'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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