The peak of Ben Nevis is an outcome of a long-extinct volcano comprising of an extensive stony plateau with an average of 100 acres. At the top of the Summit, there is a unique substantial built cairn which is approximately 10 feet high at which the ordnance survey trig point sits. In case of bad weather, the trig point serves as the key feature to help people sail across the summit.
The world’s most famous North face of Ben Nevis lies to the North of the plateau while the Carn Mor Dearg Mountain lies on the North East. An eye-catching Mor Dearg Arete which has Aonach Mor range set of mountains sitting approximately 2 miles away, connects Carn Dearg Mountain to the Ben Nevis summit.
Another prominent feature on the Ben summit is the ruined walls of the 1893 observatory. Considering the harsh Scottish weather conditions which occur throughout the year, the observatory ruined walls are particularly an unusual feature to be existing in any of the Scottish mountains.
A look at the old observatory tower, you will notice a small shelter meant for emergencies to benefits those caught unexpectedly by bad weather while on the summit. However, people should never rely on this shelter as a stopover point during emergencies. In fact, after the 1972 tragedy which led to six teenagers succumbing to death after they failed to reach the shelters, two such high altitude shelters were removed from Cairngorm plateau.
In 2004, another shelter on Ben’s neighbouring summit, Carn Dearg, was also removed. This is because during the winter seasons the shelter was always buried in the snowmaking it difficult to locate and enter. People would spend considerable energy and time which could be devoted to descend for safety, trying to find the shelter a factor which led to its removal. For the refuge on the observatory tower, there are no plans to remove it. Despite the tower’s base being slightly lower than the true summit on the mountain, its roof is higher than the trig point by several feet.