Ben Nevis: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Did you know ...

More interesting facts on Ben Nevis

Include this on your site/blog:


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ben Nevis
Beinn Nibheis

Ben Nevis from Banavie. The summit is beyond and to the left of the apparent highest point.
Elevation 1,344 m (4,409 ft)
Prominence 1,344 m (4,409 ft) Ranked 1st in British Isles
Parent peak none - HP Great Britain
Listing Munro, Marilyn, Council top (Highland), County top (Inverness-shire)
Translation Venomous mountain or mountain with its head in the clouds (Scottish Gaelic)
Ben Nevis is located in Scotland
Ben Nevis
Coordinates 56°47′49.150″N 5°0′17.222″W / 56.7969861°N 5.00478389°W / 56.7969861; -5.00478389Coordinates: 56°47′49.150″N 5°0′17.222″W / 56.7969861°N 5.00478389°W / 56.7969861; -5.00478389
Topo map OS Landranger 41, Explorer 392
OS grid NN166713
First ascent 17 August 1771, by James Robertson
Easiest route Walk

Ben Nevis (Scottish Gaelic: Beinn Nibheis, pronounced [peˈɲivəʃ]) is the highest mountain in the British Isles. It is located at the western end of the Grampian Mountains in the Lochaber area of the Scottish Highlands, close to the town of Fort William.

As is common for many Scottish mountains, it is known both to locals and visitors as simply the Ben.[1][2] It attracts an estimated 100,000 ascents a year,[3] around three-quarters of which[4] are made using the well-constructed Pony Track from Glen Nevis on the south side of the mountain. For climbers and mountaineers the main attraction lies in the 700-metre (2,300 ft) high cliffs of the north face; among the highest cliffs in the United Kingdom, they harbour some classic scrambles and rock climbs of all difficulties, and are one of the principal locations in the UK for ice climbing.

The summit, at 1,344 metres (4,409 ft) above sea level, features the ruins of an observatory, which was permanently staffed between 1883 and 1904. The meteorological data collected during this period are still important for understanding Scottish mountain weather. C. T. R. Wilson was inspired to invent the cloud chamber after a period spent working at the observatory.



"Ben Nevis" is an anglicism of the Scottish Gaelic name "Beinn Nibheis". "Beinn" is the most common Gaelic word for "mountain", "Nibheis" is variously understood, though the word is commonly translated as "malicious" or "venomous".[5] An alternative interpretation is that "Beinn Nibheis" derives from "beinn nèamh-bhathais", from "nèamh" "heavens, clouds" and "bathais" "top of a man's head". A literal translation would therefore be "the mountain with its head in the clouds",[6] though "mountain of Heaven" is also frequently given.[5]


Ben Nevis forms a massif with its neighbour to the north-east, Càrn Mòr Dearg, to which it is linked by the Càrn Mòr Dearg Arête.[7] Both mountains are among the nine in Scotland over 4,000 feet (1,200 m); Aonach Beag and Aonach Mòr also being located on the Nevis massif, with Ben Macdui, Braeriach, Cairn Toul, Sgor an Lochain Uaine and Cairn Gorm being located in the Cairngorms.

Western flank of the Nevis massif; from Sgùrr Dhòmhnuill.

The western and southern flanks of Ben Nevis rise 1,200 metres (3,900 ft) in about 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) from the floor of Glen Nevis – the longest and steepest hill slope in the UK[6] – with the result that the mountain presents an aspect of massive bulk on this side. To the north, by contrast, cliffs drop some 600 metres (2,000 ft) to Coire Leis. This corrie contains the Charles Inglis Clark Memorial Hut (known as the CIC Hut), a private mountain hut located at 680 metres (2,230 ft) above sea level, owned by the Scottish Mountaineering Club[8] and used as a base for the many climbing routes on the mountain's north face.

