Firstly, a huge thankyou to all the supporters who have ensured that Friends of Nevis continued to exist and operate through 2021 despite the restrictions and challenges that a second year of Covid has continued to throw at us. This includes volunteers who have come along on work parties, and of course that other group of volunteers, the Chair and Trustees, who keep things running smoothly in the background (and often to be seen at work parties them selves!) In addition our signed up members continued to support the Friends and other individuals and organisations have donated in support of our work. Sadly this year two of our members passed away, Libby Williamson and Andy Davidson. Libby was a well loved, long term member of the Friends of Nevis and Andy, who led groups and individuals on Ben Nevis and other peaks in the area, was keen to find ways to lessen visitor impacts on the hills and support conservation work. Libby's family and friends kindly made donations to Friends of Nevis in her memory.
So, despite a second year of Covid restrictions, Friends of Nevis have continued their activities in Glen Nevis and on Ben Nevis, including regular volunteer work parties helping with path maintenance, litter picking and bracken bashing, and also engagement events. Images and details from some of these are given below:
Litter picks in 2021 included several 'Monday Morning Litter Picks' during the busier summer months and also the regular Friends of Nevis Spring and Autumn events. On one of the hotter summer sessions volunteers were treated to some very welcome ice creams courtesy of Glen Nevis Visitor Centre!
This year Friends of Nevis volunteer Pathwork Parties carried out maintenance on the Allt a Mhuilinn path, Ben Path and also paths in Glen Nevis such as the Lower Falls - Paddies Bridge path. This has helped support the vital work that the NLP seasonal ranger team achieved this year in keeping the paths in good condition.
During the summer Volunteers helped clear American Skunk Cabbage, an Invasive Non Native Species, from a site in Glen Nevis along with a NLP Seasonal Ranger and Highland Council Seasonal Access Rangers. Its a resilient plant so further volunteer work parties will be needed in years to come!
Engagement events this year included a Herbal Walk & Forage with author and practicing Medical Herbalist Clare Holohan, a Fungal Foray with leading Field Mycologist Liz Holden and several bird ringing drop in sessions run by BTO licenced ringers Kirsty Ross and John Owen. In addition Friends of Nevis also held its annual AGM at the end of October, attended by members and supporters, at which Jonathon Hart was the Guest Speaker, who gave an engaging account of his work with Jahama Highland Estates, who are the landowners and managers for much of Ben Nevis and Glen Nevis
As well as supporting volunteer activities, Friends of Nevis have provided financial support this year to Nevis Landscape Partnership including funding for the purchase of 100 square metres of interlocking Aco Groundguard stabilisation tiles. These have been used to stabilise the eastern end of the Riverside All Abilities Path, which had some significant surface damage in floods in September 2020.
Looking ahead to 2022
We are working on the calendar of work parties and engagement events for 2022, which will be posted here before year end and will be available for sign up from our events page. Watch this space!
Six hardy volunteers braved a chilly Nor' Wester on Saturday to help with the final Volunteer Pathwork Party of the Year. The task for the day was to clear the cross drains and ditches along the Ben Nevis mountain path, starting from Achintee. In some places ditches needed digging out and reinstating, as seen below, to prevent excess run off pouring onto the path and washing off surface material.
If you are keen to take part in Volunteer events keep an eye on our Events Page where we will shortly be listing our work parties and engagement events for 2022
Our last event scheduled for this year will be drop in Bird Ringing (no registration needed), at the Glen Nevis Visitor Centre on Saturday 11th December. See our events page https://www.friendsofnevis.co.uk/events.html
If you like the work the Friends of Nevis does but don't wish to volunteer you can still support by either becoming a member or by donating: see our 'Join' and 'Donate' pages for more details.
The riverside All Ability Path has suffered damage in the past couple of years when the river has been in flood and overflowed its banks, in particular at the Youth Hostel Bridge end of the path.
In 2020 the surface of the path in this section was heavily scoured in places by flood water as seen in the image below
Temporary repairs were carried out in 2020 by Nevis Landscape Partnership Seasonal Rangers by filling in the scoured area with the original path material where it could be recovered and also a tonne of fresh quarry stone. However, this was quite a loose surface finish and as this section of the path will likely see further flooding events, a longer term solution was required. This year Friends of Nevis generously funded the purchase of 100 square meters of Aco Groundguard as a means of stabilising the path surface. This had already been trialed in 2019 around the picnic bench by the Youth Hostel Bridge and proved successful in the subsequent 2020 flood event. Work on laying the Groundguard started in October with the NLP Seasonal Ranger team. More recently Dougie and Calum, two well know faces and general path work gurus, were hired by NLP to continue with the work.
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