Q. How long does it take to ascend Ben Nevis by the mountain track?
A. On average most people will take four hours to ascend the path and three hours to descend, although some may take longer depending on experience, fitness or the weather.
Q. How can I decide which route to take up a mountain?
A. Ensure the route you select on any mountain is within the ability of the whole group, and be prepared to change your plans due to tiredness or weather.
Q. Do we need to inform Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team that we are climbing Ben Nevis?
A. No, Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team does not maintain a list of walkers. Ensure you leave details with friends or family, and/or complete a ‘Going to the hills’ form available from Fort William Police Station. (We intend to offer this as a downloadable .pdf shortly.)
Q. How can I find out what the weather will be?
A. Local press, the Met Office, MWIS and the Scottish Avalanche Information Service all provide information on weather which can be used as a guide to planning your trip. The weather in the mountains can change quickly and it is not unusual for the higher mountains to have snow on the tops all year round. Links to these services can be seen in the left hand column.
Q. Do I need to be able to navigate on the hills?
A. Everyone venturing into the hills should be familiar with basic use of map and compass to allow them to be self sufficient. If carrying a GPS, this should be used in combination with map and compass and not relied upon alone for navigation.
Most walkers will complete a walk within daylight and without incident. Unfortunately accidents happen so it is worth taking sufficient equipment with you to be able to stay out safely overnight if the route takes longer than planned or a member of the party should become injured.
It is worth considering the following as a minimum for a days’ summer hillwalking:
- Suitable footwear
- Map ( OS Sheet 41 for Ben Nevis) – be able to read a map and take a grid reference
- Compass – be able to use it
- Waterproof Jacket and Trousers
- Spare warm clothing incl. hat and gloves
- Food + spare
- Survival bag or group shelter
- First Aid Kit for small injuries
- Mobile Phone: should not be relied upon as signal is not always available
In winter you should consider carrying and be able to use:
- Ice Axe
- Helmet (Depending on route)
- Safety Rope
- Decide if your situation can be dealt with by your group. It can take several hours for a rescue team to reach you, depending on the location and weather. The best plan may be to continue descending.
- If you do require assistance dial 999 and ask for MOUNTAIN RESCUE.
When in contact with the emergency services be prepared to provide information relating to the emergency. Do not expect a rescue to be immediate and do not expect a helicopter. The following information will be asked for:
- Your name and contact number
- The nature of the problem or injury
- Location including grid reference / name of climb
- Name, age, and medical history of casualty
- The weather conditions where you are
These details will be asked for and the rescue team will normally attempt to call you back to gain further details that may be required, or to update you on the progress of a rescue.