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.”