Saturday, 20 December 2008

Reclaiming Glen Nevis

Since my day out with Lochaber Colege i have been over at Glenmore Lodge for some prewinter season staff training. Word had reached the BBC down south that winter was in full flow in Scotland so they had come up to film and of course the weather was awful. The film crew asked to do a segment about winter preparation so we acted as a colourful backdrop to George McEwan's piece to camera by drytooling up and down the towers at the Lodge. I'm the one in the orange jacket at about 1:48 in this video:
Today I joined a party from the Friends of Nevis at Polldubh crags in Glen Nevis. Many of the excellent rock climbs have begun to dissapear under leaves and moss in the last 20 years as birch trees have grown up next to the crags. The Friends have co-ordinated the landowner (Alcan), SNH (the area is a SSSI) and local volunteers to sort the paperwork and begin clearing the base of some of the routes. As a test day we started at th base of the popular Pinnacle Ridge area where about 15 trees were cut down by a licensed chainsaw operative and the timber cleared from access routes by the rest of us. The felled timber is to be left in place to rot to encourage natural growth in other areas. Next summer this should mean tht climbers gearing up at the base of Pinnacle Ridge, Clapham Junction and Tiptoe should feel more moving breeze (and therefore less midges) and next year the routes wont be treated to a coat of sap and leaves and should dry out much better.
I spoke to Alan Kimber who reported good conditions on Ben Nevis today - quite springlike - for his day's mountaineering. See his website for details.