In addition to the main 1,344 m (4,409 ft) summit, Ben Nevis has two subsidiary "tops" listed in Munro's Tables, both of which are called Càrn Dearg ("red hill").[9] The higher of these, at 1,221 metres (4,006 ft), is situated to the north-west, and is often mistaken for Ben Nevis itself in views from the Fort William area. The other Càrn Dearg (1,020 m) juts out into Glen Nevis on the mountain's south-western side. A lower hill, Meall an t-Suidhe (711 metres (2,333 ft)), is located further west, forming a saddle with Ben Nevis which contains a small loch, Lochan an t-Suidhe. The popular tourist path from Glen Nevis skirts the side of this hill before ascending Ben Nevis's broad western flank.



Ben Nevis consists mainly of igneous rock from the Devonian period (around 400 million years ago), intruded into the surrounding metamorphic schists; the intrusions take the form of a series of concentric ring dikes. The innermost of these, known as the Inner Granite, constitutes the southern bulk of the mountain above Lochan Meall an t-Suidhe, and also the neighbouring ridge of Càrn Mòr Dearg; Meall an t-Suidhe forms part of the Outer Granite, which is redder in colour. The summit dome itself, together with the steep northern cliffs, are composed of andesite and basaltic lavas. The mountain has been extensively shaped by glaciation.[10][11][12]


The steep south face of Ben Nevis from Sgurr a' Mhàim

Ben Nevis's altitude, maritime location and topography frequently lead to poor weather conditions, which can pose a danger to ill-equipped walkers. According to the observations carried out at the summit observatory from 1883–1904, fog was present on the summit for almost 80% of the time between November and January, and 55% of the time in May and June.[13] The average winter temperature was around −5 °C (23.0 °F),[13] and the mean monthly temperature for the year was −0.5 °C (31 °F).[14] In an average year the summit sees 261 gales,[14] and receives 4,350 millimetres (171 in) of rainfall, compared to only 2,050 millimetres (81 in) in nearby Fort William[15] and about 600 millimetres (24 in) in Inverness and London. Rainfall on Ben Nevis is about twice as high in the winter as it is in the spring and summer. Snow can be found on the mountain almost all year round, particularly in the gullies of the north face – with the higher reaches of Observatory Gully holding snow until September most years and sometimes until the new snows of the following season.


Ben Nevis and Fort William, seen from across Loch Linnhe.

The first recorded ascent of Ben Nevis was made on 17 August 1771 by James Robertson, an Edinburgh botanist, who was in the region to collect botanical specimens. Another early ascent was in 1774 by John Williams, who provided the first account of the mountain's geological structure.[16] John Keats climbed the mountain in 1818, comparing the ascent to "mounting ten St. Pauls without the convenience of a staircase".[17] It was not until 1847 that Ben Nevis was confirmed by the Ordnance Survey as the highest mountain in Britain, ahead of its rival Ben Macdui.

The summit observatory was built in the summer of 1883, and would remain in operation for 21 years. The first path to the summit was built at the same time as the observatory and was designed to allow ponies to carry up supplies, with a maximum gradient of one in five.[13] The opening of the path and the observatory made the ascent of the Ben increasingly popular, all the more so after the arrival of the West Highland Railway in Fort William in 1894.[18] Around this time the first of several proposals was made for a rack railway to the summit, none of which came to fruition.[17]

In 2000, the Ben Nevis Estate, comprising all of the south side of the mountain including the summit, was bought by the Scottish conservation charity the John Muir Trust.

Ascent routes

The lower part of the Ben Path, maintained at a high standard

The 1883 Pony Track to the summit (also known as the Ben Path, the Mountain Path or the Tourist Route) remains the simplest and most popular route of ascent. It begins at Achintee on the east side of Glen Nevis about 2 km (1.5 miles) from Fort William town centre, at around 20 metres above sea level. Bridges from the Visitor Centre and the youth hostel now allow access from the west side of Glen Nevis.[7][19] The path climbs steeply to the saddle by Lochan Meall an t-Suidhe at 570 m, then ascends the remaining 700 metres up the stony west flank of Ben Nevis in a series of zig-zags. It is allegedly well-made and maintained throughout its length, but the loose scree, rocks and pebbles, especially on the path's upper reaches, can be hazardous and slippery. Thanks to the zig-zags, the path is not unusually steep apart from in the initial stages, but inexperienced walkers should be aware that the descent is relatively arduous and wearing on the knees.

