Back from Ben Nevis!!!

The peak of Ben Nevis from the Arete!

The peak of Ben Nevis from the Carn Mor Dearg (CMD) Arete!

Just got back from my Ben Nevis walk late last night after an epic 12 hour train journey.

I’m pleased to announce that I have broken my elevation record, which now stands at 1344 mtrs!

As a result of doing this walk I have now climbed all of the highest mountains in England (Sca Fell Pike), Wales (Snowdon) and Scotland (Ben Nevis). To go any higher would mean departing these fair shores.

The overall recorded route from my GPS. It consists of 26.5km walked with 1669 mtrs ascent and 1635 mtrs descent. (Click for a larger version)

The overall recorded route from my GPS. It consists of a 26.5km clockwise route with 1669 mtrs ascent and 1635 mtrs descent. See if you can spot where I got locationally challenged! (Click for a larger version)

The walk was an unusual one due to the infrequent trains and the twelve hour train journey time. Normally, this whole walk could be done in a day, but alas, this was impossible due to the travel situation.

I decided a while ago that when I climbed Ben Nevis I would do so via the CMD Arete, rather than the more popular Pony Trail. I would only use the Pony Trail for the descent.

My reasons for doing this were twofold:

  • The best views of Ben Nevis can only be seen from the North East. When one uses the Pony Trail for the ascent and descent one will miss out on what is perhaps the best view of the Mountain.
  • I wanted to experience the thrill of walking on a knife edge ridge-line!

Another difference between this route and the Pony Trail is that I would be climbing 4 peaks on one walk!

These are:

  • Carn Beag Dearg at 1010 mtrs
  • Carn Dearg Meadhonach at 1179 mtrs
  • Carn Mor Dearg at 1220 mtrs
  • Ben Nevis at 1344 mtrs

I arrived in Fort William at around 2230 and proceeded to hike 7 km to the base of the mountain.

In a first, the walk started off at sunset and proceeded on into the night on Day 1.

In a first, the walk started off at sunset and proceeded on into the night on Day 1.

Day 2 was a normal hiking day, but was cut down to around 11km so that I could camp at a suitable location. There were only two trains on that day. The night train was fully booked, so I had to camp overnight at the end of Day 2.

In another first, I got to do a 'proper' ridge walk :)

A photo from Day 2. In another first, I got to do a ‘proper’ ridge walk ๐Ÿ™‚

Day 3 was my usual spare day – just a quick 7km jaunt to the railway station!

Below is the elevation and speed profile for the walk:

The speed and elevation profile all on one graph. Elevation is in green and speed is in blue (click for larger version).

The speed and elevation profile all on one graph. Elevation is in green and speed is in blue (click for larger version).

What’s interesting is that the descent speed is at broadly the same rate as the ascent, which just goes to show that descents are just as hard and should be factored into one’s planning.

Speaking of descents, the walking poles that were provided by Mountain Warehouse made a big difference, but I will cover that in more detail in their own review and in the more detailed daily write-ups.

Weather wise I was extremely lucky. Apart from a light drizzle on Day 1, the visibility was clear, with low winds and no sign of the wet-stuff during the ascent! I couldn’t have wished for more perfect weather!

Anyways, that’s it for now. Over the next three weeks or so I will write up the detailed daily reports. These will be followed by a review of the walking poles – which were a first for me.

So tune into next week for day 1 of the walk!

Laters

RobP

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About RobP

Got into backpacking in the spring of 2012. I started as a couch potato then made my way through walker, hiker and now backpacker! As you can see from below I have far too many hobbies! :)
This entry was posted in Backpacking, Ben Nevis, Camping, Hiking, Multi-Day Walk, Wild Camping and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Back from Ben Nevis!!!

  1. I always feel like the descent is harder then climbing up. I don’t even know when it changed for me but I am now gleeful when there is a little more up and down rather then straight up, straight down. And poles are the best investment I have ever made! One pair even saved me from cracking my head open… I broke the poles but saved my head.

    • RobP says:

      One thing I didn’t count on was the additional stability on a descent. A walker on the pony track commented about my sure footedness, but that was down to the poles. It’s a big decision for me now. If I decide to add them to my standard kit load, I will need to consider a new shelter that will take advantage of the poles to save weight.

  2. Martin Rye says:

    Poles are for coming down hill. Knee savers. Well done Rob.

  3. Robin says:

    I tend to use trekking poles mainly for descent. Also useful on tussocky moorland and stream crossings. Opens up the possibility of lightweight shelters using trekking poles for support like the Trailstar and Duomid.

    Going downhill is always more tricky. Much more likely to fall and a strain on the knees. I’ve not been up Ben Nevis yet, so you’re one up on me ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • RobP says:

      Thanks Robin. Ben Nevis has been on my to-do list for some time – but it’s remoteness always put me off. That said, if you go there with decent weather, the views are simply amazing!

  4. Pingback: Year in Review 2014 | Uk Backpacker

  5. benjamin says:

    ever been up near helvellyn in cumbria?

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