Mt. Ben Nevis seen from the Allt a’Mhuilinn path. Photo by Blisco.
Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in the United Kingdom at 1, 344 metres (4, 409ft) above sea level, and is known to Highland folk as ‘The Ben’. It’s located near the town of Fort William and makes a terrific hiking or climbing destination though too many hikers and mountaineers go ill-prepared.
Weather conditions can deteriorate very rapidly leading to fast temperature drops and heavy fog or snow that conceals trails and escape routes. In some places snow is visible all year round. People die on the mountain regularly and the local Mountain Rescue team is kept busy.
The easiest and most popular walking route to the summit of the Ben is the Pony Track, sometimes known as the Mountain Path or Ben Path, starting on the east side of Glen Nevis at Achintee on the south side of the mountain, about 2km (1. 5miles) from Fort William town centre. The Pony Track is trod by about 75, 000 walkers a year!
Plockton promenade. Photo by NessyPic.
Often referred to as the prettiest village in Scotland, Plockton – population 378 – is on the shore of Loch Carron, off the Atlantic. The TV series Hamish Macbeth was filmed there.
Gairloch beach and loch, Atlantic Ocean. Gairloch is small fishing town with banks, shops and a museum. Photo by Steve Carter.
Achmelvich beach and loch, Atlantic Ocean. It’s just north of Lochinver and a popular camping destination. Photo by Steve Carter.
A Pine Marten in a Caledonian pine, found all over the Highlands. Photo by Steve Carter.
One of Britain’s rarest mammals, Pine Martens hunt in trees and on the ground. They like to roam in broad-leaved or conifer woodlands, and the destruction of these is a threat to the species. They find most of their food on the ground, and they hunt for small mammals, birds, insects, fungi, berries, birds’ eggs and carrion.
Red Deer are more visible than humans in many parts of the Highlands. Photo by Massimo Catarinella.
Another inhabitant of wild British landscapes is the adder, otherwise known as Vipera Berus. Photo by Jozef Sokolowski.
The Common European adder/viper
The adder is the UK’s most venemous creature (which is mild compared to Australian snakes! ) but still it’s best not to fool around with anything that has that pattern on it. Adders are not aggressive and are not considered to be dangerous as their bite – when disturbed – is painful but not usually life-threatening.
Ignore testosterone demands that you should wrestle with the creature. Leave it alone and it will quietly disappear.
The sports car
For gear heads who are wondering what the white car at the top of the page is, it’s a Superlight R500 Duratec Cosworth, 520 bhp per ton, built in Caterham, Surrey. It went round the Top Gear track faster than a Bugatti Veyron and was their Car of the Year in 2010. It’s “the work of the devil” they say.