Bagging BEN NEVIS, for breakfast! (And Scotland’s highest geocache!)

Posted by

Don’t forget to breathe.
Keep pushing. Keep pushing. Keep pushing.
We got sheep over in the field there We got hikers hiking a mountain, got the
Ben Nevis Inn right there, and people with their beers and drinks. So Scottish. And
it’s a Scottish cider too. So good.
Oh! In Canada do you phoon? Oh yes! This is day four in Scotland. The weather
was soft, cloudy and wet, and I just finished climbing Ben More to find
Scotland’s oldest active geocache. There was no time to waste. I was straight off
by bus to Fort William to stay at the foot of Ben Nevis for an early rise.
It is now bright and early 4:00 a.m. in Scotland and I’m just heading off to
ascend Ben Nevis. 1300 meters. Now we were supposed to meet starting off the ascent
to the peak, for breakfast at 7:30 a.m. but haven’t seen them yet and it is very
dark. The Sun is about to come up. It’s too dark to see much and my headlamp is
going to be for seeing the trails, and you’ve got to watch your step and the clouds
are rolling in, so this is going to be quite the interesting experience. Up we go. After waiting about 30 minutes for
anyone else I figured they must have already begun the ascent so I headed off.
The trail starts here and goes all the way around this mountain and then up to that
more distant ben, right there. Long walk here we go. This is awesome. That, there, is
Glen Nevis. That, there, is a cloud. That, there, is a cloud and Fort William.
Ben Nevis. I’m coming for you. [laughs] Here we go.
The cloud is rolling in, and I’m going to disappear. Wow this is dense. This video
doesn’t really do it justice. Look at that beautiful tree, right on the
side of the hill. That’s pretty cool. You know what I just realized, there are so
many really great shots here but it’s so dark. But I come back exactly the same
way, so I’m just going to throw in some shots from the daylight and save my
battery in this dark morning, where I’m watching every step ann making sure I
don’t step in any sheepydoodie! Well so far it’s not quite so steep as Ben More, but
relatively speaking, it’s been zigzagging all the way down there. There’s where we came
from, way over there. I think it flattens out a little bit, this is kind of a steep part
of the trail. So we’ll see how it goes. It’s just straight down. About to round
the bend. The name Ben Nevis can be translated to mean ‘Mountain with its
head in the clouds’. Another, perhaps – ‘Venomous mountain.’ Over 100,000 attempt
to climb Ben Nevis each year, and it has an average summit temperature hovering
just above freezing. Alright, so our trail comes up here, it heads over there
up that slope, and then it zigzags up to the top. The sun is starting to come up.
Awesome. This is the Red Burn, a stream from the summit that marks about the
halfway point to the peak, which crosses this popular Pony Track route. It’s my
first sheep! Hey, my friend! How you doing? It’s like they don’t even know or care
that I’m here. Awesome.
They’re just chowing down on the grass. I just spotted the other guys. Follow
the trail up there and they are just on that little ledge there.
I kind of see them moving. Hard to tell if they’d look back and wave, because I’m
waving. That there is the trail that goes up. From the pictures it’s very rocky.
But this stream, this spring, oh man! And looky there, a few more people up a
little further. I think I’m catching up Woo-hoo!
We were fortunate to have fairly decent weather today. Winds can reach upwards of
50 kilometers per hour, and rain, storms, and heavy fog have led to numerous
tragic deaths at the summit, and that’s not even winter. This is the one time I want
to get wet. We’ve got a couple more people coming up the trail down there.
Taking a little bit of a break, and we’re trying to decide,
cutting a trail to go up to the trail. If that make sense. There is kind of a
trail here but it’s a little rougher whereas the easier trail, as usual, is
much longer but less steep. I’m taking the shorter cut because that’s the way
Hillgorilla has gone. The guys just jogged and they were yelling something…
Oh it’s the Sheep! [laughs] As the highest peak in the British Isles, it’s over 400 miles
from Ben Nevis to higher ground – in Norway. Okay you guys, I don’t think this is part
of the trail, but it is absolutely stunning. We’ve got a waterfall, this
is going to be a place to relax. Remember that shot of the waterfall coming all
the way down? That is it. Wow. That is the main trail – it goes up and over. The other guys went up that way, so
that’s where I’m going. And we have here the Belgians! They’re back again. Enjoying
the hike? Yeah, enjoy the hike. We’ve still got to go all the way up there. This view
is just stunning. In good weather, the view from the summit can reach 190
kilometers. We’ve got some sheep guests! And we still have a few more hikers coming.
Right down on the long trail down there. And another couple just at the bridge there.
This, I just can’t get enough of this.
Well it looks like we got some thick clouds coming in. And that there is Pete. He is
not a geocacher, he’s a runner, and he’s trying to get to the peak in two hours,
because he’s got a bus at 1:30 and it’s about 7 — just after 7:00 now. The rain
is very light, it’s kind of started. I’m at the second of four zigzags, and then a
bit of a beeline straight up to the top. There seem to be about four or five people ahead.
The Belgians, and some locals who’ve done this before. And then Pete from Chicago – the runner,
who’s setting, I guess, a personal best. He said he was given the go-ahead from his significant
other to go and play. So he decided to play
on the tallest mountain in Scotland Now this is cool. A cloud is just coming in
from overhead. That up there is Loch Eil. E-I-L, ‘ail’ I guess. I’m not sure which this is.
And then that’s another one. I’m going
to take a guess at how to pronounce that little lake. It is ‘lochen-mill-an-t-sood-he’ [laughs]
The little lake in the middle of a mountain. So it’s starting to get a little more breezy,
I’ll try to talk loud. It just keeps getting better and better. The last mountain that I climbed other than Ben
More was Kristinartindar in Iceland. And that
was 1100 meters. This one’s 1344. I’m going to make it [laughs]. Easy to say that. Just going
to take it one step at a time. Don’t forget to breathe. And there go a couple
more runners who already summited, and they’re on their way down. Those scots, man, I tell
ya! That’s how they stay fit and healthy. I’m now on the final stretch. I think
