About the challenge
Ben Nevis (Gaelic translation ‘Mountain of Heaven’) itself is the highest point in Scotland and the British Isles, standing at the lofty height of 1343m (roughly 4000ft). Fort William, on the southern edge of the Great Glen and located on a sea loch, is our base for the weekend. This is a long, arduous uphill trek which will provide you with a wonderful sense of achievement when you reflect on what you have done.
Dates & prices
|Departs||Days||Charity||Availability||Registration fee||Fundraising target||Payment option|
|13 Jun 2014||3||Open challenge||Spaces||£75||+||£480||Or||£240||Book now|
|15 Aug 2014||3||Open challenge||Spaces||£75||+||£480||£240||Book now|
|12 Jun 2015||3||Open challenge||Spaces||£75||+||£500||£250||Book now|
|14 Aug 2015||3||Open challenge||Spaces||£75||+||£500||£250||Book now|
Day 1: Arrive Fort William
Arrive late afternoon in Fort William. After settling into our hotel, we will share an evening meal together and have a full briefing about the weekend’s events. Night hotel.
Day 2: Ben Nevis
Trek approx 6 - 9 hrs
After a good breakfast, we begin our ascent of Ben Nevis. Our route kicks off quite steeply, but then settles into a steadier uphill gradient. We climb steadily to the picturesque Lochan Meall an t-Suidhe, then leave the green landscapes below us as we tackle the famous ‘zig-zags’ – a well-maintained section that criss-crosses its way gradually up the otherwise-steep gradient. Our surroundings are by now stony and barren. Crossing the rocky boulder field, we look out for the cairn that marks the summit – a welcome sight! In good weather we can enjoy wonderful views over Glen Nevis, Loch Linnhe and Loch Eil, as well as the ruins of the observatory at the top of the mountain. The summit is notorious for its cloud cover, however, so enjoy your views on the ascent in case you don’t experience them later! Expect to get chilly at the top – the summit is on average 9ºC colder than the base. We return the same way. The descent will be much quicker and less arduous, but still tiring and can be hard on the knees. We return to our hotel for a big celebration meal and well deserved drink! Night hotel.
Day 3: Depart Fort William
After breakfast, we depart Fort William and head for home, probably aching but undoubtedly jubilant after an exhilarating and satisfying challenge.
Discover Adventure reserves the right to change the route or itinerary for safety reasons should local conditions dictate.
The cost includes all transfers, accommodation, meals and experienced Discover Adventure leaders and back-up support. Optional pick-ups or drop-offs from Fort William railway station are also included.
It does not include personal travel insurance (optional), extra food, drinks, souvenirs or personal items, or entrance to any tourist sites you may wish to visit. We strongly recommend you carry a credit card in case of personal emergency.
We will stay in twin/double rooms with en suite facilities; the hotels we use are usually 3*.
All meals are included from Friday dinner to Sunday breakfast. The food is good, will give you plenty of energy and there is plenty of it.
Being vegetarian or having other dietary requirements is not usually a problem provided you let us know well in advance. If you know there are plenty of foods you cannot eat you may wish to bring extra snacks from home so you can top up your energy supply.
Discover Adventure Crew
Your trip will be led by experienced Discover Adventure leaders. Our leaders are selected for their experience in harsh wilderness environments, knowledge of travel in remote areas, friendliness and approachability, sense of humour and ability to safely and effectively deal with any situation that arises. They are also trained in expedition first-aid. You are in very safe hands with a Discover Adventure leader.
All our leaders are from the UK or other English-speaking countries. Most work for us on an ad-hoc basis and have ‘real’ jobs in-between trips! We never send our leaders to the same destination for months on end – we want them to be as enthusiastic about your trip as you are. The number of crew looking after you will depend on the final size of your group, but the team will be looking after every aspect of your trip. At Discover Adventure we pride ourselves on our high leader: trekker ratio and believe it leads to greater trip enjoyment as well as excellent trip safety.
