Ben Nevis Challenge Holiday

Ben Nevis from Corpach, Lochaber, Scotland
Duration: 3 nights
Type: Challenge Walks
Walking Grade: 5

Try for the highest in the UK! At 4,411 feet high (1,345m) Scotland’s most iconic mountain stands a good 1,200 feet higher than England’s highest. The large numbers of peak baggers and charity walkers it attracts can belie its challenge; you’ll need to be reasonably fit with stamina (we allow up to 9 hours) to have a go at this and will need to have done some hill walking. The “main track” we follow (once a bridle path for ponies to access a now-ruined observatory on the summit) follows broad rocky slopes with increasingly impressive views of the mountains on the other side of Glen Nevis. The weather can be fierce so we will choose the better of the two days available to us. On the other you can relax in our superbly sited Alltshellach, with one of the best hotel pools in the Highlands where you can ease your muscles, or join us on a shorter warm-down or warm -up walk, also guided by one of our experienced walks leaders.

Holiday Highlights

  • A chance to scale the highest mountain in the British Isles
  • Huge sense of achievement
  • Spectacular views in all directions (with luck!)
  • Evenings in our country house where you can share a drink and re-live the day’s adventures

What’s included

  • Great value: all prices include Full Board en-suite accommodation, a full programme of walks with all transport to and from the walks, plus evening activities
  • Great walking: challenge yourself to bagging some of Scotland’s finest Munros, in the company of our experienced leaders
  • Accommodation: our Country House is equipped with all the essentials – a welcoming bar and relaxing lounge area, a drying room for your boots and kit, an indoor swimming pool, and comfortable en-suite rooms

Trip Notes

Trip notes are detailed, downloadable PDF’s for each holiday, please click the button below to find the right trip notes for your departure date.

You're welcome to check in from 4pm onwards.

Enjoy a complimentary Afternoon Tea on arrival.


We will use today to go for a shorter warm-up walk and get to know each other, depending on the weather. Your Country house sits on the very edge of Loch Leven with inspirational views and spectacular walks nearby.

Beinn na Caillich

Distance: 8 miles (12.5km) 

Ascent: 3,200 feet (980m) 

In SummaryFollow the undulating mountain ridge over the summits of Mam na Gualainn and Beinn na Caillich, before descending to join the West Highland Way to Kinlochleven. 

HighlightThe 'Corbett' summit of Mam na Gualainn commands a fine view over Loch Leven and provides a good warm up for the other adventurous peaks later in the holiday.


An early start sees us in beautiful Glen Nevis, under the towering hulk of “the Ben’s” western slopes. Before you know it we’ll be at the “half way Lochan” and then counting down the series of huge zig zags up the flank of the mountain until you reach the magnificent rocky summit plateau. You’ll need to be able to keep a steady pace but we’ll have plenty of stops to rest, eat and stay hydrated. We return the same way.


Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before making your way home.


Alltshellach

For a combination of mountain views, olde-worlde charm, and somewhere comfortable to sleep, this stately Scottish house in North Ballachulish has an enviable setting right on the shores of Loch Leven – the largest natural shallow water body in lowland Britain. The walking opportunities here are as every bit rugged and romantic as you’d expect, especially around Glen Coe, the Mamores, Kinlochleven, Bidean nam Bian, and Ben Nevis – the 1,345-metre-high peak towering above glistening lochans and glacial valleys in the north-west Highlands. You can also spend time in Fort William, visit the colourful harbour at Tobermory, and ride the Hogwarts-esque Jacobite steam train as it makes its way through beauty spots such as Loch Eil, the Glenfinnan Viaduct, and Arisaig to the fishing port of Mallaig.  Designed in the early 1870s by Inverness architect Alexander Ross, Alltschellach was built for Lady Alice Ewing – fourth daughter of the 19th Earl of Morton and the second wife and widow of Alexander Ewing, a former Bishop of Argyll & the Isles. Their daughter, Margaret, married Liberal MP Alexander Crum while their granddaughter, also Margaret, married William Thomson (later known as Lord Kelvin) who was one of the most important physicists of the 19th century for determining the absolute zero on any temperature scale. The house remained in the family thereafter, with notable architectural additions including a private chapel, coach houses, stables, and five cottages built from Kentallen granite to house the groomsman and servants. It has been part of our HF Holidays line-up since 1929 (we purchased the property in 1953) and used as a military hospital during WWII.  Nowadays, Alltschellach has 38 well-appointed guest rooms in three categories (Classic, Premium, and Superior). Room 23 on the second floor is known as the Bishop’s Room for its small prayer area, but this was most likely to have been the children’s bedroom as the bishop would have slept in one of the larger rooms on the first floor. You’ll find three comfortable lounges (the area with the small stained glass window at the end of the entrance hall was probably the private chapel), a dining room for a wide range of dishes made with fresh and seasonal ingredients, and a licenced bar with a superb Scottish whisky selection. Elsewhere, there’s a handy boot and drying room, books and games to borrow during your stay, a Discovery Point offering a wide range of local area maps, route guides, and easy-to-follow information for self-guided walks, and beautiful lawns and wooded grounds leading down to Loch Leven.  

 

Need to know

The safety of our guests, team, and leaders is always top of our list. We will closely align ourselves with the latest government advice and guidance on COVID-19 and implement the best possible hygiene practices across our country houses. We ask that you take sensible precautions to protect other people’s health and would appreciate you informing the house team immediately if you feel unwell. For the latest COVID-19 FAQs, please visit our Coronavirus Travel Advice Page

Rooms

Designed with your comfort in mind, Alltschellach has 38 well-appointed guest rooms available in three categories: Classic, Premium, and Superior. 

