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Three Peaks work party on Ben Nevis

Tuesday 9th May 2017, 3:01pm

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 operation on the highest peaks in Scotland, England and Wales.

The work parties were held to celebrate the Three Peaks Partnership, run by the organisations that manage Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon. The Partnership provides information and advice to those undertaking the Three Peaks Challenge.

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 if the participants are not properly prepared. 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 Nicol from the Friends of Nevis 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.

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.

“We especially want to highlight the Three Peaks Partnership website, which is a one-stop shop advice and information resource that helps people plan their expedition properly, with much valuable advice on routes, car parking, kit, mountain safety and  caring for the environment.”