I Climbed Two Mountains

Words by Pete Heck / Photography by Pete and Dalene Heck

We had secured three weeks in Fort William, Scotland after excitedly accepting an idyllic house-sit in this true nature lovers haven – we were minutes from endless paths through the Highlands with frequent waterfalls and gorgeous views. Fort William is also home to the highest peak in the United Kingdom – Ben Nevis. We could see it just around the corner from the house, and I could feel it taunting me while I sat inside and worked. Instead, I was focused on a different base camp – one that started with my laptop, camera, and a mountainous list of tasks to complete.

Lonely

Also, who could resist this face?

We had to catch up from our recent flurry of travel, prepare for the upcoming BlogHouse Ireland which we were managing, draft a couple big pitches, and of course maintain our own blog and social media channels. It was exhausting and frustrating to stare at the beauty just out of our reach, but we kept climbing and plowing through. Fortunately the weather had been absolute shit and the rain helped to dissolve the guilt of our entrapment. Our daily dog walks gave us some reprieve and and a small taste of our surroundings.

Scotland-Dog-Sitting-3

When the three weeks ended we had reached our goal and were ahead of the game of work (for the moment). Presentations were set, blog posts were scheduled and pitches were ready to go.

The homeowners, Katie and Mark, miraculously brought blue skies with them upon their return, and also graciously let us stay on as our flight was not for another couple of days. Even though Mark had just returned from a grueling 10 day bicycle journey from the top of the UK to the bottom he asked if I wanted to climb “The Ben”. With work under control, I did not hesitate to answer yes.

The clouds lifted in the morning and the path was clearer than it had been in all of our three weeks prior.

Path up Ben Nevis

It was six hours of pure bliss and climbing Ben felt like a reward for the metaphoric mountain I had conquered over the previous three weeks.

The actual climb was not very difficult nor technical so it gave Mark and I numerous moments to turn around and admire the view.

Near Summit Ben Nevis

And when we finally reached the summit, we were above all clouds and could see for miles. We lingered for over an hour and in the first thirty minutes we had it all to ourselves.

Ben Nevis Summit

Ben Nevis North Face

We had overheard a local saying that this was his sixteenth time at Ben and had never seen it like this before. It being both Mark’s and my first time up, we had caught a bit of luck. It was worth the wait.

Photo Atop Ben Nevis

18 Comments... Read them below or add one of your own
  • October 17 2013

    I just love your pictures above the clouds. What a view that most do not get to see!

  • October 17 2013

    INSANE views! Doesn’t even look real. Thanks for sharing!

    Happy travels πŸ™‚
    Lauren Meshkin recently posted..My 5 favorite places to enjoy Autumn in London!

  • Mom
    October 18 2013

    What a wonderful post & what gorgeous pictures. Each one took my breath away. I’m in awe & oh so envious.

  • October 18 2013

    Those are some stunning views!! Nature at its very best, Thanks for sharing the pictures πŸ™‚
    Arti recently posted..Tirupati Balaji Temple – Where Wishes Come True AND The Cry Of Govinda!

  • October 22 2013

    Holy moly, look at the view! Incredible! That right there is exactly why people climb mountains.

  • October 22 2013

    you both really conquered that mountain. it looks so high up! how cool is that to be above the clouds. =)

  • Beth
    October 22 2013

    Being above the clouds looks so cool!
    I’m glad you were caught up on work and took the opportunity! πŸ™‚

  • October 24 2013

    Wow! What a wonderful hike – looks you climbed to the top of the world :-). Love the photos with you above the cotton balls of clouds…
    Sand In My Suitcase recently posted..Simbambili Game Lodge: safari stay in South Africa

  • Maria
    October 26 2013

    The scenery is beautiful
    The dogs are adorable
    The mountains are incredible
    But what I find STUNNING is your tenacity to have done it! Kudos on such an accomplishment.

  • October 26 2013

    As I sit, writing a blog post at my desk, I take a quick break and read your post. I can hear myself exclaim “Wow” as I gaze at your pictures above the clouds. Beautiful.

  • October 27 2013

    Being above the clouds! What an incredible feeling that must have been … so so so gorgeous.

  • October 27 2013

    Amazing! I have heard of Ben Nevis and had friends get together for the climb but have never been able to make it. I am so happy that it worked out for you and your photographs are an amazing source of inspiration! I can only hope that if I get there, the views will be equally spectacular!

  • October 27 2013

    Wow. I’ve climbed mountains in these conditions maybe twice in my life, and they were both absolutely mind blowing experiences. Fantastic series of photos from an amazing day πŸ˜€
    Laurence recently posted..The Street Art of Dublin

  • November 3 2013

    I do love mountains and your pics just literally blown me away! Thanks for this inspiration. Scotland is on my bucket list but now I definitely want to get there – the sooner the better πŸ™‚
    Anita recently posted..Im Schlitz – Indianersommer mit Soundtrack

  • Ali
    November 3 2013

    Amazing! Love the photos. I have a total dog obsession right now, so the one with the 2 dogs is probably my favorite.
    Ali recently posted..Is Your Layover Long Enough?

  • It is such an incredible feeling to be above the clouds like that.

  • Joy
    November 4 2013

    Fabulous Pete! What an experience! Great photos. They are truly unique and memorable.

  • August 31 2017

    Wow, we’ve only managed to look at the mountain in awe as we’ve driven past on our way to other parts of magnificent Scotland.

    We’ve visited Scotland twice now and can’t wait to go back again. Part of the appeal is that it’s so different from home in Australia. I’ll never get to climb Ben Nevis – so thank you for the awesome photos.
    Sharon recently posted..2017 Suunto Traverse & Traverse Alpha Multi Sports GPS Watch

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