I have been dying to write about this adventure since we planned it only 1 and a half weeks ago. Me and my good friend wanted to do something to celebrate completing our first exam at university, so we looked about going to Scotland for a few days, which was when someone mentioned “you should climb that mountain, Ben Nevis”. Naturally we both thought this was a brilliant idea and got to work looking up how we could make it happen.
Firstly we booked the train to solidify the trip, £30 for the train from Preston- Edinburgh was not something we could pass up on. We then gathered out minds together and researched the routes and what we would need to take with us. We thought we would go to a Mountaineering shop to get some advice and look at equipment.. however we were met with complete doubt in our ability. Cotswold in Preston actually refused to sell us the crampons that we needed to ensure our safety. (admittedly, I had completely 0 mountain hiking experience, especially in the snow) but they were still rude. Nevertheless, we changed our shop of choice to ‘GoOutdoors’ where we found everything we needed and got a great discount on it all.
Brief Itinerary: Emergancy shelter, Bivy bag, Whistle, Compass, Crampons, lots of layers, Hydrapack, Travel water bottles, Torch, Lamp & Head-torch, Lots of Nutrigrain and cereal bars, Phone (full charge) and a Battery pack.
We set off on the Thursday evening, getting the 6pm train to Edinburgh with all our warmest gear on, we had our traditional ‘pre- adventure pint’ at the pub opposite the station. Arriving in Edinburgh we got off at Heymarket station where the airBNB we had booked for the night was directly opposite. I would 100% recommend staying with this host and when I visit again, I will definitely be booking here. We had a brief exploration of the city, walking to the castle and around the centre streets, before heading for an early night for our travel day to Fort William.
Friday Travel day & Glasgow
We caught the bus from Edinburgh to Glasgow which took around an hour in total, it was £10 for an open return as well. as we arrived in Glasgow we new that we didn’t have that much time to have an aimless wander around. Since recently being introduced to the ‘Limmy show’ we decided to head to the ‘Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum’, had a quick wanter around and headed back to the bus station. Picking up some dinner for the 3 hour bus journey ahead to Fort William, we eagerly waited to board, getting closer and closer to the big hike day.
As the bus journey to the base of Nevis was mostly in the pitch black, there wasn’t much to indulge on. The day of the climb we were up bright and early (dark and early at 5am) spoke to the most lovely man who worked at the Glenn Nevis Youth hostel, called Derik who was the most helpful and friendly person, he gave us some great advice and tips for the walk. We filled in the safety card at the hostel letting them know times and the path we were walking and started the climb in the dark, and of we went with a quick pace we sweated up the first third of the way. Occasionally stopping for a quick breather and a look over the hills. Once we reached the loch (the evaluation mark) we realised that we could do it, so we pushed on into the deeper snow above. As we got higher and higher we shared the load of the rucksack as the snow was beginning to become knee deep, as I was starting to feel my legs completely burning. As we got nearer the top and we started to feel that we got closer and to the end of this painful incline, we got more excited and started to get a second burst of energy (actually running part of the way up). The difficulty of the hike was ‘medium’ and was hard work pushing through the knee deep snow, however at the top it all became worth it. With an easy trail to follow and full 4G connection all the way to the top. I have travelled round the world and seen some amazing things and places, but the view from the top of that mountain will stick with me forever. It was truly like being in a different world, seeing over the clouds, the sparkle in the snow, with no wind and only sunshine. After a quick tipple of whiskey a few photos (with and without crocs on) we headed back down which took little over 1 & 1/2 hours to be greeted with the most delicious bottle Guinness at the bar of the hostel.
Sunday & Journey home-
Sunday morning and we still were not giving ourselves a lie in. We were up at 6am to catch the 7:30 bus back to Glasgow leading on to our return to Edinburgh. Coming back in the daylight, we could fully appreciate our surroundings, with our eyes fixated out the window looking at the snow covered hills and jagged rocks that dominated the surrounding landscape. Upon returning to Edinburgh the weather wasn’t to great and was starting to rain, however it didn’t stop us having a proper little wonder around and appreciating this truly beautiful city.
This trip has definitely opened my eyes to how amazing the UK is and what is has to offer in terms of ‘out of this world’ scenery. It had also changed my opinion on Scotland as a country, I now absolutely adore the place and already can’t wait to get back there. I believe that there is really no excuse for people who don’t travel and don’t want to see the beauty of their own doorstep, because quite frankly I feel so ignorant that I have never done this before. I will be repeating this trip again and I would recommend it 100% to anyone that wants a quick, cheap getaway to clear your mind and see some spectacular views.