way going quickly, the terrain was just that steep.

Eventually I caught up to the others at a wooden bench near to the top of the shortcut path, where we all had a bit of a rest while looking down at our little cottage and the surrounding landscape.

image

Once we were suitably refreshed, we began or journey again. 5 minutes later it came to an abrupt halt when I realised my waterproof jacket was no longer attached to my backpack. I was more than a little horrified as it had my digital camera and a few other bits in the pockets…I was being brave and almost shrugging it off, but inside I was devastated that I would have to either 1: go back down to try and find it, hoping that it hasn’t blown away; or 2: carry on without it and lose all the images I haven’t got around to backing up. Which is a lot of pics. Both felt like impossible options.

Lucky for me, Mr MandyMoo (often referred to as A in previous posts) came to the rescue by running down the mountain to look for it. He ran back up the mountain, and the rest of us were straining to see if he was carrying anything. He came fully into veiw on the path below us, clutching something purple in his fist. My jacket!! My hero! he had met two guys who were coming up the path behind us who had very kindly picked up my jacket for me. Thank you strangers!

We finally joined the main path, and were endlessly climbing upwards above beatific, deadly scenery, in strong winds. I found myself having to repeatedly stop and regain my balance after particularly strong gusts of wind. And being that high up wasn’t scary enough?! We finally made our way all the way around the side of the mountain, and were going along above the valley between Ben Nevis and the mountain we were walking on. I think it was at this point that I really began to appreciate the veiws, especially the waterfall going down to the stream below us, which runs down to the river that runs alongside the road. We eventually made or way to the top of that path, and decided to stop on the grassy verge to have lunch. After playing in the first bit of snow we saw...

Across the valley from where we were sat we could see a snowy ridge, with a distinctive path across it. This ridge is actually a waterfall, so beneath the snowyness it was a drop to water and the sheer side of a mountain. It was at this point I became a little obsessed with asking the people we saw coming down if they had made it to the top. All of them said no because they didn’t have the right equipment for the snow… This bodes well for us… Not…

 

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3 thoughts on “The Ben Nevis Chronicles: The Ascent

  1. Pingback: Ben Nevis 2015 | BekBek

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