Volunteers are scaling the heights of Ben Nevis at the treble for maintenance and clean-up operations.
A team of volunteers and staff from the Friends of Nevis, John Muir Trust and Nevis Landscape Partnership are taking part in a triple operation with colleagues in England and Wales to celebrate the Three Peaks Partnership.
The partnership – run by the organisations that manage Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon – provides information and advice to the thousands of people who complete the Three Peaks Challenge every year.
Some complete the challenge in a single trip which puts a strain on the footpaths and surrounding vegetation if people don’t come properly prepared. It can also create serious litter problems.
The volunteer work party on the Ben are concentrating on clearing drainage and water channels on almost two miles of the Allt a Mhuillinn path to the North Face to keep the rain off 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 have had glorious weather and are managing 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 are 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.
Every year, between 30-40,000 people take part in the Three Peaks Challenge, and Alison Austin, the John Muir Trust’s Land Manager for Ben Nevis urged them to come properly prepared.
She said: “We welcome individuals and groups coming to the Ben 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 valuable advice on routes, car parking, kit, mountain safety and caring for the environment.”