Scale the heights on a Ben Nevis day trip

With an overnight stay in Fort William, a Ben Nevis day trip can be a highlight of your Scottish holiday. Conquering the highest peak in the British Isles gives anyone a sense of achievement and, on a fine summer, day, you don't require any special equipment. Just follow a few sensible precautions.

Summer is best for safe climbing

Novices shouldn't attempt to climb Ben Nevis on a day trip between the months of November and May, when bad weather can set in quickly and make conditions on the mountain potentially dangerous. Even in summer, check the weather forecast to ensure you have ideal conditions for your climb.

The easiest ascent of the 1,344 metre high mountain is by the Tourist Path, also known as the Mountain Track, and, unless you have considerable expertise, this should be the only approach you attempt. Although the track is clear, take a map and compass to ensure you do not stray from the route.

The trail starts at Achintee, and climbs steeply immediately after you cross the River Nevis. From the outset you will realise that this is going to be a testing ascent.

If you want to take a break and the winds are not too daunting, the Lochan Meall an t-Suidhe, also known as the Halfway Lake, makes a suitable rest spot, with spectacular views back down the mountain.

When the greenery diminishes and the path starts to zig-zag through rocks and scree, walkers think they are nearing the summit. It's not quite that easy. There are still another 600 metres of ascent to make. The total climb should take about 4 hours or a little less. It's much quicker coming down.

Conquering the summit of Ben Nevis

The highlight of that Ben Nevis day trip will be reaching the summit. It's not the pointed peak of some mountains, but a flat plateau with a cairn to mark the actual summit. Take your picture to prove you've made it, then start the descent. This is relatively easy compared to the climb, but beware of loose scree.

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