These are a collection of Accounts from the Ben Nevis Mountain range. An area with multiple accounts, far too many to mention here. If you would like to view more of them visit British Bigfoot and other Creatures Map
Footsteps in the Night
Some years ago now myself and my friends decided to do a wild camp at the campsite at the foot of Ben Nevis and walk the mountain the next day spending the following night sleeping rough on the mountain, which I thought would be a nice little adventure and give us something to talk about for years to come. Our first night’s camp was pretty uneventful. The second night things changed!!!
Sleeping in a damp cold bivvy is not at all pleasant. I did finally drop off to sleep but I woke up for some unknown reason in the middle of the night. As I lay awake I could hear footsteps walking round us. At first I was quite interested in this, as I thought an animal of some description had paid us a visit. But as time went on I began to realise this was definitely a two legged creature, with quite purposeful steps. The footsteps, by now, were really close – only a couple of feet away, and I started to get the chills and had a massive fear come over me from nowhere, I was on high alert instantley.
Given my colleagues were also only a couple of feet away, I had no real reason to worry as they (apart from anything else) are big and very strong. Eventually I calmed myself and drifted off to sleep. I remember waking up at around 0:600 hrs with ice covering the outside of the bivvy. I decided to pack everything up and walk to the campsite for a well deserved lovely hot shower.
The other two eventually packed up their equipment and followed me down the mountain. Dean complained heavily about my kicking him in the head as his bivvy was on the ground at my feet? Simon complete with smoking jacket and cravat said he slept like a baby. I only briefly thought in passing about the footsteps creeping round us during the night, but put it down to being over tired and possibly being awoken in half slumber where dreams can get mixed up with reality and therefore didn’t feel it necessary to tell the others.
Having got ourselves nice and clean with warm dry clothes it was time to make our way back south. The drive was, as usual, monotonous, especially when we arrived at the M6 motorway. By then we had run out of things to talk about until Dean said “did you hear any footsteps walking round us last night?” and at this point I realised I hadn’t dreamt it after all.
We discussed this for a while and none of us could explain it, Simon simply did not hear it as he slept right through and Dean, to this day, has never given it much thought. I still have no idea what it was, and, as this was some years ago, will never know, only that it was a strange experience.
We had a safe journey home and true to his word Dean has never walked up a mountain again. For my part, it was something I wouldn’t have missed for the world and I look back on that little adventure with such fond memories. I still have the bivvy bag and have not slept in it since, simply because the opportunity hasn’t arisen. Simon given he didn’t hear the footsteps has not given it a second thought. Writing this I still get the chills about who, or what, it may have been.
Ben Nevis Screams/Howls feb 2015
The corries of the Ben are often busy with climbers, and a few days ago I joined them, setting out with a good friend to climb an ice route called Comb Gully – a gully high in the corrie that’s bounded by the Trident Buttress on one side and the steep walls of Tower Ridge on the other. Several climbers reported to having heard the same distressing sound picked up by my friend Christopher and his climbing partner Scott. There are a lot of reports of horrible howls and piercing Screams up on the corries. On this day the ice was perfect and we were climbing well. I was on the the crux pitch – its about about 10m or so of very steep ground – and I had my back wedged against a rock wall. I was placing an ice screw when I heard the first scream. It started indistinctly, slightly muffled, but quickly became sharp into focus. It pierced through the mist – the most visceral, awful sound. People talk about blood curdling screaming and for the first time I understood what they meant. That noise sent a stream of cold blood around my veins and chilled the back of my neck.
My first thought was simple but terrible: I was listening to someone who had just watched a loved one – not simply a climbing partner, but a loved one – fall to their death. There was so much pain and loss in that dreadful noise. I froze for a moment, barely breathing, still perched on that vertical wall. I wasn’t in a secure position, hanging off a few millimetres of metal hooked into the ice. At that moment I just wanted to be gone – off the climb, off the mountain.
This screaming had brought home to me the possible consequences of getting something wrong, of making a mistake. That was honestly what I’d thought I’d heard – the consequences of someone getting it very wrong and losing their life.
But there was no way to make a quick retreat – the fastest way out of this gully was up. I finished the crux and secured myself to three solid ice screws and brought my partner up.
We discussed the screams, trying to work out where they had come from, speculating on what might have happened, and agreed we needed to finish our climb as quickly as we could. We completed the final, easier pitch, and ended up on the Ben Nevis plateau in the mist, in complete silence. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I thought there would be some sort of noise. Something dreadful had happened. Surely we should be hearing the beginnings of a rescue – confident voices coming out of the fog. Helicopters hum or light from torches. But there was nothing – just the sound of our subdued conversation and the clinking of our climbing gear being tidied into sacks. A brief search close to where we finished our climb revealed nothing. We headed down to Fort William.
I later spoke to another climber I knew who had been on a route in the same corrie. He had abseiled off his route and gone to investigate the screams he heard, but he also found nothing. Other climbers have done the same. Nobody could find evidence of an accident and the police said no-one had been reported missing. So we don’t know who was screaming. We don’t know what happened to them. We probably never will. But I’ll never forget how a horrible scream coming out of the mist reminded me so vividly, so awfully, of the dangers of this beautiful game that we play. Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team was asked to investigate the reports of screaming, but later stood down after no trace of a casualty could be found. Screams and Howls are still heard on the mountain by climbers to this day. BBC REPORT
Until Next Time, Deborah
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