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Last updated : Nov 2009
My Conquest Ben Nevis Awaits Me!
Rating :

Fort William, Scotland
October 27, 2003

Pros: The beautiful colour of the leaves at this time of year.
Cons: Fog at the top of the mountain

Now for the next great mountain climb in Fort William. Today was spent heading form the Isle of Skye to Fort William, home of Ben Nevis, the highest peak in the UK at 4406 ft, and my next conquest! On the way, we stopped at Eilean Donan Castle, owned by the McRae’s and still inhabited by them today, as well it was the castle where Highlander was filmed. The rest of the day was spent admiring the highlands and listening to tales along the way, including the tale of the 5 sisters mountains, and the 7 heads monuments. We stopped at a whiskey store and picked up some supplies, then off to the hostels, where I brilliantly offered to so a cook up for the group of 15 (what the hell was I thinking?) It took me 4 hours and I recruited help, but it ended up being a fantastic meal, enjoyed by all, and I didn’t have to spend a dime on a drink that night. I did have help from the Scottish tour driver, who gave me verbal recipe for Mince Neeps and Tatties, which is basically mince meat, with turnip and potatoes, all mixed together, with onion, carrots etc, very good, if I do say so myself, and I was nicknamed the Kitchen Nazi. (what me be bossy and order people around, never, I have no control issue hahahaha) The night ended with a final drink in the Ben Nevis pub, which is located through the men’s restroom in the Ben Nevis restaurant, so yes, I walked into the men’s restroom and out the other side, not before surprising a few men at the urinals no doubt, which I tried to smooth over in a wine haze, by stating ‘it’s okay, I’m a nurse’ I’m sure it helped!

The next morning, up bright and early, myself and another nurse got dressed, loaded up out gear and headed over to BEN NEVIS for our big ascent. It was a beautiful day, the sky was clear and the air crisp. The walk from the hostel to the base of the mountain was 4 minutes, and we were all psyched up for the big climb. As we made our way up, we stopped often to see the sights and drink water. We hadn’t really brought enough for us for he day and luckily there was a fresh water spring about half way up. We filled out bottle with the most clear and cool water I have ever drunk. Continuing up, it remained a bright and beautiful day and we were very warm. The views were breathtaking as the highland extended a far as you could se and they reflected all sorts of colours. The leaves on the trees below in Glen Nevis were gold, orange and red, reflecting brightly in all the loches they surrounded. About ¾ of the way up, the terrain change and haze started to filter in. The ground became jagged rock, and the air was cold, forming icicles on my eyelashes. Unfortunately once at the very top of Ben Nevis, the views were obstructed by a fog, but the crevices in the rock showed how high we were. It was incredible, we embraced each other and took a tonne of pictures, Narilee even text messaged her family in Australia to tell them where she was (sorry all, I didn’t bring my mobile along). It took 4.5 hours to get up, but so worth every minute. After collecting a rock as a keep sake, we began the descent and made it down in 3 hours. We ended up walking through the woods in complete blackness, but we were on such a huge high that it didn’t matter. Once we returned to he hostel, we showered and headed out for a huge meal at the Ben Nevis restaurant before collapsing into bed. The next morning, I couldn’t get out of bed and actually needed help to make it to the shower. By far one of the best experiences of my life!