We’ll have to get up early.
We’ll need to leave by 6am, but I’m pretty sure we can do it all in one day.
It will take us over three hours to drive there, somewhere between 5 and 7 hours to climb it, and then three hours to drive back home. Plus I think we should stop somewhere for dinner.
Taido was talking about climbing Ben Nevis,
the tallest mountain in Scotland (and the UK) at 1344 meters (4414 ft).
We had wanted to climb it the whole time we lived in Scotland.
It had been on our list since moving there. We had even considered trying to climb it on our very first fall break but had opted to wait for better weather or for when we had more time.
We waited a long time for better weather and more time. I had pictured us spending a week in the area of Fort William, climbing munros, taking ferries and seeing many of the parts of Scotland we had “saved” until the end.
But somehow, the time got away from us.
Three years slipped by so quickly.
So in our final weeks, with less than a month left in Scotland, Taido was still determined for us to tackle Ben Nevis.
It’s not even supposed to be difficult.
Just a lot of elevation gain.
(Note to self: He always says things like this.)
So we gambled on the Scottish weather and ended up with quite possibly the most gorgeous day ever.
Less than a week after I flew to Scotland from Arkansas, I found myself climbing up, up, up.
High into the blue, blue sky.
I huffed and puffed and did major penance for the weeks of drinking margaritas and lying by the pool back home.
But I made it.
Along with everyone else.
Our friend, Amy, came along to share in the fun with us, and she was super gracious about waiting for me to bring up the rear.
We spent a little while on top before heading back down with the throngs of other folks climbing Ben Nevis on that gorgeous August day.
These cairns and the mountains beyond them where my final view before heading back down.
And the going down, well, it was harder than going up. It actually went on forever and ever.
At least that’s what my knees would tell you.
The kids would get way ahead because they can run and do not have creaky knees.
Also, I don’t think they stop to take it the views.
The gorgeous-ness of Scotland on a sunny day.
I knew on this day that our departure was looming so I was trying to hold each frame a little longer.
All those shades of green and blue.
And heather all in bloom.
But my legs were aching something fierce coming down these rocky trails.
I was so happy to reach this little loch and the end of the trail. We celebrated big with a stop at a pub for classic Scottish fare. Burgers and fish and chips and beers were all ordered up and promptly devoured.
By 10:30pm we were home and in bed.
Taido was right.
You can do it all in one day from Aberdeen, but man it was a doozy of a day.
I still hope we get more time one day in that part of Scotland, but I don’t imagine we will ever have more sunshine and blue sky than we did on our epic Ben Nevis day together.
So glad we did it!
And it wasn’t the last mountain we climbed in Scotland. We managed to fit one more munro in: Mt. Keen! Stay tuned for that one next time!
PS. Here’s the map info, directions and trail notes for climbing Ben Nevis!
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