DAY 8 Friday 26 Sept

Ben Nevis Climb 12 (or 6) miles

Nice dining room for breakfast, cereal and yoghurt, ham, scrambled eggs and cheese, no fruit. Many people here, most not walkers and not climbing Ben Nevis. Chris’s knees are better, so he has decided to walk with us. However, except for Peter, we only plan to go halfway to Red Burn. I would like to hit the summit, but I should stay with the little one. Peter has decided to run to the summit (4400 ft) and back down (12 miles). He has been inspired by tales about the annual Ben Nevis Foot Race, held last weekend and it has stoked his interest. The record is 1 hr, 25 min, but last week was won in 1 hr, 40 min. The West Highland Way has a race also. The record is 17.5 hrs, done in a forced military march in one weekend, or so we were told.

We spend some time at the Ben Nevis visitor center talking to the ranger before starting the climb. Peter took off running as we cheered him on. Its a nice day with beautiful mountain scenery and, like the last five days, cloudy and no rain. The footpath is mostly stone, but very uneven and rocky in places.

Starting up Ben Nevis

Higher and higher

Come on, lets go

Chris, wait up

After two miles, we turn a corner and meet cold, ferocious winds blowing down the burn (a large ravine). At three miles, we came to a lake and then a stone windbreak just before the path crossed over the burn on the way to the summit. We had a bite to eat and Naomi decided to take Braylon down to calmer, warmer climes for nursing. After a little exploring, Chris and I followed Naomi down the trail, meeting her just in time for a diaper change.

Path crossing Red Burn

Observatory structures on Ben Nevis summit

Peter at Ben Nevis trig point

How do we get down?

Peter appeared, running, stopped to say hi, and kept on. We descended and met him at the visitor center where he was talking with the ranger. Peter’s time was 1 hr, 41 min up and 1 hr 10 min down with about 12 min on the summit to take photos. Trying for a faster time, he had cut across the switchbacks between Red Burn and the summit. On top, Peter said clouds were cold and dark, hardly able to see anything through the mist (I lightened the trig point photo). The ranger told us that earlier this summer, a four year old reached the summit.

Is this real?

Ahh, saved

We had our little “end of walk” celebration with the Rioja and went into town for shopping and dinner. We found an upstairs restaurant over a pub, good ale, good food and, everyone’s favorite, sticky toffee pudding with hot custard.

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