Ben Nevis, or Beinn Nibheis in Gaelic, is Britain’s Highest Mountain:
Ben Nevis or ‘the Ben’, as it is fondly referred to, is the highest mountain in the British Isles, peaking at 4,406 ft. Due to its location, altitude and topography, Ben Nevis frequently suffers poor weather conditions. We were told that fog covers the summit for about two-thirds of the year. So, we were lucky that on our third visit here, the Ben has showed itself to us.
Ben Nevis from the Commando Memorial
Ben Nevis (Beinn Nibheis in Gaelic) is located at the western end of the Grampian Mountains, close to the town of Fort Willliam for which we were headed. Our view of Ben Nevis is from the Commando Memorial, a little north of the village of Spean Bridge.
To the uninitiated, it may not be quite clear which of the peaks in the range Ben Nevis is, however next to the Commando Memorial, there is a map which points to all the mountains in the area.
Ben Nevis is hugely popular with climbers, mountaineers, hill walkers, people who want to run up it or people who want to race downhill and others. The first recorded ascent of Ben Nevis was on 17 August 1771, by an Edinburgh botanist named James Robertson. These days it attracts about 200,000 climbs each year, with the majority of the people taking the Pony Track up to the summit.
But Ben Nevis’ complex topography, the fogs, gales, rain and snow make this a dangerous mountain to climb for those who are not aware of the treacherous weather at Ben Nevis and are not properly equipped for climbing this mountain. Unfortunately, there have been many accidents and fatalities amongst those who have come to climb Ben Nevis.
Ben Nevis Race
For those looking for an active holiday in the Scottish Highlands, the Ben Nevis Race is a hill run on the first Saturday in September each year. The hill running tradition dates back to 1895 when William Swan, a barber from Fort William, ran from the Fort William Post Office to the summit and back in 2:41. The 1984 records of 1:25:34 and 1:43:25 for the men and women’s races respectively remain unbroken.
But for us, the armchair adventurers, we were happy to just admire the Ben from the distance and thankful that the fogs of Ben Nevis have allowed us to see Britain’s highest mountain on this occasion.