After many months of waiting, it has been announced that the Nevis Landscape Partnership working in collaboration with the local community have been successful in their application to VisitScotland and the Scottish Government’s Rural Tourism and Infrastructure Fund to improve visitor facilities at Lower Falls in Glen Nevis. Work will take place over the autumn and winter.
The funding package including £300,000 from VisitScotland and a further £150,000 from other funders is currently being finalised and will be used to install public transport access facilities, signage, a picnic area, new paths, toilet facilities and improve parking. This will be a significant asset to the Glen.
In 2018, it was estimated that 160,000 people walked up the Ben Nevis Mountain path and 300,000 people visited Glen Nevis. As numbers of visitors increase, there is increased pressure on visitor facilities in the Glen making this project at the Lower Falls car park essential to enhance visits and access to the outdoors.
The local community have pulled together to identify specific improvements that will form part of an ongoing integrated infrastructure strategy for the glen.
The improvements will include a new road layout to increase visibility at the car park entrance, improving safety and manoeuvrability for larger vehicles, and a new layout of the car park that will incorporate additional spaces, more accessible spaces, and dedicated areas for motorhome day parking. A new bus drop-off point will also be constructed to make this area more accessible to a wider audience. These changes will help to ease parking capacity issues at the Ben Nevis Visitor Centre, Glen Nevis Youth Hostel, and Steall Falls.
In an effort to reduce the number of cars travelling to the Upper Steall car park, new link paths, interpretation, and a new bike rack will encourage more visitors to park at Lower Falls and use it as a starting point to explore Glen Nevis by foot or on bikes.
A new picnic area and waterless drying-waste toilet facilities will further enhance visitor experience and make the area more accessible to a wider audience.
This is a very positive step for the Nevis Landscape Partnership and the local community and will be a great asset to Glen Nevis. While this funding provides the resources necessary for improvement of visitor facilities in the Glen, the NLP is still working hard to secure match funding for this project and beyond this, to secure the future of the organisation.
Did you know, last year over 160,000 people climbed Ben Nevis and we estimate that 300,000 visited Glen Nevis & Steall Falls.
Over the past 5 years we have maintained paths, planted over 12,000 native trees with local children and been monitoring & conserving habitats of rare species found here like the Chequered Skipper Butterfly.
We do all this without any statutory funding and we need your support to help us do more of this.
We aim to continue to maintain paths, create more circular walks, improve facilities in the Glen, including better car parks, toilets and information, build a hub where you can explore this amazing environment in more depth and much more.
The Goodbox is being hosted at the Ben Nevis Visitor Centre in Glen Nevis.
If you are a local business and would like to support us, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Explore - Support - Protect
The North Face Survey project which ran for one week in August from 2014 to 2016 has been newly documented in print in the form of a new book ‘The Noth Face Survey – Discovering the hidden side of Ben Nevis’ and was officially launched on Friday 22 of February.
Both the survey and the book are a great representation of the diversity of mountain cuture so it was fitting that the launch was held during the Fort William Mountain Festival. The new publication details how the project came together, the botanical and geological findings over the three years of the survey, and how climbers, botanists, and geologists came together to take on such an incredible project.
The book launch was a successful event which included a talk from project designer Cathy Mayne, a screening of the film ‘Ben Nevis: The Hidden Side’ which was made about the survey in 2014, and a discussion with botanist Ian Strachan, geologist Noel Williams, and professional climber Dave Anderson about the findings and logistics of the project. There were over 30 people in attendance at the event held at West Highland College UHI.
The book was a popular item on the Nevis Landscape Partnership stall in the exhibition centre over the weekend of the Mountain Festival which was also a great success. The Ben Nevis Film project this year included 6 short films which were made by Dave and Claire MacLeod of Rare Breed Productions and premiered over three nights of the Mountain Festival.
The books are for sale at the Nevis Landscape Partnership office in Claggan, on the online shop, www.nevispartnership.co.uk/shop, at the Granite House, the Highland Bookshop, and the Lochaber Geopark.
What an incredible year we've had! Gary Innes planted the 10,000th native tree in Glen Nevis, we hosted 11 trainee volunteer rangers, made national news with the Dun Deardail Lego model built by Brick to the Past, welcomed four new staff members, launched our very first fundraising campaign, Sponsor a Tree, and counted 150,000 people walking along the Ben Nevis Mountain Path! We've accomplished a lot in 2018 so naturally we are all enjoying a well deserved break over the holidays.
