The Ben Nevis Chronicles : The Aftermath

It’s been a while since I wrote about BN, I feel out of the habit of it and hadn’t jumped back into it for a while. So it’s about damn time!

At the end of the last post I had fallen down the mountain and been rescued by Hux bravely catching me and playing  roll down the hill. I mean mountain. After that exciting event, we continued back down the mountain. Our progress was good, of you take into account we were all exhausted and two of us were limping (Me on my ankle, and Hux on his knee). We eventually reached the snowy ridge again, and I was practically having a panic attack about having to walk on snow again, with risk of death by falling. More of the snow had melted, so there was now 2 huge holes exposing the side of the mountain, which were definitely big enough to fall through. Enter deep breathing relaxation techniques... made it across and felt the after effects of the stress for sure.

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At this point all I wanted was to be back in the cabin snuggled up in my pj’s. Unfortunately I still had several hours of walking ahead of me. I was a absolute grump on the way down, though the closer down we got, the happier I felt. Despite my thighs of thunder screaming in protest every time I needed to bend them more than normal. For example to step down a step/rock. Of which there were alot. All the time.

When we reached the bench, I was in much higher spirits and we had made friends with some rams who were populating the mountain.

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I could see the cabin, I knew we weren’t far away now. As we drew closer to the bottom, it became more of a race. Hux and Kay had been racing more or less the whole time, while Andrew stayed back with me because I’m slow. Such a gent. Though, as the path was tapering off to flat ground, Andrew got his stride on and caught up to them both. And overtook. Which, of course, ended up in a race to the bridge between him and Kayleigh. Kayleigh won. Woo girl power! Instead of going to the top of the fence climb over thing (it was like a sty but with two platforms rather than bits of wood) Kay climbed over on the lower platform, while andrew was on the upper, and got ahead of him. It was briliant! Hux and I followed after at a much slower pace, enjoying the flat road as much as possible. After we had finally got to the cabin, I promptly resolved to never go up a mountain ever again.

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Never again!

Over the next few days we all discussed it, and decided we would come back next year-when there’s less snow-and try to reach the top. I agreed, the horror of the mountain fading quickly in light of the exhultation at having gone up it. Though I did tell myself that next time, I’ll be ready.

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The Ben Nevis Chronicles : When Nature Calls

Luncheon was finished, and we had all wrapped up warm as we were feeling the chill after staying still for a while.

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We continued onwards and upwards towards the snowy ridge. When we finally got there, I was feeling pretty apprehensive. H went first, we held back to get a couple of pics.

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I decided to pluck up my courage and go across next. I was worried I would chicken out if I left it too long…Not going to lie, it was a bit scary going across. The worst part was the hole in the snow half way along. I could see the side of the mountain and the path… Which was 3 foot below me.

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This stick is Mr A’s. It was set for his giant 6″3 height, and went that far into the snow.

Queasy? You bet. I was very glad to get across and make my way to the non snowy part of the path and rest for a few mins. Phew. This must be the most extreme outdoorsy thing I have ever done. I will tell you now, I was wrong.

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The path continued along and up Ben, with intermittent snowy sections. Looking back across the valley was amazing. We were so high up now!  I remember thinking that it would look even more amazing from the peak.

Now, as the title of this post suggests, nature did in fact, make a call…While up a mountain there are very limited options to deal with a situation like this…so…that happened.

Moving swiftly on, we got to the end of a zig zag, and the path disappeared under snow. Everywhere. We knew really vaugly where the path should be, but not well enough to risk traversing the snow along the cliff edge. On our left there was a steep sheet of snow up to the upper part of Ben Nevis. I would say peak, but once you get up there you still have an hour or so walk to get to the actual peak…

By this point I had had enough. I was tired, uncomfortable in so many layers, and my body was screaming in protest at the notion of moving. Then came the million dollar suggestion that we go up the sheer snowy side of the mountain…um, what?! yepp. So that happened.

