What have the following in common: a bed, a piano, a Model-T Ford, a barrel of beer and a wheelbarrow?
John Muir Trust's Sandy Maxwell in the foreground with two volunteers and the wheelchair
Yes, they have all been found on the summit of Britain’s highest mountain. And now, to the list we can add a wheelchair, unearthed by volunteers in a clean-up this weekend.
The rusting remains of the wheelchair were found by a party from the John Muir Trust, the conservation charity that owns much of Ben Nevis. It was discovered under a pile of rocks near the summit. By an odd coincidence, the find was made on the same day eight wheelchair users made the ascent of the 1,343m (4,406ft) mountain, helped by non-disabled team members in a charity challenge.
The JMT team was clearing litter and rubbish when they came across the old wheelchair. Sandy Maxwell, conservation-activities coordinator, said: “The wheelchair was probably hidden under the cairn so that the people who carried it up the mountain were spared the effort of taking it away.
“We have no idea why a courtesy transport chair has ended up at the top of Britain’s highest mountain and can only guess that it was some sort of stunt.”
The wheelchair carried the details Peter Watson self drive car, van, truck and minibus hire on its side, which suggests its origins may be in Skipton, North Yorkshire.
The trust organises summer work parties on the Ben to remove the 140 cairns that now dot the summit plateau. The cairns have been built up by visitors over the years and are seen as a safety hazard by mountain rescuers as they can mislead walkers in poor visibility who are not following compass bearings.
The John Muir Trust is removing all but a single line of cairns on the path above 4,000 ft, leading straight to the summit.
A piano was also found by JMT volunteers in May 2006, during a similar exercise. It is claimed that a group of removal men from Dundee took the instrument to the summit in the summer of 1986.
The Model-T Ford was driven up to the summit in 1911 by a motor trader from Edinburgh. Previous to this, a man from Fort William pushed his wheelbarrow to the top of the mountain and back. In 1980 Kenneth Campbell of Ardgay, Ross-shire, carried a barrel of beer to the summit and in the following year a group of Glasgow University medical students pushed a bed up the peak.
The cairns which are being dismantled are a magnet for various rubbish left by visitors to the mountain.
Mr Maxwell said: “We have a constant battle against litter being left on Ben Nevis. I urge walkers to respect Britain's highest mountain by carrying everything they take up back down again.”
The wheelchair has been taken from the mountain and disposed of, along with several bags of rubbish.