TwoLegsTwoWheels

A record of my cycling trips in Britain and abroad

May
10

On top of Britain

So, we’d almost made it - nearly 1000km from Shrewsbury and only one peak left before we could say we’d done the Three Peaks, all the way, all under our own power. It was a perfect day for it, warm and sunny. My knee, which had been a bit sore the previous day, felt fine. We breakfasted and set off, crossing over the beck away from the road. The path leaves the valley floor pretty quickly and climbs steeply for almost the entire route, and we were above the treeline after only a few minutes. It was such a nice day that it seemed like the whole of Scotland had had the same idea, and the path was so full of people that we were constantly passing or waiting for others. While it rather took away the feeling of being in a wilderness it certanily made navigation easy (although it’s not a hard route to navigate in general). We pushed on at a fairly fast pace and we were soon at Lochan Meall an t-Suide, a small loch at the bellach between the mountain of the same name and Ben Nevis itself.
From here, the path gets steeper, and the landscape becomes much more barren, with hardly anything growing after the first few sections of path. The way narrows here too, making going quite slow as we waited for the stream of people to pass the smallest sections. It was a very different feel to the emptieness of Scafell!
After climbing up the series of switchbacks, we arrived at the summit plateau, at 1221m the highest peak in Britain. After nine days of cycling, averaging a bit over 100km a day, and over 3000m of climbing on foot, we’d made it.
We sat down for lunch at the top of the Eastern face, looking out over the 2000ft drop. It was a lovely clear day, and we could see to the Great Glen and beyond; below us, a pair of climbers were working their way up the cliff face.
Somewhat ironically, this was perhaps the most sociable time of the whole trip, and we chatted to quite a few groups of people as we were having our lunch - including another group of cyclists with a similar idea to us, except on their way to Snowdon.
We could only savour the moment at the summit for so long, and then it was back down into the valley, to showers, and down to Fort William for a well-earned meal.