Where do you start. Is it possible to be happy and unhappy all at the same time? Yes. That's exactly how I felt at the top of Ben Nevis.
We did it together with my friend Flam (ironically, we met on a A Place in the Sun where it's always sunny and plus 25'C …). I'll be honest, we hated the whole experience UNTIL later on that evening when we ate everything of the menu at the local pub and realised what we’ve actually managed to achieve. We felt happy again. And very proud of our completed challenge.
We managed this climb in the most atrocious weather conditions. It was raining, 40 miles an hour winds and foggy all the way. I knew it wasn't going to be easy anyway. I have respect for any mountain, even when you think ‘it's just over 1300m' It’s a lot, especially when you’re freezing cold and soaking wet (despite all the proper gear and layers I had on me).
IT took us about 4 hours to get up and 3 to get down… but it felt never-ending. I got to the top and kind of didn’t feel anything. Just wanted to get down as soon as. I lost Flam on the way.. but as I was heading down, there she was, equally happy and unhappy like me. So I went up again, the last 300m more or less. (you could say I peaked TWICE that day)
I’m sure there’s breath-taking views from the top…but we only saw fog, fog and more fog. I was desperate to just be sitting by the fire place in the hotel.
It was my proper first time in Scotland also, I've been to Edinburgh once before…but that’s about it. Have to say the views are stunning (the ones I managed to saw from the bus at least): towering mountains, thick woodland and meandering rivers (ha I feel I’m writing a piece to camera for the presenter here) But really, I’ve been discovering more of the UK lately and there’s some true hidden gems on this island! Cornwall, Scotland, and hoping to tick off Wales and the Lake District next year with Flaminia again (to finish of this 3 peaks challenge!)
We only had 72h to do this whole round trip, fitting it in between our hectic telly jobs. First a 5h train journey and then a bus which was another 3 hours. We stayed in Glen Nevis for the night, in a basic , does-the-job hotel. On the website it said SPA ..yeah, not quite. Either way, looked surprisingly packed when we came down for breakfast. Maybe everyone decided to climb Ben Nevis on that awful foggy day,
We had rain proof trousers and coats, good climbing boots, backpack with food, water, extra layers...and it all got wet at the end of the day. I thought my gear was really water proof abut not after 7 hours of consistent rain. The sheer thought of it now gives me the shivers …next time, I said to Flam, I’m only climbing in spring / summer!!
*BTW can you see the guy...wearing SHORTS in the photo above? WTF?
Yeah, I have mixed feeling about climbing in general…I like the fact I can tick it off, experience that I've done it feeling. But… jeeez, I wanted to kill myself a few times on the way up. I remember the same in Marocco climbing Toubkal. It was worth the views there, that’s for sure.
As I said, we will do the other two highest peaks in the UK in 2019 and then hoping to 'tick off' the highest peak in Poland, Rysy. Don’t think I’ll manage more climbing challenges apart from this. I’m prefer driving cars, bikes and flying planes...