• Coach E

Have you ever fancied climbing Ben Nevis?

Happy New Year everyone. I hope everyone was able to enjoy it as much as you could with the restrictions in place and while staying safe. As it’s a new year I know a lot of you will be looking to try new things or tick things off your bucket list, when you are able to. For some of you this includes climbing different mountain ranges or just getting outdoors and exploring more of the UK. Therefore, I took the time to chat to Joanne who took the opportunity after the initial lockdown to tick climbing Ben Nevis of her bucket list. I thought some of you would find it interesting and a good insight for those of you who are thinking of doing it in the future. Let’s see what she had to say.

Why did you decide to climb Ben Nevis?

Living in Scotland it was something I always wanted to do. I have a slight breathing problem so I knew at points this would be a struggle for myself, but it was a great achievement to say I have done the climb.

What preparation did you do before you went?

I went on some walks before just small hill walls and general walks. I could have trained more for it but we didn't plan it far in advance. I looked up the route online but never took a map just had the route saved onto the phone but never needed to use it. We reviewed the walk online and spoke to friends who had done it to see what to expect about the walk and so we knew how long it would take to roughly walk. We got information regarding the amount of fluids we would need for it too and we made sure we had the right clothes and boots for walking it.

What are the facilities like at Ben Nevis?

There is a Ben Nevis Tourist Centre with a car park and toilets. There is also a separate additional car park before you come to the tourist centre which would be a small walk to then get to the tourist centre before you start the walk. You need to get there sharp to ensure you get a car park space and there is a charge for parking.

Did you keep a track of the calories burned and steps taken? if so what was the final numbers?

Yes I used my Suunto Watch. I burned 3391 calories and did 35,935 steps. From the start to finish it was 15.63km.

How long did it take you?

It took 7 ½ hrs. - 3 hrs up and 4 ½ hrs coming down. I felt coming down a lot harder as I have weak knees and it took me longer to steady myself walking down the rocks.

What time of year was it? What was the weather like that day? What where the views like?

We did it on the 31st August and got a great day. The sun was out and the temperature for the majority of the walk was nice. Getting near the top you could definitely feel the temperature change and then when we got to the top it was cold. However, there was no snow which is unusual for this time of year. We were very lucky and got amazing views as the sky was clear.

Is there a walking path or did you just find your own way up?

There is a path which is easy to follow if you get a good day. The terrain is mostly large rocks and stones, especially near the top. If you got a misty day you could easily go off the wrong path or not realise you are at the edge of that path.

Was it busy?

It was a good busy. There was a good number of people walking which help make the atmosphere be positive. There were some people walking a similar pace to us which was nice as they would overtake us then you would overtake them so it was a good way to keep each other going seeing them get a bit further then eventually reach the top.

Lastly what advice do you have for anyone else who is thinking of climbing Ben Nevis?

I would recommend them to make sure you have a basic fitness level at least. Ensure you have the right mindset that you will make it to the top as that is what kept me going as I did not want to be defeated. If you are not the fittest, prepare yourself because you might come to a breaking point that you need to overcome. Just keep in mind the view and feeling of achieving you will feel once the climb is done, it’s worth it. Make sure you stretch before and after especially. Have lots of fluids, energy food, hot drinks/ soup, cosy clothes including hat and gloves for the top. Have proper walking boots that are comfy and thermal socks that can keep your feet cool or warm. If you have bad knees I would recommend supports or walking sticks. Waterproofs. Don’t do it alone if you are scared of heights unless you are looking to tackle this fear. I would take a smart/fitness watch as it is good to keep time and see the calories etc you were burning to help keep you going too.

I would like to thank Joanne for her time and insight into what it is like to walk up Ben Nevis. Sounds like she had a good time and made some amazing memories. Some really good points about making sure you are prepared both physically and kit wise. If you are thinking of doing something similar make sure you do the prep work, it can sometimes be the difference between an amazing experience or a massive disaster. Whatever adventure you decide to take on next, when we are able to travel around again, make sure you are safe and courteous to the environment around you. I hope you have enjoyed this interview. If you would like to feature please get in touch. Please take 2 seconds to subscribe by entering your email address at the top of the page to stay up to date with my latest interviews and articles. Don't forget to follow on Instagram as well.

Keep evolving!

Coach E