Thursday, February 13, 2014

Training for Ben Nevis

Recently, in a fit of New Year resolve, I made plans with a friend of mine to climb Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the British Isles. We've decided on September this year, to optimise the weather versus midge problems!
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To reach the top you must walk 17km to reach a height of 1,344 metres above sea level. However, since having my two boys I've done very little exercise. Fortunately, the so-called Mountain Track from Glen Nevis is well-made and maintained, and you can walk the entire way, taking about eight hours to reach the summit. I've seen it described as "relatively arduous and wearing on the knees", so I'm thinking seriously about my training schedule.
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Luckily there is an enormous amount of advice available on getting prepared for the climb. Given that I'm very out of practice, I ought to follow a training plan for at least eight weeks in advance. To start with, I'll walk for about two miles three times a week, building up by half a mile a fortnight.
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This could be a challenge to fit in around my weekly routine, as even while looking after just the baby, there's only a shortish window before he gets bored in the pushchair. I might have to wait until the evening to go out for a walk, a
lthough the advice I've read says I can swap some of the walking for other activities like swimming, cycling or going to the gym.
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Now it's just a case of preparing for the conditions. Ben Nevis is exposed to the absolute worst conditions the weather can throw at it, according to one major website, including extremely high winds, sub-zero temperatures, heavy rain, snow and blizzards - sometimes all at once.
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So I'm going to need waterproofs, walking shoes, a map, a compass and a lot of grim determination!
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by Kate Richards
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