Relatives of recently deceased mountain lovers have been told not to waste their time placing memorials on Britain’s highest peak.
Any cairns or plaques placed to mark the lives of the dead will be removed from Ben Nevis. The Nevis Partnership, which was set up to safeguard the mountain, says items are still being glued to rocks and memorials are being built on the summit.
Ben Nevis's summit
A year ago, the decision was made to start removing memorials from the Ben – with the exception of the internationally important peace cairn – and to try to trace the owners to return them. In addition, an area for contemplation was set up near the Nevis Visitor Centre and an online book of remembrance established.
But despite last year’s publicity, new commemorative items are still being placed. Nevis Partnership chairman Cameron McNeish said: “If you know of anyone planning to leave a plaque or memorial on the Ben, please tell them not to waste their efforts: the material will be removed.”
The partnership also offers advice on the scattering of ashes, which can affect the fragile arctic environment on the summit plateau. Many people do not realise that scattering of remains can cause a change in the soil of an area, particularly when this is done repeatedly in the same small area.
According to the Nevis Partnership: “The ashes of human remains are rich in both calcium and phosphorus and elevated concentrations of these elements can stimulate the growth of some plant species, but adversely affect others.”
The advice is to scatter ashes away from the summit cairn and not near the north face, where many fragile alpine plant species struggle to survive. Scattering on a windy day helps disperse the remains over a wide area.
- The poor summer has caused the postponement of footpath improvements on Ben Nevis.
Bad weather meant it was not possible to airlift enough equipment on to the summit to undertake the repairs. The work has now been put back to summer next year.
The work would have had to have been completed by autumn and this was not viewed possible. Equipment still on the mountain will be removed and walkers and climbers are asked to take notice of warning signs and contractors’ instructions while this takes place.