there are rocks stacks in quite a few places along the final climb to the peak. Keep pushing. Keep pushing. Keep pushing. And we are on the final stretch. It’s about a
kilometer straight up. And you can kind of see there’s one more hump up there to get to. Almost
there. You know this is actually really cool. All these Cairns, they’re separated just the
right distance so that if there’s a heavy fog they are the trail markers. You can see them
going all the way up through the fog.
This is so cool. It’s the cliffs of despair! The destination
is just up there. No, these are the cliffs of despair! The trail
comes along here, right up here, until this edge
What! Yeah, this is why you need to watch where
you’re walking. That’s incredible.
In winter this is the most treacherous segment of trail. Often
entirely hidden under snow and ice. So right now all this rain is all cloud. There is
the War Memorial, and the summit cairn. And you can see there’s a clearing over there. The
clouds are just kind of rolling in, passing over.
So we have here Britain’s highest war memorial. This memorial was erected in memory of the fallen
of all races on August 15th 1945 to quote: “From this Mountain memorial the affectionate
hand of friendship is extended to the youth of every nation in the world.”
There is the shelter, and the trigpoint at the summit of Ben Nevis!
That is almost the highest point but it looks
like the shelter is a little bit higher. So we’ve arrived at the shelter.
We gathered a little later than the intended 7:30 breakfast start time, but
it was still a perfect time for a nice well-earned breakfast, care of our host
Hillgorilla. Thank you, thank you very much. Cheers, brilliant! Anybody want a Scottish
delicacy – Irn Bru? [laughs] The sudden warmth in the shelter began to cause
a fog and moisture buildup in my lens that I had
not prepared for. Can I just move your camera tripod for a minute?
Yes please. Ah breakfast time! What what you
want, bacon or sausage? There you go. I think I’ll have the bacon.
I want to say it’s Canadian maple. Smells so good! Sausage – some Morrison’s
sausage. Thank you! Signing the event logbook Is it warm in there? Warmer than out here!
Yes, the wind is kicking up. We had our breakfast thanks to Hillgorilla, and
we’ve got to work our way back down. We’re going to take a look at the trigpoint right
over there, see if we can get a group photo and
try to find the Traditional cache get the answers for the Earthcache and the Virtual and then
head back home. This is awesome.
We had about six people stuffed into this little shelter. There’s
a bed, it was warm and stuffy and you could see all the fog on the camera here.
Ok, it’s cold enough that I’m already starting to shiver. Got to get moving and get
some heat going. Colin! You need to come, come on.
Are you having a poo, Colin? My name’s Nick I’m Hillgorilla, nice to meet you.
So we’ve got Nick (Hillgorilla) from here. Skipton. The local. And we’ve got Colin, Beach Grove Garden
Also local. You’ll have to google that. West Yorkshire. And then we had the
Belgians and we had a German non-geocacher another non-geocacher show up and he was here
for a few minutes, unsure exactly of what to do – but he
enjoyed our company and we enjoyed his. He took off, made some room for some
other people to squeeze into this little shelter. Then there was Tundra, from Newcastle,
who’d been here since 7 o’clock.
I don’t know, everybody’s from everywhere. And of course, the trackable shot. On top of the hut? Yes, climb on the roof.
Oh! In Canada do you phoon? Oh yes! There’s a tradition in the UK – you have to phoon
on top of a trigpoint. Challenge accepted! Perfect.
And we have arrived at the highest geocache in Britain, which is an ammo can, right there.
How did you find that? This is like this is in the middle of nowhere, there’s almost
nothing to identify. Good coordinates. Good coordinates it has to be. have you already
found this one before? No, this is the first. Logbook. Thank you. The logboo– aw, it’s still blurry. I got the big fog in there. There
we go. And with that Ben Nevis was bagged, and the three highest geocaches in the UK found. It was a long return hike lengthened by
a promised video livestream shared to this channel all while being pelted by
heavy rain. These falls are really flowing. Much of
the descent was wet and miserable, but it didn’t stop the regular stream of hikers
and climbers still aiming to reach the summit that day. Once below the cloud
line in which the mountain’s head rests the weather would become quite pleasant,
warm and inviting. A far cry from the relative rocky wasteland and treacherous
terrain of its peak. Ben Nevus is a very popular tourist attraction, drawing
hikers and climbers from around the world hoping to reach the summit. On a
good day one can easily forget how vicious, how venomous this mountain can
be to those who dare ascend to its clouds. Respect the Ben. Wonder at the beauty it
displays, relish the heights to which it takes you, stare in its face and
ascend the northern route along the ridge of the Carn Mor Dearg Arete. But never forget its dark history, that it
has taken lives and threatened many more. Coming back down from Ben Nevis, it feels
a lot like coming back down from Kristinartinder in Iceland. The way they
have the landscape of the trails, back to the forest and then the long route back
to the trailhead. It’s beautiful. Nearing the end of the journey I
couldn’t wait to reconnect with my geocaching friends – Team FMARRT – and head
to dinner, and reconnect once again with my fellow baggers. Well, friends, that was Ben
Nevis the highest mountain in the UK and the highest geocache also in the UK.
Obviously. And now I’m having my celebratory cider. It’s so good. This was an awesome
hike. Met a whole bunch of people – geocachers and non-geocachers alike, and
introduced a bunch of people to geocaching. My feet are prunes. I cannot wait to relax, get cleaned up. This was a long two
days, and you can see that there’s still other people coming down the trail there. I
hope you enjoyed this, and there’s still more to come from Scotland, so sit
back, watch some more videos. You guys, don’t forget to try new things, see new
things, appreciate what’s out there. It’s not just about the smiley,
it’s about the experience, the journey. And don’t forget to have some happy caching
and excellent adventuring. We got sheep over in the field there, we got hikers hiking a
mountain, we’ve got the Ben Nevis Inn right there and people with their beers and
drinks sitting out back. Like this! This is oh, so Scottish.
And it’s a Scottish cider too. So good. Still blurry in the middle.


