Skywatch Friday - Ben Nevis
My son climbed Ben Nevis recently as a fund raiser for a student charity he's involved in. The Ben is Britain's highest mountain - at 4,409 feet it's not lofty by the standards of the Alps or the Rockies, but we're fond of it. There's a lot of traffic up it. 100,000 ascents a year, including a race and many charity ascents, occasionally involving pushing a piano to the top. The pianos and ordinary walkers use a well-maintained track ('trails' aren't the norm on Scottish hills), but there's also serious climbing and scrambling by other routes, including ice climbing. The mountain is owned by the John Muir Trust, a wild land conservation charity.
The path starts gently enough. This is not a normal Spring, so I don't know whether the trickle of water in the burn is normal for this time of year or if it should be a torrent of snow-melt.
A plateau with a lochan (a 'little loch') seems to have offered a bit of respite from the uphill slog.
At last some snow, and ridge upon ridge of mountains fading into the distance.
A final uphill pull. Notice all the footprints!
The summit is dotted with cairns, looking like offerings to the god of the Mountain.
All this exertion (and sunburn) was in aid of the Glasgow University Student Volunteers Abroad project that my son will be part of in Nepal this summer. The volunteers will be involved in construction work and in teaching. You can read about the project here, and if anyone is moved to make even a very tiny donation in support, you can do so on my son's page at Charity Giving . He would be very grateful!
For other skies around the world, visit Skywatch Friday.