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The snow was slippy, icy, and scary as hell. Sliding down a mountain is not something I had ever planned to do in my life, and with every single step I struggled to stay balanced and stop myself from sliding down. I was exhausted, and collapsed half way up. Full on face plant in the snow, with ugly crying. Again. Andrew, bless him, was amazing. He stayed with me the whole time and got me to get up and carry on. I love this guy. When I finally made it to the rocky part where the others were already waiting, I sat and had a sob. And sobbed some more when I realised we would have to get back down.

Worst. Idea. Ever.

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…

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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.

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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…

 

The Ben Nevis Chronicles: Before Ben

First of all I need to explain a little situation that arose. We were planning to climb up Ben Nevis Monday 31st, Monday was one of the better forecasted days weather-wise. Plus if any unexpected conditions stopped us from going up we would still have the rest of the week to give it another go. This was all well and good until on Sunday-during the walk to lower falls-A suddenly noticed the heels of his walking boots were completely destroyed…I have no idea how this wasn’t noticed before going on a walking holiday but there we go, these things happen…We had to readjust our plans of climbing Ben so A could grab some new boots, then climb on Tuesday. We decided to go to the visitors centre first thing Monday morning to find out about the conditions, hit town for boots and food supplies, then head out to Inverness. This didn’t exactly go to plan.

After speaking to a lovely-and very helpful-lady at the visitors centre, it became very clear that the best day to go up Ben was that day. Monday. As Tues and Weds had only 30-40% visibility towards the peak, and Monday was 80%, as well as good weather. It also became clear that we would need walking sticks if we wanted to traverse the snowier parts of BN. Yes, snow! Apprehensive? You could say that… After grabbing a map and compass, we shot off into town to find Mountain Warehouse. I was-to be frank-pooing my pants. My ankle-I twisted it last week, may have mentioned this in one of my posts-was still a little bit dodgy, so I was worrying about this on top of going up a mountain with not much training.

We were very lucky to find good boots for A, as well as sticks on sale, and gaitors that actually fit around my ginormous calves! Then it was a mad scramble to tescos, and back to the cottage to get ready for the unexpected climb.

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Yupp. Not at all worried…

Wednesday Weigh in

I know I didn’t with in last week, but nothing had changed so I figured it was going to get boring to read! However, I have maintained again this week, but I couldn’t skip weigh in again. So here we go:

Stuck at: 231pounds

Boo hiss. Clean eating has not been going well recently, my own fault really but there we go. I’m going to endeavour to keep it up for the rest of the month.

I’ve got a couple of things up my sleeve to inform people of, so watch this space for upcoming posts-one of which is about my walk on Sunday, the other is much more exciting…

Gym!

2 sessions to report! Both shorter than my usual, but unfortunately I got to the gym later than usual and am a little trapped by the constraints of public transport. When I’m driving this will be easier. ..

17.02.14

Cross trainer: 30mins, 379cals, 3.59km. Average level: 15

19.02.14

Cross trainer: 35 mins, 428cals, 2.19miles. Average level: 16
Shoulder press resistance: 14kg, 2 x 10 reps
Yoga

Like I said, short ones. But quite intense nonetheless.

Next week I need to go more, and make sure that I get there with time to do more.

Wednesday Weigh Day

Good morning early risers!

Today is the first Wednesday Weigh Day. I last Weighed in at 229 pounds/104kg.

Today: 229lbs / 104 kg

I know for sure that my weight went down, up, and back down again. So I’m not to distraught that I haven’t lost anything. I had a bad food weekend so I was expecting to put on. Weekends are a big part of why I decided to weigh in on Wednesdays, I think it will give me a much more accurate veiw of my weight, rather than a veiw of bloating and extra weight from the weekend.

I would like to take this time-while travelling to work-to remind myself of my goals:

NY resolution: I will lose a minimum of 2 stone by July.

Fitness Goal: Climb Ben Nevis in April

Ultimate Goal weight: 130 pounds / 59 kilos

The first two are achievable goals to drive me to get healthy. The last one is my ideal weight. I really want this. So much. 2014 is the year I do this thing.