Sunday 21 May 2017

Guiding on Ben Nevis. A National 3 peaks challenge. Friday 5th May 2017.

Iain's recent trip to Scotland didn't finish with his departure from Skye on Thursday after working with Steve Smith & Jon Glew on The Cuillin Ridge. One of our friends up north had asked Iain if he were available to assist with guiding a large party of people who were attempting a National Three Peaks Challenge starting with an ascent of Ben Nevis.

Photo one sees Iain's group after about two hours of our ascent from the visitor centre in Glen Nevis; and as you can see, the weather was continuing it's fine & settled theme. We were all glad of a light northerly breeze which as helping to keep us cool!

National three peaks challenges can be done from either south to North starting with Snowdon in Wales and finishing on Ben Nevis in Scotland - the only snag with doing them this way is that as you get progressively more tired, the climbs become longer! Therefore, doing the challenge from north to south around makes more sense.

Our group today started at 15:40 and we arrived at the summit of Ben Nevis at 19:20. Four & a half hours is the average time for this arduous climb involving 2704 metres of ascent/descent and a round trip of 17 kilometres so they didn't do badly. However - they still had Scafell Pike & Snowdon to do - all within 24 hours!

Photo three sees Iain's group on top of "The Ben". As can be seen in both photos two & three, there was still quite a lot of snow up here; and despite the sunshine, the air temperature was close to freezing - but of course this is Britain's highest mountain at 1344 metres/4406 feet high!

It used to be reckoned that if Ben Nevis was another 500 feet/152.4 metres higher, then it would be covered in a glacial icecap. With the advent of global warming theories, "The Ben" would probably need to be a bit higher than that now, but this is still a serious mountain even in Summer; and novices should take care and be prepared and able to deal with poor visibility and winter conditions at the top.

People still die on this mountain fairly frequently - so if in doubt, hire the services of a Mountain Walking Leader or Mountaineering Instructor to get you safely to the summit and back down again!

Our last photo from this post about guiding on a National Three Peaks Challenge was taken as the group began their descent from "the Ben's" summit plateau.

We were looking out west down to Loch Linnhe with its terminal westerly arm - Loch Eil, running towards the sun; and away in the distance can be seen the sea. This was another perfect and clear day and the views extended out west as far as as the Rhum Cuillin and the Skye Cuillin - the very distant mountain ranges visible beyond everything else.

Kendal Mountaineering Services do not offer National Three Peak Challenges as part of our services, but we do provide Winter Climbing Courses on Ben Nevis and elsewhere in Scotland and we can provide you with guided ascents of Scafell Pike here in The Lake District. Contact us here if you are interested in either option. We look forward to working with you.

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