The CMD Arête under deep snow in spring, from the summit of Càrn Mòr Dearg

A route popular with experienced hillwalkers starts at Torlundy, a few miles north-east of Fort William on the A82 road, and follows the path alongside the Allt a' Mhuilinn. It can also be reached from Glen Nevis by following the Pony Track as far as Lochan Meall an t-Suidhe, then descending slightly to the CIC Hut. The route then ascends Càrn Mòr Dearg and continues along the Càrn Mòr Dearg Arête ("CMD Arête") before climbing steeply to the summit of Ben Nevis. This route involves a total of 1,500 metres of ascent and requires modest scrambling ability and a head for heights.[20] In common with other approaches on this side of the mountain, it has the advantage of giving an extensive view of the cliffs of the north face, which are hidden from the Pony Track.[19]

It is also possible to climb Ben Nevis from the Nevis Gorge car park at the head of the road up Glen Nevis, either by the south-east ridge or via the summit of Càrn Dearg (south-west). These routes do not require scrambling, but are shorter and steeper, and tend to be used by experienced hill walkers.

The summit

The summit war memorial, October 2006

The summit of Ben Nevis comprises a large stony plateau of about 40 hectares (99 acres).[21] The highest point is marked with a large, solidly built cairn atop which sits an Ordnance Survey trig point.

The ruined walls of the observatory are a prominent feature on the summit. An emergency shelter has been built on top of the observatory tower for the benefit of those caught out by bad weather, and, although the base of the tower is slightly lower than the true summit of the mountain, the roof of the shelter overtops the trig point by several feet, making it the highest man-made structure in the UK. A war memorial to the dead of World War II is located next to the observatory.

On 17 May 2006, a piano that had been buried under one of the cairns on the peak was uncovered by the John Muir Trust, which owns much of the mountain.[22][23] The piano is believed to have been carried up for charity by removal men from Dundee over 20 years earlier.[24]

The view from the UK's highest point is extensive. Under ideal conditions, it can extend to over 190 kilometres (120 mi), including such mountains as the Torridon Hills, Morven in Caithness, Lochnagar, Ben Lomond, Barra Head and to Knocklayd in County Antrim, Northern Ireland.[25]


The summit plateau. The ruined observatory is in the centre, with the summit cairn to the right.

A meteorological observatory on the summit was first proposed by the Scottish Meteorological Society (SMS) in the late 1870s, at a time when similar observatories were being built around the world to study the weather at high altitude.[13] In the summer of 1881, Clement Lindley Wragge climbed the mountain daily to make observations (earning the nickname "Inclement Rag"), leading to the opening on 17 October 1883 of a permanent observatory run by the SMS. The building was permanently manned until 1904, when it was closed due to inadequate Government funding. The twenty years' worth of readings still provide the most comprehensive set of data on mountain weather in Great Britain.[13]

In September 1894, C. T. R. Wilson was employed at the observatory for a couple of weeks, as temporary relief for one of the permanent staff. During this period, he witnessed a Brocken spectre and glory, caused by the sun casting a shadow on cloud below the observer. He subsequently tried to reproduce these phenomena in the laboratory, resulting in his invention of the cloud chamber, used to detect ionising radiation.[26]

Navigation and safety

View south-west from the summit in early April. When the cliff edges are corniced, accurate navigation is critical.

Ben Nevis's popularity, climate and complex topography contribute to a high number of mountain rescue incidents. In 1999, for example, there were 41 rescues and four fatalities on the mountain.[4] Some accidents arise over difficulties in navigating to or from the summit,[27] especially in poor visibility. The problem stems from the fact that the summit plateau is roughly kidney-shaped, and surrounded by cliffs on three sides; the danger is particularly accentuated when the main path is obscured by snow. Two precise compass bearings taken in succession are necessary to navigate from the summit cairn to the west flank, from where a descent can be made on the Pony Track in relative safety.[28]

In the late 1990s, Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team erected two posts on the summit plateau, in order to assist walkers attempting the descent in foggy conditions. These posts were subsequently cut down by climbers, sparking controversy in mountaineering circles on the ethics of such additions.[27][29] Critics argued that cairns and posts are an unnecessary man-made intrusion into the natural landscape, which create a false sense of security and could lessen mountaineers' sense of responsibility for their own safety.[29] Supporters of navigational aids pointed to the high number of accidents that occur on the mountain (between 1990 and 1995 alone there were 13 fatalities, although eight of these were due to falls while rock climbing rather than navigational error),[27] the long tradition of placing such aids on the summit, and the potentially life-saving role they could play. A series of solidly-constructed cairns currently (September 2009) marks the upper reaches of the Pony Track.