We wish you and your family and friends a very happy Christmas and New Year and hope you are enjoying the festive season.
2019 is already looking busy with lots of fun things on including some path and conservation work parties, community engagement events, and the Fort William Mountain Festival! Keep a look out for diary dates in the New Year!
Today saw the 10,000th native tree from the Future Forests project planted in Glen Nevis by musician Gary Innes. Being from Fort William originally, we thought it would be appropriate to ask Gary to come join us to mark this monumental milestone.
Gary had his accordion on standby but in true Lochaber style, the weather did now allow for a musical interlude. Despite the rain, he was undeterred and happy to get a bit muddy for the tree planting cause.
Beginning in 2014, the Future Forests project started the process of restoring the native woodland in Glen Nevis. Key to the success of the project was bringing together the local community, enabling them to get hands on in the whole process from propagating trees from to planting them out in the Glen. We still have 3,500 Scots pine saplings left to plant and enough seed for 175,000 trees in storage.
We hope that future work on native forest regeneration in Glen Nevis will be supported by our new fundraising campaign, Sponsor a Tree. Donations to the Sponsor a Tree campaign can go towards tree planting, exclosure fencing, tools, materials and education days for school students and volunteers. As well as growing our future forests, we will continue to work to enhance habitats for native wildlife and maintain paths to provide sustainable access to this unique environment.
We would like to thank the programme funders, the Heritage Lottery Fund, Scottish Natural Heritage, and the Woodland Trust and landowners Jahama Highland Estates.
After serving as chair on The Nevis Partnership board for four years, Alex Farquhar stepped down at the AGM on the 14th of November 2018. We thank Alex for his service over the last four years and welcome his continued contribution as a member of the board.
Mike Pescod of the Highland Mountain Culture Association, who has been on the board since July 2014, was elected as the new Chair. “The Nevis Partnership is coming to a very interesting and crucial year with the end of the landscape partnership programme and move into becoming more sustainable in the next few years. We give huge thanks to Alex Farqhuar for leading the Nevis Partnership for the last four years and I am comforted that he and and the rest of the team will still be very much involved in the next phase. In the last few years we have delivered many great projects through working closely with our partners. We will continue to draw on the strength of the partnership to ensure the future of the Nevis area.”
Mike has been involved in helping out with many projects throughout the Nevis Landscape Partnership programme. Over the course of the North Face Survey from 2014 to 2016, Mike managed all the safety components of the project to ensure success. His expertise in mountains, climbing, and safety enabled the geologists and botanists to explore parts of the Ben's North Face which had never been surveyed. Mike has also led a mountain awareness course for all 34 of the Trainee Volunteer Rangers since 2015. A highly respected member of the community, Mike will be a great asset to The Nevis Partnership in his role as chair of the board.
All of the staff, board members and partners are looking forward to working with Mike during the next phase of The Nevis Partnership's work.
The weekend saw the great success of celebrating the Wild Festival on Saturday 29 September, despite the undeterred rain.
In the final year of the Heritage Lottery Funded programme, we wanted to celebrate everything that has been accomplished over the last four years with the great support of our partners, volunteers, and other members of the community.
A range of activities provided hours of entertainment for the children, from clay moulding with John Muir Trust, bat crafts with the Highlife Highland countryside rangers, to a treasure trail and stone jewellery making with Friends of Nevis. Local musician Cormac Dolan joined the festivities in the afternoon to strum a few tunes then joined conservation officer Rowan Doff and a couple of our previous trainee volunteer rangers for some tree planting in an exclosure near Polldubh. The face painting tent, a staple part of any festival, was also a great hit.
Of great excitement to many of all ages was the Tyrolean traverse which was run by Mike Pescod of Abacus Mountain Guides and Hannah from Inside Out Climbing Club over the Lower Falls. Kids, teenagers and adults all enjoyed being roped over the rushing falls in a harness and luckily no one lost their welly boots. Further up the river, the Fisheries Trust were running a water sampling activity, getting kids to identify aquatic beasties from tadpoles to a small trout fish. There was also a foraged and wild foods workshop led by Outdoor Environmental educator Roisin Lyle – Collins which was run in partnership with Lochaber Environment Group. Lochaber Rotary Club also lent a hand by providing two gazebos for the day and a little gas stove to heat up water for coffee and tea for all those helping.
