Tuesday, 25 March 2008
Easter at the Ben Nevis Inn
No Room at the Inn
Fifty First Timer No.9
The forecast was ominous, snow and stormy winds. Ben Nevis, Britain's highest mountain was perhaps not the best planned venue to meet such weather. But the Ben Nevis Inn, crouched at the base of this giant proved to be the ideal doss.
We arrived on Good Friday to a check into the bunkhouse beneath the Inn. The bar was heaving with jolly hill walkers, but we were told by the harassed but cheerful staff that we would struggle to be served a meal.
'Oh no, I have been looking forward to coming here to eat.' I explained with genuine disappointment.
'We'll see what we can do, but you will have to go somewhere else tomorrow, we're full.' They had us eating grilled goats cheese followed by wild boar burgers within half an hour.
The bunk house consists of three sections opening out into a corridor. Each section has eight bunks. The kitchen is tight and the toilets scarce so it was just as well this club meet was small by normal standards. That evening Colin and I were joined by Lucy. Andy and Simon were to drive up on Saturday. The rest of the bunk house was filled with a mixture of foreign visitors, a group of five girls from Edinburgh and an assortment of walkers.
Colin met up with his climbing partner early next morning to catch the climber's Gondola up Aonach Mor. The cold weather had ensured fine winter climbing conditions on the Nevis Range.
Lucy and I, wary of forecast high winds, chose to explore the Glen Roy's parallel roads. These three parallel scores ring the glen like a series of tide marks in a bath and were caused by the formation of a glacial lake in different stages of freeze. Although from a distance they look like substantial tracks they turned out to be mere notions on a steep hillside.
On return to the Inn we were informed we had no chance of a meal, but then the owner decided we were a good bunch and yet again managed to accommodate us in between serving the Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team with chips while they took a break from a shout.
If you ever go to Fort William visit this delightful Inn and if they tell you they are full for dinner, put on a sad face. I am sure this friendly crew will fit you in somehow.
Highland hospitality is alive and kicking about at the bottom of Ben Nevis