Our latest weekend in Scotland to climb Ben Nevis, was a great success. All 24 guests made it to the summit on Sunday and we had some fantastic local walks around Glencoe on the other days.
These were just a few of the kind comments and reviews we had following the weekend:
“Thank you all, with extra special thanks to both Yen and Kevin, for such a brilliant weekend away – not just a weekend of hiking but of good food and company xx ” – JH
“Thanks for an amazing weekend! Great to meet you all :)” – MH
“Best weekend! Thanks so much everyone xxx” – TA
“Thanks Kevin. It was a fantastic weekend. Lovely people, great company and we were very lucky with the weather which was an unexpected bonus.” – TF
If you want to see details of our next weekend break to climb Ben Nevis in September, click on the link here.
On Friday we picked everyone up from Glasgow airport and whisked them to our hostel in Glencoe. After settling in to rooms and a few snacks and nibbles we had dinner in the cosy dining room followed by a briefing for the weekend.
Saturday is usually the day we reserve for climbing Ben Nevis, however the forecast was for heavy rain and a possibility of thunder and lightening in the afternoon. So instead we scheduled a climb of the very prominent small mountain at the head of Glencoe, called the Pap of Glencoe. Pap being a Scottish description of its very conical shape.
Its a steep climb at times, but very rewarding, as it gives such great views of the surrounding lochs and mountains all the way to the summit.
Its an ideal half day walk as we are aiming to be finished by 2pm, when the heavy rain is due. The views from the summit are spectacular and its the perfect spot for a group shot and lunch.
The views on the way back down are equally satisfying and we make it to the hostel, just as the rain starts. The rest of the afternoon is spent relaxing and getting some well earned refreshment in the Clachaig Inn, just down the road. Its also a great opportunity for everyone to get to know each other.
We have another home cooked dinner in the hostel on Saturday evening and plan for the climb Ben Nevis day on Sunday.
This was our big day to climb Ben Nevis the highest mountain in the UK. It was a fairly cloudy start but the forecast was good and improving as the day went on. It was also a lot cooler than Saturday, which was a big relief to many.
We started hiking just after 9am and made our way past the Ben Nevis inn and onto the main path.
To climb Ben Nevis, the main path breaks into three main sections. The first part of the climb heads up from Glen Nevis and tracks above the Glen for a while before veering left and up above the Red Burn towards the Lochan Meall an t-Suidhe. This gives a convenient place for a break and re-group and check up on how everyone is coping.
The second section on the climb Ben Nevis path is the famous zig-zags. Here the trail switches back and forth as it climbs the western flank of the mountain. Its a good trail and goes up at a steady gradient and so we stop at several points on the way up.
We break into two groups about half way up the zig zags. The main group of 20 is making great time and comes with Yen and I, and then there is a smaller group of six who are finding the going a bit tougher and opt for a slightly slower pace. The second group go with Kevin Woods our assistant leader. Kevin is a local guide we have hired for two days to help out as we are such a large group and it enables us to split into different size groups, depending on fitness and speed of walking.
Once we reach the top of the zig zags, the final stage of the climb begins. The path flattens out a bit and takes a more direct route towards the summit over a large boulder field.
We reach the summit and have a stop for our packed lunch and wait for the second group. As soon as they all arrive we head over to the huge summit cairn for a group photo.
And then Kevin and his girls settle down for their lunch and celebrate together.
The descent is back down the same path, but the views improve all the time as the clouds start to lift and clear.
We have tables booked at the world famous Clachaig Inn in Glencoe for dinner and to celebrate. Its the perfect way to end a great day and really proud of the fact that the whole team made it to the summit.
Our last day and so we offer two walking options today, after the big day up the Ben. One group heads up to explore the Lochan and forest walks around Glencoe village. This is an easy walking option for anyone with tired legs, but also the walks are very scenic and make a really nice relaxed option.
For those still wanting to explore further, we take a group higher up Glencoe to the lost valley, where we are greeted by the lone piper.
And great views of the mountains and the three sisters that dominate the beginning of the Glen.
Our walk up the Lost Valley takes us steeply up through a narrow ravine, with some fun scrambling sections and lovely scenic areas beside the river and pools.
Until finally we reach the lost valley itself, hidden deep within the mountains of Glencoe.
After exploring the valley, we head back down and back to the hostel, for a quick change and then off to the airport, or drive home.
It was a great weekend of hiking in one of the most spectacular locations in the UK, made all the better, by a great and fun group who we hope to see again soon.
If you would like to join us on our next trip to Glencoe and Ben Nevis just click here.