Arthur's Seat Stairs

Overcoming Disappointment – Hiking in Scotland

Well, you may remember, I planned to hike Ben Nevis, the highest point in the UK, with my husband while in Scotland.

Unfortunately, things did not go as planned and we did not reach the summit.  I posted about climbing Ben Nevis for much the same reason that I started a blog.  Accountability. If I posted about it, then I would do it.

I failed.  Not completely, but enough to feel the disappointment.  And because of my blogging about it, public disappointment.  Should I just hang my head in shame? I could do that. Throw myself a little pity party.

Nope.  Not doing it.  Rather than dwell on what I did not accomplish, I choose to celebrate what I did accomplish.

I should say, before even beginning the hike of Ben Nevis, we had already walked and climbed a tremendous amount.  In the three days prior we had walked 20 miles and climbed 83 “floors” thanks to the William Wallace Monument in Stirling, Dunvegan Castle on the Isle of Skye and every flat we stayed in that required a climb.  

I could be making excuses, but I think they are valid.  I’m sticking to it.

It seems that I was a little ambitious with my scheduling.


First issue:  driving time in Scotland.

I’ll touch on this more in another post, but when you’re a novice at driving on the left, it takes a bit longer to get where you’re going. We needed to hoof it from Dunvegan to Fort William in order to allow enough time to hike the mountain.


Second issue:  Eilean Donan Castle.  

Scottish Piper
Piper at Eilean Donan Castle

When we came upon this gem, we had to stop. We got there right before it opened for the day and made the executive decision to stop even if it meant that we would not have time to reach the summit.


Third issue:  fat and out of shape.  

Not Hard
Just the beginning. Haven’t even gotten to the hard part yet

It takes a lot more energy and muscle to move a larger body up a steep hill.  We simply had a lot of body to move. By the time we reached the halfway point, at 3:30 in the afternoon, my legs and knees were crying.  I’d like to think that if we’d had more time, I could have made it considerably further or maybe even all the way.

Yeah, he’s still smiling. For Now











So we sat down on the side of the trail, popped our celebratory beers, and refueled (we still had to make it back down.)  We chatted with a couple of people on their way back down and they were headed to the inn at the trail head for beers.  It sounded so good

End of the LIne



As you may have guessed, we had resigned ourselves to the fact that we weren’t going to reach the summit. At the pace we were going, there simply was not enough time to make it up to the summit We were good with it though.  Visiting Eilean Donan was worth it.  That cider that I had at the inn was way worth it.

Yes, I am disappointed that I did not meet my goal, but as I said before, I have much to be proud of.  That is my focus.  Celebrate the things that I have accomplished.  That is how I overcome the disappointment.



*Two days later we did another hike that was in some ways more difficult.  My husband didn’t exactly pick the best route up and I found myself scrambling up a super steep incline, grabbing at grass clumps to keep from falling back.  

Steep Hill
It’s steeper than it looks

At times, I could only go about ten steps at a time, resting because my legs were near muscle failure. He told me time and time again that we could stop and go back.  I refused. I was not going to quit! You know what? I made it.  The reward was this amazing 300 year old prayer hut.

Prayer Hut-Scotland
Prayer Hut-The Reward for the Climb









*Two days after that, we hiked Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh (via the wrong path yet again.) 

Arthur's Seat
The View of Arthur’s Seat from Edinburgh Castle

Same issues – had to stop frequently, legs BURNING. The reward? An incredible view of Edinburgh and knowing that I had done it.  

The Wrong Hill
This is the Wrong Hill

*Over the course of our last days in Edinburgh we continued to walk and climb.  

In case you didn’t know, the old city is on two levels. The castle and it’s end of the Royal Mile are at one level, and then it drops steeply to another level.  These levels are connected by steep sets of stairs and winding, narrow roads.

In addition, it seems like every restaurant that we went to had the bathroom either upstairs or downstairs from the dining room.  I almost cried at one restaurant when I walked through the door and saw yet another set of stairs!

With my new fitness tracker, I was able to document the stats from our trip.  Over the course of the ten days that we were there, we logged 66 miles and 427 floors!  How could I be disappointed in that?





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