Ben Nevis

Brave the conditions and climb to the summit of this mountain to see the ruins of an observatory from the 19th century.

Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in the United Kingdom. In the western portion of the Grampian Mountains, the picturesque giant dominates the skyline and overlooks several lakes. Join the many hikers and mountaineers who battle the elements year-round to conquer the mountain.

Enter the visitor center for information about weather conditions and paths. Purchase maps, snacks and souvenirs from the gift shop. Leaflets explain the geological formation of the giant rock.

Start your hike from Glen Nevis at the southern base of the natural landmark. The most straightforward route to the top is the Pony Track, so-called for its previous use as a path for ponies carrying equipment. Capture photos of the fields, hills and trees that make up the countryside.

Continue along the zigzagging path to find the Halfway Lochan, a small lake. Rest with a picnic beside the water, which stands at 1,900 feet (570 meters) from the base. The mountain peak is another 2,300 feet (700 meters) higher along stony terrain.

Although the path is not particularly steep, due to its many curves, weather conditions might limit the full ascent to experienced climbers. Bring full climbing equipment, including maps, compasses and appropriate footwear.

The cliffs on the northern face of the mountain attract passionate climbers looking for difficult rock ascents. Reach the mountain peak, at 4,409 feet (1,344 meters) above sea level, in 4 to 8 hours. At the top are the ruins of an observatory that was manned from 1883 to 1904.

The visitor center is open daily from morning until late afternoon. Note that it closes several hours earlier in winter. Entering the building and climbing the mountain is free.

Ben Nevis is 5 miles (8 kilometers) southeast of Fort William in the northwestern part of Scotland. It overlooks Loch Eil and other attractions, such as the Commando Memorial and Neptune’s Staircase. Embark on your climb from Achintee, just 1.5 miles (2 kilometers) from Fort William. Leave the car in the parking lot beside the visitor center at a small cost.

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