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Ben Nevis - The Highpoint of Your Holiday This Year?

February 09, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 152

At 1,344 metres high Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in Scotland as well as being Britain's highest peak. For many walkers this is the ultimate mountain to climb. Inexperienced climbers are not advised to climb the peak between November and May as the path will be icy and dangerous. But during the summer months most people can make it to the top if they are moderately fit.

It takes around three and a half hours to reach the summit - obviously it takes a lot less if you are very fit, experienced, and have trained for the walk. The average walker may well find themselves overtaken by people doing this mountain as part of the Three Peaks Challenge - where they will be climbing Snowdon and Scafell Pike as well, all within 24 hours!

But the time you take to reach the top is not important. Most people feel a sense of achievement however long it's taken them to get there, and sometimes even more so when it's been a struggle for them.

Many people climb Ben Nevis for charity, or just to prove they can do it. Some amazing people have contacted me about their experiences: Robin climbed Ben Nevis on crutches, Katherine carried a pole to the top and became the first person to pole dance on the summit (despite being disabled herself), and another person had to depend on his friends for help as he was blind (although he didn't think that was important enough to mention at first!).

The mountain is there to be climbed, and for the past century just walking to the summit has not been enough for some people. Various methods of transport have been used - a Model T Ford in 1911, a horse and cart, in 1981 Glasgow University students pushed a bed to the top, and Kenneth Campbell carried an organ up and played 'Scotland the Brave' at the highest point!

As you plan your walk up Ben Nevis, spare a thought for Wragge - a meteorologist who climbed this mountain every day for two years from June to October to collect weather information. Taking 4 hours per day to reach the summit, he was away from home for 11 hours a day.

The path was built in 1883, but does need constant maintenance due to the elements. To help raise funds for the path and the Observatory climbers in the 19th century were charged 5p if they were on foot, and 15p if they were on horseback. Today it's free to make the ascent.

If you want to do something different on your next holiday, climbing Ben Nevis could well be the peak of your vacation. If you want to prepare, get in lots of walking practice - hill walking if possible, for virtually none of the climb is flat! Invest in a good pair of walking boots at the very least - walking poles are a great idea and will help you balance over rougher ground. Although most of the path is good going, there will be parts you need to scramble over. Take water and snacks with you - and make sure you carry a jumper and waterproof in a rucksack. Even if it's warm and sunny at the foot of the mountain, the weather can close in very quickly and it is normally a lot colder at the top.

The Tourist Path is well marked, so you may think you do not need a map. However, a compass and map are vital if fog comes down while you are walking. Novice mountain walkers are strongly advised to keep to the Tourist path - other paths should only be attempted by experienced walkers with the correct equipment!

If you are in any doubt whether you're fit enough for this walk do speak to your doctor. If you regularly take medium to long walks you should be fine on this mountain. When walking, if you need to rest, stop for a while and enjoy the wonderful scenery. You won't be bored! And you'll find you get encouragement from your fellow walkers - there's a kindred spirit amongst everyone walking the Ben, and even the fastest will have an encouraging word for those for whom it's more of a struggle.

Climbing Ben Nevis and reaching the summit will be something you remember for the rest of your life. It may tempt you to try the Three Peak Challenge, or you may want to hang up your walking boots feeling you've achieved your ambition. Or you may just want to come back another year to experience the beauty of this part of Scotland all over again.

Don't forget to take your camera with you so you can record those special memories which will stay with you the rest of your life!

Trish Haill has a wide range of interests. With a degree in Psychology and many years experience as a Manager leading on Business Transformation and Change, Trish enjoys relaxing by researching a wide range of subjects and writing about her interests for others to share. is about Serious Walks for Novice Walkers where you can read information about climbing Snowdon and Scafell Pike as well, and read true experiences of walkers.

Source: EzineArticles
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