Ben Nevis

Ben Nevis

Outdoor enthusiasts tackling Britain’s highest mountain are being warned that construction work has begun on the most popular route up the hill.

The Nevis Landscape Partnership started work on 3km of the mountain path up Ben Nevis this week as part of a £1m project.

The three-year-long scheme is being carried out during the less popular months, avoiding the peak spring and summer periods when thousands of walkers, runners and climbers use the path.

A partnership spokesperson said the work, funded by Heritage Lottery Fund, Scottish Natural Heritage and Highlands & Islands Enterprise, will dramatically improve the route between Achintee and John’s Wall.

“The work sites present major safety considerations, both for the contractors and the people using the path during the construction phase, due to the steep cross‐slope that the path is benched into which zigzags up the mountain,” the spokesperson said.

“Walkers may wish to consider alternative routes up the Ben during this period such as starting at the North Face car park. However those choosing to take the mountain path should be aware of the works and follow the bypasses and instructions from the on-site contractors.

“We would also like to advise extreme caution for any night climbs or descents using the Ben Nevis mountain path during the construction period.”

Cathy Mayne of Scottish Natural Heritage said: “We are delighted that work on this iconic and much-used path is now underway.

“The team from the Nevis Landscape Partnership have worked hard to put together an excellent package of contractors, working through the winter to limit the impact on public access to our highest mountain.”

The Nevis Landscape Partnership said the mountain path is in need of the works to improve long-term stability of the path and reduce erosion. Ben Nevis visitor numbers are more than 100,000 annually and as well as individual walkers there is an ever-growing number of charity climbs, challenge events and Three Peaks groups.

Lizzie Cooper of the partnership said: “We are extremely grateful to our funders for their commitment to the repair and upgrading of the Ben Nevis mountain path. It will make a huge difference to this mountain route and help reduce erosion.

“However, all mountain paths need ongoing maintenance to keep them in good condition, so we would encourage all those who want to help look after our iconic mountain to sign up for a volunteer footpath work party with Friends of Nevis and John Muir Trust. It is a truly amazing experience, if not a little addictive.”

The partnership also urged challenge walkers register group events with the Three Peaks Partnership or Ben Nevis Visitor Centre.

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