Climbing on Ben Nevis

The north face, with key features marked. The Càrn Dearg Buttress and Castle Ridge are to the right of the photo.

The north face of Ben Nevis is riven with buttresses, ridges, towers and pinnacles, and contains many classic scrambles and rock climbs. It is of major importance for British winter climbing, with many of its routes holding snow often until late April. It was one of the first places in Scotland to receive the attention of serious mountaineers, with a descent of Tower Ridge in 1892 the earliest documented climbing expedition on the Ben.[30][31] (It was not climbed from bottom to top for another two years). The Scottish Mountaineering Club's Charles Inglis Clark hut was built below the north face in Coire Leis in 1929. Because of its remote location, it is said to be the only genuine alpine hut in Britain.[8] It remains popular with climbers, especially in winter.

Tower Ridge is the longest of the north face's four main ridges, with around 600 metres of ascent. It is not technically demanding (its grade is Difficult), and most pitches can be tackled unroped by competent climbers, but it is committing and very exposed.[30] Castle Ridge, the first of the main ridges, is an easier scramble, while Observatory Ridge is graded Very Difficult;[32] the latter is the closest ridge to the summit. Between the Tower and Observatory Ridges is Gardyloo Gully, which takes its name from the cry of "garde à l'eau" (French for "watch out for the water"), formerly used in Scottish cities as a warning when householders threw their slops out of a tenement window into the street. The gully's top wall was the refuse pit for the now-disused summit observatory.[6] The North-east Buttress is the last and bulkiest of these four ridges, and is regarded as the hardest for its combination of technical difficulty and seriousness.[33]

The Càrn Dearg Buttress in early April

The north face contains dozens of graded rock climbs along its entire length, with particular concentrations on the Càrn Dearg Buttress (below the Munro top of Càrn Dearg NW) and around the North-east Buttress and Observatory Ridge. Classic rock routes include Rubicon Wall on Observatory Buttress (Severe) – whose second ascent in 1937, when it was considered the hardest route on the mountain, is described by W. H. Murray in Mountaineering in Scotland[34] – and, on Càrn Dearg, Centurion (HVS) and Agrippa (E5).[35]

Other classic routes were put up by Dr J. H. B. Bell and others between the Wars; these include Bell's 'Long Climb', at 1,400 ft (430 m) reputedly the longest on the mainland. Echo Wall, an extreme and as-yet ungraded climb was completed by Dave MacLeod in 2008 after two years of preparation.[36]

The north face is also one of Scotland's foremost venues for winter mountaineering and ice climbing, and holds snow until quite late in the year; in a good year, routes may remain in winter condition until mid-spring. Most of the possible rock routes are also suitable as winter climbs, including the four main ridges; Tower Ridge, for example, is grade IV on the Scottish winter grading system, having been upgraded in 2009 by the Scottish Mountaineering Club after requests by the local Mountain Rescue Team, there being numerous benightments and incidents every winter season.[37] Probably the most popular ice climb on Ben Nevis[35] is The Curtain (IV,5) on the left side of the Càrn Dearg Buttress. At the top end of the scale, Centurion in winter is a grade VIII,8 face climb.

