Tuesday, July 20, 1999

Three Sisters

During the summer of 1999 while we were living in Holland we went on a road/boat/hiking trip to Scotland. Hiking "Ben Nevis" the highest place in the United Kingdom was a big part of that adventure along with a hiking trip to the top of the "Three Sister"one of the most beautiful spots in Scotland.

The trip Started with traveling from Holland by car to England which requires crossing the English channel. There are several ways to cross the channel, and we have tried them all during our three years living in Holland, but this time we chose to cross on the big car ferry. It requires 3 hours to do the crossing, but you can get out of your car and walk around the ship during the crossing. The ship has many things to do gambling,
 shopping, and restaurants are all available. Or you can just sit topside and enjoy the views as we most often did.

d photos (above) of the France to England Car Ferry

After spending a couple of days vi sting the relatives in London we were on our way to the northern parts of the UK with a plan to hike in Scotland then take the car ferry from Scotland to Ireland where we would spend some time hiking and visiting Margaret's ancestral home.

The drive from London to the lakes area of Scotland and "Ben Nevis" or the "Scottish Highlands" our ultimate destination takes almost a full day, with plenty of sites and ancient castles to see on the way.
After staying overnight in a bed and breakfast in Fort Williams on Loch Linnhe we visited the local tourist information center to gather information on hiking. We were going to hike
 Ben Nevis the highest point in the UK tomorrow but we needed something to see today. A local hiking map and a conversation with the locals at the center determined that Glenn Coe and a hike called the "Three Sisters" was our adventure for today.

A short but beautiful drive brought us to the base of the Three Sisters and a parking lot to leave our car for the 5- 7 hour hike to the top.

From Hiking Three Sisters

After crossing a bridge about 1/2 mile to the base of hike we started up the mountain. We crisscrosed the mountain face working our way up a small creek in a valley. Along the way we found some of the most beautiful views including one of the most spectacular ferm gardens I have ever seen.

From Hiking Three Sisters
After a fairly risky scramble up the back side just prior to the summit we reached the top and were rewared with some fantastic views.

From Hiking Three Sisters

Of course the long trek back the way we came was the next agenda for the day. Reaching the bottom several hours later with seriously sore feet and knees we were ready for Happyhour!

Assorted Photos (above) of the Three Sisters hiking adventure

Monday, July 19, 1999

Ben Nevis

This was it. The point of the whole Scotland trip! We were about to hike to the top of Ben Nevis. We were up and at the Ben Nevis trail head by 9:00am. It is a rather popular hike and has an entire park dedicated to it. There was many people there today with the same idea we had to summit Ben Nevis. The sun was out and shinning and it was going to be a beautiful day. A condition not so common in Scotland as Scotland was foggy cloudy and cool most of the time.

Lacing up the hiking boots and putting on the packs we headed out down the trail with the line of other people at about 9:30. Still sore from yesterday's hike up the Three Sisters which turned into a larger endeavor than we planned we were asking around to find out how far this was to the top, and how long it would take. No one had a good answer, but with all the people, children, dogs and picnic baskets going up the trail how tuff could this be? We'll be down in a few hours we thought.

As it approached lunch time and we were only getting close to half way up the most desolate boring,, rocky lifeless trial we had ever climbed we knew this was not going to be a walk in the park. Yet the children and picnic baskets continued up the steep rock trail. How could we quit? Just because we did a mountain the yesterday? Let those children and picnic baskets beat us? NEVER! Looks like the small lake half way up is going to lunch. Then back to the GRIND!

From Hiking Ben Nevis

Here is a couple of smart people they camped by the lake half way up and did this trip in a couple of days instead of one grueling trip!

From Hiking Ben Nevis

Step, Step, Step, Just keep on going its a mind game. We will get there I can see the top... Whoops... that wasn't the top just another false summit. That top has to be there somewhere..The last 2 or 3 miles were all the same just broken rocks stretching on forever.

From Hiking Ben Nevis

There it is I can finally see the real top it has a weather station built of the broken rocks from decades ago. We Made It! Another break and a snack, rest for 1/2 and hour and we will start down.

From Hiking Ben Nevis

While we were sitting on the top resting a squadron of British Air force Jets flew over the summit and they were so close you almost could have thrown a rock and hit them. Time to go we have to get off the mountain before its dark, and its along way down. For some reason the trip down when you known how far you've already come is never as bad as the unknown trip up. But this was still a slog. Halfway back down we see the lake again with Margaret "the machine" leading the way.

From Hiking Ben Nevis

Well we did finally make it off the mountain. It was about 7:00 and it turned out to be about a 9 hour trip. Other than great memories, and pictures all we got was a $20 Tee shirt that says I climed Ben Nevis, and even sorer feet than the previous day.

Pictures of the Ben Nevis Summit