This is by far the most popular way to the summit of Ben Nevis but should not be underestimated. We can provide you with a qualified and experienced Ben Nevis Guide to look after you on the mountain.
The track was originally built to allow ponies to carry supplies to the observatory on the summit and is sometimes called the ‘Pony Track’. It starts from Achintee where a path snakes south-westwards up the slopes of the adjacent hill, Meall an-t Suidhe(711m- hill of the seat) This eventually turns north-eastwards towards the ‘Halfway lochan’ (which is actually a bit less than halfway!)
The Red Burn (a stream which marks the true halfway up!) is crossed shortly afterwards. The character of the route changes as height is gained and the fine red granite on the path makes way for the darker Andesite on the higher slopes of the Ben.
The ‘Zig Zags’ are then reached and followed to the summit. The Summit plateau itself is marked by the Summit cairn and trig point and the remains of the old Observatory which was manned for over 20 years from the 1880’s. The Mountain Track comes remarkably close to the vertical cliffs of the North Face, with care needed to avoid Gardyloo Gully in poor visibilty.
The descent can be long and arduous and good navigation skills are essential to get off the mountain safely in mist or cloud. Our guides will be with you every step of the way, giving you encouragement when needed and allowing you to enjoy your time on Britain’s highest mountain. Many of our staff have completed well over a hundred ascents of the mountain!
Is this for me?
You should have a reasonable level of fitness to do this route but with lots of determination, most people will manage. The hike is 10 miles (16km) in total with 1300m of ascent and descent so is still a long day. Average timings are around 4 hours up and 3 hours down
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Walking boots– waterproof with a good tread on the sole
Wicking baselayer – keeps moisture away from your skin and reduces how cold you feel as a result. Cotton is not suitable.
Trekking trousers– Lightweight, fast drying trousers are ideal.
Mid layer– to be worn on top of baselayer in cooler conditions, for example a lightweight fleece or Primaloft top.
Waterproof over trousers– made of something like Goretex
Warm hat– e.g. Woollen beanie
Gloves– minimum 2 pairs (at least one waterproof pair).
Spare warm layer– e.g.another warm fleece or synthetic insulation like primaloft.
Food and water – around 1-2 litres of water and plenty of snacks and high energy foods to get you through the day.
Rucksack – 30 litres- recommended
Rucksack liner/Drybags– rucksacks aren’t waterproof so either a large poly-bag liner or several smaller dry-bag type bags recommended.
Sun screen, sun glasses – mountain sun can be fierce and the sun does come out occasionally in the Highlands!
Small Personal First Aid Kit– e.g. blister plasters, painkillers, medications
Head Torch– for Late Summer/Early Autumn (August onwards)
Trekking poles (Optional) – can take 3 tonnes of loading off of your knees over the course of a day- recommended for the Aonach Eagach descent in particular!
What’s Included/ Not Included
- Qualified and Experienced Mountain Leader
- Action Photos of your day!
What’s not included
- Personal kit
- Cancellation/Personal injury Insurance
Meeting Times are usually 0730-0830hrs (will be confirmed beforehand). Meeeting Location is the BenNevis Visitor Centre, Glen Nevis