Ben Nevis Race

1979 Ben Nevis Race
1979 Ben Nevis Race

The history of hill running on Ben Nevis dates back to 1895. William Swan, a barber from Fort William, made the first recorded timed ascent up the mountain on or around 27 September of that year, when he ran from the old post office in Fort William to the summit and back in 2 hours 41 minutes.[18] The following years saw several improvements on Swan's record, but the first competitive race was held on 3 June 1898 under Scottish Amateur Athletic Association rules. Ten competitors ran the course, which started at the Lochiel Arms Hotel in Banavie and was thus longer than the route from Fort William; the winner was 21-year-old Hugh Kennedy, a gamekeeper at Tor Castle, who finished (coincidentally with Swan's original run) in 2 hours 41 minutes.[18]

Regular races were organised until 1903, when two events were held; these were the last for 24 years, perhaps due to the closure of the summit observatory the following year.[18] The first was from Achintee, at the foot of the Pony Track, and finished at the summit; It was won in just over an hour by Ewen MacKenzie, the observatory roadman.[18] The second race ran from new Fort William post office, and MacKenzie lowered the record to 2 hours 10 minutes, a record he held for 34 years.[18]

The Ben Nevis Race has been run in its current form since 1937. It now takes place on the first Saturday in September every year, with a maximum of 500 competitors taking part.[38] It starts and finishes at the Claggan Park football ground on the outskirts of Fort William, and is 14 kilometres (8.7 mi) long with 1,340 metres (4,400 ft) of ascent.[39] Due to the seriousness of the mountain environment, entry is restricted to those who have completed three hill races, and runners must carry waterproofs, a hat, gloves and a whistle; anyone who has not reached the summit after two hours is turned back.[40] As of 2006 the records have stood unbroken since 1984, when Kenny Stuart and Pauline Howarth of Keswick Athletics Club won the men's and the women's races with times of 1:25:34 and 1:43:25 respectively.[39][41]

Environmental issues

Path to the CIC Hut alongside the Allt a' Mhuilinn

Ben Nevis's popularity and high profile have led to concerns in recent decades over the impact of humans on the fragile mountain environment. These concerns contributed to the purchase of the Ben Nevis Estate in 2000 by the John Muir Trust, a Scottish charity dedicated to the conservation of wild places. The Estate covers 1,700 hectares of land on the south side of Ben Nevis and the neighbouring mountains of Càrn Mòr Dearg and Aonach Beag, including the summit of Ben Nevis.[3]

The John Muir Trust is one of nine bodies represented on the main board of the Nevis Partnership. Founded in 2003, the Partnership, which also includes representatives from local government, Glen Nevis residents and mountaineering interests, works to "guide future policies and actions to safeguard, manage and where appropriate enhance the environmental qualities and opportunities for visitor enjoyment and appreciation of the Nevis area".[42] Its projects include path repairs and improvements and the development of strategies for visitor management.

One of the Nevis Partnership's more controversial actions has concerned the large number of memorial plaques placed by individuals, especially around the summit war memorial. Many people believe that the proliferation of such plaques is inappropriate, and in August 2006 ,the Nevis Partnership declared an intention to eventually remove these plaques (after making efforts to return them to their owners), as part of a wider campaign to clean up the mountain.[43]

In 2005, the amount of litter on the Pony Track was highlighted by national media, including BBC Radio 5 Live. Robin Kevan, a retired social worker from mid-Wales who is known as "Rob the Rubbish" for his efforts to clean up the countryside, then drove to Ben Nevis and cleaned the mountain himself, resulting in much media coverage and a concerted clean-up effort.[44]

The Glen Nevis Centre have introduced a booking and charging system to groups undertaking ascents of Ben Nevis.[45] The charge is being disputed.[46]

Ben Nevis Distillery

The Ben Nevis Distillery is a single malt whisky distillery at the foot of the mountain, located by Victoria Bridge to the north of Fort William. Founded in 1825 by John McDonald (known as "Long John"), it is one of the oldest licensed distilleries in Scotland,[47][48] and is a popular visitor attraction in Fort William. The water used to make the whisky comes from the Allt a' Mhuilinn, the stream that flows from Ben Nevis's northern corrie.[49] "Ben Nevis" 80/- organic ale is, by contrast, brewed in Bridge of Allan near Stirling.[50]

A ship's name

Ben Nevis was the name of a White Star Line packet ship which in 1854 carried the group of immigrants who were to become the Wends of Texas.[51] At least another eight vessels have carried the name since then.[52]

