Man, it seems an epic task to document even a tiny portion of the weekend’s mysteries, but i’ll try. Who knows how many parts it will take, but here goes. Oh, and hopefully i’ll gloss over the bits Cathy picks up on in her far more amusing, witty, entertaining style. She was the idea behind the trip, the reason for it and, it should be said, a massive part of the fun. So thanks to her for…well, everything, really!
So, Friday morning and with a car full of walking bits, far too much dodgy food for mountain energy and driving cravings, off we set for Fort William. Every mapping site in the world reckoned on 9.5 hours for the journey, so setting off at 8.45 seemed reasonable, hoping for a reasonably clear run and a bit of luck. Well, Cathy thought her luck had run out when, nearing Birmingham, a bit of avoidance was needed to dodge the two inner lanes of stationary traffic. It’s odd, but on my only other Scotland trip for a wedding (my brother…Gretna Green) a similar manoeuvre was required, outside lane to inside, on the M25, caused by excessive glove box fiddling when the traffic had stopped. Must be something in the route…or my devil may care driving style.
Anyhow, we missed everyone, cleared Manchester, stopped for a sandwich, got lost (ish) around Glasgow, had a nice run up the A82 and arrived, 9.75 hours later, finding our hotel right at the entrance to the town. By pure fluke, all our hotels were so handy it seemed unreal. It wasn’t bad. Certainly nothing special, but hey.
So at 8pm, we were in the allotted bar to meet the fellow trippers only to be alone until the phone went, telling us the meeting place had changed, we were late and were about to be struck by lightning or similar. So we found the others, settled for a briefing of the coming days, went to bed and slept. Until all of ooh, 5.30ish.
Nasty. So, we got to the mountain for 7 only for one of the guides to be late, which set the tone for a fun walk, really. Not taking it too seriously, we set off, stopped and atarted as the groups found their own pace, realised that mountains are in fact quite rocky (to be expected, odd how some thought they’d be quite friendly places!), sweated to death, cooled down, got annoyed at the wind, wondered how much further it would be, marvelled at the runner who looked so fresh considering he’d just run it, got embedded in cloud, took some photos at the top, annoyed people around me by telling fellow walkers still on the way up how crap it was at the top, got pissed off how long it was taking to come down, realised I may not really be patient enough for this walking malarky, threatened to go home since it was crap and I wasn’t up for two more days of this, got to the bottom, got fuel, bought a paper, found a restaurant, ate, drove, drove some more, didn’t get lost and arrived in Gosforth about 8.30pm.
Ben Nevis is, it must be said, quite pretty. I did enjoy it, the day was long, Scotland isn’t my favourite country (it’s too far away) even though I really liked Fort William but all in, I was ready for Scafell.