Hiking in Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in Scotland

Ben Nevis with its 1,344m is the highest mountain in Scotland and from the British Isles. For many it is a Sunday route, for others one of Britain's greatest challenges. In summer, only 1,344m of unevenness on a cobbled road separates you, since you leave almost from the sea. In winter the bad weather, ice and snow. Two seasons that make the Ben Nevis Be a very different mountain.

That's right, ascending to the season depends on the season Ben Nevis It can be relatively “simple” if you usually practice sports, since you must overcome an ascent of more than 6h and 1,344m of unevenness. Obviously it is not an ascension for everyone, but year after year more than 100,000 people try to reach this mythical summit.

Ascent to Ben Nevis

Scotland's highest mountain

There are two points to access the best known route, the Pony Track on the south face. From the paid parking of Fort william or from the Youth Hostel, place we chose to spend the night. From the second you can park and it is also free.

Ben Nevis

Before embarking on the route, it is worth reflecting. We talk about more than 1,300m of unevenness, nothing negligible, and in winter or spring even if you see people trying to climb in shoes or without a backpack, forget it. These people will not even arrive and, in addition, they can suffer one of the multiple accidents that occur in the Ben Nevis. Possibly the majority stay at the point where the snow begins and have to turn around for time, for ice or for not having been properly equipped.

Lochan Meall An T-suidhe

At the beginning of the route you start to realize the "ladder" or pavement that is there to climb the Ben Nevis Much of the road was used since 1881 to reach the observatory and the only way to raise food was with ponies and carts, so the road is not only well marked, but there are moments that seem to be paved.

The drop is rapidly covering the valley behind and Fort William. One of the most impressive points of the route is when you reach theLochan Meall An T-suidhe, a lake hidden between the mountains and meeting point of many agitated and forceless hikers.

Ben Nevis

Further on there is a step that is drawn by a small bridge over a stream and the ascent continues in Zigzag. During spring sometimes at this point is when the snow appears. In our case we saw it shortly before and up to 200m above we didn't have to use crampons.

Ben Nevis

If your ascent begins in the early hours you can find the very hard snow on the crest or on the top of the mountain that goes to the top, moment you must inevitably use the crampons. If your ascent begins later and it is a sunny day, of the few the truth, you can attack the top later and you will find the snow much softer and somewhat safer.

Ben Nevis

From the skirt you still can't see the top of Ben Nevis nor the observatory, but the imposing one is already glimpsed precipice 700m surrounding the summit. This precipice is left to the left carefully to reach the top, but if there is fog it is better not to try, as there are areas with cracks and the fall can be deadly.

Ben Nevis

Already at the top you can see the only building in the area, the old one observatory, now become a small refuge. From here the views are stunning and the truth, it is a pass to be in the highest point of Scotland, Great Britain or the British Isles. For almost an hour we didn't see anyone else at the top, so we were fortunate to be able to reign over all the British for a brief moment. Our own anti-Trafalgar.

Jump on Ben Nevis Scotland 7: 1 (Lonely Planet Country Guides) Language…
  • Neil Wilson, Andy Symington
  • Publisher: GeoPlaneta
  • Issue no. 7 (04/07/2017)
EUR 23.66 See on Amazon

Practical data

Before leaving for Scotland

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  • Airport Transfers
  • Car rental found a 15% discount
  • The best excursions in the Highlands

What to wear

Winter, spring and autumn

Before leaving, you have to see the state of the snow. Usually, a climb to Ben Nevis outside the summer will need winter equipment:

  • Crampons
  • Ice ax
  • Canes
  • Leggings
  • Winter clothes
  • Winter pants and other waterproof upper
  • Polar or primaloft type lining
  • Windstopper, since the wind at the top is important
  • Waterproof or Goretex type jacket
  • Winter gloves
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses and blizzards
  • Winter boots


Here the thing changes. Although it could snow, the summit does not have to be snowy, so the climb will be much simpler and material will hardly be needed. Basically a standard summer kit where you include good hiking boots, raincoat and a fleece. Up it refreshes, but the output can be very hot. Never forget the water.

Royal Army helicopter

Where to sleep?

The most economical option in the hostel network from Scotland and also allow you to book online. One of these hostels is right at the starting point towards the top of Ben Nevis and its name is Glen Nevis Youth Hostel, our right choice. Leaving the hostel and going for a walk is priceless :-D. And that is one of the cheapest places in the area.

How to get?

If you do not have your own vehicle, the train is the best alternative. It takes about 5 hours from the city of Edinburgh.

Other routes through Scotland

Travel insurance

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