See also


  1. ^ ""Ben Nevis, or the 'Ben' as it is fondly known locally"". Visit Fort William Ltd. Retrieved 2007-10-23. 
  2. ^ ""Ben Nevis is almost always referred to by climbers as simply The Ben (Ben meaning Mountain)"". The Ben Nevis Challenge. Retrieved 2007-10-23. 
  3. ^ a b John Muir Trust. "Ben Nevis owned by the John Muir Trust". Retrieved 2006-11-05. 
  4. ^ a b The Nevis Working Party (2001). "Nevis Strategy" (PDF). Retrieved 2006-11-05. 
  5. ^ a b Butterfield, The High Mountains, p. 96
  6. ^ a b c W. H. Murray, The Companion Guide to the West Highlands of Scotland
  7. ^ a b Ordnance Survey Landranger 41. See also map sources.
  8. ^ a b Scottish Mountaineering Club website. "Charles Inglis Clark Memorial Hut (C.I.C.)". Retrieved 2007-11-12. 
  9. ^ revised and edited by Derek A. Bearhop. (1997). Munro's Tables. Scottish Mountaineering Club & Trust. ISBN 0-907521-53-3. 
  10. ^ McKirdy, Alan Gordon, John & Crofts, Roger (2007) Land of Mountain and Flood: The Geology and Landforms of Scotland. Edinburgh. Birlinn. Pages 114-6.
  11. ^ Gillen, Con (2003) Geology and landscapes of Scotland. Harpenden. Terra. Page 80.
  12. ^ Averis, A. B. G. and Averis A. M. (2005). "A survey of the vegetation of Ben Nevis Site of Special Scientific Interest and Special Area of Conservation, 2003-2004" (PDF). Scottish National Heritage Commissioned Report 090. Retrieved 2006-12-11. 
  13. ^ a b c d e Marjorie Roy (2004). "The Ben Nevis Meteorological Observatory 1883-1904" (PDF). International Commission on History of Meteorology. Retrieved 2006-11-27. 
  14. ^ a b Murray, Companion Guide, p. 221
  15. ^ Eric Langmuir (1995). Mountaincraft and Leadership (Third edition). SportScotland, Edinburgh. ISBN 1-85060-295-6. 
  16. ^ Suzanne Miller (2004). "Ben Nevis Geology". The Edinburgh Geologist 43: 3–9. 
  17. ^ a b Hodgkiss, The Central Highlands, p. 117
  18. ^ a b c d e f Hugh Dan MacLennan (November 1998). "The Ben Race: The supreme test of athletic fitness". The Sports Historian 18 (2). Retrieved 2009-06-02. 
  19. ^ a b Butterfield, The High Mountains, p. 97
  20. ^ Butterfield, The High Mountains, p. 98
  21. ^ "Ben Nevis". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2006-11-25.  (Subscription required for full access.)
  22. ^ "Piano found on Britain's highest mountain". The Guardian.,,1776987,00.html. Retrieved 2006-06-22. 
  23. ^ "New twist in Nevis music mystery". BBC News. 2006-05-18. Retrieved 2006-06-22. 
  24. ^ "Trust names Ben Nevis 'piano men'". BBC News. 2006-05-19. Retrieved 2006-08-15. 
  25. ^ Viewfinder Panoramas: North, South. Retrieved on 25 November 2006.
  26. ^ Nobel Foundation (1965). "C. T. R. Wilson Biography from Nobel Lectures, Physics 1922-1941, Elsevier Publishing Company, Amsterdam". Retrieved 2006-11-27. 
  27. ^ a b c The Mountaineering Council of Scotland (1997). "Ben Nevis—The Future". Newsletter 33. 
