Ben Nevis!  Highest Peak in Britain

At 4,406 feet, hiking up Ben Nevis is similar to undertaking a hike up Mount Washington, (New Hampshire).  They are both roughly 4-5 miles up, and 4-5 miles down, depending on your route.  Ben Nevis starts at near sea level, so you climb almost all of that 4400 feet.  Mount Washington, is 6,288 feet at the summit, but you start the at 2,050 feet so the actual climb is very similar in both distance and elevation.  They are also similar in that it is rare to get a clear day at the summit.  We thought we might get lucky, and in a way we did.  The clouds were expected to clear mid-afternoon so we waited until noon to begin our hike.  Part way up we did SEE the summit, but by the time we were at the summit, there was a thick foggy cloud cover again.  We had some spectacular views both on the way up and the way down so it was worth the effort.  

The walk is easy for the first mile, easier than any of the trails we’ve been on this week.  However, it gets steeper and more challenging as you climb and the last mile is a very loose pile of slippery scree.  Luckily, the shopping trip Ken promised me yesterday, resulted in a pair of super light, super nice hiking/running poles.  I’ve been thinking ever since my hip surgery that good poles would be really useful.  We researched on line and found what we wanted, and we knew we could order them at a cheaper price.  However, when we went into Ellis Brigham, a mountaineering/outdoor store in Fort William, the employee who helped us was very gracious and extremely knowledgeable.  I always feel that if you get top rate service somewhere, it is worth the few extra dollars to buy directly from the person who helped educate you.  Plus, I’d always prefer support an actual store than some online multi-millionaire if I can.   The poles were worth every gram on this hike, both up and down!  

Ken’s big challenge to himself for this trip has been to try the famous Scottish dish, “Haggis, Neeps, and Tatties”.   Haggis is a sausage type dish made from sheep internals, Neeps are mashed turnips, and Tatties are mashed potatoes.  Tonight was the night and he actually liked it so much, he intends to do a nationwide comparison.  I’m still on a search for the best Cullen Skink.  


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