11th May 2018
The first time I climbed the Ben was in 1983 with some colleagues from DC Thomson’s. We did it the hard way, via the “arrete”, a narrow ridge that links Carn Mor Dearg with Ben Nevis. This was the only time I enjoyed a view from the top of the Ben!
The second time was 2011 in rather bizarre circumstances. In 1911, one Henry Alexander drove a Model T Ford to the top of the Ben. The route is illustrated here.
One hundred years later, the Model T Ford Register of Great Britain decided to celebrate that achievement. Not by driving it up – impossible nowadays – but to get a group of hardy hikers to carry it up! So I and my pal Alan Mathews volunteered for the task.
We arrived at the foot of the Ben where a Model T was dismantled bit by bit. We were given a part each to carry up and muggins here was handed the radiator!
Do you know how much a Model T radiator weighs? No, neither do I but “hell of a lot” comes to mind! Anyway, we swapped parts as we climbed eventually reaching the summit in nil visibility blizzard conditions. This was July, by the way!
In freezing conditions, the car was re-assembled and we had a chance to pose in it before it was dismantled and carried back down!
The third time was with my daughter Allyson and Morag, the mother of one of her friends. Morag’s son has cystic fibrosis, so we set out to climb the Ben in 2016 to raised funds.
No view, only thick fog, but a successful hike, raising £2500 for cystic fibrosis charity. Not too sure if I’ll climb it for a fourth time, but knowing me if someone suggests it, I’ll say “yes”.
But only if I’m guaranteed a view from the top!