  28. ^ Mountaineering Council of Scotland. Navigation on Ben Nevis. Retrieved 2006-06-21. 
  29. ^ a b The Mountaineering Council of Scotland. "Summit Safety and Ben Nevis Cairns: The MCofS seeks a resolution" (also see sub-pages). Retrieved 2006-10-26. 
  30. ^ a b Terry Adby & Stuart Johnston (2003). The Hillwalker's Guide to Mountaineering. Milnthorpe: Cicerone. pp. 240–247. ISBN 1-85284-393-4. 
  31. ^ Hodgkiss, The Central Highlands, p. 119
  32. ^ Hodgkiss, The Central Highlands, p. 126
  33. ^ Hodgkiss, The Central Highlands, p. 127
  34. ^ W. H. Murray [1947] (1962). Mountaineering in Scotland. London: J. M. Dent.
  35. ^ a b Hodgkiss, The Central Highlands, p. 130
  36. ^ "MacLeod's Boldest: Echo Wall". Retrieved 2006-02-22. 
  37. ^ "Climbing on Ben Nevis". Scottish Climbing Archive. Retrieved 2006-10-26. 
  38. ^ "Ben Nevis Race - a brief history". Fort William Online. Retrieved 2006-11-25. 
  39. ^ a b "Scottish Hill Racing – Ben Nevis Race". Retrieved 2006-11-29. 
  40. ^ Bob Kopac. "For Sport Alone: The Ben Nevis Race". MHRRC Online. Retrieved 2009=06=02. 
  41. ^ The Ben Nevis Race. Accessed 15 January 2007.
  42. ^ "The Nevis Partnership". Retrieved 2009-06-02. 
  43. ^ The Nevis Partnership (2006-08-17). "Removal of artefacts from Ben Nevis". Retrieved 2006-10-26. 
  44. ^ "Rob the Rubbish". Retrieved 2006-06-22. 
  45. ^ Andy Strangeway (3 January 2010). "Ben Nevis". Scottish Islands Access Rights. Retrieved 12 January 2010. 
  46. ^ Mathew Little (12 January 2010). "Charging charities fees to climb Ben Nevis 'breaks access laws'". Third Sector. Retrieved 12 January 2010. 
  47. ^ "Ben Nevis Distillery". Retrieved 2006-11-25. 
  48. ^ "Ben Nevis". Edinburgh Malt Whisky Tour. Retrieved 2006-11-25. 
  49. ^ "Ben Nevis Distillery". Retrieved 2006-11-25. 
  50. ^ "Ben Nevis ale". Retrieved 2006-12-11. 
  51. ^ Lammert, Ron. "Texas Wendish Heritage Society: Brief History". Texas Heritage Society. Retrieved 2009-09-01. 
  52. ^ Miramar Ship Index: Search results for "Ben Nevis"
  • Butterfield, Irvine (1986). The High Mountains of Britain and Ireland. London: Diadem Books. pp. 96–99. ISBN 0-906371-71-6. 
  • Crocket, Ken (1986). Ben Nevis: Britain's Highest Mountain. The Scottish Mountaineering Trust. 
  • Hodgkiss, Peter (1994). The Central Highlands (5th ed.). Scottish Mountaineering Trust. pp. 116–134. ISBN 0-907521-44-4. 
  • Irving, R. L. G. (1940). Ten Great Mountains. London: J. M. Dent & Sons. 
  • Ordnance Survey. (2002) (map). Landranger 41: Ben Nevis. Ordnance Survey. ISBN 0-319-22641-7. 
  • Murray, W. H. (1977). The Companion Guide to the West Highlands of Scotland. London: Collins. pp. 218–221. ISBN 0-00-216813-8. 
  • Richardson, Simon; et al. (2002). Ben Nevis: Rock and Ice Climbs. The Scottish Mountaineering Trust. ISBN 0-907521-73-8. 

