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Summit Ben Nevis and Learn Winter Mountain Skills

Head to Scotland to swot up on essential mountain skills before climbing to 1345m on the UK's highest mountain

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Trip Ref #9885

Summit Ben Nevis and Learn Winter Mountain Skills

Head to Scotland to swot up on essential mountain skills before climbing to 1345m on the UK's highest mountain

DURATION
2 nights
LOCATION
United Kingdom
ANNUAL LEAVE
0.5 days off work
SEASON
Dec-Apr
GROUP SIZE
Up to 12 people
MEETING POINT
Ellis Brigham, Fort William
ACCOMMODATION
Classic

Hotel

OVERALL RATING

4.8

Based on 67 reviews
DIFFICULTY
Challenging

Be prepared. This is a real challenge with some full-on sections, but the view from the top is worth it.

Learn how to survive in some of the harshest conditions the United Kingdom can throw at you

Stand on top of the UK's highest mountain... the view. The feeling of success. Did we mention the view?

Stay in central Fort William, the adventure capital of the wild Scottish Highlands

Featured by The Independent as one of 'the best walking holidays in Scotland'

Day 1

Plan and prepare

Ben Nevis, Scotland. Photo: Host/Atlas Mountaineering

Your Scottish winter adventure begins. Meet your guide in Fort William and grab any kit you need for the next few days on the hill. Once you’re done, it’s off to your accommodation. All that’s left to do now is settle in, meet your fellow adventurers, grab some dinner and get ready for the challenging days ahead.

Day 2

Winter skills training

Hiking

6hrs · 12km · 700m up · 700m down

Over the course of today, your expert mountain guide will teach you how to survive in winter conditions and how to move safely over some of the UK’s most challenging terrain using an ice axe and crampons. It’s a great chance to learn new skills in a truly awesome setting.

You’ll spend about six hours refining your abilities, and then it’s back down the mountain for a hearty dinner and the chance to prepare your kit for the big one – summiting Ben Nevis.

Day 3

Ascend Ben Nevis

On the CMD Arête, Ben Nevis, Scotland.

Hiking

8hrs · 20km · 1345m up · 1345m down

Approach Ben Nevis early and get a tantalising first glimpse of the challenge ahead. Boot up and begin the 1345m ascent. It’s a tough climb, but you’ll take regular breaks to catch your breath and enjoy the view. The route taken will depend on weather conditions and the group's ability: there are various options, including the knife-edge CMD arête, but the final decision will be taken by your guide.

After a celebratory summit photo, it’s time to head back down for a well-earned wee dram, before making your way home.

Included

Guides

Local, certified and friendly mountain guides

Accommodation

2 nights at Fort William’s Alexandra Hotel

Meals

Proper breakfasts to fuel you up the mountain

Equipment

All the technical equipment to make a succesful ascent including crampon-friendly boots

Not Included

Some equipment

Some meals as described

Personal expenses

Travel insurance

Travel to and from the start point

Visas where required

Day 1

Hotel · Twin or triple share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 2

Hotel · Twin or triple share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 3

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

What is the food like?

Scottish breakfast. Photo: getty ref 1315663970

For breakfast, expect a typical Scottish buffet. For lunch, you'll be able to buy your own: there are three supermarkets and two delis locally, and plenty of time to do this on the first evening. The hotel also offers a packed lunch on request, but we recommend buying some extra snacks. For dinner, you'll be in the town where your group can find a good cosy pub. Most dietary requirements can be accomodated, including vegetarian and vegan diets.

What is the accommodation like?

Fort William

You'll be staying in a small hotel or local guesthouse in Fort William such as The Nevis Bank Inn, a modern hotel on the banks of the River Nevis in the centre of Fort William, which is renowned locally for its restaurant. As this part of the Highlands can be very busy, the exact accommodation will be confirmed closer to the time of departure. Rooms are allocated on a twin-share basis wherever possible, but on occasion you may be in a triple-share, depending on availability and the group split.

Upgrades

For solo travellers wanting their own space, it is possible to request a private room upgrade. Prices start from £45 per person per night, but can be as high as £200 for last-minute requests. The exact price will be confirmed on request.

The Area

map

Logistics

Starts

Ellis Brigham Store, Fort William

17:00 on Day 1

Ends

Fort William

17:30 on Day 3

Transfers

The tour starts at the Ellis Brigham Store in Fort William at 17:00 on Day 1. You can check into the hotel any time from 15:00 (although luggage storage is available from 12:00) and then make your way to the Ellis Brigham Store to meet your guide at 17:00. The Ellis Brigham Store, the train station, the bus stop, and the hotel are all only a few minutes walk from one another.

On Day 3, your host will drop you off at the train station, your accommodation or the car park in Fort William (depending on your preference).

Travel options

Fort William is very accessible, regardless of where you are travelling from – the area is well-serviced with excellent rail and road links. Glasgow and Inverness airports are 98 and 70 miles away respectively. International and domestic flights into Glasgow are available throughout the year, with regular flights to and from both London Heathrow and London Gatwick. From Glasgow, regular buses depart from Buchanan Bus Station and reach Fort William in just over three hours (service operated by Scottish Citylink). Alternatively, if you travel via Inverness, the bus journey takess just over two hours, and is also operated by Citylink.

