West Highland Way & Ben Nevis – Planning

It is now 2 years since I completed the Three Peaks Challenge and one thing I wanted to do after that was to re-visit Ben Nevis, but this time take it easy ! This meant the obvious trip to do would be one that included Ben Nevis and the West Highland Way. One of the first things that I look at is how I can get there and back when I have finished. I’m a great fan of train travel, it is a very relaxing way to get to your destination, so I started investigating routes.

Travel Planning

Looking at The Trainline website I couldn’t seem to find a cheap or easy method of getting up to Fort William so I did a bit more searching. I eventually found that you can get an overnight sleeper train from Euston to Fort William and if you just book one of their reclining chairs it is only £50 and if you have a Two Together Railcard the price comes down to £33 !! This made the whole trip look affordable and possible so the next task was to plot each days walking 🙂

Trip Itinerary

Mapping the route

When I map out the route I start by using the Ordnance Survey online maps. I’ve found these a great way of planning for both the walking and running that I do. The advantage is that you can download the maps on to your mobile, along with the routes that you have created and use it while you are out and about 🙂 I can also then load these routes on to my Garmin Fenix 5s watch. This will then track exactly where I am and will let me know if I’m off course. The Garmin is normally on my wrist all day every day and has been one of the best bits of “tech” that I’ve bought. I will say that I have found that you need to allow an additional 10% distance between the mapped route and the actual distance walked….

The West Highland Way is one of the National Trails and is apparently quite well signposted but I will still have maps to cover the route, and the route up Ben Nevis, as well as a compass with me. One thing life has taught me is that electronics will fail on you just when you need it the most !

West highland Way and Ben Nevis Map and Compass

West Highland Way Kit List

DescriptionCategoryWeightQtyTotal
Osprey Eja 48 BackpackBackpack120011200
Rain CoverBackpack92192
Osprey Stuffpack backpackBackpack1071107
Brooks long sleeve topClothing2071207
Long trousersClothing2631263
Merino wool socksClothing48148
Runderwear KnickersClothing23123
Brooks T-ShirtClothing88188
Flip FlopsComfort2171217
Thermarest seat padComfort57157
Midge Head NetComfort31131
Avon Skin so Soft (anti-midge) sprayComfort1511151
Bowl (Foldacup)Cooking45145
MugCooking42142
SporkCooking11111
Jet BoilCooking4881488
Spare Jet Boil GasCooking2031203
Brew KitCooking1131113
Inov-8 GlovesEssential77177
HatEssential74174
TowelEssential62162
Waterproof TrousersEssential2261226
Toilet TrowelEssential52152
Leatherman KnifeEssential2511251
WhistleEssential20120
LighterEssential68168
NotepadEssential50150
CompassEssential42142
MapsEssential1461146
PenEssential21121
Down JacketEssential3701370
Hydrapack softflaskEssential38276
Katadyn Befree filter bottleEssential59159
Battery PackEssential3111311
Solar PanelEssential3841384
Petzl Head torchEssential75175
Charging cablesEssential32132
First Aid KitSafety3421342
Compeed PlastersSafety29129
Survival BagSafety1081108
Spare LacesSafety15115
Waterproof JacketSafety2421242
Emergency PhoneSafety76176
Sea to Summit PillowSleeping60160
Rab Neutrino 400 Sleeping BagSleeping8611861
Thermarest NeoAir Xlite MatSleeping2301230
MSR Hubba NX  & footprintTent122311223
DeodorantWash Kit76176
SoapWash Kit41141
ToothpasteWash Kit33133
ToothbrushWash Kit14114
VaselineWash Kit17117
Antibac Hand gelWash Kit20120
TissuesWash Kit17117

Yes, I really do weigh everything !! The total weight comes in at just over 9kg excluding food and water.

Ben Nevis Kit

For the trip up Ben Nevis I will just be using the Osprey Ultralight Stuff Pack back pack. I’ll take my Down Jacket, waterproofs, first aid kit, survival bag and lunch. I’ll also have emergency whistle, map & compass with me 🙂 One thing I’ve learnt is that the weather at the top of a mountain can be VERY different to the weather at the bottom and whilst you may start out in a t-shirt at the top you may need all your warm kit on….

So, the plan is in place, the date has been set and I’ll let you know how it all goes on the West Highland Way !

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