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Ben Nevis Trek - The Five Commandments for Survival

Written By Shereen Pizzarello on 14 July 2015 | 20:52

We did it! We made it to the top of the UK's highest mountain - Ben Nevis, Scotland. We took part in a charity event held by Macmillan cancer support group this past weekend, July 11th 2015 and it was the best and worst challenge we had done to date! 

Shereen & Dylan before the Ben Nevis Trek  

#TeamMacmillan preparations at Fort William

Love adventure and want to try something new?! Get in touch with #TeamMacmillan and make it a worthy cause! They were incredibly well organised and trip included bus transfers to and from Glasgow, experienced guides from Charity Challenges, dinner before setting out and the breakfast of champions on your return after the descent! 

Here are some tips we recommend to anyone wanting to conquer this beast: 

1. Thou shalt NOT forget your waterproof jacket or trousers 

The absolute biggest mistake we made was not to take waterproof trousers. We ended up getting hypothermia stage 1, nearly 2 because of it. A good pair of waterproof jacket and trousers means the likely rain you'll get on the mountain won't seep through your warm clothes. We did three quarters of the trek soaked and it wasn't a good way to experience it. 

Never. Forget. Waterproofs. 


At the Summit of Ben Nevis - Wind, Rain & Snowy conditions


2. Thou shalt stick to the path and listen to your guide and never say you can't. 

Our guide was called Phil and he knew exactly what he was doing, which is always comforting when you don't know what to expect up there. 

Listen to your guide as he will give you great advice on how to keep warm and on how to keep putting one foot in front of the other to get to the top. 

There were 10 of us in the group and our guide made sure we all made it up there as a team and got back down as a team. He literally cured our hypothermia with extra clothes and warm drinks he gave us. 

Never say you can't. Because of the really cold weather conditions up there, there was a point we decided we wanted to turn back. Then we remembered why we were doing this and really pushed through. 


3. Thou shalt make sure you have a full kit 

In our experience, these are some essential things you need for this: 
- boiling orange juice in flask 
- two pairs of gloves - one for the ascent and new warm ones for the descent

- dry clothes - for after the trek and for the mountain 
- waterproof bags - to put everything in so your electronics and extra clothes don't get wet. 

- head torch - if you are doing this at night, it's essential. At one point I thought I could hear waves crashing against the mountain, on our descend when the sun had risen, my waves crashing turned out to be a waterfall! 
We recommend one that can adjust angles, so that you don't shine your light straight into people's eyes. 

- thick socks, really thick socks 
- good walking shoes 

- first aid kit 
- food and energy supplies, mix sour and sweet nibbles 

- go pro camera / waterproof camera - you don't want to get up there and not be able to cherish the moments. We took a go pro as it's waterproof and actually survived the -2 degree weather conditions we got at the top. 


4. Thou shalt admire the beautiful views

Somewhere in between heaven and earth you have landscapes you only thought possible on lord of the rings. Take in these sights as this is what made the trek completely worth it for us.  

Sottish Highlands

Weather clearing up after sunrise on Ben Nevis - image does NOT do scenery justice

5. Thou shalt take pride in reaching the top 

Not everyone makes it to the top, at 1344 meters in difficult weather conditions, battling wind, rain and snow. So make sure you enjoy reaching the top. 

Don't be too harsh on yourself if you reach the top and not see anything. The chances of you getting a good clear sky up there is 1 in 5! On the way down, the views are amazing and these photos do not do it justice. 


At the Summit on Ben Nevis

Completing our Ben Nevis Midnight Challenge

I totally recommend this hike to anyone and everyone that loves a bit of adventure and the outdoors. It's tough and took us about 9 hours, starting at midnight. I suggest you go with a guide if you want to do the challenge at night like we did. Have a look at Hiking @ Macmillan on Facebook to make it a meaningful challenge and also to make it a team challenge as we undertook this with about 130 other people! Absolutely fantastic!! 

#TeamMacmillan organising our dinner and breakfast for the entire group for Ben Nevis Trek
  
Completing the Ben Nevis Midnight Challenge with Macmillan Cancer Support on July 11th 2015
   
Anyone still wishing to donate to our cause (Macmillan Cancer Support, UK) please do so here:
https://www.justgiving.com/shereen-dylan/

THANK YOU TO EVERYONE!!
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