I hadn't even heard of Ben Nevis until I was about 22, but after doing some (very quick) research I read that it was the UK's highest mountain at 1,344m (4,409ft). It stands in the Scottish highlands about 10 hours from my house, so not something I can just pop outside to for a ramble. I instantly wanted to put it on my list, because living in the country there is no reason why I shouldn't have climbed it's highest mountain (especially since it doesn't require any major training). I had asked my friends a few times previously, and tried arranging things, but it never came about.
We camped at the foot of Ben Nevis on the Friday night, and woke up early on the Saturday to climb. I could see the top of the mountain from the bottom, and didn't think it looked too bad. Maybe a couple of hours if I take it steady.
We got walking, and after only 100m into it we encounterd two young Scottish guys, holding a bottle of Vodka, incredibly drunk. They were really helping the stereotype. They asked if it was our first time, and wished us luck.
Nonetheless we carried on. I was encouraged by my mom and dad to go on ahead, since they weren't sure they would make it, given how far away we could see the people. I wanted to stay with them, but I also knew we couldn't spend all day walking and I was worried I would have to cut it short.
I then went off again. From here I could see what I again thought was the top of Ben Nevis. I was overtaking a lot of people, finding little need for a break. I was impressing myself with my walking abilities, though I had started to really need to pee. Along the way I passed a waterfall which was pretty, and got a really nice view over the Scottish Highlands. The terrain changed from being a rocky path to being a horrible rocky path. This encouraged me to hurry up.
The whole way I kept trying to look for mom and dad lower down the mountain, though everybody looked like ants on an ant hill. I was pretty sure that they would have turned around by now since I had again reached what I thought was the top of the mountain, to find that it actually extended much further, and it was a much, much more difficult walk than anticipated. I had already seen many people turn around.
I pushed on, and started to see more and more snow. I had to pass one section that was entirely walking through snow, which was difficult. I again reached what I thought was the top, to have my emotions crushed by seeing it go further. Towards the top there were rock mounds where people were encouraged to leave a stone on. I didn't do this. I felt like going along knocking people rocks off, so it was like they were never there, but that would have been mean.
As this blog post is getting longer than intended, I will skip to them moment that I finally reached the top. It was windy. And cold. The top of the mountain had ruins of an old observatory. It had an engraved stone saying that it was sent all the way from Dudley in the war, which is pretty much where I live. Black country people seem to get everywhere.
I started walking back down the mountain, disappointed that I wasn't able to get any good photos of me on top (an average person taking photographs is terrible). About a mile down the hill I was really shocked to find my mom and dad still pushing on. I was certain they had gone back. I was incredibly impressed/proud, and decided to walk back up to the top with them (intentionally not telling them that what they could see as the top actually wasn't close).
We all got to the top, posed for photos, and started back down. I had pretty much no trouble getting up the mountain... but getting down was a nightmare. It was the most painful thing I have done. Each step killed my knees, ankles, and newly formed blisters. I couldn't wait to get down, and it seemed to be taking even longer than getting up there. I won't write any more about it, since it is a moment I want to forget!