  1. This is a trackable video! Make sure to watch and keep an eye out for the trackable code characters. They are not easy to spot! How many did you spot the first time? 🙂

  2. Enjoyed that. Did that hike many, many moons ago…pre-Geocaching. Doubt if I could do it now, but it bought back some great memories 🙂

  3. Yay it’s up!! What an incredible journey that was, despite the weather thrown at us on the descent.

    It was lovely to meet you.

    Ellie from team e.2105 (West Yorkshire)

  4. What an AWESOME adventure! I thought I saw something so I will have to watch this again. Thanks for sharing. Glad you made it up and down safely.

  5. Fantastic video, Scotland is so amazing, you can experience all 4 seasons in a matter of hours. The fastest time I've walked up the Ben was in 2hrs 10 mins way back in 95 when I was attempting the 3 peaks challenge in 24hrs, Ben, scafell pike and snowdon. I have not got those geocaches as yet, 1 day I will. I'm back up to fortwilliam next Saturday, which I'm looking forward to.

  6. Excellent adventure. Love the long tails of the sheep. They cracked me up when I first saw them back in the 90’s.

  7. Absolutely amazing adventure! I climbed it on my 50th Birthday (3 foot of snow)…..It was extremely frightening above the snow line, however, I made it and met so many friendly folk from all around the world. Much RESPECT. The only thing is that I climbed the Ben a few months before taking up Geocaching for the first time. Many thanks for sharing your adventure which I enjoyed watching very much indeed! hearty congratulations. How were your legs for the next day or two?

  8. Just catching up with some of your vlogs. Scotland looks great. Hope to cache there one day. My moms ancestry is from Scotland. Love the shots of the waterfalls and the summit. Enjoyed the music.

  9. Hi! This was a wonderful video. That gully was nuts! I think it needs a little rock wall. Totally scary!
    I only have 5 TB characters so far! I guess additional scrutiny is called for! :-} Ugh!

  10. Well, I was so rivetted to the story, I forgot to look for the TB numbers. The changing weather was awesome. I could almost feel it.

  11. ARG! I have watched 4 times and I'm stuck at 5 letters. I am usually very good at spotting these things, so I must be getting distracted by the beautiful scenery. I even watched with the sound off so I could concentrate. You hid those letters very well. Can't wait for more from Scotland!

  12. After seeing this mountain from a distance, it was awesome to see what the summit looked like! What an awesome adventure you had here. Kind of makes me want to go back and do some more serious hiking. Well, I want to go back anyway. Scotland is freaking amazing. lol Thanks for sharing!

  13. Fantastic! This will be an adventure that you'll never forget. Great job documenting your travels along the Ben Nevis trails. Lots of beutiful scenary there, and I thank you for sharing it!

  14. Another awesome adventure you've had thanks for sharing ,and forgot to look the the trackable numbers but defo worth a 2nd watch .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *