Ben Nevis is Britain’s
largest mountain, with a height of 4,406 feet above sea level. The car park and Visitor
Centre is not far above the level of Loch Linnhe, so the climb begins almost at
sea level. This mountain is small by international standards and the popular
route is along a relentless, but safe and steady path. However, it is not to be
taken lightly. it has an alpine microclimate at the summit and can be at
sub-zero temperatures in midsummer. On average, 4 people a year die on this
mountain. The name ‘Nevis’ is very old and its origin is not fully known. It is
known that the river Nevis was named first and the mountain was named after it.
Rounding a bend. Ben Nevis trail.
Looking back over the Carn Mor Dearg
Approaching the summit, at about the
level, trail route. August, 1971. Unusually
Descending from summit of Ben Nevis
in good weather. August, 1971.
important – you may well sweat on the way up only to find that you rapidly lose
heat at the summit, so windproofs are essential, as are good walking boots. The
ascent will take at least 3 hours and the return journey is likely to take 2 ½
The road to the
Ben Nevis visitor centre is a turning off the roundabout on the northern side
of Fort William. As one of the area’s major attractions, it is clearly
signposted. The official Glen Nevis visitor centre has a good sized car park
with toilets, picnic tables and the Visitor Centre itself.
Start at Glen
Nevis main car park (GR 123732). The Visitor Centre is at one end of the car
park. The route begins from the other end.
footbridge and follow the path beside the river before turning left and
climbing beside the wall towards the farm. After about a half a mile (GRI26729)
you join a more gentle terrace path climbing gently up across the side of Glen
Nevis. This is the obvious as there are no other main tracks. Path swings left
(north) to climb more steeply along the flank of Red Burn (a ravine). Skirt the
top of Red Burn, crossing a stream, before swinging back southwards and onto
more rugged screes (start of “zigzags”).
slope eases, and you may now see some snow. Stay on the main path, and follow
the obvious route with small stone cairns in the snow. If in doubt, keep on the
southern edge of the snow and do not be tempted towards the left, or North
Face, which can be very dangerous. The sharp drop is sometimes soncealed by
mist. After several hundred yards on fairly flat snow and scree, you will see
the remains of the weather station and the summit cairn off to the left
Retrace the same
route to Glen Nevis, taking care as you leave the plateau itself.