Ben Nevis or as known in Gaelic, the ‘mountain of heaven’ is the UK’s highest mountain tempting keen hikers and walkers from all over the world to tackle and conquer.
Towering above the beautiful town of Fort William and standing at 1,345m (4412.73 feet) this mighty beast is just too attractive to ignore.
Climbing Ben Nevis is incredibly popular it’s estimated that around 150,000 people climb Ben Nevis each year but this in no way means it is an easy walk. Ben Nevis although a well trodden trail still incurs several deaths a year. This is often due to lack of preparation, knowledge and accidents.
The first recorded person to summit Ben Nevis was in 1771 and the trail was constructed in 1883 along with the observatory by the well nicknamed Inclement Wragge. The observatory still remains on the top of Ben Nevis today, but only the shell, the old walls offering shelter from the cold whipping winds and perfect lunch spots.
The summit of Ben Nevis has an average temperature of Minus one (-1, one below freezing) in the summer months and can drop deep into the minuses in winter. This is what many people forget especially when the town below is sitting in the high teens or (if we’re lucky) the twenties.
Every year there is a trail running race to the top of the mountain and back down and competitors will complete this in under 2 hours! When you think the average walking time is 8 hours this is incredibly impressive! Not only do people race up this mountain, but there has been a ‘car’ driven up the mountain, a bed pushed to the top, a piano, a wheelbarrow and even all the pieces to set up a ‘travellodge’ bedroom! These weird and wonderful events are not common and are often done for publicity or for charity – or both!
Ben Nevis was once a volcano and the summit of Ben Nevis will remind you of an ancient lava field despite the cold! The summit is the collapsed top of the once incredibly active volcano and is still important to geologists today using the rock and materials to learn about the Scottish weather and ancient climate.
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