Project LP.A1 (2014 - 2017)
Ben Nevis Path
In the autumn of 2015 Nevis Landscape Partnership undertook a project to upgrade the lower half of the Ben Nevis Mountain Path, something that is currently ongoing. The budget required for a project of this scale is £880,000.
Major sections of the work are complete and now, as the project draws to a close, we are focusing on sections that require less-serious rebuild. Our aim is to build a robust path that, with necessary maintenance of drain clearing and the odd repair, should last for years. When walking up Ben Nevis today it is very difficult to remember just how dangerous most stretches of path were. This was not due to a poor initial build but simply a lack of frequent care and maintenance and if this issue is not addressed, exactly the same thing will happen to the path again.
The serious upgrades have been carried out by contractors using stone from Bon Awe & Banavie Quarries. In an ideal world, stone from the mountain would be used however available stone is now around the 3500-4000ft level and days when you can fly a helicopter at that height on Ben Nevis in November are few and far between.
By the end of the upgrade almost one-thousand tonnes of stone will have been flown up the mountain to be used in the building and protection of the path. Work has mainly taken place over the winter and, for path-building, the warmer winters have been kind with no prolonged spells of hard frost or snow at the levels we were working at. Winter conditions however are still challenging and far from ideal. We do however manage to avoid the 100,000+ folk walking up the mountain by working at this time of year.
The lower sections have been very successfully repaired by our Trainee Volunteer Rangers, Friends of Nevis volunteers and National Trust for Scotland Thistle Camps. The work carried out by volunteers amounts to well over two-thousand hours and has saved an already expensive project almost £25,000.
This winter, work is well underway. Stone from Banavie Quarry has been flown up the hill for large sections of revetment required to support the path. It is fantastic to see progress before the snow really takes hold, a few sections of the path are almost finished already.
Nevis Landscape Partnership have achieved fantastic results due to a major financial boost allowing us to tackle the repairs all over the mountain and hire professionals. These works have been a result of six years of hard work from The Nevis Partnership, our partners and the contractors and volunteers who have made them happen. The upgrades will only last if the Ben Nevis Mountain Path is maintained, this is our biggest challenge if we do not want the path to once again fall into disrepair and all the hard work of so many people to go to waste.
To avoid the exact same situation time and time again something has to be done and contributions have to be made regularly in order to preserve such a popular and nationally important path.
If you have enjoyed your trip up Ben Nevis why not throw £1 into the Friends of Nevis cairns at Achintee or Glen Nevis Youth Hostel. If everyone who visited the Glen, never mind climbed the Ben, did the same...
Well, you do the sums.
The Ben Nevis Mountain Path Project is generously funded by Heritage Lottery Fund, Scottish Natural Heritage, Highlands and Islands Enterprise. Work has been carried out by McGowans Ltd. Environmental Engineering, Cairngorm Wilderness Contracts, Highland Conservation, Turnstone, Upland Access, PDG Helicopters, Skyhook Helicopters, Friends of Nevis, National Trust for Scotland and Nevis Landscape Partnership's Trainee Rangers.