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Best of British: Ben Nevis

Ben Nevis by Peter Clayton

Scotland's Finest

For some years now the national "Three Peaks Challenge" in Britain has drawn participants from around the world who want to challenge themselves and raise money for charity.
The Three Peaks Challenge involves participants scaling the 3 highest mountains of England, Scotland and Wales in quick succession. But what do you know about the three peaks that are the focal points of this gruelling challenge? In a series of articles called "Best of British", I want to explore these beautiful, yet refreshingly accessible, British mountains. First up - Ben Nevis!

Big Ben

Ben Nevis is the tallest mountain in the British Isles and the highest peak in Scotland. It has a not inconsiderable elevation of 4,409 feet (1,345 metres). The mountain's name is derived from the Gaelic term "Beinn Nibheis", meaning terrible or poisonous!

Geologically Speaking

This large stony plateau occupies an area of 40 hectares (quite some size!) and is located in the beautiful Grampian Mountains Range in the Lochaber area of the Scottish Highlands, close to the town of Fort William. Geologically speaking, Ben Nevis is the remains of an ancient volcano which collapsed millions of years ago. 

The most commonly used and easiest to ascend path is known as the “Pony Track”. It was originally constructed to take building supplies to a weather observatory. This footpath and observatory to monitor the weather was built near the summit in 1883. In 1884, an office, two bedrooms and a visitors room were also added to the observatory. Sadly, he observatory was closed due to a lack of funds, and the final log entry was made on October 1st 1904.

Ever Present Danger

Since then Ben Nevis has been seen as a particularly accessible mountain, and over 100,000 people climb it every year. Accessible it may be, but the mountain (like all mountains) is not free from danger. Of the roughly 10,000 people who climb every year, the vast majority reach the top and get back down safe and sound, but tragic accidents are not uncommon. It is normal for several people to die on Ben Nevis every year, with 3 people dying in an avalanche in March 2019.

Cool Head

It's not unusual for snow to be found on the mountain beyond the winter months, with the average temperature of the summit being a chilly -1°C.

For more information on the Three Peaks Challenge check out the official Three Peaks Challenge website

Bonus: Inspirational Quotes Posters

The Scottish Highlands host some of the most beautiful scenery in the UK. It has inspired countless artists, poets and writers. With our inspirational quotes posters we too hope to inspire people to be creative and adventurous. Check out our Inspirational Quotes Collection and let us know what you think!


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