Backpacking UK, Ben Nevis is the Highest Mountain in the British Isles!

Best backpacking UK: Reaching a height of 4,406 feet, Ben Nevis is located in Fort William, Highlands, Scotland and is the highest mountain in the British Isles!

Ben Nevis
Ben Nevis, backpacking uk

To a tilted plateau, this is what several periods of glaciation can do. A Munro is a mountain in Scotland with a height over 3,000 ft, since it is the highest mountain in the Isle it is a Munro. Virtually rising from the sea, its location is right by the west coast. You have to climb it from sea to peak, to ascend to the top. The fact that there is virtually no relief from the incline makes Ben Nevis a real tough hike! Your legs will hurt after this hike, unless you are a super athlete.

Backpacking UK Training

The preparation for any other mountain expedition is the same as the training for the mountain. There is no way it should take more than nine to ten hours, but it is hard backpacking UK. If you choose the weekend in summer, it will be busy. There is only one place to get water on the trail, so take some extra.

Backpacking UK Start

Take a quick drink of water and begin with all the equipment packed and on your back. Follow the people who are starting the hike at the campsite and head for the mountain after using the bridge to cross the River Nevis. The hardest is the first part. To get to the Ben Nevis trail, take the path from the river. Here, you will just love the steep steps! On the entire mountain, the climb here is the steepest. If less than decent fitness, these steps will wipe out anyone!

River Nevis
River Nevis, backpacking uk

Much easier is the walking on the Ben path. Though it may be possible to do so in bad weather, in good weather you can't get lost. Up to the top, you follow the path. There are a couple of switch backs and then, between the hill you are hiking up and Ben Nevis, the trail travels around into a depression. Between the two summits, a switchback takes you onto a bowl. Passing a sea inlet or a small lake, the path takes you to where someone has built a cairn on your left. This is a good spot to stop and rest.

Begin again and you will start to ascend and you will come upon lots of rocks, after your rest. Switching back 5 or 6 times, hiking up from your resting place you can see the rocky trail stretch up Ben Nevis. Up the higher lengths, you may see tiny people struggling. The trail being followed at the resting place, climbs up the side of the Ben; another trail eventually takes you on a hike of five munros, and circles round the back.

Rocky Trail
Rocky Trail, backpacking uk

You quickly come across the only place on the whole ascent where you can refill your water bottle, as you continue up the trail. It is time to continue once refreshed. This next part is real tough! Making it slippery, the path can be dusty, and has lots of small stones and rocks. Even on good days, there is no relief from the wind whistling round the mountain, so the gusts can be very strong and it can get cold. You can see the top seems to be just at the end of the switchbacks, when looking up.

Refill Your Water Bottle
Refill Your Water Bottle, backpacking uk

The truth is that there is still far to go, once you have climbed to the end of the switchback. Lots of rocks and nothing else, the terrain here looks like the moon! Compared to the surrounding rocks, the path here has a paler coloration. It could be easy to stumble off the trail in poor visibility. It is fairly common to have to hike through snow at this point, no matter the season, and this section of the mountain is flatter than the preceding switchbacks, but it still ascends. From where they have found the bodies of hikers, there are several cairns here, some still with crosses sticking out of them.

Just head for the summit and stick to the path. The top of Ben Nevis is large and flat. You would not guess the summit was so large, from the bottom. To the left you can see the top of the five finger gullies, more snow, and ahead the top, as you follow the trail. The remains of the hotel and the observatory tell you that you have made it to the top. About ten feet above the rest of the summit, there is a large cairn on the top. Everyone in the British Isles is below you if you climb this. You have reached the top, congratulations! Have some lunch, take a break, and then you have the joy of the descent down. Backpacking UK is all about this!

Ben Nevis Summit
Ben Nevis Summit, backpacking uk

Backpacking UK Going Down

So now you have to go back down, but you've reached the top, on a clear day you can see the Mountains of Mourn in Northern Ireland and equally far in the other directions. Since it is easier going down than up you can just relax, the route is the way you came up, which makes for less interesting scenery, but more time to look at it! You can see the West Highland Way joining a forestry track, on the opposite side of the Glen. Fairly easy is the first part. It seems easy going, because the plateau is not that steep; soon, this section is over, and your legs now have to stop you tumbling down the hillside, and are very tired. Hopefully, you remembered to bring your trekking poles!

West Highland Way
West Highland Way, backpacking uk

By the first turn your legs will be feeling the decline, and the next section is a series of switchbacks, slippery and steep. The easiest way down is to let your legs catch the slope, and then choose a large rock that looks stable and use the rock to stop yourself before you loose control. To choose a rock only 4 to 5 steps away, is probably the best method. Using your trekking poles, the other choice is to try and maintain control over every and each step. With the full control method, your legs would be in much pain without hiking poles, but even with the first method they are going to be sore at the end!

It is time to finish off this hike, once the switchbacks are over, and you have rested by the river to refill your water supply. Maybe you won't want to stop, having got into a rhythm that would hurt too much to change, or it may be your last stop on the trail. With springy soil and peat cushioning your poor battered feet, walking past the lochan is a joy. While you can, enjoy it. As you fall from the lochan to the final section, where the steep steps meet the trail, soon the trail becomes more rocky.

Lochan, backpacking uk

At this point your poor abused body will be cursing them with every and each step, though loving these on the way up. As the hill is too steep to use the lovely soft grass, you must use them. You will still have those terrible steps to go down and by now your legs will be aching. You have 100 yards of soft ground, mud, grass, bliss, then you have to cross the bridge. Up to it, the bridge has five steps. In the known universe, the five hardest steps! These steps can be the straw that breaks the camel's back, after going down continuously for so long! There is a hand rail, and it will be needed to help you out. You have finished backpacking UK, once across the bridge!

Backpacking UK Recovery

The recuperation time needed to fully recover varies. It depends on how often you walk this sort of incline and distance, how old you are, how hard you pushed yourself and your fitness level. Due to pain, on average it takes about a week to get rid of all stiffness, with the first couple of days spent avoiding stairs. A fairly fit hiker was unable to climb any stairs the next day, after a recent expedition where he leaped up the hill like a mountain goat, seemed able to take it all in stride and with no great gasps for air.

You should be just fine if you use common sense and take your time backpacking UK!

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