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Mountain Track

 

Pre-requisites

You should have a reasonable level of fitness to do this route but with lots of determination, most people will manage. The hike is 10 miles (16km) in total with 1300m of ascent and descent so is still a long day. Average timings are around 4 hours up and 3 hours down.

This is by far the most popular way to the summit of Ben Nevis but should not be underestimated. The track was originally built to allow ponies to carry supplies to the observatory on the summit and is sometimes called the 'Pony Track'. It starts from Achintee where a path snakes south-westwards up the slopes of the adjacent hill, Meall an-t Suidhe(711m- hill of the seat) This eventually turns north-eastwards towards the 'Halfway lochan' (which is actually a bit less than halfway!)

The Red Burn (a stream which marks the true halfway up!) is crossed shortly afterwards. The character of the route changes as height is gained and the fine red granite on the path makes way for  the darker andesite on the higher slopes of the Ben.

 

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The 'Zig Zags' are then reached and followed to the summit. The Summit plateau itself is marked by the Summit cairn and trig point and the remains of the old Observatory which was manned for over 20 years from the 1880's. The Mountain Track comes remarkably close to the vertical cliffs of the North Face, with care needed to avoid Gardyloo Gully in poor visibilty.

 

The descent can be long and arduous and good navigation skills are essential to get off the mountain safely in mist or cloud. Our guides will be with you every step of the way, giving you encouragement when needed and allowing you to enjoy your time of Britain's highest mountain.

The summit of Ben Nevis (1345m) from Tower Gully

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