Ben Nevis is the tallest peak in Scotland, and all of the UK for that matter. We tackled it first. Left the lodge in Fort William at 5:00am and got to the trailhead about 20 minutes later. We paused long enough for a group photo . . .
. . . and then took off up the hill. The slope was gentle at first, but we could see that we were in for a steep incline and some cloudy weather.
As we got closer to the heavy cloud line, the many rills running down the hill signaled just how wet it would be on top.
Pretty soon we were socked in with heavy, wet fog. Visibility was very limited so I still have no idea what the mountain looks like! I could tell we were getting higher when the vegetation gave way to rock.
We also caught glimpses through the mist of some pretty dramatic cliffs not far from the trail. This is not a mountain you want to go wandering around on at night! Bad enough in the fog at midday . . . but at least there were cairns piled by the trail to keep us on the safe side.
We finally made it to the summit. We could tell by the flatter terrain and the little tower that someone had erected to mark the highest point.
We didn’t linger long at the top. Although it wasn’t raining, per se, the clouds were so heavy we were as wet as if we had walked through a downpour. And once we stopped moving we got cold quickly. So we layered up and headed back down the hill.
To prevent erosion of the trail, there were many stone channels allowing the streams to run through. They reminded me of the narrow stone rills at Machu Picchu.
Oh look, a lake! The clouds had shifted, so on our way down we saw things we hadn’t seen on the way up.
About 5.5 hours later, we had all made it down the mountain and piled into the van. We set out on the long drive to the next mountain in England. The scenery in the highlands was dramatic and gorgeous . . .
. . . but despite my best intentions to stay awake and watch it roll by, I quickly nodded off and caught only glimpses of it when I managed to jerk myself awake.