Enjoy 12.5% Off Outdoor Gear

In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 12.5% discount to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runner's Need.

What's included?

All your technical equipment (crampons and ice axe)

You will be provided with stiff walking boots (B1, 2, or 3 grade) to fit crampons (you are welcome to bring your own, if preferred)

Your host will also carry essential equipment such as a first aid kit and group shelter

What do I need to bring?

  • Rucksack (we recommend 40 litres) with liner
  • "B" rated crampon compatible walking boots (optional - these can also be provided by your host)
  • Thermal base layer
  • Fleece top – not cotton
  • Polyester, fleece or woollen trouser and tops (no jeans)
  • Heavy-duty waterproof jacket and trousers
  • Hat
  • Thick waterproof ski gloves and warm liners, or two pairs of good gloves
  • Scarf or neck gaiter/buff plus spares
  • Ski goggles
  • Head torch
  • Walking poles
  • Flask or water bottle
  • Energy snacks
  • Whistle
  • Sunglasses and sun cream
  • Towel
  • Emergency survival bag (6’ by 3’ orange poly bag available from any outdoor store)

If you're not sure your boots will be compatible with crampons - check out our useful guide to find out more.

*Requests for optional extras can be made after booking on your “My Bookings” page

Pre/post trip accommodation in Fort William (Single) From:

Payable Before Departure

Pre/post trip accommodation in Fort William (Single) From:

Per Night

Pre/post trip accommodation in Fort William (Twin/Double) From:

Payable Before Departure

Pre/post trip accommodation in Fort William (Twin/Double) From:

Per Night

Pre/Post Accommodation in Fort William - Hogmanay Special (Single) From:

Payable Before Departure

Pre/Post Accommodation in Fort William - Hogmanay Special (Single) From:

Per Night

Pre/Post Accommodation in Fort William - Hogmanay Special (Twin/Double) From:

Payable Before Departure

Pre/Post Accommodation in Fort William - Hogmanay Special (Twin/Double) From:

Per Night

Leanne P.
Incredible experience

Incredible experience! I’ve done some summer/autumn hiking in the past year but really wanted to learn some winter skills before venturing out on my own. I’m not the fastest, I’m a slow and steady hiker who just plods on and the group dynamics were great. Everyone was really patient and Aiden was a really great, friendly and knowledgeable guide. Would highly recommended this adventure to everyone. We summited Nevis in 4 hr 30 with a further 4hr for descent (I think - my watch died!). Stops along the way for photos/refilling water etc. Crampons on from about midway I think! We massively lucked out on weather and had the best visibility!

Tom B.
Scottish mountain adventure

Our guides Aidan and Mark were exceptional during the 2 day course, the first day was focused on a base for the Ben Nevis ascent on day 2. This was a highly rewarding and fulfilling 2 days in Scotland and I am very glad I booked on.

krisan h.
Snowy adventure

First trip with much better adventures and will confess was fantastic. Be advised it is tough and def need a decent level of fitness. Learnt a lot over the weekend and Phil was a great guide. Weather was def challenging which made the hike even more satisfying

Philip
Great course to build your confidence & winter skills

Fantastic course to build winter mountaineering skills and to learn some of the more technical elements of how to use ice axes and crampons effectively.

Our guide John was superb and passionate in teaching us the correct techniques. We also had a great memory when one of group members (Rachel) brought some left over pizza and shared it between us all on the summit of Ben Nevis which went down a treat!

Freddie K.
Great course would definitely recommend

I had such a great time on this course! Perfect for those looking to step up from summer hiking into the winter world.

Connor is super helpful with all the admin, with a well oiled itinerary. John was an unbelievably helpful guide. His knowledge is outstanding, and I've been able to pick up so many useful skills.

Follow the kit list though, and remember to bring multiple pairs of gloves

Daniel W.
Great to summit. back up plan failing

Unfortunately the weather did not allow the full course to go ahead, while John was great going up Ben nevis in appalling conditions and kept everyone going. It felt like there was not a real back up plan with the weather not being suitable for the skills. This made us leave early as what was suggested wasn't what we had booked for.

Anya R.

A truly great weekend!

Louise H.
Great guides

Really fun and worthwhile trip. John was an excellent guide and teacher. Never thought I’d let myself fall backwards down a mountain! Felt very well supported in the extreme weather conditions on day one. Great starting point if you’re planning more winter climbs. Incredible scenery.

John O.
Great weekend

This was a fantastic experience with excellent guides and accommodation, even the weather was well organised :-D

4 instead of 5 stars for some admin issues and I would have expected transport to start points of each day's adventure, but we were asked to drive ourselves.

James L.
Superb experience

Guides were great. Hotel was spot on. Experience was delivered as promised. Group dynamic was superb. Great job.

We partner with the World Land Trust to ensure this trip achieves Net-Zero emissions. We also support their Buy an Acre programme, helping local communities to buy and protect natural habitats in perpetuity.

