Ben Nevis: Wez and all his mates

Ben Nevis: Wez and all his mates


6 hours


Raising money for charity in the Highlands

Ben Nevis is the highest peak in the UK. Situated in Scotland and at 1,345 metres above sea level it was safe to say we were looking forward to the challenge.

Having recently booked a 10-day trip to the Canadian Rockies I was keen to get this one under my belt.

The timing couldn’t have been better. Our friend Wez was raising money for the Once We Were Soldiers charity, so we decided we’d all hike Ben Nevis to help out.

As with previous trips we had new recruits. This time there was eight of us making the trip to the Scottish Highlands.

We managed to raise £1,147 and his employer BOC generously matched that figure, meaning over £2,000 was raised. This was very close to Wez’s heart, in memory of his friend who had sadly taken his own life the previous year.

An unforgettable start to the weekend

We travelled to Fort William in three vehicles. Two of us set off around 6am the other joined us later that evening. The early starters arrived at lunchtime, although unable to check in until 4pm they let us put our bags to one side and grab a pint.

It was summer so we sat in the beer garden of The Ben Nevis Hotel & Leisure Club. We hadn’t been seated longer than two minutes when the bench seat snapped. Stu reacted quickly and managed to stand up but in doing so punched Wez in the nose. Lying on the floor holding his nose and the rest of us in stitches.

Quickly getting to his feet he went inside to inform the hotel that we had accidentally broken their bench. In true Wez fashion he returned with a member of staff who apologised to us and offered a free round of drinks. Seriously, only Wez would be able to try to apologise for us breaking something and end up with an apology and free round of drinks.

Safe to say we had the usual unforgettable start to the weekend.

Did we experience Scotland?

We had the best intensions to ensure we were fit and ready the following morning for our hike. So of course we headed out into Fort William and visited several pubs.

This was my first experience of Scotland – and I must say it was fantastic. There wasn’t a place we went in that didn’t make us feel welcome. We got advice on some must do sight-seeing and also got sworn at for being ‘too cheeky’. It was an amazing afternoon.

Did we properly experience everything Fort William has to offer? Definitely not. But that gives us the excuse to return another day doesn’t it?

We had to head back to the hotel to meet the late arrivals in the early evening. This gave us another opportunity for food and drink too. Ordering the Steak and Ale Pie was a stroke of genius and the others quickly followed suit.

Group photos on the footbridge crossing the River Nevis.
Group photo before starting the charity hike

The Mountain Track

Waking early for breakfast we were all excited to get going with the hike. Already we had received many comments on social media wishing us the best and donating money to the charity.

We headed out and parked near The Glen Nevis visitor centre, having decided we would head up the Mountain Track for this one.

The track is clearly marked and well maintained , rising steeply following zig-zags to the saddle by Lochan Meall an t-Suidhe. The weather was terrific, and as usual the group splintered into different fitness levels. At around this point unfortunately Wez was really struggling so a couple of the lads stayed with him for another hour until he told them to go ahead and he would see us all at the top.

The views were absolutely breath-taking and I felt like I wanted to stop every minute to take in a different view.

Wez and all of his mates

As we climbed higher we had to deal with the issue of snow. It had only been a couple of weeks since a couple had fallen off an ice shelf so we were all aware of the dangers.

The introduction of snow I must admit made me sceptical on the chances of Wez making the summit. We all made the summit and were just waiting for Wez and the couple of people who had stayed behind with him. Nobody needed to be concerned however as a short while later Wez arrived at the summit himself.

Not only did he make the summit, but as he stood at the top proudly, he must have been approached by everyone on the mountain that day. It would be one thing to have people say “well done mate” but these were people going “yes Wez you did it mate”. These were complete strangers but he had somehow got on first name terms with them whilst hiking the UK’s highest mountain.

Descending from the clouds

As previously mentioned there was a vast difference in fitness levels. So when we had all grouped together at the summit we began our descent.

Three of the group decided they were going to run down. A couple of the lads were having aches and pains from previous injuries so were going to take it slowly. That left me in the middle on my own but I actually enjoyed it – I ran down in sections and stood enjoying the views in others.

Reaching the foot of the mountain I joined the other lads in the Ben Nevis Pub. Slowly but surely the rest turned up. We had done it. More importantly we had raised money for charity in doing so.


  • Mike Richardson

    Mike is a Mancunian who is usually found hiking the Mountains in the Lake District. He has a passion for the outdoors and loves a pint after a day in the Mountains.

Mike Richardson

Mike is a Mancunian who is usually found hiking the Mountains in the Lake District. He has a passion for the outdoors and loves a pint after a day in the Mountains.

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