Ben Nevis and Beyond

The boys’ search for more Munros took us to Fort William, home of Scotland’s tallest mountain, Ben Nevis.

I had rented a house for three nights to give us plenty of opportunity for a good climbing day. This was the unexpected view from our bedroom window. Yes, that’s Ben Nevis!

The Neptune Staircase is in the foreground — a series of 8 locks that was built in the early 1800s. The house we stayed in was likely the lockmaster’s house. During our stay, we were lucky to see one of the UK’s most distinguished search and rescue boats pass through the locks. Now graciously retired, she looked like a rusted tip to me, but the owner assured Julian that she only needs cosmetic repairs.

The view of Ben Nevis, the locks — completely fortuitous. But I will accept the credit for finding such a great place to stay.

The boys bagged two more Munros the following day when they climbed Carn Mor Dearg (aka “Big Red Hill”) then Ben Nevis. They rejected the “tourist route” and scrambled along a long ridge before ascending. They tell me it was a boulder-strewn path, only a metre wide. I’m very glad I didn’t know that while I was relaxing in sunshine in the garden below.

Here they are at the top in the mandatory touching-the-cairn pictures:

                      

 

And this is the view they had of the north face. Wow.

Our friend Stu sensibly abandoned them for the tourist route, reaching the top a good half-hour before them. It was about zero Celsius, which must have surprised the fellow behind him wearing shorts. Stu was wearing everything he’d brought.

Unusually for Scotland, all 3 days were warm and sunny, so the next day Stu drove us along the coast to Mallaig.

Along the way we paid homage to the Bonnie Prince at the head of Loch Shiel. The plaque states that this is where BPC launched his attempt to reclaim the British throne. Actually he arrived from France in the outer islands, but they were less than enthusiastic so he tried again inland. Sadly for Scotland, we all know how that turned out.

The Loch itself is gorgeous.

We stopped at the beach at Arisaig for lunch. The islands you can see across the water are Skye (in the middle of the photograph) and Rum (left). I took this one on my iPad.

This is Niall’s more artistic vision of the beach.

We finished the fine day with a pint at a very dodgy hotel in Morar. The less said about that, the better.

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