What's the number?
It works out on average at 69kg of CO2 emissions per person, including all local transport, accommodation, food, activities, guides, staff and office operations.

The only thing it doesn’t include right now is flights and travel to the destination. We do make an overall estimate across all our customers separately, but as we don’t book flights, have customers from all corners of the world, and no way of reliably knowing their travel plans, we simply can’t include an individual number in the figure on display here. We’ve got a goal to fix that, so that when you book, there is a way to measure and mitigate the carbon emitted by your flight too.

But what does the number mean?
Yep, hard to picture eh? To give you an idea:

  • Driving 1000miles/1609km would be approx. 281kg of CO2 in an average car (or 140.5kg per person if there was 2 of you in it).
  • A return economy class flight London - New York would be approx. 1,619kg (1.66 tonnes) per person.
  • 10 trees in a temperate forest are estimated to remove approx. 250kg of CO2 from the air in a period of 5-10 years.

What are we doing about it?
Our trips are relatively low-carbon by design, and we're working with all our hosts to develop long term carbon reduction plans. We partner with the World Land Trust to ensure this trip achieves Net-Zero emissions. We also support their Buy an Acre programme, helping local communities to buy and protect natural habitats in perpetuity, ensuring the protection of the reserve and its wildlife.

Want to know more?
Amazingly, no international travel company has ever publicly published their carbon measurements before, as far as we know. We believe that must change, quickly. So we’re openly sharing the method we used in the hope that other companies will be able to more easily follow suit and build on what we've done so far. You'll find it all here.

A good level of fitness is recommended – you'll be out for up to 10 hours in a cold, mountainous environment moving over challenging terrain. On Day 2, your expert mountain guide will teach you how to survive in winter conditions and how to move safely over some of the UK’s most challenging terrain using an ice axe and crampons.

Sure can! Over 70% of our travellers travel solo, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

On any winter hike in a high mountain environment, you will potentially encounter high winds, rain, snow, ice and steep slopes. Ben Nevis is no different and you should be prepared to face these conditions. The average temperatures between November and March are between -6°C and -1°C, but factor in wind chill and it can feel much colder. You should read the kit list carefully and pack everything listed.

The dates for this trip have been chosen based on when there is a high chance of there being enough snow, to ensure the skills covered are winter and snow focused. Your host has run these trips for many winter months with a reliable snow forecast. The weather in the area is, however, becoming increasingly hard to predict – on the rare occasion that there may not be enough snow to learn all the winter skills as planned, your guide will still ensure you have a full day of learning mountain skills.

After you've checked out of your accommodation on Day 3, you'll be able to store your luggage either at the hotel or in your guide's vehicle.

Our recommended travel insurance provider is Campbell Irvine.

Travel insurance is compulsory for all of our adventures and you are required to provide your policy information before departing.

Your insurance should include adequate protection for overseas medical treatment, evacuation/repatriation, your baggage and equipment and the specific activities involved on your adventure. We also strongly recommend it includes cancellation and curtailment insurance, should you be unable to join your trip for specific reasons such as illness.

We fully endorse Campbell Irvine as their insurance offers all of the above, so get in touch with them or call on 020 7938 1734 to get your insurance sorted. We suggest that you book travel insurance as soon as you book your adventure, just to cover you for any last-minute life changes. We know you’re an active lot and injuries do happen!

We automatically convert prices from the local currency that a host receives to your chosen currency. We update our exchange rates on a daily basis so this does mean that prices displayed on the site are subject to currency fluctuations, which is why you may see them change over time.

If you wish to change the currency you pay in, head to the bottom of the page.

All of our group adventures are specially designed for adults to enjoy (18+) as we want these adventures to bring together outdoorsy people who are truly like-minded. Children can be accommodated on some private departures.

You're always in good company on one of our adventures.

Our trips are typically made up of a mixture of solo travellers and small groups of 2 or 3 friends, with most in their 30s-50s.

Our sociable adventures are solo-friendly by design and naturally attract outdoorsy people with a shared mindset; a love for adventure, a desire to push themselves and meet awesome, like-minded people along the way.

It’s this camaraderie that has so often turned a great adventure into a life-changing one.

Don't just take our word for it:

  • 95% of people rate the group dynamics on our trips 5/5
  • 90% of people recommend joining a trip to make new friends
  • 75% of people have met people on our trips that they would now consider friends

See here for more info about the Much Better Adventures tribe.

Interested in a more exclusive experience? Opt for a 'Private Group' through the dates and prices tab to book this adventure for just you and your chosen companions.

Your trip is led by carefully curated local hosts and expert guides. See here for more info about the guides we work with.

TRIP DEPARTURE DATES

March 2024

Friday • 8th March 2024

to Sunday • 10th March 2024
10 Booked • 2 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Friday • 15th March 2024

to Sunday • 17th March 2024
6 Booked • 6 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Friday • 22nd March 2024

to Sunday • 24th March 2024
7 Booked • 5 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Pay In Installments

You can choose to pay for this trip in as many installments as you like, with no interest or fees.

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