Classic Rooms are comfortable en-suite guest rooms, ideal for a peaceful night's sleep. Amenities include free Wi-Fi, tea and coffee-making facilities, toiletries (hand wash, shampoo, and shower gel), and a 23-inch TV. 

Premium Rooms are more spacious en-suite guest rooms offering upgraded views of the surrounds. Amenities include free Wi-Fi, tea and coffee-making facilities, toiletries (hand wash, shampoo, body lotion, shower gel, shower cap), and a 32-inch TV. Extras include bathrobes, slippers, and comfortable mattresses. Please note that an extra charge of £15 per person per night applies for this room type. 

Superior Rooms are even more spacious en-suite guest rooms offering upgraded views of the surrounds. Amenities include free Wi-Fi, tea and coffee-making facilities, toiletries (hand wash, shampoo, body lotion, shower gel, shower cap), and a 32-inch TV. Extras include bathrobes, slippers, and comfortable mattresses. Please note that an extra charge of £25 per person per night applies for this room type. 

We love: Room 21 for its extra space, corner position, and gorgeous views across Loch Leven. Equally fabulous is Room 23 (known as the Bishop’s Room) on the second floor. 

The Choose Your Room service is available at our UK country houses, allowing you the option of choosing and confirming a specific room for an extra charge of £30 per room. This is subject to availability. Upgrade supplements apply. 

CHECK IN & CHECK OUT 

You are welcome to check in from 4:00pm at the earliest. On arrival, you’ll enjoy a complimentary cream tea and get to meet your fellow guests, our HF Holidays Leaders, and the rest of the friendly team.  

On the day of departure, we kindly ask all guests to check out by 10:00am. You’ll be asked to settle your bill prior to leaving. You may, of course, make a charitable donation to our HF Holidays Pathways Fund if you wish. Please note that we only accept card payments. 

About Your Stay

A WARM WELCOME 
We want you to feel comfortable from the moment you arrive. You’ll find a welcome pack in your room with guest registration forms, menus, order forms for dinners and picnic lunches, the Wi-Fi password, and the front door code. Our houses are locked at night, so we recommend noting the Duty Manager’s number on arrival in case of an emergency (or getting locked out). 

EVENING ENTERTAINMENT 
While evening entertainment varies from house to house, the HF Holidays Big Pub Quiz held after dinner on Wednesdays is a weekly staple. Your HF Holidays Leader may be around for tips on guided and self-guided walking routes as well as visit-worthy local attractions. 

WALKS TALKS  
Our HF Holidays Leaders host guided walking information briefings before and after dinner on arrival days. This is followed by a group Walks Talk for information on the following day’s walking delights (usually held before and after dinner, so you can join whenever suits). Self-guided walking guests are, of course, welcome.  

THE WALKING DAY 
Prior to setting off on walks, your HF Holidays Leader will run you through a short safety briefing. There’s also an up-to-date weather forecast on display at the house to ensure you have appropriate clothing and footwear (we recommend anything waterproof enough to keep you dry in a sudden downpour). If you choose to do your own walks or are on a self-guided walking holiday, we ask that you please complete an Independent Walker Card each day. These can be found near the Discovery Point in the house. 

Food & Drink

Led by experienced chefs, we serve a wide range of dishes made with fresh and seasonal ingredients. We always aim to source the best produce available and use home-grown herbs and vegetables from our own gardens whenever possible. Additionally, we have a licenced bar with beers, soft drinks, and a superb selection of spirits. 

Full-board comes as standard and includes a cream tea on arrival and a hearty breakfast on departure day. Most dietary requirements can be catered for, so please inform us of any food intolerances or allergies at the time of booking. Currently, global challenges such as COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine are directly impacting our food and drink supply chain. We thank you for appreciating that menu descriptions are kept flexible to allow for last-minute changes if needed. 

Accessibility

For accessibility and assistance information, please contact our expert team on 020 3974 8865 or view the accessibility information online for Alltshellach

10682_0006 - Alltshellach - Exterior

Getting to Alltshellach

Find out more about this location including travel details and room types.

More Information

Essential Information

“There’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong type of clothing!” goes the adage. Come prepared for all eventualities and you’ll walk in comfort as well as safety. Britain’s famous for its changeable weather, so here’s our advice on what to wear and bring.

Essentials

  • Waterproof walking boots providing ankle support and good grip.
  • A waterproof jacket and over-trousers
  • Gloves and a warm hat (it can be chilly at any time of the year)
  • Rucksack
  • Water bottle (at least 1 litre capacity)
  • A small torch (everywhere in winter, year round in mountains)
  • Sun hat and sunscreen
    Denim jeans and waterproof capes are not suitable on any walks.

Recommended

  • Several layers of clothing, which can be added or removed
  • Specialist walking socks to avoid blisters.
  • A first aid kit inc plasters– your leader’s first aid kit doesn’t contain any medication
  • Sit mat (insulated pad to sit on when you stop for a break)

You might also want

  • Walking poles, particularly useful for descents.
  • Insect repellent
  • Flask for hot drinks
  • Rigid lunch box
  • Gaiters
  • Blister kit (eg Compeed) just in case
  • Waterproof rucksack liner

Guest Reviews

Duration:
3 nights
Type:
Challenge Walks
Walking Grade:
5

Fully Booked

020 3974 8865

For group bookings of 10+ people click here

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