Friday, 4 May 2012

Ben Nevis Baby.

Sometime last year my daughter mentioned that for her birthday she would rather like to climb Ben Nevis. So, Mother duly arranged it, as Mothers do, hostel was booked, confirmation posted on my notice board and well that was sort of it really. For most of the rest of last year we more or less forgot about it. As the New Year dawned Rissa and I started to get out and about in the hills more, actually this was mostly base training for Lakeland but useful for an assault on Britain's highest mountain too. As these things do,time marched until our little recce in the Lakes where we made good use of the shops in Keswick buying bits and pieces for the forthcoming adventure.

The great expedition weekend dawned and Rissa her friend Laura and I set of in the trusty Astra with
the sat nav plugged in for a basically uneventful journey up to Fort William (only got tooted at once).
Sat Nav took me through Glasgow, not a place I like, and when doing this journey again I will choose a different route.   Settled into Youth Hostel and headed into Fort William which was mostly closed as was after 5 p.m.   Never mind still managed food and a mooch around.

Next morning we were up bright and early, feasted on porridge, fruit and bagels all good carbs to sustain us LOL.  Then popped into the visitors centre to a look around.  Were instantly spotted as a trio of mumpties by the chappie there and taken in hand, hauled  to the map and given a blow by blow account of what we could expect, where to rest, where to avoid, where to step and where not to step.   All this information proved to be invaluable.  April is still technically Winter at the top of the Ben a fact which we were to discover in a few hours time.  

Here are a few piccies which sort of form a sort of pictorial guide of our day.

 A quick stop in Glencoe on the way. 
Tomorrow's destination.
 Setting off from Glen Nevis YHA in the smirly rain, almost straight up something they call heart attack hill.
 Levelling off from "Heart Attack Hill" and we thought we were high at this point LOL
 Marissa having a breather.
 Lunch with a wee friend.  He belonged to a couple from Lancashire who we met.  Chap and dog made it to the top, the Lady turned back when we hit the snow.  Very oddly we met them the next day at Green Welly Stop in Tyndrum.  It was lovely to see them again.
 Just look at that view - magnificent.
 Laura - the mountain goat -  I swear that girl has  natural affinity with hills.  Check out the "man leg".
 We were warned how quickly the weather can close in.  At one point we just had to stand still until we could the faint shape of the next navigation cairn.  They were a godsend.
 Me at the summit -  really chuffed but about to be blown off the top so didn't linger too long.
 Heading back down.
 Look at the weather now.  Still a long way to go though.
About to have a well earned slap up meal in the Ben Nevis Inn.

All in all a fantastic weekend. The girls really enjoyed it and it was so wonderful to see Laura taking to the outdoor life so enthusiastically too.   She can't wait for the next expedition and has given me several good ideas for adventures later in the year.

Legs were a little cranky for a couple of days, but I did manage to go running on the  Monday which astonished me.  Treated them to a little sit in the Spa at the health club though which I'm sure they enjoyed.

Plans for the next few weeks.

Women's 10 K in Glasgow - should be a good day the club are laying on a bus so that helps with fuel costs and parking in the dreaded Glasgow.
Run4Health in Dumfries -  a 5k which I am doing with a beginner from the club.  It will be her first ever race.
Moffat Gala run -  I've pencilled this in but it all depends on work really.
Challenge Walk for the local mountain rescue team - can't resist this as it's on my doorstep and among my favourite hills.  Also a grand opportunity to support a very worthwhile organisation.  One which who knows I may just be in need of some day.

So enough there to keep me busy for the moment.

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