Skinner’s Academy 2018

Onay Koc, Adil Hussain

Ben Nevis Hiking Challenge

Their story, in their words….

We travelled to Glasgow on the first day. We started the West Highland Way instantly. On the day, we met a group of British military soldiers that were doing the WHW as training. We walked with them for the first day before settling down for the night in a campsite. We spent the second day walking from Balmaha to Inversnaid, along the shores of Loch Lomond. The third day was difficult as it was 20+ miles, and we camped at Tyndrum. We woke up and continued on our 4th day of the hiking, and after passing Inveroran we set up camp in the middle of a large valley, the strong winds broke our tent but we had no choice but to fix it and carry on the next day. The 6th day was the best and the worst day. I got bitten by a tick as we were walking, and I had to remove it with my pocket knife. We climbed through the Devil’s staircase.. When we reached the town of Kinlochleven, we instantly went to the local co-op supermarket and bought enough food to last us a few days. By this time we hadn’t eaten any hot food for a whole week. We had to sleep through a thunderstorm that night. Despite rainy weather we walked to Fort William that day. We finished the West Highland Way in 6 days and we had no choice but to stay at a campsite again due to all our clothes being soaked. There was another thunderstorm that night.
On Day 8, we climbed Ben Nevis. This was also very difficult, despite the fact that we climbed the normal route. Our backpacks were really heavy and we got soaked with rain for the whole day, to the point where we had to stay at the campsite again to dry our clothes. The pictures we took at the top were also lost because Adil broke his phone during the climb. Day 9 was different, as we now had to get used to cycling for 10 hours a day, rather than walking. We got the mountain bikes from a bike hire shop in Fort William and we cycled around 35 miles that day to Fort Augustus. We camped in a forest near the town that day. We were behind schedule the next day, to get the bikes to the shop before closing hours, and we covered another 35 miles that day on really rough terrain. It was the most difficult day of all, simply because we were so tired from the previous days. The path was mainly uphill and very hard to cycle through. We camped the night in a park and went back to London the next day.
The challenge was very difficult and we underestimated many aspects of it. We sustained injuries during the challenge and we had to have a lot of mental endurance to complete the challenge.
In the end we gained a valuable and memorable experience from this challenge, and when we got back to life in the city we appreciated things much more.