Well, I have spent nearly 6 weeks in Dundee now. I have seen the city, around the city, some parts of the out skirts. But as a person who is new to the whole European Continent, I really really wanted to discover the country, the continent, and force myself to do stuff I would otherwise would not. My first step towards that objective was my trip to Ben Nevis. Ben Nevis is the highest point in the British Isles located in Scotland, only 2 hours away from Dundee. It stands at 1345 metres above sea level, located at the western end of the Grampian Mountains in the Lochaber area of the Scotland Highlands.
[box type=”info”] Interesting Fact: The summit is the collapsed dome of an ancient volcano. The observatory which is at the top of the mountain was continuously staffed between 1883 and 1904. The meteorological data collected during this period, is still very important for understanding Scottish mountain weather.[/box]
The event was organised, very well if I may, by the Dundee Singapore Society. The society in collaboration with the Singapore Societies of Glasgow, St. Andrews and Aberdeen Universities tediously planned out a two day two night trip to Fort Williams and the climb up to Ben Nevis.
It was a Friday when we started off for the trip. I ended school at Ninewells at around 5pm and was at my flat by 5.30 pm. I had 1.5 hours to pack food enough for the trip, pack my clothes and make sure I had everything that I need for the trip, I know – poor planning. Obviously, I was late. I was the last one to board the bus and soon we started off on the 2 hour bus ride to our tent site at Lochy Holiday Park, near Fort Williams. I thought two layers of winter clothing would be enough, little did I know what was waiting for me! The temperature was 2 degrees! For a boy from equatorial Singapore it was a torture! Once I alighted, my first action was to wear more layers and start warming myself up – again poor planning (on my part though, SingSoc was great!)
The day started early at around 6 am when we had a quick breakfast and got ready to climb up the mountain. I met and got to know my group that I was supposed to take care off – me, really? Come on SingSoc! (just kidding, I did a good job). The climb was pretty relaxing, got to see a lot of scenic backdrops and natural landforms and structures that I would not be able to able to see in the concrete jungle in Singapore. I took a lot of insta-worthy pictures (isn’t all that matters). I really hoped I will get some kind of epiphany when I reach the top or at least when I was climbing like they do in the movies. But I was just so exhausted and tired, I just sat down and marvelled at nature’s beauty and ate my sandwiches (they were good guys). But in all honesty, the view from the top was just amazing! I don’t have words to describe the scene I saw; the top was a bit rocky but it really cold and had patches of ice on the ground.
Some memorable moments
The descent and Fort Williams
Now is when I got my epiphany! We spent nearly 6 hours climbing but it took only 4 hours coming down and it was actually a bit more painful. I could go into the details of what it meant to me but I would like to know what you take away from that? Moving on, the next day we took a cab to Fort Williams City centre, it was just one street with all of the city’s stores and pubs but it had a quaint character that I found very appealing. A few stores but important ones, polite people, the laid back life of the locals, all made my trip very memorable. But just one problem: the temperature. It was 12 noon and the temperature was only 9 degrees; one of the coldest afternoon since I came to the UK.
Reflections of Week 4
This is was very unique week. The weekend zoomed past even before I could catch a breath and enjoy the moment, constantly moving or shivering in the cold. But, it was a my first of discovering a place I have never been before, like I have said in my previous blogs, this is my first time in Europe. As such, I really do want to discover the continent, at least the major cities in this continent before I graduate from this place. It is not easy to do that and study in a full time course, but I would really like to try. So if you guys have any suggestions, please do comment! Regardless, it was worth all the troubles I had to go through for this trip. Maybe I might be even climbing another mountain soon? Honestly, how hard can it be?