Vehicles take the group to the start of the trek and pick us up at the end. You should bring a small daypack to carry for items needed during the day as you will not have access to your main luggage until the evening. Bags should be waterproofed or lined with plastic bags to protect the contents.
Your safety, and that of the rest of the group, is our highest priority. Our trips are designed and planned with safety in mind. Your crew will be equipped with radios and emergency mobile phones, first-aid kits and other safety apparatus where necessary. They always have access to our 24-hour emergency back-up in the UK. Our leaders are responsible for safety on the trip, and will make any changes to the itinerary they deem necessary should local conditions dictate. Pre-trip administration – such as compulsory medical questionnaires – is all done with your safety in mind.
Preparing for the challenge
The paths we use are generally well-maintained and vary from steps, steep inclines or gradual slopes, to scree and rocky ground. In wet weather it can be slippery in places, and in some areas it can be easy to lose the path in limited visibility. It is not uncommon to be walking on snow as you approach the summit, even in the summer months. Ben Nevis is very popular with walkers and this environment needs the respect of all its users to be preserved. Please walk on the path surface rather than on the vegetation growing beside it, don’t remove stones from the paths and don’t take short-cuts. Please follow the Countryside Code.
You will trek approximately 11 miles on Ben Nevis, though it would be a mistake to base your training on this! It’s vital when training to think about the hours you need to walk for and the terrain you are walking on – i.e. pure uphill, followed by pure downhill. We are always happy to talk through the trip in more detail with you if you are worried about your fitness at any stage.
Clothing & Equipment
We are trekking in a hazardous mountain environment where we could be exposed to extremes of weather at any time so be prepared for all quickly changing conditions and temperatures. We provide you with a detailed packing kit-list on registration, as well as details on useful discounts you are entitled to as a Discover Adventure customer. We are always available if you need advice.
The mountains that make up the Ben Nevis Range are stunning and beautiful on a good day but this can lead to a false sense of security; mountain environments must always be respected. The summit is cloud-free only 30 days in a year and average rainfall at the top is more than twice as much as that at the base. Weather conditions can change rapidly during the course of a day. This can make a big difference to your safety, particularly if you are ill-equipped. In bad weather, keep close together as a group and watch the weather! Mist, falling snow, rain or wind can quickly confuse your sense of direction. If you are poorly dressed for bad weather, exposure can rapidly deplete your concentration and energy. Keep a regular check on your location. This may only be a weekend trek, but you still need appropriate, good quality footwear and clothing to cope with the weather conditions. Do not under-estimate mountain conditions just because the mountain is in the UK!
Our challenges attract people of all levels of experience and fitness, all ages and backgrounds. We expect all participants to train hard in advance to achieve this challenge, but we respect everyone’s limits. We design our challenges so that everyone can go at their own pace: this is not a race. For logistical and safety reasons we sometimes need to re-group, so the front-runners will find themselves waiting for the slower ones. Please relax, and remember that this is a team effort that enables people to achieve their personal goals and earn sponsorship.
We insist that you have had a tetanus injection in the last 10 years.
Worldwide Sustainable Tourism
Long before ‘Responsible Tourism’ became a recognised phrase, we designed and ran our trips to ensure they made minimum impact on the environment and a positive impact on the local communities we pass through. AITO, our Trade Association, has recognised the work we do in this area and has awarded us 5 stars as a Responsible Tour Operator.
Discover Adventure Projects
We are supporting a tree-planting project in Peru and a children’s home in Tanzania on a long-term basis. If you would like to ‘give something back’ please consider donating £5 to our projects when you sign up.
We encourage all our customers to offset emissions connected with their trip. You can offset at any time in the lead-up to departure by visiting Climate Care via our website and making a donation to a worthwhile project supported by them. Alternatively, if you wish to take more practical action in the UK you can volunteer for a day with TCV and work on an environmental project local to you. Work may include construction footpaths, dry stone walling, creating wildlife habitats or planting trees in your community. Volunteer today at www.tcv.org or call 01302 388883.