Protecting the Peaks Together

May 2017

Ben Nevis footpath work party in the sunshine!

A team of volunteers and staff from the Friends of Nevis, John Muir Trust and Nevis Landscape Partnership have taken part in a triple path maintenance and clean-up.

Every year, 30-40,000 people seek to complete the Challenge by reaching the three summits in a single trip, which can put strain on the footpaths and surrounding vegetation additionally the Challenge can also generate serious litter problems.

The volunteer work party on Nevis this month concentrated on clearing drainage and water bars and channels on 3km of the Allt a Mhuillinn path to the North Face to keep rain off the path and prevent it from washing away

Susan Nicholl from the Friends of Nevis and Nevis Landscape Partnership said:

“Looking after mountain paths is like painting the Forth Bridge. With 100,000 people ascending Ben Nevis every year, it involves a continual cycle of work parties just to carry out essential maintenance and to clear up litter.

“Fortunately we had glorious weather and were able to get through a huge amount of work, so we’re satisfied that the Ben will be capable of shedding whatever amount of water pours down from the skies in the coming months. Our volunteers have been brilliant and we can’t thank them enough for their dedication and commitment to this magnificent mountain.”

Between 2014 and 2017, the Nevis Landscape Partnership invested £540,000 on repair contracts on the lower half of the main footpath, and expects to spend a further £330,000 by 2019 as part of a five-year Heritage Lottery Funded project.

Alongside the thousands of individuals who take on the Challenge it is recognised that the weather also plays a role in wear away the mountain path. In recent weeks Ben Nevis has witnessed high snow fall which can be seen on the North Face throughout the summer. With a combination of 100,000 walkers, melt water from snow during the warmer months and heavy rainfall, the Ben Nevis mountain path is fighting a constant battle against erosion. The clearing of water bars and drainage was an attempt to reduce the effects of the extreme weather so that water can flow freely away from the path and walkers.

Alison Austin, the John Muir Trust’s Land Manager for Ben Nevis urged people carrying out the Three Peaks Challenge to come properly prepared:

“We welcome individuals and groups coming to Nevis to raise money for a range of charities which do wonderful work. At the same we would appeal to those participating in the Three Peaks Challenge to be aware that this is a sensitive landscape.”



Scafell Pike – lovely and litter free!

Team Scafell Pike!

Scafell Pike is sitting pretty after a great team effort on Saturday involving the National Trust, Fix the Fells volunteers and the Lake District National Park. We couldn’t have asked for better weather for our annual pre-season drain-run, litter pick and maintenance day and along with a great turn out for the event, we had a terrific day.

Ascending the Pike on the Brown Tongue path, there were some real highlights. Firstly, the number of happy people out-and-about, doing good-weather-recces for their upcoming Three Peaks Challenge. I met hillwalkers Dave and Carl from Brighton who were scouting out each of the Three Peaks over the course of three weekends and, having taken the advice from our website, had decided to make the most of three consecutive weekends away in Scotland, England and Wales. Well done Dave and Carl!

To our absolute delight, there was hardly any litter on the Pike. We’re pretty sure this is down to local fell runner Lindsay Buck who runs up the Pike several

Hard at work clearing drains

times a week with a bin-bag! Thank you Lindsay! Lindsay’s outstanding efforts have earned her a National Trust Beatrix Potter Award in the ‘Local Hero’ category and she certainly deserves our special thanks. Moreover, we’re pretty sure the ‘broken window theory’ applies here; the less litter people see on the ground, the less likely they are to drop litter. We’re just really thankful to both Lindsay and everyone who climbs up the Pike, for taking their litter home with them.

So, the drains are clear of stone and there isn’t a plastic bottle or banana skin in sight this morning and with the National Trust footpath teams continuing their hard work on path maintenance this season, things are looking up for Scafell Pike – all 978 metres of it!

Busy, busy on the Pike