I recently arranged with Fat Mac for him and I to get some fitness training by going to Glen Nevis with a view to climbing Ben Nevis. In his physical condition, I didn’t expect him to manage it all the way to the top, of course, but in the event he emailed me before departure to say that he was still exhausted from bending over to cut his toenails the previous day, and once more he was not going to pitch up.
As I’d already booked everything and bought the food, I went by myself, camping for two nights at Glen Nevis Campsite. I fear that Fat Mac is going to be a complete embarrassement on the Sikkim trek next year if he doesn’t attempt some fitness training. His only experience of any altitude is climbing the stairs to the upper bar in the Men’s Union at Teviot Row in the 1970s. On the Sikkim trip I’ll just explain to the locals that the useless wheezing lump of lard getting a lift on the poor mule whilst everyone else walks is a typical whinging unreliable Yes voter.
There were many people climbing the Ben that day. The track starts about 100 metres from the campsite, and after three hours I made it to the top. Usually, going down is much easier than going up, isn’t it? But in the case of Ben Nevis, the path has been eroded in certain bits by so many climbers that going down requires a great deal of effort, as you need to concetrate on just about every step, watching out for loose stones, etc. It took me as long to go down as it took to go up. I passed one couple who I’d seen at the top, and they said it was murder going down. They were never going to do this hill again. Another chap took about 6 hours to get down.