'Fours' go to Fort William

Following the ascent of Snowdon in 2007, David felt a desire to climb Ben Nevis in 2008 and invited anyone who was interested to join him. After investigating various possibilities Bill organised accommodation at the Clan MacDuff Hotel just South of Fort William. Eventually 12 intrepid explorers booked on the 'adventure of a lifetime' and began their training to conquer the 4,409 foot Scottish mountain affectionately known as 'The Ben'. It was decided to spend 3 days in Fort William in the hope that at least one would have favourable weather for this historic ascent and the other two days could be spent exploring the local area. (Did the group not know that only one day in ten is reputed to be clear on 'The Ben'.)
Thanks to Robb for the photos and comments.
Despite the efforts of the Scottish weather in dampening the spirits a fine time was had by all. Thanks to Bill for co-ordinating the trip and the selection of some fine accommodation.

 

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Day 1: A trip to Mallaig on The Jacobite

With a poor weather forecast at high level David and Bill were dispatched to buy tickets for the train to Mallaig. This 84 mile trip is described as one of the great rail journeys of the world. After crossing the world famous 21 arch Glenfinnan viaduct, which has been used in Harry Potter movies, it stops in the village to give you time to stretch legs and visit the museum. Continuing on the journey there are views to various islands and  the southern tip of Skye, eventually reaching Mallaig with lots of time to explore before taking the return journey.

The skirt of the lone piper sees the intrepid travellers on their way

 

The Jacobite

 

and again

 

A welcome cup of tea at the dining car at Glenfinnan Station

 

The hills rising up from Loch Shiel at Glenfinnan,
site of 'The Raising of the Standard' to rally the clans by Bonnie Prince Charlie

 

A highland slowplough!

 

Our first view of Mallaig harbour - not raining - yet!

 

After a short walk the Isles come into view through the mist - Rhum?

 

The mountains of Skye dominate the northern horizon

 

Returning to the harbour and looking forward to fish & chips and a cup of tea

 

Returning to the hotel the view was stunning . . . well, in between the rain showers and low cloud

 

Loch Linnhe heads out to sea

 

North towards the Great Glen and Loch Eil

 

Loch Linnhe - shortly before the rain

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Day 2: The Nevis Gorge and Steall Falls
A short easy walk climbing through a wild, steep-sided, wooded gorge to Upper Glen Nevis and Steall waterfall, one of the finest falls in the Highlands. The weather forecast suggested that The Ben would be inhospitable but later we found out that the West Highland Way party ran up to the top and jogged back!

The water of Nevis above the lower falls car park

 

Low clouds shroud the mountains of the glen

 

Heads down and we're off . . . up the glen

 

Having reached the upper car park we admire the water slide pouring down from up on Ben Nevis

 

A glimpse of what lies ahead

 

A water hazard is negotiated

 

The natural power of the falls has eroded the walls of the gorge  . . .

 

creating smooth shining surfaces and hollows

 

The Steall Falls tumble down from the corrie between the peaks

 

Elevenses at the wire rope bridge

 

'Braveheart' David impresses the rest of the group with his high wire skills

 

Bill looks on as a helicopter swoops through the glen on a training run

 

Ben Nevis? The clouds clear before the rain

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Day 3: 'The Ben'
Despite the weather the groups elects to go fir it!!!!! It can only get better and after all this is what we came for.

The leaders strike out onto the mountain path at the foot of The Ben

 

Looking ahead and we are not deterred

 

Bill makes the ascent look so easy

 

The Glen gets further away as we ascend

 

The stairway to the top?

 

The long and winding road - are we nearly there yet???

 

Locahn Meall an t-Suide, the 'Tarn, the point of decision - do we carry on?

 

Pam and Derek lead the way

 

Dorothy takes a moment to count the bends

 

The leading pack stop close to the summit for a Winter pose - this is June isn't it??

 

The war memorial on the summit, but where is the trig point? Where are you Derek? . . . . Over here!

 

Finally there!!!!

 

And it's all smiles despite a misty wet day

 

The hut, and is this David appearing through the mist?

 

The highest lunch stop in the land!!

 

After descending in the rain and the mist - finally a view of Loch Linnhe from above

 

The group marches down the descending path to the tarn

 

Our destination lies below

 

The conquering hero, Bill strides home. "What a miserable day!" he cries. Bill would go to any lengths for a glass of Glenfarclas 105!

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