Unless you desperately want to write a facebook status atop uk's highest mountain or get a significant ego boost by having conquered it, i wouldnt bother. In general, though I love hiking and am very experienced, i hate back and forth routes, like the ben nevis summit trail. For that reason i did the circular option though more demanding and long.
Climbing the very long 3 hour ascent (may be longer for the unfit) and torturing your knees back the same way on the 2 hour descent just isnt worth the very average views at the summit, and thats only if you were lucky enough to see anything at all on the 60 days a year thats possible. The circular route is far better but requires a further 300 metres climb amd a more challenging terrain and gradient, and another 2.5 hours.
So many beautiful walks around fort william..a better alternative is a chilled out walk to the beautiful waterfall at the end of glen nevis road through a beautiful gorge and valley. Lonely planet's "walking im scotland" offers longer day hikes in the area, far more rewarding than mainstream ben nevis.
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