Return to the mountain – for a good cause

3 minute read

Why climb Ben Nevis? Because it’s there, of course.

Ben Nevis

But why stop there? On 18th June 2016, 8 intrepid adventurers from our HEG family (4 of them returning from last year) will take on the Ben Nevis Challenge – a grueling team event set in the stunning Scottish Highlands. Teams of four are challenged to climb Ben Nevis, a 25 mile cycle and to canoe Loch Lochy.


To start with, at 1,344 metres (4,409 feet) above sea level, Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in the British Isles. For the unfamiliar you’ll find it at the western end of the Grampian Mountains in the Lochaber area of the Scottish Highlands, close to the town of Fort William.

Ben Nevis

Just because over 100,000 people complete the ascent each year that doesn’t mean that it’s easy. Even the name ‘Ben Nevis,’ from the Gaelic ‘beinn’  for ‘mountain’ and ‘nibheis’ commonly translated as ‘malicious’ or ‘venomous’ is enough to put off all but serious mountain types.

The summit is a collapsed volcano and the terrain and changeable weather conditions can make a successful ascent uncertain. The record is 1 hour 25 minutes but the average, reasonably fit explorer can expect anything up to 8 hours for the up and down trip (by the way, advice from the Scottish Tourist Association is that there are no toilets).

Next, onto the bikes for a 15 mile road cycle from Fort William to Loch Lochy.


On arrival teams pick up their Canadian trapper style canoes and then set off on a 2km paddle across the (hopefully peaceful) waters of the Loch. Time perhaps to reflect on the statistics that it’s over 9 miles in length and with a mean depth of 70m (230 feet) Loch Lochy is the third deepest Loch in Scotland.

There’s no Loch Ness monster but locals talk of a strange creature called the River Horse which is said to emerge from the lake and overturn boats. Our canoeists might like to know that the anticipated June water temperature is a chilly 5 degrees Celsius.

Loch Lochy

The final leg of the challenge is back onto the bikes and a further 10 mile ride along the scenic route of the Caledonian Canal back to the finish line at Fort William. Anything below 9 hours since you set off and you are doing well.

But it’s not just because it’s there. Our team – Ian, Carol, Richard, Rebekah, Matt, Luca, Tim & Max will all be raising money for the inspirational childrens’ charity ECPAT UK. For many years ECPAT UK has enabled young people by campaigning against sexual exploitation and supporting child victims of trafficking.

If you’d like to help, please visit the team’s Just Giving page and make a donation. Your support will be greatly appreciated.