Lundavra Primary School’s P4/5 pupils have been spending the past few months learning about conservation and pollution. They were keen to do their little bit for the environment therefore spent a day exploring the Glen and clearing up as they went. The day started with a competition at the school called the ‘Really Rubbish’ Game where their knowledge on the subject was tested. Then all 24 pupils headed out to the Glen for a Litter Pick along with other activities such as fire making, making ‘smores’ and another competition called an Un-Natural Treasure Hunt. A lot of fun was had along with lots of rubbish cleared from the Glen. The children also enjoyed having lunch in the Friends of Nevis Tipi.
First footpath work party of the year and we had a really positive response. We had 10 volunteers come along, a mix of regular volunteers and new people coming along to help out. The day started very cold with frozen ground however there was still plenty to be done mostly digging ditches to help preserve the tracks. Hard work but tea breaks and a drink in the Ben Nevis Inn at the end of the day to keep us all going. Many thanks to all.
On the weekend of 12th and 13th December saw a joint venture with Nevis Landscape Partnership, Forestry commission Scotland, Highland Council Rangers and the Glen Nevis Visitor Centre come together for a weekend of festivities.
Saturday saw volunteers chopping down Sitka Spruce as part of the Pinewood Restoration Project and in addition to this they could take a tree away as their Christmas Tree. The remainder of the trees were taken along to Glen Nevis Visitor Centre where a Christmas Crafts event was held the following day to allow the general public to participate in various Christmas Craft activities and refreshments whilst having the opportunity to collect a Christmas Tree and donations from this were given to the Lochaber Foodbank.
Thanks to all for their support for this weekend.
A wild day did not put off Friends of Nevis Volunteers to work on the Lower Falls Track between Lower Falls and Paddy’s Bridge in Glen Nevis. Part of the track was under water however there was plenty of vegetation clearance and drains to be dug. The pouring rain helped to identify the the drains needing most work! A big thanks for those how came out to help.
As part of the Pinewood Restoration project run by Nevis Landscape Partnership, Friends of Nevis Volunteers have been helping with the siting of various Wildlife Boxes around Glen Nevis. Tawny Owl, Barn Owl and Pine Marten boxes had already been built by our Trainee Volunteer Rangers over the summer and Friends of Nevis volunteers have been helping throughout the winter to site these boxes. We look forward to the summer when volunteers can get involved with monitoring the wildlife.
In November Dougie, our Footpath Officer ran a Footpath Awareness Day for Outdoor Leaders in November. The day was aimed at Outdoor Providers who take members of the public up Ben Nevis. The aim was to raise awareness of footpaths in general and the work Nevis Landscape Partnership are carrying out in the Ben and Glen Nevis area. This information will in turn be passed on to their clients. The Outdoor Providers are therefore in a better place to raise awareness of our work and our impact on the mountain and what we can all do about it. The day was well supported and we hope to run more in the future.
A similar day was held earlier in Novemeber when Outward Bound Instructors joined Dougie for a day at Polldudh Crags. They hope to do conservation work with the groups who attend their local centre at Loch Eil.
Photos courtesy of Mike Pescod of Abacus Mountain Guides http://www.abacusmountainguides.com/
Friends of Nevis held its Autumn Litter Pick and Curling Ponds tidy up on Sunday 15th November. The forecast was poor however 16 people braved the elements to help improve the Glen. A lot of litter has been left by people visiting the Glen particularly this year litter left at Braveheart car park from Bonfire Night.
We want to thank the Ben Nevis Highland Centre, Lidl, the Highland Council (for a skip etc.) and all who braved the rain to take part.
This past weekend a few people were lucky enough to benefit from a Bushcraft and Outdoor Living Skills course ran by Pete Long from Grantown on Spey. Pete works as a freelance Instructor for the Adventure Tourism company Wilderness Scotland. The course is part of the Community Engagement project ran by Friends of Nevis in partnership with Nevis Landscape Partnership
The group enjoyed learning about the essential basics to living in the outdoors and basic survival skills without causing too great an impact on the environment and followed a Leave no Trace philosophy. We built a shelter followed by fire over which we grilled trout and made bread finishing off of course with marshmallows (not found in the woods!) We learnt a lot about the flora and fauna of the area.
We evidenced the work of others who had left a trail of destruction behind them, remains of a shelter, clothes line, glass bottles and badly scarred trees where they definitely did not have a ‘leave no trace fire’ as we did. The group did a great job tidying the area up and leaving it better than we found it.
‘ The thing to be known grows with the knowing’
From The Living Mountain - Nan Shepherd
Saturday 19th September was a busy day for Friends of Nevis Volunteers and Members. Friends of Nevis along with John Muir Trust ran work parties to cover several area’s of Ben and Glen Nevis. John Muir Trust did a litter pick at the summit of Ben Nevis along with path maintenance around the Red Burn area of the Ben. Down in the Glen, Friends of Nevis were working on tidying up the curling ponds area whilst another work party were working on the Allt a Mhuillin track. Helen and Steve from Kent made their third trip up of the year to support friends of Nevis and Helen celebrated her birthday whilst working on the footpaths! A busy, productive and rewarding day. Thank you very much to all who got involved.
In the evening members and supporters of Friends of Nevis gathered at Cafe Beag in the Glen for their AGM. A nice evening to catch up on what Friends of Nevis have done over the past year along with plans for the next few years with support of Nevis Landscape Partnership delivering the Community Engagement Project. The meeting was followed by an interesting and inspiring talk from Dave MacLeod, a local and world renown climber. The evening finished with a delicious buffet supplied by Cafe Beag.
The footpath work parties are on a roll now. 12 people in total turned out for continuing work on the Allt a Mhuillinn, the track up into the North Face of Ben Nevis. A real mix of people, Nevis Landscape Partnership’s Volunteer Rangers along with a faithful bunch of returning volunteers along with a couple of new volunteers. Many cross drains and water bars were cleared out. Many full with silt and rocks and obviously hadn’t been done for a while. This indicated how important it is for continual maintenance following on from the construction work by contractors. Other parts of the track were pitched and improved. Many appreciative comments were given by those out using the path. Maybe next time they would like to come and join us….