Ben Nevis summit

Ben Nevis Hike for Macmillan Cancer Support

Over the weekend, five Balloon One employees tackled the UK’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis, in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. After a leisurely 10 hour drive to Scotland, the team arrived early Friday evening – in time for a haggis burger – before camping at the base of the mountain. Prompted by the more energetic members of the team, the team made an early start, beginning the ascent just before 9am.

The Ascent

Everyone was under the impression that it was going to be a cold day, but it soon became apparent that everyone was wearing too many layers. The sun and lack of wind, coupled with the gradient of the ascent, soon saw many of the team stripping down to just T-shirts within the first mile. A brief stretch of well-laid path at a shallower gradient alongside Loch Linnhe allowed for some energy to be recuperated before the team crossed a snowy valley.

Ben Nevis switchbacks
Negotiating the switchbacks


Now past the halfway point of the ascent, the team started the set of gruelling switchbacks, zig-zagged stretches of path around 200m-400m in length, designed to tackle the steep face of the upper section of the mountain. After this, they were at the final section of the ascent, going up towards the snow covered summit of the mountain.

Graphic showing the elevation over time
Graphic showing the elevation over time


The Summit

Ben Nevis final ascent
Approaching the final part of the ascent

Luck was on the side of the team when they reached the Ben Nevis summit. It is famously overcast for 350 days of the year, but there was very little cloud cover and so the team enjoyed fantastic clear views for many miles.

The summit offered a great chance to cool off and enjoy the view, whilst capturing some photos.

Ben Nevis at the summit
The Balloon team at the summit: Ed, Slawomir, Craig, Chris and Elliot


The Descent

After a rest at the summit, the team set about the descent. The favourability of gravity and the relief of using different muscle groups soon wore off when muscles started to tire after a few miles of trying to prevent ‘face-planting’ on the uneven rocks. By the time the team reached the valley floor, ‘hiking’ had given way to a controlled stumble, utilising gravity as much as possible to conserve energy.

The route the Balloon team took to the summit and back
The route the Balloon team took to the summit and back

The 4,367ft ascent and descent spanned 10.2 miles and took the team 4 hours 24 minutes and 33 seconds, excluding breaks and the time spent at the summit.

Congratulations to Chris Marsden, Craig Powell, Edward Napier-Fenning, Elliot Cartwright and Slawomir Gliwa on successfully conquering the 1,345 metre (4,411 feet) peak.


Those involved have been blown away by the generosity of everyone who has donated. Our current fundraising total stands at £1,538, which totals £1,848.75 including Gift Aid. Although the target of £1,500 has been exceeded, there is still time to donate and the donation page remains live until 13th June 2018.

BT donate button