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Fort William

Ready to take on Ben Nevis

overcast 8 °C

Fort William

We woke up to a very misty morning, walked down to the bus stop and took a quick 2 hour bus ride to Fort William.

Our hotel & the views outside our hotel:
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Blake's lunch when we arrived: Black pudding roll & scottish heather beer
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We spent the afternoon checking out the town (which is tiny) and the National Museum which was free :)

Day 1: Jacobite West Coast train ride: aka Harry Potter's train to Hogwarts :)

We had booked this ride a month ago- as you can imagine we were very excited.. well I was very excited to go on the Harry Potter train, Blake was excited to go on a steam engine train. All those childhood dreams- And Harry Potter dreams!!! This train, along with some of the scenery we passed, was used in the Harry Potter films. The train ride took us to Malaig; we had 1.5 hours for lunch there; and back to Fort William. A 6hour day trip in total.
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Glenfinnan Viaduct: (aka a scenery in Harry Potter films):
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That's the steam from our train

The scenery to and from Malaig:
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Our train taking a break in Malaig:
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Malaig
Not quite Hogwarts but it was peaceful and we could see Isle of Skye, Isle of Rumm and Isle of Eigg from here.
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Our 1st fish and chips on our trip, local Haddock:
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In the background: Isle of Rumm

Day 2: The day we conquered the highest mountain in UK

Ben Nevis
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The weather was supposed to be great today - perfect weather for a hike up the highest mountain in the United Kingdom: Ben Nevis. We woke up to a massive mist covering the town (we couldn't even see 2 metres out of our window)!! First things first, we went to the tourist information to check on the weather. Apparently it was all good up on the mountain so we took a cab to the base of the mountain. The taxi driver had been up Ben Nevis many times and told us that today looked like it was the perfect day for it. He dropped us near a pub at the base of the mountain, so we'd know where to get a feed and drink after the climb. After firing ourselves up we finally made a move up the mountain (or so we thought, couldn't see it through the fog).

Chilling out with our mate Gordon before the hike:
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Up we go..
If you look closely.. you can see the mountain in the background.. hehe..
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That's where we started- the barn at the bottom.. :):
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Our welcoming party:
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Making our way above the mist:
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Check out the mist covering Fort William.. pretty cool:
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We think we're half way?!?!... Slightly delusional.. (after 1 hour):
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Starting to struggle with many mental thoughts:
B: "whose stupid idea was this!!"
M: "Is it better to fall head first or backwards?!?"
M: "Is there a short-cut?"

B: "what a great weather to do it!" - said like 20 times!! M: "Yes it is.. but this is still a stupid idea!!"

Up and Up..
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We thought that was the peak.. we were so wrong.. Another 2 hours to go.. :( :( :
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Struggling a little..
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Nearly there... walking through ice:
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Blake trying not to fall on his bum..
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4 hours later and 1344metres higher.. we finally made it to the peak of the mountain. YAY!! :) :) :) :)
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What's left of the observatory:
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We had a yummy lunch (sandwiches courtesy of Tesco), took a few snaps..
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and we were ready to make our descent...
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The mist has disappeared... :
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That's our path home.. :
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Blake watering the mountain. Found out that the local scotch is made with this water... So technically, if i (Blake) come back in 10years I can drink my own piss?!?!
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The way down was way easier... It took us 2 hours and 15 minutes to walk down, a lot quicker.. phew :) It took us just under 7 hours to conquer Ben Nevis.. YAY :) :) :)
-The world record is 85.34 minutes (return).. well.. we didn't quite break that record!! At least we return with no sprain ankles, minimal whinging, plenty of 'near' falls, and we're still in 1 piece :)
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Time for a well deserved meal:
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Smoked seafood trio; Smoked duck; Grilled salmon; Game stew

Day 3: Recovery day (aka the day we suffered) :(

As you can imagine.. we woke up pretty sore!! I couldn't walk to the toilet, yet alone get off the toilet seat!! Walking up and down the stairs was a struggle. We waddled around like a pair of 80 year olds.. I definately felt like one :(

But the day must go on.. can't just sit around. The ideal thing to do (according to Blake's theory) is to hike Ben Nevis again to loosen up the stiff legs. Hell no..

So we got the taxi to drop us off at Neptune Staircase which is a set of river locks that allow boats to pass through the Caledonian canal from Fort William to Inverness:
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Enjoying the day.. in pain.. but still smiling :)
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We decided to visit the Ben Nevis Distillery:
It was walking distance from Neptune staircase. We figured the walk will do us some good...
Apparently they filmed scenes from Highlander and Braveheart here at the distillery?!?!
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A view of Ben Nevis in the background

On our walk back to Fort William.. we walked pass Inverlochy castle ruin:
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And some locals..
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Goodbye Fort William. Thanks for the 7 hours workout... We leave you slightly sorer, but fitter and smelling of deep heat :)

xoxo M&B

Posted by blake-michelle 25.10.2012 11:56 Archived in Scotland

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