Monday, 24 June 2013

An Evening on the Top of Britain

From Rachael Haylett:

Glen Nevis and Loch Linnhe from the zig-zag track.
Considering that I spent six years of my life based in Fort William for my High School education, I have always felt guilty that during this time I never walked to the summit of Ben Nevis. I would marvel at the big lump of a mountain every clear evening out of my hostel window, but left school with the climb still on my to-do list.

Last week, while I was in Fort William, my old geography teacher Neil Adams decided to sort this issue out. A last minute decision on Monday afternoon led to Neil, Harry the Physics teacher (who had also never been up the Ben) and I setting off at quarter to six on a sunny evening to conquer the Ben.

Glen Nevis and the Mamores.
It was hot going under the evening sun, but there was a breeze which helped to keep us from boiling and kept the midgies away. We powered on past "heart-attack hill", enjoyed the flatter walk past the half-way lochan, and continued our zig-zagging climb up. Green grass faded away to the moonscape scree for which the Ben is so well known.

Harry and I's summit photo.
As we neared the top of the Ben, dark cloud swept over. Yet this was not so disappointing, as at the top the cloud would clear in patches....

Cloud clearing over the North Face, looking down towards the CIC Hut.
....revealing stunning, deep yellow evening light and giving us sudden views of the surrounding mountains.

The cloud also allowed for something very special. I had never before heard of a "Brocken Spectre", so I saw my first one on the top of Ben Nevis! They occur when you have sunlight behind you, and mist in front of you, and what I saw was my shadow encircled by a rainbow. A little information on Brocken Spectres can be found here.

My Brocken Spectre.
We spent a lot of time enjoying the different views from the summit before heading back down. As we began our descent, the mist mixed with the sunset allowing another good photo opportunity.

Heading back down to Fort William.
It really was a fantastic walk, and my thanks go to Neil Adams for taking Harry and I up that evening.

Many thanks to Rachael for story & pictures.

1 comment:

  1. This very picture of Brocken spectre in the Times (London one that is) today on page 16. Congratulations.