Overall the festival was a great success and was enjoyed by everyone. We would like to thank all those who helped put the event together and everyone who showed up to enjoy the all the wild things that the Nevis landscape has to offer. There are many opportunities to be part of the work that the Partnership do so if you would like to be involved, please visit www.nevislandscape.co.uk/events.
Nevis at Night raises funds for the Ben Nevis Fund, managed by the Nevis Partnership who work with a range of partners to manage, conserve and maintain Ben and Glen Nevis, the most iconic natural assets we have here in the Outdoor Capital of the UK.
On Saturday 22 September, 24 keen walkers set off to take on the UK’s highest mountain at night. The evening began around 4PM with three groups departing at different intervals to all arrive at the summit around 9PM. Nearing the summit, flood lights lit up the cairns, reflectors bounced light from head torches, and a tin whistle player filled the crisp air with music and poetry. Some of the first snowfall for the year on the summit and a dry evening with no rain made for a very successful event, enjoyed by all those involved, both participants and helpers from event organisers, Abacus Mountain Guides.
Not only did we raise funds that will go directly into the management of the Nevis area, we shone a light on Ben Nevis being a cause in its own right. It makes a fantastic venue for fundraising events and we want to people to enjoy this natural resource, but we would also like to encourage organisers and participants of charity and fundraising events to act responsibly. These events should both promote and practice leave no trace messaging and contribute to the cost of maintenance of the mountain and surrounding area so that the Ben can be enjoyed for many years into the future.
The Light Up Ben Nevis walk is the first stage in the Nevis at Night programme which we will grow into a large annual festival, accessible to everyone, and all in support of the essential work carried out by Nevis Partnership. The expanding programme will include a Dun Deardail walk in 2019 and an Elements Experience along the All Abilities Riverside Path between the Visitors Centre and the Youth Hostel in 2020 in an interactive exhibition with dance, sound, visual art and theatre.
Fund raising for those who participated in Nevis at Night is still open so if you would like to donate please visit www.justgiving.com/nevispartnership
Have you ever wondered what a LEGO model of an ancient fort looks like?
Well even if you haven't, you can see one now at the Ben Nevis Visitor Centre. The Iron Age hillfort of Dun Deardail has been replicated in LEGO format by Brick to the Past. The model was designed to show a true likeness to the real fort, details of which came to light during our Dun Deardail Excavation, Vitrification & Outreach project. This was completed last year in partnership with Forestry Commission Scotland.
You can go see it in the Ben Nevis Visitor Centre and pick up a copy of The Archeology of Dun Deardail book.
The model was funded by Heritage Lottery Fund and The Highland CouncilDiscretionary Fund
By Freja MacDougall
“The oddest thing is these vitrified forts in Scotland. I just thought, how? After all, lasers were not common in the Stone Age.”
Arthur C. Clarke, Writer & Inventor
For over two-hundred and fifty years, archaeologists studying ancient Scottish ruins have reported a type of construction said to defy explanation. Vitrified forts, like Dun Deardail in Glen Nevis, continue to bewilder even the sharpest mind but this month Nevis Landscape Partnership & Forestry Commission Scotland will attempt to understand this fascinating process and the people who inhabited this impressive Iron Age settlement when we begin our third and final year of excavations.
“Some people think vitrification was a status symbol, some people think a settlement would be set alight and inadvertently vitrified in the process by attackers and some people think it’s a structural thing to do with strengthening the walls of the fort. Bottom line is, we’ll never know! That’s what’s nice about archaeology, different people come away with different interpretations about the history of Dun Deardail.”
Andy Heald, AOC Archaeology
The first and second seasons focused on two main aspects of the fort; the enclosing rampart wall and the internal terraces. Excavation has revealed the rampart wall was far thicker than originally thought and was probably topped with a strong timber palisade or timber superstructure. Slots for horizontal timbers within the wall were also discovered and traces of the charred timbers themselves which, thanks to radiocarbon dating, helped confirm that Dun Deardail has been around since 500BC.
The wonderful thing about archaeology is that for all the forensic investigation and laboratory analysis, we still need to use our imagination to recreate the past. Matthew Ritchie, Forestry Commission Scotland Archaeologist, has linked the burning of Dun Deardail with the Irish tale of the tragic heroine Deirdru. The creative narrative has been included in a new Outdoor Archaeological Learning resource, encouraging teachers to explore the use of archaeological methodology in the classroom and outdoors.