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

This article is an itinerary.

Ben Nevis is Scotland's highest mountain and is close to the town of Fort William.


As the highest point in Great Britain, Ben Nevis is a hugely popular hill to climb. It is 1,344 metres (4,409 ft) above sea level, and the start of the walk really begins right by the sea so you'll walk every foot of those 4,409.


Regular hillwalkers figure on taking 5.5 hours to make the round trip to the summit. It could easily take more. As well as needing stamina and fitness for the climb, plenty of people struggle with their knees and joints on the long descent. Waterproofs, boots with ankle support, and a packed lunch are a good idea. There's no cafe at the top of this one!

Get in

The two usual approaches are from Achintee Farm or Glen Nevis. Both are over a mile out of Fort William, and of the two, the Achintee route is less steep to begin with (they merge pretty soon) and has some parking space (though this can fill up in the height of summer).


The usual route is the Tourist Path aka The Pony Track. This runs from the end of the lane at Achintee Farm, though there is an access route from Glen Nevis, and heads up in a series of zig-zags to the summit on a broad, obvious path. It's a relentless slog, well trod and eroded by tens of thousands of people every year, though path repair work is currently underway.

The "interesting" route is to ascend the outlying hill Carn Mor Dearg (pron. Jerag), and traverse the arrete to Ben Nevis proper, but this one is strictly for equipped, experienced mountaineers.

Stay safe

At this altitude the temperature is considerably lower than in the valley where you start out, plus you need to factor in for some wind chill, meaning that you need warm clothing. Snow is common on the summit even in midsummer.

You're unlikely to get lost until you reach the summit. A direct walk across the summit to the cairn would send you tumbling down a gully, which becomes a hazard when filled with corniced snow which may look safe to walk upon. Overshoot the summit or lose your bearings and you may fall off the mountain, such as via the dramatically named Five Fingered Gully. These issues don't sound too much of a problem until you realise that even in summer the summit is fogbound more than half the time.

There is a small survival shelter on the summit, elevated to avoid it becoming snowbound.

Many visitors arrive as part of a Three Peaks Challenge event, particularly in the middle of summer when there's plenty of daylight. This involves climbing the highest mountains in Scotland, England and Wales, and can cause chaos. Charity organisers are asked to follow a code of practice, which limits group sizes, access hours, timed challenges, etc. The biggest risk if you're a participant is breaking your ankle if you're running downhill - which also helps trash the paths in a scenic area!

Get out

RAF Air-Sea Rescue offer free rides in a big yellow helicopter, but it's considered bad form to call upon them.

Fort William is at the foot of the hill and is the obvious base for food, drink, accommodation, equipment shopping.

This article is an outline and needs more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. Please plunge forward and help it grow!

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

BEN NEVIS, the highest mountain in the British Isles, in Inverness-shire, Scotland. It is 4406 ft. above the level of the sea, and is situated 4z m. E.S.E. of Fort William, the meridian of 5° W. passing through it. As viewed from Banavie on the Caledonian Canal, it has the appearance of two great masses, one higher than the other, and though its bulk is impressive, its outline is much less striking than that of many other Highland hills. Its summit consists of a plateau too acres in area, with a slight slope to the south, terminating on its north-eastern side in a sheer fall of more than 1500 ft. Snow lies in some of the gorges all the year round. The rocks of its lower half are mainly granite and gneiss; its upper half is composed of porphyritic greenstone, and a variety of minerals occur. Its circumference at the base is about 30 m. It may be described as flanked on the west and south by the Glen and Water of Nevis, on the east by the river and Glen of Treig, and on the north by the river and Glen of Spean. From 1881 till 1904 meteorological observations were taken from the summit of Ben Nevis, the observers at first making the ascent daily for the purpose. In 1883, however, an observatory, equipped at a cost of f4000 (raised by public subscription), was opened by Mrs Cameron Campbell of Monzie, who provided the site. The observatory, which was connected by wire with the post office at Fort William, was provisioned by the Scottish Meteorological Society, to whom it belonged. The burden of maintaining it, however, proving too great for the society's means, appeal was made in vain to government for national support, and the station was closed in 1904. The bridle road up the mountain leaves Glen Nevis at Achintee; it has a gradient nowhere exceeding 1 in 5, and the ascent is commonly effected in two to three hours. There is a small hotel on the summit for the convenience of tourists, especially of those anxious to witness sunrise. From the summit every considerable peak in Scotland is visible. Observations conducted during several months have shown that, whilst the mean temperature at Fort William was 57° F., at the summit of Ben Nevis it was 41° F., and that though the rainfall at the fort amounted to 24 in., it was as much as 43 in. on the top of the Ben.

<< Sir William Sterndale Bennett

Levin August, Count Von Bennigsen >>


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



Wikipedia has an article on:



From Scottish Gaelic beinn (peak) + "Nevis" having an unknown etymology.

Proper noun

Ben Nevis


Ben Nevis

  1. The highest mountain in the United Kingdom, in the Highlands of Scotland.


Simple English

[[File:|thumb|250px|right|Ben Nevis mountain]]

Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in Great Britain. It is in Scotland, near Fort William and it is part of the Three Peaks Challenge.


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address