Ben Nevis - FAQs Is it safe to go up Ben Nevis? It’s important to have the right information before you walk Ben Nevis. If you have any questions contact the Highland Council Countryside Rangers or pop in to see them at the Glen Nevis Visitor Centre, open from Easter to October. There are many accidents on Ben Nevis every year. To minimise risk, make sure you: • • • •
Plan properly and know your route Have the correct equipment and supplies Know how to navigate with a map and compass Start out early enough – you shouldn’t walk down in the dark
You should leave a route card with either the local police, your accommodation provider or in your car. This should give your start and estimated finish times, your intended route and what to do if you don’t return. It would be useful to leave your mobile telephone number as well.
Can anyone walk the Ben? There are many ways up Ben Nevis - some are strictly for mountaineers and climbers while others are for mountain walkers. All of the routes are listed in various guidebooks that can be purchased from good bookstores, and outdoor shops. The key to a successful and enjoyable day on Ben Nevis is choosing the right route for your level of skill and experience.
How long will it take me? The Ben Nevis Mountain Path is around 16KM (start to finish) and rises 1,300m, followed by the same height in descent. It is a full mountain walking experience. How long it will take depends on many factors - mainly your fitness, the weather, your experience, and how many people are in your group. You should plan to take about 8 hours for an ascent of the Ben, but this depends a lot on how fit you are. If you are going to walk the mountain path, you should know how to use a map and compass and carry all the equipment you might need. For a more complete guide to walking the mountain path please see the Ben Nevis Mountain safety pamphlet below.
What should I take with me? Please refer to the Ben Nevis mountain safety pamphlet. This tells you the key information about what you’ll need for a summer ascent of the main Ben Nevis mountain path. Going up Ben Nevis in winter is completely different to a summer ascent. A winter ascent of the main path is a full-day winter mountaineering expedition and is only suitable if you have the appropriate experience and equipment. For a comprehensive approach to what is needed for a winter ascent of the main Ben Nevis mountain path consult the Mountaineering Council of Scotland website www.mountaineering-scotland.org.uk
What will I see? That depends on the weather! Make sure you get a good weather report before heading off. Even in the summer it can snow on the summit of Ben Nevis and visibility can be drastically reduced. But in good weather you can look out across the whole of the Highlands and often out to the islands of Skye, Rum and the Small Isles. You may also see an amazing range of wild flowers, and a variety of birds, butterflies and mammals. You can buy excellent guides to the flora and fauna at the Glen Nevis Visitor Centre in Glen Nevis before you set off. And don’t forget – around 110,000 people walk the mountain path up Ben Nevis every year so you’ll also see quite a few other people!
Are there toilets on the mountain? No. The only public toilets are at the Glen Nevis Visitor Centre (open Easter to October). Please have a ‘leave no trace’ philosophy when you visit the mountain. For advice on toilet procedures in wild country visit the Mountaineering Council of Scotland website - www.mountaineering-scotland.org.uk
Are there litter bins on the summit? No. Please take all your litter and waste away with you.
Can I sleep in the emergency summit shelter? No - the shelter is for emergencies only. It should not be used for planned overnight camping.
How can I get involved with path maintenance? Volunteering is a great way to help with the conservation of the area. Please contact the Nevis Partnership, the John Muir Trust or the Highland Council ranger service for the range of activities you can get join in.
Who do I contact to arrange an event in the area? If you are planning an event on Ben Nevis or in Glen Nevis then register your plans with the Glen Nevis Visitor Centre Manager on 01397-705922.